If you use Joomla to build websites, the question “Which Joomla extensions should all websites not be without?” must come to mind, at least once. That is the reason why there are plenty of articles with the key phrase “Must-have Joomla extensions” on the Internet.
Each article has its own list of essential extensions based on the author’s experience and here you are going to see another list that helps you build solid websites.
I have writen this article for Joomla 2.5 extensions. Most of the extensions mentioned here are free, except for sh404SEF, and have received good reviews from users.
This is a WYSIWYG editor extension which means the presentation of the content you created looks as similar as possible to the results the users will see after it is published. The built-in TinyMCE Editor doesn’t help you control and build your website quickly, so an additional editor is necessary.
JCE extends your Joomla usage ability. The rich text editor – a desktop word processors like Microsoft Word – in which all the core functions are enhanced: image editing, text presentation, link insertion and so on. With profiles, you can manage the access control level of sections such as Articles, Menu Editor, etc. Another reason that makes JCE powerful: It is extendable. With additional plugins, you can manage files, upload and insert media files and more.
JSN Power Admin
Administration is such an important job but always not an easy one. It’s hard to control. JSN PowerAdmin was developed to help people use Joomla with ease and joy. Newly-added to JED, JSN Power Admin is highly appreciated by Joomla users. If you are new to Joomla and find it hard to work in the Joomla back-end, JSN Power Admin surely is your must-have component.
This extension make your administration easier based on solving 3 main problems: searching for desired items with Spotlight Search and Site Search, controlling elements such as a component’s content, menus, and modules and configuring article presentation with Site Manager.
It is easy to use this extension with its drag-and-drop feature or automatic saving function. Editing your website content is easier than ever. You know, you can edit menu items, change modules and edit articles, all in one place.
From now on, you will have an effective tool to support you in administration. To see how it works in detail, watch this video tutorial (on YouTube), and you will realize how it is useful and easy to use.
It doesn’t take you a lot of effort to start using Joomla. But easy-usability for users also means vulnerability to hackers. Fortunately, there are extensions that give your site better protection and enhance your site’s security. A good option for this is Admin Tools.
There is no perfect security on the Web. There are many issues to address to make sure that your Joomla website is secure and these can change day to day. However, Admin Tools helps you guarantee almost all of the basic security issues of Joomla. It permits you to check whether you are using the latest version of Joomla or not, add multiple password layers or modify a database table’s prefix. Yes, without touching code files or performing server-side configuration. It is very convenient, right?
To optimize URLs to make them understandable to Search Engines, you can definitely utilize the built-in Search Engine Friendly URLs. However, to totally take full control of a hotshot Search Engine Optimization, an additional SEF (Search Engine Friendly) extension is a must-have.
Sh404SEF rated 4+ on JED with 164 reviews (at the time of writing). It is such an amazing plug-in with 4 main functions:
In addition, there are also other functions and you can read the full features list here to see how amazing it is. It is quite complex to use if you aren’t familiar with SEO extensions. Fortunately, it has a very detailed user manual which supports you so much in usage. You certainly have to spend time to learn about it, but it is worth it for a very powerful SEO tool.
However, it’s not free anymore. Although you will have to pay for it, the price of $39 per year is not expensive in return of having a good SEO website. You can buy it here.
File management extensions help you access and modify the files and directories on your server via FTP or direct file access.
From my point of view, eXtplorer with a user-friendly interface is recommended. I like its drag & drop feature the most since it helps you move files fast and visually and besides this, you can change the permission rights of theowner. With this web-based File management component, you can control files with basic functions such as rename, edit, delete, copy and more.
Even though eXtplorer comes with very nice features, I must say that I am disappointed by its documentation. The provider of eXtplorer must think that all users’ levels are immediate or higher, so there is limited documentation, including a “Getting Started” page with several lines to guide you on how to install it and “eXtplorer features” with a description of the basic features.
There is another brilliant candidate for file management position. Please check out joomlaXplorer
Social Media Presence
Getting perfect 4-star rating and good reviews from Joomla users, we can consider Social Media Presence as one of the most popular extensions for social presence shown on JED. It helps you to display your social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. with icons on the side of your screen.
This brilliant extension can show up to 118 available social media channels for the pro edition and 4 for the free edition. With this extension, you can display your social media icons as fixed or in a floating position on the left, the right, the top or the bottom of the screen and on any article as well. Moreover, it also has built-in mouse over animated effects such as “dog ear, enlarge, shrink, rotate, bulls-eye” etc. for making these icons more vivid.
This extension includes 2 packages, one for plug-in and one for module. You can choose to use one or both of them. With the free edition, it has both and you need to register to download Social Media Presence. This is an easy to use extension and its documentation is also good. First, you can pick the free version to try and if it is helpful to you, buy the full version for $25 for the Social Media Presence Pro Combo Pack.
Search plays an important role in the operation of your website. It helps new visitors navigate through the content easily. Besides the Joomla core component com_search, I want to bring you a more powerful search titled Pix Search. This extension has been rated a 4.75 out of 5 on JED. This is an advanced search module which makes the search function faster, easier, more convenient and more powerful.
PixSearch will perform a backend AJAX Query to the core component com_search and display the results instantly while typing in an input box. After installing PixSearch, you can easily configure its parameters. You can configure by search phrase, page size, characters to search start, show search images and show read more links. This module helps your visitors save search time as well as to be able to see full content by simply clicking on “read more links.”
We have tested its operation, and the result is simply amazing. In comparison with the native component com_ search, PixSearch is much more convenient. You will instantly see the results shown right on the search page instead of being redirect to a separate results page. If by chance you encounter a problem when working with some templates, you can read the FAQ, or ask questions in the Forum to find a quick fix.
This extension is free but it requires you to have an account to access the download area. You can either register or simply login with your Facebook account.
Akeeba Backup Core
No one wants his site to crash, be hacked or compromised, but everyone should prepare for the worst. That’s why a backup extension is required, to create safe copies of your files so you can restore your website quickly. The recommended extension for your security strategy is Akeeba Backup with a free version Akeeba Backup Core and a commercial one Akeeba Backup Professional.
Akeeba Backup helps you create a full backup site that can be restored on any Joomla!-capable server. Its archive contains all the files, a database snapshot and an installer so that you can easily restore the necessary backup file. You will love its Lazy Scheduler plugin which assists you to create a backup file every X days, effortlessly. These files will be sent to your email address, or saved on your server. It is convenient for you, right?
The free version Akeeba Backup Core which is used by 95% of Joomla users provides you with the necessary features to have a complete backup, restoration and site migration, so it is suitable for regular webmaster or for testing this extension. How about the commercial version? Akeeba Backup Pro is built with advanced features which allow power and web professionals to exploit the “maximum potential of this software”. To learn how they’re different, take a look at its comparison table. It also provides you with a very detailed documentation so you can learn to use it quickly.
“Why is a site map necessary for my website?” – If you ask that question, the answer is that it helps you create XML site-maps of your website using the structure of menus. These are used by Search Engine such as Google, Yahoo and so on, to crawl and analyze the website. An XML site-map contains all the URLs of the site along with its additional metadata (such as, when it was last updated, how often it changes, etc.)
There are not so many sitemap extensions on JED, and Xmap is the best; a lot of good reviews have been made. With this extension, installation and creation processes are dead easy.
However, I couldn’t utilize other features which have been introduced such as creating more than one sitemap with different preferences for each sitemap, manually excluding any item from your site map,and so on. From this point, other disadvantages of Xmap have been revealed; it comes with poor documentation and bad support, both on the forum and JED page. There are no developers replies or comments on users’ problems.
You can install any of 8000+ extensions on JED to create the website you want. However, all of the components mentioned here should be installed first. They help augment the Joomla core to help you build a solid website foundation.
If you think that there are other essentetial extensions, please feel free to make comments. All ideas will be appreciated.