Joomla! is great out of the box and as a website building tool and content publishing tool, Joomla! is very powerful. Where it really shines and comes into the limelight is the extensions that can take your website from being simple to something quite dynamic and powerful.
When building and managing websites there are a few extensions that just make life that much easier and this is our ultimate list of top extensions that you should consider having on every website that you build presented in alphabetical order.
The permissions and access control system in Joomla! can be quite flexible, but with flexibility comes complexity. Being able to create any number of permission groups with any level of access you want controlling certain content areas or just accesses certain components if a very powerful thing.
Managing all this on the other hand is quite time consuming and tedious, especially if you have a large site with lots of areas of content and components.
ACL Manager allows for the managing of all the website’s permissions from one central area. Yes thats right, one centralised management area of the website allowing a website administrator easy access to everything at a glance. Change access for a group within seconds rather than crawling throughout the entire administrator area of the website changing permissions one at a time.
The component also has a few extra tools when it comes to fixing extension permissions and access control level issues when migrating or upgrading websites.
A huge time saver and well worth having on your Joomla site.
AdminTools allows you to do some of those cool scripting and command line techniques that only the computer savvy really know well.
Things such as creating a comprehensive htaccess file, file change monitoring, built in web application firewall, changing the file and folder permissions throughout an entire site and much much more.
Our highlight is its built in web application firewall which has been a huge security improvement for our websites over the years.
AdminTools is something every website should have.
The process of migrating a website or performing a backup is actually quite easy, if you’re good at command line scripting, know servers really well and know how to configure Joomla! sites. Alas, not all of us are command line whizzes and the thought of crawling through lines of code to change configuration settings is just too much. This is where AkeebaBackup comes into play.
AkeebaBackup was created for the purpose of backing up and migrating websites from one server environment to another in one simple step.
Simply click backup site, and you're done.
AkeebaBackup takes away all the pain of website configuration, multiple steps of backing up and migrating a website manually and continuous backup maintenance of websites.
Cache Cleaner by NoNumber
In the earlier versions of Joomla, clearing the cache was as quick as clicking one link on the admin area of Joomla. Now in the later versions, you have much more control of what parts of the cache you may want to clear and as a result, the process of updating, and checking changes on a website is rather tedious. Having to clear the cache every single time you make a small correction or change is very time consuming.
Alternatively, you can install cache cleaner. This little extension will automatically clear Joomla’s cache each time you save an article or a module in the admin area of the website.
It also has a quick clear cache link in the admin toolbar allowing you to clear it quickly whenever you want. This is a real usability enhancement for Joomla and is highly recommended.
Joomla Content Editor or JCE
By far the most user friendly and flexible WYSIWYG content editor there is out there for Joomla!
With everything that you could possibly need from a WYSIWYG editor, it is highly flexible allowing admins to customise every last layer of the editor and the way it works. JCE allows you to easily link to articles, menu items and much more within Joomla dynamically via a search or browser.
It also allows for easy uploading, managing and inserting of images and file assets into Joomla!
Far easier than using the core media manager that comes with Joomla as a default.
Mandrill for Joomla!
We like to make sure that emails that are being sent from our websites are making it through where they should be, and if there is spam being sent, that we know how and when.
Mandrill is a third party service provided by the team that created MailChimp, one of the industry leaders when it comes to email marketing. Mandrill is the backbone and backend services that MailChimp runs off, and we like making our websites use the same services to help ensure that emails being sent from the website are making it to their desired destination. Whether it is a contact form, or registration confirmation email, ensuring that it is going via the Mandrill servers ensures consistency and reliability of emails from your website.
For that reason, the extension Mandrill for Joomla is one of our top picks as must have extensions for Joomla!
Ensuring all the emails that are coming from your website, such as potential leads or email newsletters is just part of an operating business and a must have.
A very old Joomla! extension but another great one to have on all your websites. RSForms allows you to quickly and easily generate web forms with no coding knowledge. You can furthermore link to these forms via the menu system of the website, or embed the forms on content pages or modules around a site.
Comes with features such as Google ReCaptcha2, Drag and drop form element reordering, PHP variable injection, admin and user emails and many third party form integrations such as payment gateways.
You can use RSFormsPRO to create simple contact forms all the way to simple one page checkouts and linking them to your favourite payment gateway.
User Enhancement Manager or UEMan
We’ve looked at managing the site, backups, emails, leads but what about the users and their accounts on your website. UEMan does just that. If you have thousands of users registering on your website and you can’t tell if their real or spam, or if you want to collect more useful registration information when a user registers, UEMan does just that.
It also has user login and usage logs, auto expiry and disabling of accounts, log in as another user and much more.
This personally has been great when working with contractors and needing to auto disable their accounts after a certain period of time incase they are no longer working with the website.
UEMan is just another one of those extensions we can’t live without.
If you have an extension for Joomla that you must have on all of your website, please share it with the community here and let us know what it is! We may very well have it added to all of our websites as well.