Comprehensive Joomla Review

Nile Flores

Written by WordPress Expert

April 21, 2022
Comprehensive Joomla Review

There are many content management systems (CMS) for building a website and maintaining the content out there on the market, like Joomla. This popular CMS has been around for years, and has kept up on delivering a decent user experience. In this article, you’ll learn a bit about Joomla, what it can do, and even a comprehensive review. If you’ve been looking for a CMS to consider using, hopefully this review will help you with your decision.

What is Joomla?


What is Joomla

Joomla is a free and Open Source PHP-built CMS designed for anyone to easily create sites and manage them. Like WordPress, is has an appeal for both novice users and hardcore developers. The Joomla CMS has been around since 2005, making it nearly as old as WordPress and Drupal, both of which have similar licensing and are built using PHP. Interestingly, Joomla is the forked software of Mambo, and that CMS was discontinued in 2008.

Joomla is a self-hosted type of CMS, where you need a domain and purchase web hosting, in order to use it. Out of the box, Joomla includes features like caching, RSS, post type support, and language internationalisation support. Joomla uses templates for the frontend design, and modules to add extra functionality to the site.

What kind of websites can you build with Joomla?


With Joomla, you can create blogs, business sites and corporate sites, e-commerce, forums, social network sites, nonprofit sites, government sites, and much more.

Pros and Cons Overview of Joomla


Pros

Great documentation.
Simple content editor.
Fairly easy to use.
Decent control over email templates for system notices.
Cons

SEO options need improving.
Has a high server load.
No visual editor, just a simple content editor.
Not all modules are compatible with the most recent version of Joomla.
Templates need improvement.

Pros of Choosing Joomla

  • Great documentation.
    Joomla uses a Wiki-type system for their docs, which are easy to sort through, as well as organized video tutorials for beginners.
  • Simple content editor.
    Joomla uses a simple content editor with TinyMCE buttons, that looks similar to most email provider services, which makes it easy for those creating content and don’t need a fancy editor.
  • Fairly easy to use.
    Joomla has made improvements over the years to allow users to easily navigate the backend and manage the site.
  • Decent control over email templates for system notices.
    Being able to edit email templates, whether it is for new users or other notices, allows you to personalize the website experience for registered website users.

Cons of Choosing Joomla

  • SEO options need improving.
    Joomla is SEO ready out of the box, and it’s coding is up to W3C standards, as well as basic web accessibility standards, but needs more improvement on individual article SEO.
  • Has a high server load.
    If you’re building a larger site or have a lot of functionality added to the site, you may experience high server load. For example, I had a non-profit client who had to be moved to WordPress, as their membership area, ecommerce section, and email that were sent out, often overloaded the server, or severely slowed the site down.
  • No visual editor, just a simple content editor.
    While Joomla does have a simple content editor, a lot of people these days like having some type of truer WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor.
  • Not all modules are compatible with the most recent version of Joomla.
    Some modules aren’t compatible and if you have an older Joomla site, you may have to rebuild your template if you’ve modified the code.
  • Templates need improvement.
    Joomla is still severely behind with their templates. It’s not as easy to build a template like in Drupal or WordPress.

Comprehensive Joomla Review


This review of Joomla has been broken down into the following areas:

1. Popularity

2. Type

3. Installation

4. SEO

5. Ease of Use

6. Security

7. Content Manager

8. Templates

9. Modules

10. Support

Each area will have a rating between 1 to 5, one being really bad, and 5 being excellent.

1. Popularity

Joomla is the fifth most popular CMS in the world, according to W3Techs. However, over the past decade, it’s popularity has declined. This is probably due to CMS like WordPress and Wix, as well as the ecommerce solution named Shopify, have been able to meet the market’s demand with their features. However, it is more than likely that Joomla surpasses Drupal, because more beginner users are able to use the CMS far easier.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reason: Joomla has made a great attempt at trying to provide features that today’s users can learn. They just need to figure out how to improve, in order to turn the decline in their popularity around.

2. Type

Joomla is a full CMS that is completely free for anyone to use. All you need is a web host that offers disk space, file storage, database storage, and supports PHP.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reason: The fact that Joomla is free to use however you want, allows you to even move your site to whatever web host, and even build your own templates and modules.

3. Installation

Joomla has become popular enough that auto installers like Softaculous, Fantastico, and Quick Installer include the CMS as a script install option. Any one of those three auto installers may be present in any web host that has cPanel. As a side note, Verpex does offer an auto installer that includes Joomla.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reason: While Joomla is not too difficult to manually install, the fact that most web hosts offer an auto-installer, makes it far easier to launch a site in minutes.

4. SEO

SEO Review of Joomla

Unless you install an SEO module, you’re only going to get the basic SEO from Joomla’s core Schema markup. As a not Schema markup allows Google and other search engines a better ability to see and index your site properly. It can decipher the difference between a business location and hours, as well as if a page is a blog article or static page.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reason: As long as you install a module, you can add better control over improving your website’s SEO.

5. Ease of use

Ease of Use review of Joomla

Joomla has redesigned the administration area a couple times and in version 4, it’s improved greatly, but still has more to go. For most users, the content editor is going to be the most utilized, and that is extremely useful. If you just need a basic content editor, then Joomla may be for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reason: Some areas are hard to find, so if you’re new to Joomla, make sure to poke around the backend to get familiar. Additionally watch the beginner video tutorials too.

6. Security

Joomla is relatively secure. Because it’s not as easy to auto–install modules and themes, it leaves less possible secure holes to deal with.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reason: Joomla code is pretty solid and secure. Just make sure to keep Joomla up-to-date, in order to keep it secure.

7. Content Manager

Content Manager review of Joomla

The content editor is both a negative and positive feature. While it is simplistic and most users can create content, it doesn’t provide anything for the user to see what the content would look like on the front end. There are some modules to improve and add some visual editing, but the decent ones are premium paid versions.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reason: The reason why this is a 3 out of 5, instead of 2, is because Joomla took the time and care to make their basic content editor’s design more web accessible, and separated each area, in order to look more organized.

8. Templates

Joomla Templates review

By default, Joomla provides the Cassiopeia template. It’s quite beautiful. This particular template in combination with the option to add in dummy content with one click, allows you to adjust the template and the content within it to suit your needs. Otherwise, you can do a Google search for both free and paid templates to add.

Unfortunately, there’s not much help in the Joomla administration area to allow you to easily adjust any template code. Also, the current Joomla 4 doesn’t make it easy for newbie users to install a new template.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reason: Joomla needs to improve the template area a lot better, so users can easily install and edit templates, including the code. This area is far behind WordPress, if Joomla ever wants to attract more users to its community.

9. Modules

There are more than 6000 modules available in Joomla. However, there are still a lot of them that aren’t compatible with Joomla version 4. Joomla has at least made a section for modules compatible with version 4 in order for users needing to stay up-to-date.

Additionally, modules are easy to search for, in the Joomla administration area. You may still need to download and manually upload the modules zip folder, in order to install it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reason: Joomla seems to have a slow development community, so while there are a lot of modules, actual compatible ones for the latest version need a lot of work.

10. Support

Like most other Open Source self-hosted CMS, Joomla offers a community Support Forum. It’s free to use, but you’re not guaranteed immediate support, as it is volunteer-based. Also, support doesn’t mean that other Joomla users will provide hands-on help for free. You’re probably better off paying for support if you need some issue resolved quickly.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reason: Like the Drupal and WordPress communities, some new users get confused when the CMS is free. They sometimes believe support is completely free. Some support is, but it is usually advice or suggestions, or referring to existing tutorials, rather than someone fixing the site for free. This should be clearly clarified and isn’t specific to Joomla, but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed for new users.

In Summary


If you’re a basic user that just needs a simple content editor, and simple design, Joomla may be easy for you to use. However, with any technology, including CMS, you will need to learn before using. While this article has some pros and cons, you might want to try it out. Install Joomla, take it for a test run, and see if it’s for you.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Joomla a blog?

Although it can be used as a blog, the platform Joomla is much more feature rich and powerful when compared to a blog. Joomla should be preferred when you need a website for more than just blogging.

How does Joomla work?

When compared to a car, Joomla would be the engine. Through a series of commands and scripts (wires and cables) it pulls data (fuel) from the database requested by the user (driver), which allows the car to move.

What are featured items in Joomla?

Joomla has Features Articles, which is a component that generates intro text of selected content into a desired layout.

Is hosting free?

There are many different hosting plans on the market, and some of them offer a free hosting option.

Nile Flores
About the Author
Nile Flores

Nile Flores is a long time professional blogger, as well as WordPress website designer and developer from the St. Louis Metro East. Nile blogs at Blondish.net, where she’s passionate about helping website owners, whether they’re small business owners or bloggers. She teaches about Blogging, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design, and WordPress. Additionally, Nile loves to speak at WordCamps (WordPress conferences) across the United States. When Nile isn’t knee-deep in coding, she’s a proud mom of a college student, and enjoys oil painting, cigar smoking, nail art design, and practicing traditional Okinawan kempo karate.

View all posts by Nile Flores
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