Joomla is a free and open-source content management system or CMS used for developing and administering websites and their respective contents. Similar to other CMS such as WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is a community-driven project that allows unlicensed and unrestricted use, while also taking advantage of the collective benefits from its open-source community.
Although WordPress remains the most popular CMS used by more than 60 million websites, Joomla has been getting a considerable hold. It is the second-largest open-source CMS in the world. Prominent organizations such as e-commerce giant eBay and Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, as well as non-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as Harvard University, Linux, and the United Nations Regional Information Center for Western Europe use Joomla for developing and administering their websites.
Pros: Strengths, Benefits, and Advantages of Joomla
1. Requires Minimal Expertise in Coding
One of the remarkable advantages of Joomla and other CMS is that they serve as a platform for developing websites without advanced skills and knowledge in coding and programming languages. When compared to Drupal, Joomla is easier to use. For example, most of its free and paid templates have a graphical user interface that allows users to change colors, layouts, fonts, and features without touching a line of code. There is also a built-in override system to modify these templates and make it easy to create customized solutions. Note that this is beneficial for developing blogs or online publishing websites, and other simple and static websites.
2. Developed for Simple and High-Performing Websites
Another strength of Joomla is that it is a CMS built for developing different types of websites. WordPress is also useful for developing different types of websites, but it still looks and functions like a blogging platform. On the contrary, Joomla is not only a CMS but also a lightweight PHP framework that enables web developers to write web and command line applications in PHP. In addition, this CMS is also suitable for developing multi-user and interactive websites such as e-commerce sites or online storefronts, forums or social networking sites, and intranet platform, among others. It has a more advanced user management system out of the box than WordPress. Joomla also has a customizable system that allows the implementation of small customizations with minimal dependence on extensions.
3. Function-Based Categorization of Extensions
WordPress still dominates in terms of the number of plugins and themes in its own ecosystem. However, Joomla still has a decent amount of extensions numbering to almost 8000. In its own terminology, these extensions are categorized as plugins, templates, components, language, library, module, and package. When compared to the plugin and themes ecosystem of WordPress, the advantage of Joomla centers on categorizing the extensions according to functions. Each category essentially represents a dedicated function, thus leading to lesser bloat, slowdowns, and compatibility issues that typically affect the development of websites via WordPress.
4. Out of the Box Search Engine Optimization
Unlike WordPress and similar to Drupal to a certain degree, Joomla has a built-in search engine optimization tools that are ready for use. These tools include metadata creation and modification, keyword planning and monitoring, support for SEO-friendly URLs, sitemap generations, robot exclusions, and menu creation. The installation of extensions can extend the SEO capabilities of this CMS. Some extensions can provide native analytics, URL redirection functions, link management, and browser standardizations.
5. Additional Beneficial Features and Characteristics
Joomla supports the development of multi-language websites with over 70 languages through the language extensions. It also has built-in performance-enhancing functions such as caching and GZIP compression, image optimization, and plugin and HTTP requests restriction. Other advantages include having a strong support system from Joomla developers, open-source community, and extensions developers in the form of technical support, documentation, tutorials, FAQs, and codex, among others.
Cons: Problems, Limitations, and Disadvantages of Joomla
1. Higher Degree of Complexity than WordPress
When compared to WordPress, a notable disadvantage of Joomla is that it is more complex. Its user interface is more complex, and it has more functions that make it more complicated than WordPress or other simpler CMS platforms. This complexity translates to a learning curve. The user experience is not as straightforward. Taking advantage of the flexibility and extensibility of Joomla, especially when it comes to developing complex and interactive websites, requires a certain level of expertise in coding and overall web development.
2. Issues in Browsing and Selecting Extensions
It is easier to find plugins and themes in WordPress. The extensions library of Joomla lacks sophistication, particularly when considering the number of reviews and ratings, function or feature descriptions, and more importantly, a better variety that leads to more options. Because this CMS has fewer number of plugins and templates compared to the amount of plugins and themes in WordPress, web developers might resort to creating their own extensions for a specific use case scenario. Hence, when pitted against WordPress, another problem with Joomla is its less inviting ecosystem of extensions.
3. Susceptibility to Compatibility Issues Due to Updates
Remember that one of the strengths of Joomla over WordPress and even Drupal is that it has several built-in features and functions that lessen dependence on plugins or coding customizations. However, for those who are still dependent on extensions, Joomla is also susceptible to compatibility issues due to updates. This CMS updates more frequently than WordPress, thus increasing the risks of outdated extensions to stop functioning due to incompatibility. Reverting to the previous version to keep the incompatible extensions running is not an easy task for beginners. It is also worth mentioning that extensions are not controlled and tested for quality and compatibility assurance.
4. Issues About Security and Vulnerability Risks
Websites developed and maintained using WordPress are more susceptible to hacking simply because this CMS dominates the market share. Of course, the fact that Joomla ranks second after WordPress makes it also a probable target of hacking. The fact that this CMS also uses extensions also makes it vulnerable to certain types of malware disguising as legitimate plugins. While updates and measures are in place to keep Joomla-abased websites as secure as possible, risks are still inevitable if users fail to observe proper security and risk management measures.
5. Somewhere Between WordPress and Drupal
The pros and cons of Joomla collectively sit somewhere between WordPress and Drupal. It is relatively better than WordPress when it comes to developing interactive and complex websites. However, Drupal remains the better CMS when it comes to performance and complexity. When compared to Drupal, Joomla is easier to learn and use but not as intuitive as WordPress. In other words, it has advantages and disadvantages that are also addressed by the respective advantages and disadvantages of WordPress and Drupal.