Joomla 4.2.7 CMS Review

Joomla (current version 4.2.7) — is the second most popular open source CMS that can be used to quickly launch websites of various topics and functionality. The system is easily expandable with plugins, flexibly configured and can withstand heavy loads. This is one of the best website building platforms.

Throughout the entire history of its existence, Joomla has been steadily ranking second after its major competitor – WordPress CMS. Due to the peculiarities of its architecture and less user-friendly interface of the control panel, it always loses in the fight for beginners.

According to W3Techs stats, about 1.2% of all websites worldwide are powered by Joomla. In practice, this share nearly equals pro solutions like Drupal or Bitrix than WordPress, which constitutes around 43%.

Joomla is completely free. Anyone can use this software in their projects. The first CMS release took place in 2005 (after it separated from CMS Mambo). PHP is used as a programming language here, but a part of the code is based on the Symfony framework (+ Joomla has its own framework).

The system has been translated into many languages. Whatever language you are interested in, you will come across communities and platforms for template and plugin distribution as well as specialized agencies that support websites on Joomla.

Joomla works great for serving large news portals, media and other corporate websites. With the proper organization of Joomla plugins, you can also run blogs (the system does not offer the required functionality out-of-the-box), online stores and even forums.

Unlike website builders, Joomla requires its own hosting.

It is difficult to call the software friendly. It is quite extraordinary. It is supposed that users should have sufficient experience and the required niche knowledge as well as an understanding of the architecture and awareness of Joomla structure/functionality. In other words, it takes time to master the software. You won’t be able just to decide and immediately start working with the system.

  • One of the most popular CMS in the world;
  • Multi language support;
  • Multiple plugins and ready-made templates.

Joomla Pros and Cons

Joomla offers a large number of functions out-of-the-box that are implemented via third-party plugin installation in WordPress, for example. The interface of the software control panel initially seems too complicated and questionable, but this effect wears off over time and all controls look more than logical. This is rather a matter of experience and habit.

What other advantages and disadvantages does Joomla have?

Modular structure and expandability via plugin integration.
Fine design settings – components and design modules are responsible for the output of individual blocks.
Multilingual support provided out-of-the-box (all website versions will work simultaneously, even notifications to customers will be sent with regard to their language settings).
The software ideally copes with heavy loads.
Built-in caching system.
Ready API (Joomla can be used as Headless CMS).
SEO attributes and user-friendly URLs without any plugins.
High security level (vulnerabilities are rarely discovered and closed as quickly as possible).
Built-in tools for processing requests for personal data of users.
Joomla can be installed on almost any type of hosting.
Serious functionality for setting access rights. This applies to everything: the visibility of elements on the website and in the control panel, access to functions etc.
You can create full-featured blogs, online stores, forums and other types of websites on Joomla.

Complex settings and publishing – a large number of attributes, tabs and other elements (it’s easy for beginners to get confused).
There are no ready-made mobile applications – you will have to invest a lot in solutions created by third-party developers.
Each new minor software version triggers the incompatibility with multiple popular plugins and components (only a small percentage of extensions from the directory are compatible with the latest Joomla version 4).
Many extensions are paid. There are free ones, but they develop poorly (they quickly become outdated like a formerly popular VirtueMart eCommerce plugin, for example).
Joomla doesn’t work without hosting.
There are no templates in the official directory. They either have to be purchased on third-party websites or created from scratch (independently or by hiring web developers, which is expensive).
Search and filtering of extensions are poorly organized in the official directory.
There is no set of translations out-of-the-box. The package with the required language must be downloaded and installed separately.

As a result, you will have to independently take care of the website tech support, search and configure hosting, install extensions and templates, and fill the website with content. At the same time, at least basic HTML, CSS, JS and PHP knowledge will be required for the start.

These are, however, cons that mostly concern beginners. Professional webmasters will definitely like Joomla, because a website can expand a lot powered by this software.

Joomla CMS: Minimum Requirements

Joomla Main

The first Joomla releases were a bit more friendly for beginners. Despite the fact that the basic functions and the general structure of the control panel have remained the same (the changes are minor), a large number of low-level functions have been added to Joomla.

Now Joomla is more of a CMF system, on the basis of which you can build a full-fledged web service – just like with Drupal. It has a strong backend that lets it work as a full-featured Headless (Decoupled) CMS.

This is why we don’t recommend Joomla to those users, who are launching their first websites. It will be difficult to deal with the admin panel and the publishing process – there is a certain entry threshold. You must first understand the CMS functionality, implication of modules, how to install the extensions, configure the interface, organize the system access rights etc.

This surely takes time to learn. A quick start will not work here as opposed to WordPress, for instance.

Minimum Hosting Requirements

To ensure steady operation on the Joomla 4 server, the following environment configuration is required:

  • PHP version 7.2.5 (or higher) preprocessor support (recommended version is 8.0, but the system will also work with higher versions).
  • Database server. MySQL (MariaDB) 5.6 version (or higher) or PostgreSQL 11.0+ are supported out-of-the-box.
  • Apache 2.4+, Nginx (minimum 1.10, recommended version 1.18) or Microsoft IIS (8+, recommended version – 11 or higher) may also work as a web server.

If your host has outdated versions of PHP only, for example 5.3-5.4, then you can install Joomla 3 or lower versions. Remember, however, that they are no longer officially supported by developers.

Such a software set is available in many shared plans. There are many trusted hosting providers out there. If you don’t want to waste time searching for the best company, choose HostGator.

There are no special hostings for Joomla. You can rent a VPS or a dedicated server and install your own software set on it – the one you consider the most effective.

How to Work in Joomla

Right after installation, a user gets access to the ready-made admin panel and a modern template for the main website (frontend).

You can publish content and promote a website in the search engines from the first minutes of its existence. No additional tools are required. However, if you need to launch a specific niche project, you will have to dive into the settings and install additional plugins/modules.

Let’s review the main steps beginners need to undertake to explore the software.

Getting Started

Joomla Installation

Just like other CMS for your hosting, the first step implies software installation on the server. If you have chosen a high-quality and modern hosting provider, then Joomla can be installed in one or two clicks from the hosting panel (using the auto-installation script).

If there is no such option, however, or you need the most recent CMS version, then you will have to download the distribution kit from the official developer website and manually install the system. There is nothing difficult here. Everything is standard – you initially need to create a database, specify the parameters to connect to it, make up a website name and enter the administrator’s data.

Website Editing

Joomla Control Panel

Unlike WordPress, Joomla does not require mandatory plugin installation to get started with the publication. For example, there is everything you need to work with SEO (meta tags, human-friendly URLs, etc.), web page caching, template customization, content blocks display, switching to the secure HTTPS version etc. out-of-the-box.

If you don’t know how the system works yet, install the demo content. This can be done in one click (in the Sample Data block of the admin panel).

  • There is demo content and structure for a small blog.
  • There is a demo version of the multilingual site.

When you understand the block output structure, install and configure necessary extensions, plugins and modules (if required), set the theme, you can proceed directly to the content publishing process. To do this, you initially need to think over the website structure and create content categories, develop the system of additional fields (if needed).

The publishing procedure does not differ a lot from that in WordPress, when all the necessary plugins are configured in it:

  • Alias text (human-friendly URLs) can be created and transliterated automatically – you just need to enter the content title;
  • An entry can be pinned to the feed marked as a favorite;
  • The following elements can be embedded in the main text (using the editor’s control panel): templates, emoticons, code blocks, media files, anchors, special characters and even CMS elements (fields, menus, contacts, modules etc.);
  • The default TinyMCE editor supports character counting as well as the functionality of finding and replacing text parts;
  • You can set the publication date in the future, schedule a date to hide the post from favorites or completely remove it from publication;
  • You can attach an image to a post and display it in the feed or in the start block of the page;
  • You can redefine the default display layout;
  • You get full access to editing all necessary meta tags (title, description, keywords, author, Rights meta tag);
  • The system can work with different content versions. You can add your own notes to each new version to understand what changes have been made;
  • You can manage content visibility for different user categories, using the access rights system.

It goes without saying that Joomla content editor may somewhat lag behind modern block-based solutions such as Gutenberg or Elementor, but there are also features that make it prevail over them.

The only inconvenience is that different options are scattered across the tabs. Since there are a lot of settings, they simply did not fit on one page.

Website Publishing

If you don’t want the search engines to index website pages right after you have started filling them with content (this may have negative impact on young projects without a sufficient content base), you can close the website from indexing and from visitors in general. To do this, just tick the “Site Is Down” checkbox in general settings.

Accordingly, when the website is fully opened, the option must be disabled. Plus, do not forget to check the indexing meta tags. They should be in the “index, follow” position everywhere.

For the full-featured website performance, its recognition and adequate promotion in search engines, you will also need your own second-level domain. Many popular hosts offer a domain as a bonus (at least for the first year).


Over the years of its existence, Joomla has acquired a huge number of features. This is a really powerful and comprehensive software. It is very pleasant that many features are provided out of the box, at the cre and system modules level. You don’t have to install anything else.

Joomla, however, cannot be used for any task as it is. It is impossible to launch a full-featured blog or a forum without third-party add-ons here.

This is what a website owner gets, when choosing Joomla CMS:

  • Modular content. You can split the page into several blocks to separately manage the content. For example, the basic website modules include breadcrumbs, an authorization form and the main menu. In reality, however, such modules can be versatile: banners, info blocks, lists of related materials, tags etc.;
  • There are modules both for a website and for the admin panel (you can arrange the interface as required);
  • Built-in system for working with additional fields – a huge list of standard field types. These fields can be united into related groups, marked as mandatory and you can also set default values etc. Additionally, you can apply security filters (clear from special characters, convert into plain text etc.) and access rights to them;
  • The built-in file manager is used to work with downloaded media files. It is closely related to the system image editor, in which you can crop pictures, resize and rotate them;
  • Convenient editor of records and materials. This is not a block editor from WordPress, of course, but its capabilities are also impressive – you can insert fields, individual modules and CMS elements;
  • Ready-made system of selected materials (similar to pinned posts in categories and on the main page);
  • Complex publishing and visibility rules – based on dates and time, access rights and user categories, versioning etc.;
  • Advanced SEO features without extensions: meta tags, Title auto-generation by template, transliteration of standard and human-friendly URLs, micro marking support etc.;
  • Fine layout tuning. You can select a unique output format for each individual page;
  • Everything required for multilingual website implementation;
  • Individual content search and indexing system (no additional search engines or non-standard hosting settings required);
  • Manual redefinition of translation strings – you can replace template/plugin localization strings with your own values anytime. Management is centralized, future updates do not affect this process at all (nothing breaks or disappears, this is a separate database);
  • Integrated template source code editor;
  • Multilingual email templates. You can easily organize your own mailing system or integrate external services (via SMTP or API);
  • Installation of plugins from the control panel (like from the official WordPress directory);
  • Complex and highly customizable system of access rights;
  • Integrated self-diagnostic system (error warnings, search for problems in publications etc.);
  • Individual banner system with customizable display rules and detailed statistics. This is a ready tool for media portals;
  • Interface for processing requests for personal client data (issuance, deletion etc.);
  • Rest API.

Joomla Editor

When it comes to functionality, Joomla is similar to the CMS for web agencies – Drupal. The only thing is that it is a bit more user-focused.

In other words, this is a comprehensive framework with a ready-made control panel (CMF), where you can redefine or disable many functions without the need for programming.

What’s New in Version 4.2.7?

The current Joomla 4.2.7 version was released at the end of January 2023. In fact, this is a bugfix release. It doesn’t have any new features. However, the 4th Joomla branch is an innovation in itself.

  • Hotkeys were added in the 4.2.0 version, while third-party extensions can define their own combinations;
  • Two-factor authorization has been expanded to multi-factor (there may be multiple security factors now). Starting from version 4.1.0, the task scheduler has been updated. It ensures the automation of routine actions even in cases where the hosting does not have access to the cron scheduler;
  • Changes have been made to the work of the template engine. You can create draft templates in one click and edit only the necessary parts in them. At the same time, you can easily update the code of the main template any time. The edits you have made automatically be updated from the daft theme;
  • Accessibility tool has been introduced. Joomla automatically detects content issues and integrates into the content creation process;
  • HTML syntax highlighting has been updated in TinyMCE editor;
  • The built-in support system has been updated;
  • Minimum technical requirements have been increased (PHP version must be at least 7.2.5, MySQL version must be at least 5.6);
  • A system of workflows (Workflows) has been introduced. It implies fine-tuning the rules for working with content – its creation, editing, approval and publication;
  • Tools for working with personal data have been added so that request processing could fully comply with applicable law (GDPR requirements);
  • The new default template has been adapted for the visually impaired people (it now has a special markup);
  • REST API has been added to implement the Headless approach;
  • A new component – the email editor – has been added (supports multilingual templates).


It may turn out that you won’t need plugins at all. Unlike WordPress, Joomla is a more self-sufficient software. A lot of important functions are provided by default.

joomla extensions

Extensions are required only to add separate notable functions, for example, a blog (commenting system), a web store (shopping cart, product catalog, import/export system), forum etc.

Unlike WordPress plugins, where you can frequently find free modules, many extensions are paid in Joomla. However, they are distributed not on the subscription basis, but as plugins that require one-time payment. This is a notable advantage.

Installation of plugins in Joomla can be done separately in the manual mode (by downloading packages through the admin panel), in the bulk mode (from the plugin directory, it is convenient to deploy typical websites) or directly from the plugin directory (the so-called JED directory).

System developers distinguish between the following types of add-ons (this is rather a matter of correct terminology):

  • Modules (these are a kind of widgets, blocks displayed in different parts of the layout) used as design elements. Modules can be applied for the main website or for the control panel;
  • Components are a more complex module format. For example, there can be such components as banners, an authorization window, a widget with user statistics etc.;
  • Language packages (installed and activated as regular extensions);
  • Website templates and control panels;
  • Plugins are elements that extend the software functionality. For example, they add captcha protection for forms, implement new types of fields etc.;
  • Extensions is the generic name for all types of Joomla add-ons listed above.

Here are the types of extensions (plugins) one can find in the official Joomla directory: tools for PWA model implementation (progressive web applications based on Joomla), tools for backup creation and website protection from various types of attacks, customer interaction tools (chats, commenting systems, forums, bulk SMS mailout connectors, email etc.), sliders, ad unit rotators, alternative content editors (including Page Builders), form and popup window builders etc.

Generally, there are more than 6.5 thousand plugins in the official Joomla extensions directory alone. Around a half of them is free (free extensions are more likely to have paid versions or subscriptions that expand the functionality).

About 2.3 thousand extensions are compatible with the 4th Joomla version.

Joomla plugins can also be found on third-party platforms. For example, it is logical to look for extensions for integrating payment systems and other specialized commerce systems on the official websites of these services.

SEO Features


Baseline SEO features of the software imply that you won’t need any additional extensions, except for tools for automated sitemap generation.

The rest is available: fields to specify meta tags, micro-markup, delayed image loading (lazyload), a tool to detect content indexing problems (in case you forgot to remove the noindex/nofollow tag), the system of human-friendly URLs generation with automated transliteration, built-in an algorithm for counting the number of views (to identify the most popular content) etc.

The maximum download speed can be obtained by choosing the right template and by activating the caching system (there is a built-in file system and you can connect server options).

You can activate the setting that will add the website name to the web page titles in the general website settings (at the beginning or at the end of the line).

To implement any additional functions, you will need to install add-ons. Fortunately, the choice is sufficient.

Switching to HTTPS Website Version

Switching the admin panel or the entire website to the HTTPS protocol is completed in one click in the Joomla admin panel.

All you need is to initially obtain a valid SSL certificate and set up a web server (this is usually done through the hosting panel interface, but special console utilities can also be used, as in the case with VPS servers and the Let’s Encrypt bot).

If you wish, you can also set up an automatic redirect from an insecure website version to a secure one (the set up will depend on the web server used, for example, you need to edit the .htaccess file to do this in Apache).

Automated Updates

Joomla can check for a new steady version of the software core and extensions available in the official directory. However, the CMS does not update the code automatically – the participation of the website owner (administrator) is required. Only this person can initiate the update procedure.

You can select the desired stability level in the website settings – from Stable to Development (intermediate stages include Alpha, Beta and Release Candidate).

Website Health

The built-in systems for checking the system health include:

  • Cache cleaning.
  • Database validation tool (it analyzes the structure of tables, plus there is an error correction tool).
  • Content search and unblocking tool (it helps solve the problems users may encounter after switching the website from the maintenance mode).
  • Notification system for detected errors and warnings.
  • System for logging user actions (including administrators).
  • Post-installation recommendations (it is possible, for example, to allow sending anonymous data about the website performance to system developers).
  • Update search system.

How to Create a Web Store on Joomla

Unlike WordPress, which has such a comprehensive free extension as WooCommerce, Joomla does not have distinct favorites that could ultimately complete the web store creation process.

There are enough eCommerce plugins, but all of them have their own characteristics and disadvantages.

The most popular solutions include:

  • EShop – a paid plugin that costs $39.99. It will additionally require some paid extensions (for example, the import/export add-on – $34.99, the free shipping add-on – $34.99, plugins for integrating payment systems – $24.99 each etc.) and templates.
  • HikaShop – the basic (starter) version of the plugin is free, but it also has paid options: HikaShop Essential – 49.95 Euros, HikaShop Business – 99.90 Euros, HikaMarket Front-edition – 75 Euros, HikaMarket Multi-vendor – 150 Euros. Additionally, you will need to buy add-ons costing 20 to 50 Euros each.

A free HikaShop version, for example, includes the following features:

  • Creation of products and their variations;
  • Unlimited directories (with any nesting level);
  • Attaching several images and files (for example, instructions) to product cards;
  • Display of similar items;
  • Product prices in several currencies + tax calculation;
  • Unlimited orders;
  • Discounts and coupons.

The advanced version allows getting product options and custom fields, a product comparison system, pages with filters, automatic updates of currency exchange rates, customer wishlists, guest checkout, geolocation plugin etc.

This gives the understanding that it is close to impossible to set up a quality web store for free, but you won’t encounter any problems, if you invest a bit into the project.

The free VirtueMart extension used to be very popular, but now it is outdated and not compatible with the software version 4.

None of the extensions has ready-made mobile applications that facilitate the work with applications (correspondence with clients, order confirmation, prompt push notifications etc.).

How to Create a Blog on Joomla

Despite the stunning content publishing features, Joomla doesn’t have a built-in post commenting system. Accordingly, you won’t be able to launch a quality blog in a couple of clicks.

Just like with web stores, a plugin is required to create a blog on Joomla. There are several dozen niche plug-ins in the official directory. The most popular, however, is EasyBlog (current version is 6.0).

This is a paid plugin. It has two installation options – Pro Edition ($79/year, one domain only, 16 ready-made templates) and DEVELOPER Edition ($199/year, up to 5 domains, 21 templates).

This extension has a lot of useful integrations, an auto-posting system, and ready-made Share buttons. It can send notifications about important events (including users), a built-in editor works with ready-made content blocks (this includes ready-made solutions for voting and polls, broadcast and animated Gifs integration, creation of complex animations etc.).

There are also free extensions, but they are less functional. What’s more, many plugins are already outdated. Their application may be dangerous for a website.

Website Design and Templates

What’s interesting, the official Joomla directory includes extensions and localization packages only. There are no templates there.
Joomla designs are distributed on third-party platforms only. There is a large number of specialized services and marketplaces, but none of them can be ultimately reliable. This is because it is free developers and web studios that stand behind template creation here. Thus, template quality may differ – this depends on the author’s experience and skills.

Joomla templates

Another issue is compatibility with the current software version. Around a year or two ago, the prevailing amount of templates worked with Joomla version 3 only. There are more options for Joomla 4 now. However, the problem still remains a burning one.

Finding completely free themes is also complicated. The maximum available option is downloading without official support, but with the mandatory collection of personal data (this is done to further offer you paid services and templates).

Installation of templates in Joomla is completed via the installation interface of other extensions – you need to select a package with a theme and upload it to the hosting.

Joomla doesn’t have any built-in block website builders or special tools to work with templates. There is only a built-in source code editor (for proficient users).

At the same time, however, a Joomla-powered website design can be fine-tuned. This is done via modules and components.

  • Modules are interface elements that can be displayed in different website parts (similar to widgets). Joomla modules include: blocks with arbitrary HTML code, authorization and search forms, news feeds (a list of materials sorted by to specified criteria), marks/tags, blocks with breadcrumbs, menus etc. You can create your own modules based on system ones or install modules supplied by third-party developers. A set of specific modules frequently comes with a Joomla template. Thus, to obtain all the declared features, you need to install them in the system. Module output areas depend on template settings. Modules can also be displayed inside articles (in posts).
  • Components are a more complex functional Joomla unit – a kind of mini-application that has controls for the administrator along with a part displayed to users. Generally, the components are rendered in the main content area. That is, the components include the text material, the news feed, the system of banners and tags.

When you put together your website layout, you can easily complement the main content with the necessary elements. Moreover, the template of each individual element can be redefined to your own (if you initially create it in the editor).

To simplify the work with the interface, you can use extensions with page builders. Many large developers often have their own frameworks for quick template creation. They even provide clients with ready-made Page Builders to let them customize website design and key block positions.

As a result, much will depend on the selected template and the set of related modules/plugins. However, you can change (customize) a lot in the system.

This approach has a downside, though. You need to thoroughly choose a template, exploring its functionality and characteristics: whether the responsive layout is supported, what plugins it is compatible with (a simple example is online stores – there are about a dozen of them, respectively, template developers can ensure compatibility with the most popular themes, around 1-3 designs only), how it is customized, in which areas website modules will be displayed etc.

Tech Support

Joomla doesn’t have paid (premium) support, but you can explore and master the system on your own.

The following support options are offered to help users solve their problems:

  • Official forum and user community;
  • StackExchange – to solve code-related problems, there is even a special section about Joomla;
  • Official ticketing system (you can request a solution to your problem from the official tech support, it’s absolutely free, but you need to understand that the help will be for reference only);
  • Technical software documentation (it initially targets administrators and developers);
  • Tech support from partners (these are third-party companies that specialize in providing paid services for the development and maintenance of Joomla websites);
  • Any other convenient information sources – blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. that can help with learning.

Many developers of paid templates and add-ons offer their tech support services. However, they will only apply to products purchased from these developers.

Pricing Policy

You don’t need to pay or buy anything to use Joomla in your projects. You can start completely free. There are free plugins for many tasks. You can even find free templates from famous developers online (mind that these are not pirated versions).

However, website performance is not limited by the software only. It also involves hosting, domain, developer services, promotion and advertising expenses etc.

While it is possible to complete most tasks independently, you won’t go without investing in hosting anyway.

We recommend using HostGator, the cost of which starts at $2.75/mo. This includes unlimited disk storage space for all plans, notable account expenses, migration assistance etc.

HostGator Shared Hosting Plans:

  • 1 website, unlimited disk storage space, bonus domain for 1 year, free SSL from Let;s Encrypt – starts at $2.75/mo;
  • Any number of websites, unlimited disk storage space – starts at $3.50/mo;
  • The same terms, but with dedicated IP address – starts at $5.25/mo.

Hosrgator pricing

Virtual servers (VPS) with a pre-installed panel and tech support cost from $23.95/mo (minimum 120 GB on an SSD drive, 2 cores, 2GB of memory).

Dedicated servers cost from $89.98/month (including the control panel).

Thus, if you take into account the need to pay for hosting and purchase a premium template, then Joomla will cost about $120-$130 for the first year.

Bottom Line

Joomla is a stunning and well-thought-out content management system, which works great for all types of websites, features advanced scalability and offers multiple quality tools out-of-the-box.

More or less important functionality, however, is provided by extensions. It is impossible even to set up a blog without plugins here. The extensions are mostly paid or have a limited free version. Plugin sales is a key source of income for developers.

Due to the peculiarities of the software architecture, it will be difficult for beginners to master the system. This, however, is quite possible as there is detailed documentation, built-in support and multiple auxiliary materials available online.

Joomla has recently shifted the focus in favor of more advanced users, having added Rest API and organized work on the principles of web services. This decision had its consequences. Due to the lost compatibility, only 0.1% of all Joomla websites now work on the current version 4 of the software. Clients are simply tired of updating their projects to ensure better compatibility.

At the same time, the system is still undemanding, when it comes to hosting choice. If you eventually need a quality project, go ahead to use HostGator.

Howard Steele
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