Is Joomla Right for Me?

Posted on October 1, 2013 by

Three names repeatedly come up when looking for a content management system: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Without a programmer on staff, Drupal is too difficult to implement in-house, which leaves your choice between WordPress and Joomla. Learning more about what Joomla can do, and what differentiates it from the other common CMSs can help you determine whether Joomla is right for you.

Joomla’s Uses

While WordPress excels as a blogging platform, Joomla offers greater content management capabilities. Joomla has a range of free add-ons that allow users to customize site modules, design and function. While WordPress users can do that as well, customizing a WordPress site takes more time and is not as easy or intuitive as using Joomla, which boasts an intuitive back end. Joomla’s back-end capacity makes it an ideal solution for forums, member areas, newsrooms and author commentary.

Pros and Cons

If you plan to build a complex community or website, you’re better off starting with a robust CMS like Joomla. Not only is it free to use, the engaged user community and large library of plugins and extensions allows you to really build the site of your dreams, no matter your budget. Joomla can support your site as it grows from five pages to thousands of pages.

While you need a rudimentary knowledge of html to build a WordPress site, you can customize your Joomla site without knowing HTML, which makes it easy for business owners to manage. The Joomla admin site is very powerful, and although it has a steep learning curve it can help you accomplish any website goal. Editing pages in Joomla is easy, as you just log in, edit and save. Additionally, you’ll find many skilled designers who can customize your Joomla front-end if you do not want to work with style sheets to do so.

Joomla is also multilingual, which can be a boon to global businesses. While the multilingual function is not easy to set up, there are plenty of web-based tutorials that will get you started. You can set several different user permissions in Joomla, so teams cans update certain areas of the website without having access to sensitive information.

As your Joomla site grows, it can become more challenging to manage from the back end and more slow to load from the front end, causing a problem for your users. The latest Joomla update didn’t actually fix this problem; it made it worse. On a related note, Joomla’s frequent upgrades can break some of your installed extensions. When installing a new upgrade, be prepared to troubleshoot your site. The smaller updates — patches between major upgrades — do install simply and without breaking those extensions.

Worth noting, Joomla has been having a range of security problems lately. If you opt to work with Joomla, plan to back up your website regularly and to spend time reviewing your code, pages and plugins to ward off hacks.

Since Joomla is free to use, you can test out the platform, admin capabilities and library of plugins for yourself by developing a free website. If you like your new Joomla site, you’ll need to find a Joomla Web host, so you can continue to build out your site as needed.


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