Remember the FTP Layer is applicable to Linux Server Users only and NOT Windows Users
Do not try enabling FTP Layer during installation if you experience any problems with it. It can be configured AFTER installation is complete by editing the configuration.php directly or via the Global Configuration in the Administrator Control Panel.
The FTP Layer in Joomla! is not broken, it does however, take quite a bit of configuration to correctly resolve it's ultimate functionality.
In my own situation these are the settings that worked (I happen to be on a 1&1 Business Package for this account)
var $ftp_enable = '1';
var $ftp_host = 'ftp.mydomainname.org';
var $ftp_port = '21';
var $ftp_user = 'a12345678';
var $ftp_pass = 'ABCDEfgaa.';
var $ftp_root = '/joomla_root';
THIS FORMAT WILL NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOUR HOST HAS THINGS
ftp_host can be a numerical URL 127.0.0.1 is the default address for a locally hosted server, it might be this, it might be the full URL as my example above with the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) prefix, it might be the http:// protocol it might be SFTP (secure FTP) even secure http (https). It could also be a completely different setting that I have not thought of! Your host will be able to advise you on the correct format.
ftp_port is nearly always 21 unless the host has changed this they will have notified you of this. Secure FTP generally uses port 22.
ftp_user In most cases, this is the specific user name your host has set up for you to access your Web site via FTP- It is the name you use in your FTP client.This could be an alphanumeric as in my example case, it could be your name, even your e-mail address, If you don't know this speak to your host. You may have the facility on your Web account to set up additional FTP users if that is the case (and it's more secure tbh) you are recommended to do this
ftp_pass this is the password you enter in your FTP client.
ftp_root This is generally the directory in which Joomla! is installed. This is probably the entry that is causing the biggest amount of problems as it very specifically depends on the Host server settings. In my example it is just /joomla_root BUT it might be htdocs/joomla_root, htdocs/, /htdocs/joomla_root, even just / , ... you get the picture it is a variable that Joomla! has absolutely no control over.
There may also be additional names that can be added by for example a Control Panel such as Plesk, Fantastico, Webmin, or any other. You will need to clarify this with your host
Media Manager Issues
It has been found that the new Flash Uploader that has been included as an expansion of the Media Manager can cause some problems. It can be disabled within the Global Configuration=>System Tab bottom left of screen.
It may also be necessary to edit the configuration.php and add the
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var $live-site = '';
TMP & Cache
Make sure that your /tmp and /cache file paths are correct. They might be incorrect and need to include additional elements :
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Hopefully it will be picked up automatically during the installation process but this may not always be the case.
There have been a number of posts where people have recommended the changing of directory and file permissions to 777 and other less than appropriate settings. 777 makes the file accessible, changeable, executable by absolutely anyone that wants to get in. This is an open door to crackers, where you are acting as the doorman and laying on a reception party for them to boot!!
Joomla! directories should typically be set to 755 and files should be set to 644. Once you have successfully configured your Web site using Joomla! you should change the permission for the configuration.php to 444 if it is not already.
hopefully this will help at least one or two of you!