- Open source
- Built-in SEO
- Advanced user management features
- Extensions require manual work
- Fewer extensions than Wordpress
- Lackluster security record
Joomla is an open source content management system (CMS) similar to WordPress and other open source frameworks. However, Joomla has a reputation for being focused on the needs of developers. Beginning users still enjoy Joomla as it remains one of the leading CMS frameworks in the world.
Out of the box
Joomla, being an open source platform, can be downloaded on to a web server or virtual machine. Joomla includes built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features, including SEO and rich text editors. Joomla also offers exceptional indexing and deep CMS experience permitting content and publishing actions like other CMS. User management features meet industry standards by providing built-in access controls. Like other CMS frameworks such as WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is ultimately a “plug-and-play” system fostering a flexible experience for various content.
Augmentation and extensions
Joomla requires users to install extensions and external integrations to augment the overall experience of a user on your website. Similar to WordPress plugins, Joomla extensions integrate mainstream and community-developed SaaS and marketing tools for paid or free use. For example, users can incorporate their Joomla site with Google Analytics via third-party extensions.
The role of third-party extensions, though plentiful and certainly a benefit for users, has its limitations. There are very few extensions with popular software developed by the actual companies who sell and create that software. For example, Google Analytics hasn’t produced a proprietary extension available to the Joomla community. Lacking propriety development could cause bugs and application use. Plus, the nature of several hundreds of the Joomla extensions requires manual deployment rather than one-button installation as is the norm for WordPress plugins.
The quantity of the available external integrations available through Joomla falls short of the extensive library of WordPress plugins. Joomla has just over 7,000 extensions while WordPress has well over 39,000. A reason for these skewed numbers could likely be attributed to the market shares WordPress and Joomla maintain.
Some dissatisfied Joomla users have written that the Joomla framework is harder to understand than the complex natures of Drupal or Magento. Joomla requires a more excellent knowledge of web and total stack development to provide users with higher satisfaction. The learning curve is evident and the ease of use is limited for beginners due to the technical requirements. For example, Joomla requires installation on a dedicated web server. The average beginner may not immediately possess the necessary background for successful implementation.
To combat ease of use issues, Joomla offers a knowledge base and overly supportive technical community. Even so, we recommend that users should employ a developer skilled in web development or deploy Joomla via a hosted solution.
Compared to the highly secure Drupal and the widely used WordPress frameworks, Joomla is a relatively unsecure solution. Statistically, Joomla security vulnerabilities usually range in the realm of flawed code execution, with the second most common issue being SQL injection attacks. According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) system, total vulnerabilities detected on the Joomla framework were the highest out of any open source CMS that was analyzed.
Joomla, given its open-source nature, is free. Paid hosting, extensions that require payment, domain names, and all other elements create extra costs.
What we think
Joomla is one of the many CMS solutions available for low-cost web design. Barring the apparent technical setbacks for beginners and a host of security concerns, Joomla can be used to develop modern, functional websites. It does have extensive, deep CMS capability and the overall capabilities of the platform can be augmented from user-developed extensions. However, we’d be keen to recommend deploying WordPress instead.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.