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How to broaden your Joomla website’s options with extensions

Joomla, which unbiased evaluation website CMS Critic named the Best Free CMS of 2018, is among the world’s hottest web site content material administration techniques (CMSes). Like WordPress, Joomla can normally be put in in lower than a minute with its net host installer instruments. The main benefit of Joomla over WordPress is that by default, it organizes net pages and pictures by subject moderately than by date, which means a 1,000-page web site can be higher organized with Joomla than with WordPress. A second benefit is that extra of essentially the most highly effective Joomla extensions (which WordPress calls plugins) are free.

Joomla extensions are further instruments for constructing Joomla web sites. There are over 6,000 add-on extensions, which yow will discover within the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED). About half of them are free or have two variations, a fundamental non-commercial model and a extra feature-rich industrial model.

Ways to search out extensions

There are a number of methods to seek for extensions in JED. If you understand the extension’s identify (and even a part of the identify), you may enter it within the Search field. Second, you may look by greater than 30 classes and greater than 200 subcategories.

Third, you may click on on Browse Extensions within the high menu and select teams like Top Rated, Most Reviewed, or New. Fourth, you may click on on Advanced Search (proven beneath) to do a extra detailed search.

In Advanced Search, click on on the Select Some Tags field to slender your search by subject tags. Click on the Category field to slender your search by subject classes and subcategories. The Type field means that you can seek for extension sort—in contrast to WordPress, which calls all extensions plugins, Joomla divides extensions into three sorts:

  • Components are sometimes very giant applications that usually embody plugins and modules. You can entry Joomla Components from the highest menu’s Components icon.
  • Plugins are small bits of code that match inside or alter net pages. Joomla Plugins are managed by a Plugin Manager.
  • Modules are sometimes bigger blocks of code that show on net pages unbiased of articles. Joomla Modules are managed by a Module Manager.

If you have an interest solely in free extensions, click on on the Free/Paid field and choose Free.

Once you have got used the filters to specify your selections, the JED presents a desk of extensions that meet your standards with fundamental details about every. Click on an choice to be taken to a Details web page, which has an enormous quantity of details about every.

An instance of search in motion

To present how the search capabilities work, I will clarify the way to discover a free obtain supervisor extension for a Joomla web site. Download managers help you supply digital merchandise, equivalent to PDF tutorials, that web site guests can obtain.

First, I click on on Advanced Search. Then I click on on the Category field, scroll to the Directory and Documentation class, and choose Downloads. Then I click on on the Free/Paid field and choose Free.

Because I wish to observe the variety of instances every file is downloaded, I want a desk of downloads in my web site’s backend. This means I want a Joomla Component—not a Plugin (places recordsdata in paperwork) or module (shows recordsdata in a module or field). So, within the Type field, I click on on Component and click on the large Go button. My search outcomes point out that Joomla at present gives 15 totally different free obtain managers which can be Components. Which ought to I select?

This screenshot of the highest six-rated free Joomla obtain managers returned by my search exhibits every extension’s identify, the common rating given by its customers, and the variety of opinions. But essential particulars or variations between extensions can solely be discovered by clicking on every field, studying the outline, studying the opinions, and visiting every extension’s demo and documentation pages.

7 elements to think about in deciding on an extension

Many web sites charge Joomla extensions, however new extensions are launched on a regular basis. This is why it is good to go on to the JED and examine all of the obtainable choices earlier than selecting the one that can work greatest to your web site. Following are a number of the mose essential standards to search for.

1. Score

The rating may be deceptive as a result of it solely takes one novice—who most likely did not learn the documentation or perceive the way to use it—giving an extension a foul score to vastly scale back an excellent extension’s rating. Novices may additionally give a poor extension a really excessive score as a result of they did not take the time to analysis its drawbacks or some great benefits of different extensions. But if an extension has greater than 20 opinions and a rating near 100, it’s seemingly an excellent one to think about.

2. Number of opinions and evaluation rankings

The extensions with the very best rankings and most opinions are listed first. These are normally, however not all the time, your most suitable option. Make certain to learn the opinions on every extension’s web page.

three. Extension description

You can discover much more info on an extension’s Details web page. (Access it by clicking on a search outcome.)

The full description usually has a Main Features part with details about the extension’s options in addition to its advantages over different choices.

four. Recent opinions

Click on the Reviews tab to learn the opinions. They are listed in chronological order, with the latest evaluation first. Make certain to learn a number of latest opinions to study potential issues and a few ideas for utilizing the extension. For instance, one Phoca Downloads review famous it has a downloads counter, which is a crucial function I’m searching for.

5. Most latest replace

If the extension has been up to date prior to now yr, it’s seemingly nonetheless energetic. But if it has not been up to date in additional than two years, it may be inactive.

6. Demo website

Demo websites help you see what an extension is like in motion. A demo will not inform you if it should work in your web site; it might not work for a wide range of causes together with incompatibility along with your template or different extensions in your web site. It does not harm to obtain an extension and check out it out to see if it really works in your website (extra on that beneath). You can all the time delete it if it does not work out.

7. Documentation and assist discussion board

Extensions which have intensive documentation and assist boards are a lot simpler to work with than those who do not. Forums are additionally an excellent place to search for individuals having hassle with an extension. To entry the discussion board, click on on the extension’s web site hyperlink—there’s normally a spot within the website menu labeled Support or Forum.

Narrow your checklist

Because it’s simpler to remove choices based mostly on drawbacks than to decide based mostly on benefits, I usually begin on the backside of the checklist and work my manner up. Extensions on the backside are sometimes new and never rated. That mentioned, I’ve discovered excellent extensions which can be newly listed. But I’ve additionally examined some fairly unhealthy extensions from the underside of the checklist.

Test the highest two choices

After studying the opinions and visiting the demo pages and boards for all of the obtain supervisor choices I discovered, it was clear that almost all both didn’t work in any respect nor didn’t rely what number of instances a doc was downloaded. So it was simple to remove them from my checklist.

I discovered two choices that did what I wanted: They supply buttons to insert obtain recordsdata into paperwork, preserve a rely of downloads, are utilized by many individuals, and obtained high opinions: Phoca Download and JDownloads. It helped that I’ve used each on web sites prior to now.

I downloaded each and spent a number of hours testing every on my web site. Four options tipped the sting to Phoca Download. First, it’s obtainable in additional languages, which might curiosity many websites, together with retailers. Second, it could actually combine with VirtueMart, which is my favourite Joomla buying cart extension. Third, it has a batch uploader for including a number of paperwork on the identical time. Fourth, it is vitally simple to customise Phoca Download’s look. 


In the second a part of this two-part collection, I will share the highest 14 free Joomla extensions I do not assume any website must be with out.

To study extra about Joomla, go to Joomla.org. Also, yow will discover extra details about utilizing Joomla, together with the way to use these and different Joomla extensions, on my Guide to Free Joomla Web Building Tools web site.

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