What to do if your Joomla article is padlocked?

So you’ve logged into Joomla to manage your website and you want to edit an article but there’s a lock next to it and you can’t get in… what do you do?

joomla article lockedWhy is my Joomla article locked? How do I remove the padlock?

If a user is currently editing an article, Joomla will place a padlock icon next to it to indicate it is currently “in use”. Without this feature users could unknowingly overwrite each other’s changes if they happened to be in the same article at the same time.

The lock will be removed when the user clicks Save and Close for that particular article. However, if the user simply navigates away to another page (or uses the Back button on their browser) the article will remain locked.

If a different user needs to work within that particular article, then the article needs to be “checked in” before any new changes can be made.

What does the padlock icon mean?

The padlock means that an article within Joomla is locked – it’s a security feature that automatically activates when an article is being edited to prevent another user from editing it at the same time.

Note: These padlocks can often be displayed next to a content item (article), module or menu item.

What are some of the ways an article can become locked?

When you’ve finished editing an article, you need to let Joomla know that you’ve finished, otherwise the system will assume you’re still actively making changes within the article, menu or module and will block another user from being able to edit.

Here’s a few common ways in which an article can be unnecessarily locked:-

  • Closing the browser tab
  • Hitting the Back button on the browser
  • Navigating to a different tab without clicking Save and Close
  • Going for a break and the Joomla session timing out

How to get rid of the padlocks in Joomla

There’s essentially two ways of checking in articles within Joomla:-

  1. You can contact the person who has currently got the article ‘checked out’ to see if they’re finished with the article. Hover your mouse over the lock and a tooltip popup will show the name of the user who has checked out the article.
  2. If you have administrator access you can click on the padlock which will check in the article, or you can go to Site > Maintenance > Global Check-in to check in all items across the site.

How do I ensure the article is closed properly?

There’s a few different ways you can tell Joomla that you’re finished with an article, which will allow other users to edit:-

  • Click on Save and Close once you’re finished
  • Click on Save and New (starting a new article)
  • Clock on the Close button to close an article (note: this won’t save your changes but tells Joomla you’re done)

To avoid articles being ‘locked’ in future, make sure you close your articles, menus and modules properly.