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Joomla Review

Joomla – is the all-in-one CMS, the feature set of which is extended via plugin integration. This lets you use the platform to create different types of websites: from simple promo sites and up to large-scale informational resources with millions of system users.

Joomla is a bit more difficult to master than WordPress, but this didn’t prevent it from becoming a popular solution among newbies. Professional web developers have multiple questions or issues regarding the system use, but they make sense only when it comes to the creation of individual projects. Speaking about the solution of standard tasks, Joomla works pretty well for them.

Joomla

  • Free CMS;
  • Module-based service;
  • Popular with professional web developers and beginners.

1. Ease of Use

You can use Joomla to complete various tasks, but to reveal its full potential, we strongly recommend building medium and large projects with the system. If you need a simple promo site or a portfolio, you can easily find simpler tools like website builders, for example. Joomla is mainly preferred by those users, who need a full-featured company website, a blog or a web store with a rich assortment of products.

Joomla Dashboard

Joomla – is one of those CMS users choose to start their web development career. Even if a webmaster has never used this platform before, he/she has definitely come across it in the list of services recommended to launch the first website.

This is not the simplest solution at all, but if you are ready to invest time to explore the system nuances, then you’ll soon realize the efficacy of Joomla that has made it such a popular web building solution.

Joomla

  • Requires exploration by first-timers;
  • Works well for different project types;
  • Offers modules with ready-made features required to complete a certain task.

2. Features & Flexibility

There are almost no questions regarding Joomla installation – most hosting providers make it possible to install the CMS with automatic database connection with a few clicks only. A user just needs to add the domain to proceed to further design and settings adjustment.

Joomla Editor

Regardless of the engine’s simplicity, you can use it to launch various types of websites, ranging from one-page projects and up to large online stores and portals with a developed user interface. The universal nature of Joomla is realized through the power of standard extendibility of the system’s functionality via plugin integration.

Among the standard features of the platform, it makes sense to highlight the following advantages:

  • The registration system with 9 user groups, which differ with regard to shared material access rights, their editing and moderation.
  • WYSIWYG editor to add new materials to the website.
  • Editor-integrated media manager to edit the images and other file types.
  • Content manager that makes it possible not only to manage website materials, but also to track user reaction to it by means of extra modules.

Among the peculiarities of the system, it makes sense to single out the improved web page load speed, website management mode and reports about mistakes for on-time problem fixing as well as private dialogues with users via the integrated general email system.

What’s more, it makes sense to add the potential for the system extension. Joomla catalogue comes with a broad range of plugins that add new options to the system. CMS configuration eventually depends upon the type and complexity of project a web master creates.

Joomla Extensions

It is impossible to go without extensions at all here: regardless of the standard system editor, there is a list of must-have plugins that should be installed on the website. By integrating them, Joomla ensures:

  • Anti-spam and anti-hacking protection;
  • Backup creation;
  • Technical optimization via the consideration of search engine requirements.

Addition of separate features is possible by means of plugin integration or via template file editing. For example, this concerns installation of Google metrics: you can either integrate them as codes or by activating corresponding plugins. The choice of the most suitable option exclusively depends upon the desire and skills of a webmaster.

Joomla SEO

The major SEO settings of the platform are available right after the system installation. To change them, you should reach the “General Settings” section and get to the “Website” tab. This is what you can do here:

  • Specify website name.
  • Open access to the website for the unlimited number of users or temporarily close it from third-party users.
  • Enable/disable web page indexation by the search engines.
  • Add descriptions and keywords that will be the basis for web page indexation.
  • Activate the human-friendly URLs and forwarding options.

These are the standard principles of SEO optimization the system implies. To get decent result and bring your website to the top positions in the search engine results, you should use SEO plugins for further website optimization. Among the free extensions, we can point out EFSEO and SEOBoss. They offer extra tools to add meta tags in the manual or automatic mode.

Joomla SEO

If you need a more functional SEO optimization tool, you can get the iSEO license to extend the system’s performance. It comes with multiple restrictions, though, that work well for the exploration of the major plugin options. If you are not ready to pay, then give preference to EFSEO or SEOBoss. If you realize that it will be impossible to quickly get your website to the top or implement any other feature without extra financial investments, then you are welcome to choose the paid iSEO version.

Joomla

  • Works more like a content management network;
  • Offers minimalistic toolset that comes with all the elements that matter a lot for a website;
  • Requires module installation to improve SEO results.

3. Designs

Number of Themes:5k+
Free Themes YES
Paid Themes Cost:$59-$299
Responsive Design YES
Sort by Industry: YES
CSS Code Editing: YES

Website templates define the visual project presentation: color scheme, positioning, graphic elements. You can use free templates, buy premium themes, individually design your own template or order it from professional web designers – the popularity of the system ensures the availability of multiple options.

The majority of newbies give preference to the free template option. This is a smart strategy because the variants are really numerous, especially when it comes to Western websites with lots of themes.

Joomla doesn’t have an integrated dashboard catalogue like WordPress, for example. That’s why, to install the template, you initially have to download the archive with its files on your computer. The template is downloaded to the CMS through the “Extension Installation” section available in the administration panel.

Right after the installation is completed, the new design variant will become available in the “Template Manager” section. You will only have to select and activate it. It’s possible either to use one template for the entire website or assign various design variants for separate pages.

Template customization is available in two modes. The first one implies the use of standard template settings. Their number changes with regard to the theme selected: for example, premium themes offer more customization options as compared to free templates. However, there are exceptions here as well. Standard options imply the edits of fonts, color scheme, background, logo upload etc.

Joomla templates

The second option is the opportunity of template file edits, which requires the awareness of HTML, CSS and JavaScript knowledge. You can find out multiple design customization nuances from educative videos and forums, but it still takes time to get minimal skills.

All template files are stored in separate folders available in the Templates catalogue. You need to find the files that are responsible for separate web page sections, open them through the editor and make the edits. Right after the new server configuration is saved, new edits will be reflected in the user website section. Prior to making the file edits, you should create their backup versions to have an opportunity to quickly get back to the initial fixed version.

When creating your first CMS website from scratch, you can easily go without working with template files. It is enough to find a suitable theme and customize it to meet your needs, using the available integrated settings. Completion of the basic web design customization actions like creation of navigation menu, for example, doesn’t require programming skills.

Joomla

  • Offers more than 2000 responsive templates;
  • Includes free and paid niche-specific designs;
  • Allows for CSS code editing.

4. Customer Support

Joomla customer support offers extensive options to help new and existing CMS users get used to it and start building and managing quality projects with ease. The Forum Section grants access to multiple system-related topics, recent updates, announcements, notifications and FAQs.

There is much information you can read and share here. The Documentation Section provides access to the online collaborative community manual specially created for Joomla users, designers and everyone, who is interested in finding out more about the system. As of today, there are over 8000 articles, which are written, managed and translated by the community members.

The Issue Tracker and Resources directory help control the statuses of the projects as well as grant access to the directory with useful system-related resources. If you wish to practice the basics of using the system, Joomla is ready to welcome you to Video Training courses. This is where you can find out more about the major aspects of using the service and keeping your website secure and updated.

Joomla

  • Extensive community support;
  • Powerful community forum;
  • Email, phone and live customer support alternatives.

5. Pricing Policy

You can download Joomla for free from the official website of the system or through the administrative bar in the private hosting account. It’s not obligatory to pay for plugins and templates – there is a rich choice of free variants here. The only danger is the absence of support from the developers, but that doesn’t pose serious problems as well: Joomla has an amazing user community, which creates much useful content for the platform.

However, for correct website performance, you’ll still need to pay for the domain name and hosting. Actually, the financial investments are not quite serious in this case. The COM zone domain usually costs around $15. You can also find hosting providers, which offer a domain name for free for the entire year. Annual prolongation of the subscription will cost you a bit more, but that’s not a huge sum anyway. If you are going to buy a domain name in any thematic zone, for example, site.shop for an online store, then the prices will somewhat differ – they will start with $20/year and more.

The price of hosting depends upon the functionality of the plan, which is required for website launch. For example, when using Bluehost, you can create a small project without any traffic restrictions and opportunity to connect a domain for $2.95/mo. If you create an eCommerce website, you’ll need more advanced plans. Consequently, the cost of using the platform will also increase to constitute $5.45/mo on virtual hosting.

If you plan to create a large-scale website, which won’t be compatible with virtual hosting, then you’ll have to get a dedicated virtual or physical server. The price range differs here as well as the requirements for technical background of the developer. However, if you create the first website, then it will be enough to calculate the budget for virtual hosting – the cost will be affordable for the prevailing amount of users even on the most expensive plan.

Joomla

  • Free to download and install;
  • Requires hosting and domain purchase;
  • Domain purchased for a year with the prolongation opportunity.

6. Pros and Cons

Joomla — is a free platform with extensions, which are partially created by the community users. This is what makes the CMS understandable for newbies and convenient to use for experienced web designers. Users of the first category can apply only ready-made solutions, while those of the second category can launch individual projects. The list of advantages doesn’t go down to the benefits specified above only. Other highlights of the system include:

  • Rich choice of integrated tools and powerful base of extensions. The platform lets you create versatile projects, ranging from small websites and up to large-scale online stores with a rich product assortment, discount systems and opportunity to select payment and shipping options.
  • Regular integration of new components, which add more useful functions.
  • Powerful user community, which creates the knowledge database by submitting their posts and tutorials as well as by developing new plugins and templates.

The major Joomla disadvantage is the one typical for any open-code CMS with support of extensions developed for third-party designers. This is the incompatibility of the system versions. Almost any system update can end up with the situation, when any extension or template will start working with problems. This is a burning problem, when it comes to using free solutions – their authors just stop supporting them. As a result, the new system version won’t have any support at all. That’s why, you may face the need to disable all the plugins before the update installation and then check them one by one to make sure their function correctly. Another variant is not to update Joomla after plugin installation at all.

Web design pros, who prefer not to use the system to launch non-standard websites, also have complaints regarding Joomla. It’s ok to complete standard tasks with the system, but insufficient structural problems and excessive code editing options are a notable hindrance for users willing to choose the service as a basis for the development of unique projects. At the same time, that’s not a problem for the majority of users. That’s why, Joomla still enjoys the utmost popularity with webmasters.

Joomla

  • Flexibility and extensive functionality;
  • High safety level;
  • Open code structure.

Bottom Line

Joomla – is one of the most popular CMS for webmasters, who are just starting their career. The reasons of its wide applicability become obvious after the detailed review of the system. Joomla is easy-to-master, it offers lots of useful out-of-the-box features and comes with a powerful extendability perspectives due to the potential integration of plugins, the number of which still keeps growing.

You can use Joomla to bring your ideas to life, but, considering its standard features, it is more effective to use the system to launch projects with advanced user participation: online stores with private shopping accounts, news portals and corporate websites. For simple small-business websites I advise to use any popular website builder. This, however, is not imperative. This is a kind of a recommendation – each web developer will find the arguments, which confirm or refute it.

Summary
Reviewer
Howard Steele
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Joomla.org
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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