Top 10 Joomla Extensions We Rely On

Whatever system you are using to build your website you always need extensions.  These are our Top Ten Joomla Extensions.

Whatever CMS you are using to build your website you always need extensions.  Below is our Top Ten Joomla Extensions.


1. K2 – The CCK/Content Management System for Joomla

     As mentioned in an earlier article here and here, by far the best component to have come out for Joomla ever.  The MVC override and the readily available plugins make this component a solid choice for content management.  Plus, the extra fields system really lets designers go to town.


2. Falang – Multilingual system for Joomla

     There are other solutions out there.  I wrote a review of all the systems in another post comparing multilingual solutions for Joomla.  The gist of it is, while the native translation system/Josetta is good for many scenarios, it doubles the amount of administrative work required by creating double the number of categories and items/articles.  This is a big pain, especially if you’re just trying to have a site that has mirrored content.

     Falang on the other hand is a fork of Joomfish.  I’ve not gone back to Joomfish since they were late on releasing a version for J2.5 (which doesn’t seem to offer much advantage).  Check out our Falang tutorial too!


3. sh404sef – The Joomla SEO Tool

     If you don’t have this installed on your Joomla site, I don’t know how you are running your Joomla site.  The system is great especially for SEOs who are looking to do heavy on-site optimization for any Joomla site.  Sh404sef comes with a Title/Meta tag editor so that you can specify the title/descriptions for each of your pages.

     This system is also great for catching your 404 errors when you move your content within your content structure (EX: moves from using the Joomla Articles system to K2).  Sh404sef detects any 404 errors on your site and records it in the database.  Here’s an article on how you can solve your 404 errors using sh404sef component.


4. Xmaps – Site map solution that works.

     Xmaps is a requirement for an easy to submit sitemaps for Google Webmasters / Bing Webmasters.  The system allows you to configure how you want to share your pages with Google’s crawler.  Also look here for how to use Google Webmasters tools.  Xmaps also requires plugins based on how you are managing content.  If you are using K2, you’ll need to get the K2 plugin for Xmaps here.


5. aiContactSafe – Contacts page solution.

     aiContactSafe is getting a bit old now.  It has a lot of great functionality out of the box.  The interface is a bit confusing, but it works for now.  I wish that it was built with the newer MVC framework based system so that I could do an MVC override of each form.  I know it’s a bit harder since there has to be client side Javascript validation, but I could probably build it myself.  Maybe use Nooku/Koowa to rebuild something like this?


6. JCE Editor – Editor for the rest of Joomla users.

     The JCE Editor is great at placing links correctly into any article or K2 item you’re writing.  This is probably the best WYSIWYG tool in Joomla.  Without this one, it would be hard for our clients to do some of the edits on their content.  We as developers prefer to use MirrorCode.

 JCE Editor

7. K2 CSS4K2 – Should have shipped with K2

     K2 doesn’t ship with this though it really should have.  CSS4K2 plugin allows you to attach a CSS file to the K2 template you’re working on.  The system integrates with Joomla such that the CSS file gets inserted in the Joomla head.  This became a problem for us at one point since this K2 CSS file gets inserted prior to the CSS file is added via Joomla’s addStyleSheet() funciton.  Here’s a solution we came up with: CSS4K2 solutions

K2 CSS4K2 

8. JCH Optimize – The go fast bits.

     JCH Optimize is a really nice plugin.  It compresses all of your outputs so that it is compressed without unnecessary spaces, thus making your website a lot quicker.  You can really get crazy and even compress all of your Javascript.   Check out our tutorial on how to use JCH Optimize.

 JCH Optimize

9. VirtueMart – eCommerce for Joomla

     If you want to sell anything on Joomla, there’s a couple solutions: Hikashop, JoomShopping, Virtuemart, etc.

VirtueMart is the biggest and most feature rich of them all.  They recently released version 2.0 along with the release of Joomla 2.5.  We often use this piece of software with K2mart from Joomlaworks.


10. Disqus for K2 Plugin – Cloud based commenting on K2

     For some reason JoomlaWorks did not release a Disqus plugin for Joomla 2.5 and K2.  Since there was this gap, Marek Wojtaszek released this plugin.  You can check it out here.

Disqus for K2 Plugin


In Summary: Best Joomla Extensions

Though we like all of the systems mentioned above, these aren’t the only extensions that work well for Joomla. If you have any more that you think are relevant, leave a comment below and we’ll try them out!