Joomla is a great content management system, it does many things straight out of the box. Sometimes though, you might want to do something that Joomla doesn’t handle as standard. That’s where extensions (components, plugins & modules) come in. Joomla extensions pick up from where Joomla leaves off.
If you are looking for the best Joomla extensions for your website then you can’t go wrong with this list of top ten Joomla extensions. At Betton Design we use these 10 extensions on practically every Joomla site we create so we would like to think we know a thing or two about them. Most of these extensions are available in free and pro versions with the latter costing money but in our opinion they are all worth it. We only use the pro versions on our websites as they generally offer the most features.
1. Akeeba Backup
Akeeba Backup is, surprisingly(!), a backup manager for Joomla. It is available as a free extension but for businesses there is the option of subscribing and getting Akeeba Backup Professional.
Akeeba Backup can be set to create backups using a CRON job meaning that once it is configured you can just leave it running, safe in the knowledge that your precious website is being backed up. Ideally you would want your backups to be saved outside of the webspace, with Akeeba Backup this is very easy to set up. We tend to set Akeeba Backup to save our backups to Amazon S3 servers but you can choose from a wide variety of locations including Dropbox, Google Storage, Microsoft Windows Azure BLOB Storage and Remote FTP server to name but a few.
If you value your website then Akeeba Backup is a no brainer!
2. Admin Tools
Admin Tools is another suite of component and plugins provided by Akeeba. Again it is available in both free and pro versions with the later giving you much more features.
Admin Tools is basically a set of security tools developed to keep your website safe.
Features such as Firewall, PHP file scanner and htaccess maker mean that complicated security tasks are made much easier. The full feature list is too long to write here but take our word for it, Admin Tools is worth the subscription charge.
3. Advanced Module Manager
Advanced Module Manager is made by NoNumber. It is available free, but for a small price a pro version offers many more features. With Advanced Module Manager you have full control over the modules on your Joomla site. In essence, Advanced Module Manager lets you place modules depending on a number of rules. You can show a module on specific component pages or for specific users, even at specific times. The list of features goes on and on meaning that if you want an individual website then Advanced Module Manager is a must.
4. JCE Editor
Lets face it, the standard Joomla content editor (TinyMCE) is a bit basic to say the least. That’s why JCE editor is a must for any Joomla website. With a bit of configuration JCE can be made into a very powerful content editor with different profiles available for different user groups.
Copying text from Microsoft Word into your website can often lead to huge problems with extraneous code but JCE can be configured to strip all of that out and just leave the text. This is an invaluable feature for us as most of our clients don’t want to have to copy from Word to Notepad (TextEdit) and then copy again into their website.
As far as we are concerned, a customer should never have to learn code so JCE really helps them to make sure they are using semantic markup quickly and easily without extraneous code.
5. Remote & Local Image Manager
Everyone is always going on about
What is the best CMS, my answer is none of them they are all good in different ways. One of the ways that Joomla could learn from Wordpress though is with the media manager. Joomla’s built in media manager is at best basic and at worst pretty rubbish.
This is where Remote & Local Image Manager comes in. It’s quite a convoluted name for what is essentially a replacement for the core media manager, just install it and away you go. With features like drag-and-drop image upload and picture resizing, Remote & Local Image Manager really makes it easier for everyone to get images onto their website.
6. Resize Image on the Fly and Cache
Another extension with an extra long name, however Resize Image on the Fly and Cache fulfils a rather important job. Once installed and enabled this plugin can be used to automatically resize and crop pictures based on the settings you enter. This means that when your customer uploads a 5MB picture to their website and puts it in an article the page won’t take 10 minutes to download. This is because Resize Image on the Fly and Cache creates a second version of the image that is the correct size, and in the age of mobile friendly websites, this is particularly important.
One other feature of Resize Image on the Fly and Cache is the ability to add it to other PHP files within your Joomla template, template overrides and extensions. This means that Resize Image on the Fly and Cache not only resizes images in com_content but it can resize images throughout the whole of your website.
7. JSitemap Professional Edition
Again available as a free or pro version, JSitemap Pro creates sitemaps for your website. However, JSitemap Pro does even more than that.
With the demise of Xmap for Joomla we needed another sitemap generator and we were pleasantly surprised by JSitemap Pro. The list of features is endless and after using Xmap this feels like a much more powerful and professional component. You can also set JSitemap Pro to ping Google every time your content is updated (using Ping-o-matic) which is a feature available in Wordpress as standard but not in Joomla.
Another recently added feature is the ability to use JSitemap Pro to add page title and meta data to all of your URLs meaning that it is now all fully featured SEO “must have” for any Joomla web developer.
8. Aixeena CCK
Up until recently if you wanted to add extra fields to your Joomla articles then you had 2 options, create a plugin that would do it for you or go down the route of a full-blown content creation kit (CCK) such as K2. The plugin route is difficult for the standard user as it requires a great deal of knowledge and a CCK such as K2 is often overkill.
Aixeena CCK bridges this gap making it easy to add extra fields directly into your Joomla articles. Not only that, but you can also add extra fields to categories and menu items. Furthermore, you can also create category specific extra fields so that only articles within a certain category will have the option of adding content to those fields.
9. Cache Cleaner
Another extension by NoNumber, Cache Cleaner is available in both free and paid versions. This simple plugin adds a button to the admin side of your Joomla website which when pressed clears the Joomla cache. We always set up a cache on our customer websites so that they run quicker but sometimes we get calls along the lines of “I’ve changed an article but it isn’t showing on the website”. Cache Cleaner makes it really easy for website owners and developers alike to clear the cache and ensure that content changes are seen immediately.
10. RSForm! Pro
RSForm! Pro is a form creator from the guys at RSJoomla!
Creating HTML forms from scratch can be a pain and is almost impossible for a customer without some knowledge of HTML. RSForm! Pro makes form creation easy for customers but still has a huge array of features in order to keep any developer happy.
Simple things like form validation and Captcha mean that using RSForm Pro is a pleasure for the end user. Also, powerful features such as the ability to add additional PHP scripts as well as calculations and multi-page forms mean that RSForm! Pro can be used to create powerful web forms.
What are your favourite extensions for Joomla? Let us know if the comments below.
Betton Design Limited is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Joomla Project or Open Source Matters. The Joomla logo is used under a limited license granted by Open Source Matters the trademark holder in the United States and other countries.