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Joomla Detroit's Top Ten Joomla Extensions for 2013

10 Essential Joomla Extensions for any Joomla Site

The question has come up a few times during the meetups this year, "what are the best extensions for my website"? And we're dedicating a whole blog post to the answer!

The question is more complex that you might think, first of all. Finding the best Joomla extensions for your website can really differ between the types of sites you might be building. As you might imagine, using Joomla as a small business site versus using it for an ecommerce website would require two very different sets of extensions in many ways. For the purposes of this blog post, I'll be listing the top 10 Joomla extensions that I have used on production websites over and over, plus a couple recommendations for very specific types of sites too.

Joomla itself, as you know, is an awesome CMS right out of the box, and it's possible of course to build a complete site on just the default installation. Most of the time, integrators and site owners will extend Joomla's power through the use of Joomla extensions, available through the Joomla Extensions Directory (Referred to as the "JED") and from various vendors through their sites.

Let's get started!

Akeeba Backup
Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.5 & 3.0
Free/Paid comparison: https://www.akeebabackup.com/products/46-software/405-akeeba-core-vs-professional.html
Cost: Free (Core) | 40Eu

Backup, restore and transfer your site in seconds - This is without fail, the first extension that is installed on any site I work on. A solid backup solution is critical if you don't want to be tearing your hair out later on should something go wrong (and things do go wrong!). Generally, I will install Akeeba Backup before doing anything else with the site, and since I use the PRO version, I setup a backup schedule and also use the "system restore points" feature to set a restore point before I install every other extension to come. Lastly, I have every backup sent to a special @gmail.com email used just for backup emails so that I always have a previous version available, and on many sites, send a backup off to one of my (Amazon) S3 Buckets. Call me paranoid, right?

JCE Editor

Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.5 & 3.0
Cost: Free Component (25Eu for downloadable extensions that add functionality)

JCE is one of the most widely used content editors for Joomla and is present on every one of my Joomla installations. JCE offers a robust set of tools to manage and edit your web content and has everything you'd expect to find in an editor, such as uploading of images, linking to external sites as well as internal pages, syntax highlighting and spellcheck with integrated Google Spellchecker. JCE is also extendable with a more robust image/file managers, media insertion (like YouTube videos) Iframes support and more. If code view isn't for you, then definately install JCE on your site admin area for faster content editing!

Looking for other Joomla Resources?
Don't waste your time searching for hours on the JED! Check out our trusted Joomla Resources page!

Cost: $39USD

Hands down, the best and most popular Joomla Extension for managing URLs on your site! sh404SEF in probably the most reliable and trusted SEO extensions to help boost search engine rankings and provide URLs that make sense to your site visitors. It's a "Must Install" in my book, so naturally, it's gone into every production site I deploy! sh404SEF takes care of your URLs, Meta Descriptions, Google Analytics, Open Graph tags and much more!

RSForms Pro
Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 2.5 & 3.0
Cost: 19Eu

One of the most robust form builders for the Joomla CMS that is available on the market today. RSForms allows you to create professional forms for just about any need including multi-page forms, and includes spambot protection through integrated captcha. Also included are advanced validation rules and multi-language support. I generally install this on every site that needs more than just your basic contact us form, or if the contact us form needs custom fields and questions.

Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 2.5 & 3.0
Cost 49Eu | 50% off if you Like RSJoomla on FB

RSFirewall! is the most advanced Joomla! security service that you can use to protect your Joomla! website from intrusions and hacker attacks. The complete set of tools includes file filters, website hardening, IP deny/whitelist, file change tracking, admin area lockdown, bruteforce attack countermeasures and alot more. See website for more details. I install this extension on every production site (not my dev or staging sites though). It's saved me from attacks more times than I can remember, and on my high visability / high traffic sites, attempted attacks come in daily! It's another "Must Have".

Jcal Pro
Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 2.5 & 3.0
Developer: Anything-Digital.com
Cost: $35USD

One of the most robust calendars available for the Joomla CMS, Jcal pro handles all your event needs gracefully. It integrates with other popular extensions such as JomSocial and Community Builder, and has both multi category and nested category support, geolocation, multiple calendar support and a whole lot more (see site for details)! I use this on every site that needs a calendar!

Advanced Module Manager, Cache Cleaner and Tabs By No Number (3 extensions)
Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 2.5
Cost: Free versions available for all
Module Manager: 50Eu
Cache Cleaner: 10Eu
Tabs: 10Eu

Tabs is a small extension that will allow you to display tabbed content anywhere in your content or modules.
Advanced Module Manager allows you complete control over your modules above and beyond what the default Joomla module manager does. You can assign modules to almost anything you want and give it fine granular access control (ACL).
Cache Cleaner allows you to clear the cache and purge the expired cache in just one click from the admin bar. Very handy!

Looking for other Joomla Resources?
Don't waste your time searching for hours on the JED! Check out our trusted Joomla Resources page!

Nice Social Bookmark
Compatibility: Joomla 1.5, 2.5
Developer: Salamander Studios
Cost: Free

Nice Social Bookmark module shows icons from 12 most known social sites (delicious, digg, facebook, google, linkedin, mixx, myspace, newsvine, reddit, stumbleupon, technorati, twitter, pinterest and rss feed) there are 4 different sizes of icons to choose from (24, 32, 48, 64) and 6 different sets of icons (aquatic, orange round, white round, logorunner, iPhone and glass).

And that's the ten top Joomla Extensions for 2013! Keep in mind that the ones above are "general use," meaning they will probably appear on every site I deploy, regardless of site purpose. There are specific extensions created for certain types of websites, and that's what we'll get into next.

Many times, a client will want specific functionality on their site, such as ecommerce, reviews, social networking and so on. It is in these cases that I look to the specilized extensions to handle these types of sites. In Joomla, extendability is key, and it's these focused sites that really bring out the power of Joomla!

Ecommerce Joomla Sites
In the Joomla World, most people automatically think of "Virtuemart" when an E-Commerce website is mentioned, and for good reason. Virtuemart is extremely powerful, but able to scale from a shop that just has a few items to one that has hundreds to thousands of products! Virtuemart can handle downloadable digital products, physical products and also handle subscription-based payments. Speaking of which, there are connectors available for most payment gateways, including PayPal and Authorize.net among others.

If Ecommerce is what you wish to accomplish, really take the time to do research in Virtumart (as opposed to trying to setup a separate Magento Ecommerce site) and see what it can do for you!

Social Media and Inbound Marketing
Marketing your website is critical. From Facebook to YoutubeTwitter and Pintrest, you have to be everywhere these days. Look to jInbound as it's the perfect extension to get started in marketing your site!

Social Networking
Joomla can be used as a Facebook-like Social Network through two equally good, high quality extensions, JomSocial and Community Builder. With thousands of other extensions that can also add extendablity to both, you can essentially run a very high traffic, high quality Social Networking website! Again, take the extra time to fully evaluate both extensions, but also look into all the plugins that are available for each to ensure that you can make the extension do exactly what you need it to do!

User Contribution (News-Like) Sites
If you are considering having a user-contributed site where your visitors can add their own articles, K2 is the extension that you need. K2 is free, with available add ons (some are free) to extend the functionality of K2.

Review Websites
JReviews is probably the most comprehensive review extension for the Joomla CMS available today. With the ability to allow your visitors to review just about anything you want them to evaluate, it's a must have.

Project Management
Joomla also does project managment. There are two extensions worth mentioning here, CRMery and Project Fork. Both are reasonably powerful, but CRMery has the added advantage of fantastic support, and Customer Relations Management (CRM) features.

Photo Gallery Sites
If you're looking for a way to display all those lovely photos that you took over summer vacation, take a look into Phoca Gallery. It a really powerful gallery extension that's easy to setup and use, and can import photos from Facebook and Flickr!

That pretty much wraps it up for this post. I look forward to your input, so as always, like us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter!

People in this conversation

  • Guest - appointment booking joomla

    Really it's a helpful information for me, why because already i'm searching for the best extensions, Now i got by this information,thanks for the resources you provided. surely this post will helpful for beginners of joomla platform.

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