Joomla Extensions: 101 Essential Extensions You Need In Your Life Now.

The Joomla! Extensions Directory includes over 7,000 free and pay-to-download extensions you can use to create any kind of website using the Joomla content management sytem (CMS). However, not every extension in the directory is very useful, and the directory isn’t the only place to find useful extensions.

We’ve sorted through the flood of extensions available in the Joomla! Extensions Directory and also tracked down useful plugins from other locations around the web. The result is this list of 101 useful and completely free Joomla! extensions.

Build a Web Application with Joomla!

Part of the power of Joomla! is that it can be used to create any kind of website and as an engine to power virtually any type of web application. Whether you want to create an ecommerce website, a social network, a forum, a real estate listing website, a reservation booking system, or something else entirely you can use Joomla! as the platform for it.

Here are the best free extensions you can use to turn Joomla! into a full-fledged web application.

Ecommerce Platforms and Shopping Carts

  1. J2Store: with this extension you can create product listings, sell physical or downloadable products, take complete control of pricing, offer product variations, display multiple images for each product, integrate user registration with the ACYMailing newsletter plugin, allow guest checkout, and do much more.
  2. HikaShop Starter: a complete ecommerce solution. Create an unlimited number of products and variations, manage your inventory, sell physical products or digital downloads, accept mutliple forms of payment, and integrate with HikaShop email marketing.
  3. VirtueMart: an open source ecommerce platform to create a complete ecommerce website. Create configurable products with multiple options and variations, allow shoppers to create acounts or checkout using a guest profile, integrate with popular payment gateways, and handle shipping costs with ease.
  4. SimpleCaddy: if you don’t need a complete ecommerce solution, SimpleCaddy is a shopping cart that includes payment integration making it easy to process transactions and sell physical or digital products.

Forums and Social Networks

  1. Kunena: looking for a way to add a high-quality forum to your Joomla! website? Kunena is a free and easy-to-integrate forum application that anyone can implement.
  2. Akismet for Kunena: protecting your forum from spam is essential to running a trustworthy and engaging community website. This free plugin will allow you to integrate Akismet spam protection into your Kunena forum.
  3. Community Builder: turn your Joomla website into a forum-based social network with this free extension. Community Builder includes everything you need including user registration, user management functions, and powerful admin features.

Specialized Sites

  1. Real Estate Manager Basic: create real estate listings for a property management or real estate sales company website with this free extension. Google Maps integration is included so that you can add a preview of the property address. Other features include support for visitor comments, photos, and a whole lot more.
  2. Solidres: use Joomla! to power a reservation booking system for your hotel, bed and breakfast, campground, vacation cabin, or any other type of reservable lodging.
  3. iCagenda: this extension is a complete event creation, registration, and management platform. With it you can allow users to register for events and set a cap on the maximum number of registrations for any event. The only feature lacking from this extension is integration of a payment gateway for paid events.
  4. Guru Light: create an online course with this learning management system that integrates directly into the Joomla CMS. With this extension it’s easy to create quizzes, issue certificates of completion, and embed media resources such as images or videos. If you need more features or to create more than one course premium, Guru premium plans with expanded functionality are available for purchase.

Building Layouts and Organizing Content

There are many free and premium themes available for websites powered by Joomla! However, sometimes you need to make layout changes or organize content in a way that your theme does not allow. That’s where layout and organization extensions come in. With these tools you can manipulate the layout of your website and organize content with precision.

Template and Module Frameworks

  1. YJ Simple Grid: build a custom Joomla website template with this free plugin. It includes tons of features like lightboxes, media players, accordion sliders, tabs, icons, and much more so you won’t have to go looking for the same features elsewhere.
  2. YJ Module Engine: build custom news modules with this framework. This extension also includes tools to control the way news items are presented. Whether you’re using the built-in Joomla! news items feature or the K2 content extension, YJ Module Engine gives you the ability to create custom content modules.

Module Management and Layout Tools

  1. Advanced Module Manager: if you’re having trouble getting modules to display on the pages where you want them to show up, use this extension to gain more control.
  2. Modules Anywhere: embed modules in virtually any position on a web page with this extension.

Tabs and Accordion Sliders

  1. Tabs & Sliders [for articles]: if you want to add content in tabbed or accordion-style containers inside of a larger piece of content, this plugin makes it easy. You can use it inside of any component, module, or plugin that parses content prior to sending it to the browser.
  2. Joomla! jQuery Tabs Module: a simple module that creates content tabs and nothing else.
  3. Content Accordion Module: accordion-style sliders can also be used to organize websites with a lot of text content. This simple module can be used to add accordions to your website without adding any other unwanted features.

Fine Tuning Tools

  1. SP Simple Portfolio: build a portfolio page, organize the slides into categories, and show off your best creative work.
  2. Custom Background Image and Color: this is a very simple module that you can use to set the page background to a specific image or color. You can even use it to apply a different background color or image to different pages.
  3. Phoca Favicon: this plugin makes it as simple as possible to change your website’s favicon.

Managing and Generating Website Content

The Joomla! core includes tools and features you can use to generate and manage your website content. However, there are extensions you can use to get a lot more utility out of the program. For example, rich text editors, robust plain-text code editors, RSS feed readers, FAQ engines, and other enhanced content creation tools enable you to create rich content much more easily than what is possible using just the Joomla! core content features.

Enhanced Content Creation Extensions

  1. K2 Content Extension: Joomla! has built-in ability to publish news items. However, the built-in feature is pretty limited. Install K2 to take over the content publishing feature of your Joomla website and greatly enhance your website content by adding custom fields for images, videos, galleries, categories, tags, comments, and much more.
  2. FLEXIcontent: manage articles, images galleries, categories, and much more from a single interface with this content management and creation extension.
  3. Content Templater: if your website will include many pages of content with a similar structure and layout you can use this plugin to create a reusable template which will save time and ensure that pages built on the same template have a consistent layout.

Powerful Text Editors

  1. Joomla Content Editor (JCE): this extension provides word-processor control over the appearance of your text content — adding a WYSIWYG editor with an office-like appearance to your website backend, allowing you to create rich text content without writing any HTML or CSS.
  2. RokPad: if you are turned off by rich text editors such as JCE, and actually want to see the code behind your content, RokPad might be just what you’re looking for. With RokPad you get a powerful plain text code editor right in your Joomla admin area.

Create Special Types of Content

  1. Simple RSS Feed Reader: import RSS or Atom syndicated content into your Joomla website with this simple plugin. If you’ve ever visited JoomlaReader then you’ve already seen the parsing engine behind this extension in action.
  2. Freestyle FAQs Lite: add a Frequently Asked Questions page or section to your website with this extension. It provides extensive control of your FAQs.

Webmaster Tools

Webmasters have a unique set of responsibilities. They have to ensure website uptime is maximized, keep backups on-hand in the event of a catastrophe, optimize websites for search engine performance, and do whatever else is necessary to maximize the performance of a website.

The following webmaster tools will make it a little easier to be the webmaster of any website built with Joomla!

Backup and Administrative Tools

  1. Akeeba Backup: this plugin allows you to back-up your website files or database, or create a backup of both simultaneously. Use it move a site from a local development environment to a live server, to clone a live website for further development in a local environment, or to create complete website backups.
  2. JCH Optimize: speed up your website’s load time by combining external JavaScript and CSS files into as few files as possible. A faster website means a lower bounce rate and more page views.
  3. Akeeba Admin Tools Core: with this free suite of webmaster tools you can password protect your website’s admin directory, adjust file and directory permissions, repair and optimize MySQL database tables, aggregate CSS and JavaScript files to improve website speed, and easily perform many other webmaster-like function.
  4. eXtplorer: add a file manager to the backend of your Joomla! website and use it to manage the files and directories on the web server hosting your website.

Monetize Your Website

  1. Ad Agency Light: run an independent ad network on your Joomla! site with this free extension. Add advertisers, who can then upload ads to be displayed on your site, or upload the ads yourself. This plugin includes payment options so you can charge advertisers for access to your website’s audience.
  2. Phoca GAE : easily use Google Adsense with Joomla! With this extension you can integrate Adsense-served ads in any location you wish.

Track Visitor Statistics

  1. Google Analytics for Joomla! : easily add Google Analytics tracking code to your Joomla! site with this free plugin.
  2. Webmaster Site Verification: use this plugin to verify your ownership of your Joomla! website with Google, Bing, Yandex, and several other online webmaster tool suites.
  3. CoalaWeb Traffic: add website visitor tracking and statistics to your Joomla website with this extension. Keep track of visitor browser and operating system information and keep a running count of traffic volume.

Search Engine Optimization

  1. Easy Frontend SEO: gain complete control over your website’s meta data with this simple plugin. Write titles, descriptions, keywords, and more with ease.
  2. Tag Meta Community: another option that will give you complete control over the meta tags and related tags in the head element of your web pages.
  3. SEO Friendly Links and Images: this plugin checks all links and images for title and alt attributes and automatically generates title and alt attributes using the linked text or image name if they are not provided. While this may produce less-than-ideal title and alt text at times, it does offer an improvement over failing to provide these important attributes.
  4. Microdata Breadcrumbs : mark up your website breadcrumbs with microdata formatted for indexing by Google web crawlers. In this way, ensure that Google recognizes your website’s breadcrumbs and site structure.
  5. iSEO Light: manage meta tags, create redirects, insert keyword links, and perform other SEO tasks with this free extension.
  6. Header Tags Plugin: manage the heading tags throughout your website with this plugin. For example, you can easily upgrade every h4 on your entire website to an h3. You can also use it to make sure that an h1 element is present on every page, and if any pages are found that do not have an h1 element, the first h2 element on the page will be upgraded to an h1.

Translation

  1. FaLang: provide language translations for a variety of common languages with this powerful accessibility tool.
  2. GTranslate: this translation plugin is able to offer translations for nearly all languages by harnessing Google Translate to translate website content on-the-fly.

Adding Website Features

Whether you’re building a complete template from scratch or looking for a single component to add to your website, we’ve rounded up the most useful website feature extensions. We’ve found all the features you might want: countdown clocks, calendars, navigation menus, pricing tables, sliders, and a whole lot more.

Countdown Clocks and Calendars

  1. YouJoomla Countdown: create a countdown for any upcoming deadline. This clock indicates the days, hours, minutes, and seconds left until a deadline arrives or an event begins.
  2. Google Calendar Feed Scroller: if you have added events to a Google Calendar you can display those events using a scrolling ticker with this extension. While this plugin won’t display a full Google Calendar, it will pull events from any calendar you specify and scroll through them. The ticker can be customized using a wide array of adjustable settings.
  3. JEvents: this extension is a complete website calendar application and it can be displayed in many different ways on your site. Whether you want a full-page calendar component or a smaller calender module to embed in a sidebar or footer, JEvents can be configured to produce the calendar view you are looking for.
  1. YJ Vertical Menu: if you want to go vertical with your navigation menu design you can use this free module to build vertical menus that may optionally include flyout submenus.
  2. Accordion Menus: vertical menus with accordion style submenu items that appear when a top-level menu item is clicked can be created with this simple module.
  3. jQuery Flyout Menu: if you prefer a vertical menu with fly-out submenus, this simple module makes it easy to create fully customizable menus.
  4. MaximenuCK: If you have a complex website and need a plugin that can be used to build mega menus, this plugin, which powers the menu at Joomla.org, can be used to build custom mega menus.

Tables

  1. Responsive Pricing Tables for Joomla: create beautiful pricing tables quickly and easily, and customize them to match your tastes and the style of your website with full control over all table colors and Google Fonts integration.
  2. Responsive Scrolling Tables: simple HTML tables can be created using rich content editors such as JCE. However, one particular issue that tends to arise when working with tables is that they break responsive layouts. Use this plugin to detect when a table has broken a responsive layout, force it back within the defined layout, and add scrollbars to the table.

Sliders

  1. YJ Piecemaker: this extension is composed of Modularweb’s Piecemaker2 slider which has been ported to Joomla! Use this module to create a Flash-based slider that can display and cycle through images, videos, and Flash content.
  2. Slicebox 3D Slideshow Module: if Flash isn’t your thing, this slider is powered by jQuery and can be used to create beautiful image-based sliders.
  3. Parallax Content Slider: create text and image sliders which move across a patterned background with a parallax effect with this jQuery-powered plugin.
  4. DJ-Image Slider: a fully-responsive multi-purpose slider that combines images with text, buttons, and links.
  5. Xpert Timeline: this plugin, based on Timeline.JS, combines a slider and a timeline, where every slide is associated with an event on the timeline. Potential applications include the creation of a corporate biography, an interactive resume, a project timeline, or any other set of events which can be organized by time interval.

Notification Tickers

  1. YouJoomla Title Ticker: create a ticker of news item titles to display at the top of your webpage. Choose to cycle through news items using a random pattern, in order of popularity, or using Joomla!’s standard ordering.
  2. Sticky Horizontal Bar: paste a dismissible sticky notification bar to the top of every page of your website with this simple plugin.

Forms

  1. Quick Contact Form: if you want to add a simple contact form to your website this module will do the job. It generates a very simple contact form with only the mandatory fields. One interesting feature is the ability to launch the contact form in a modal window by clicking on a customizable button.
  2. FlexiContact: a simple, easy-to-use, customizable contact form that will fit the needs of most websites.
  3. ALFContact: this is another simple contact form plugin, but it has the added benefit of allowing the sender to select from a list of recipients. Create aliases for various recipients, such as “Sales,” “Support,” and “Management,” and the form will be sent to the email address associated with that alias.
  4. BreezingForms Lite: a simple contact form is useful for contact pages, but what if you need to build a custom form to collect a variety of types of information? That’s where a plugin like BreezingForms Lite comes in. With this plugin you can build completely custom and responsive forms with a wide range of input types.

Surveys and Polls

  1. iSurveys: this extension makes it easy to create complex surveys and embed them in your Joomla! site.
  2. SP Polls: create simple polls for serious data collection or to add a playful interactive touch to your website.

Manage File Downloads and Uploads

  1. Phoca Download: if you want to host downloadable files on your Joomla! site, this extension makes it easy to upload files and place download links anywhere on your website.
  2. Simple File Upload: allow website visitors to easily and safely upload files to a specified directory with this plugin.

Miscellaneous

  1. Modals: create popup modal windows that launch when a link is clicked. Each modal can contain text, links, articles, images, videos, galleries, and even complete web pages.
  2. Google Maps by Reumer : embed custom Google Maps with this plugin.

Working with Media

Audio, video, and images are a staple of modern websites. We’ve tracked down some of the most useful extensions for displaying rich media on your Joomla!-powered website.

  1. Simple jQuery Slideshow with Thumbs: create a slider-style image gallery with this plugin.
  2. YJ Multimedia Box: embed images, galleries, and videos on any web page. A lightbox effect is launched when viewing a single image or playing an embedded video.
  3. AllVideos: if lightboxes aren’t your thing, with this plugin you can cleanly embed videos from providers like YouTube and Vimeo.
  4. Simple Image Gallery: if you’re using the built-in Joomla! news item component, you already know that creating image galleries is not a simple process. However, with this plugin it’s easy to create image galleries and display them anywhere you want.
  5. Lightbox Image Gallery: it would be hard to find an extension that makes it any easier to create and display image galleries. The images in the gallery load with a nice lightbox effect and the only dependency is jQuery.
  6. Ozio Gallery: with this plugin you can create galleries composed of images pulled from a Google Plus album and videos pulled from YouTube.
  7. Sigplus Image Gallery Plus: this plugin offers highly configurable image galleries which can be embedded on any page using very simple syntax. The plugin also includes a nice lightbox feature for displaying a larger view of images in the gallery.
  8. SP Soundcloud Player: embed a Soundcloud player in your website to play a single track or a full playlist. The player is fully responsive and will look great on any device.

Community Building Tools

If you want to build a community around your website you will need tools and features that go beyond the Joomla core. We’ve found the best extension for building a digital community such as newsletters, chat platforms, comment systems, social media integration, and more.

Newsletter Integration

  1. TinyLetter Subscribe for Joomla!: TinyLetter is a popular newsletter system. Use this plugin to easily integrate a signup form into your Joomla! website.
  2. XChimp: create newsletter signup forms that are fully integrated with your MailChimp account so that subscribers are automatically added to your MailChimp subscriber lists.
  3. Constant Contact Sign-Up Majix: if you use Constant Contact to power your newsletter, with this plugin you can easily add subscribers to your mailing list directly from your website.
  4. ACYMailing: if you prefer to run your mailing list from your own server, ACYMailing can be used to create a complete subscription and newsletter creation platform that runs inside your Joomla website.
  5. Mailster: if you’re looking for a Joomla! extension that provides the same sort of discussion list functionality as Mailman or Listserv, this extension will turn Joomla! into a discussion list platform.

Chat-Based Customer Service

  1. onWebChat: chat with website visitors to answer questions, recommend products and services, and provide live customer support. The free version of this plugin supports up to 20 chat sessions per month, making this a useful feature for small websites that don’t expect to get a lot of chat traffic.
  2. FrescoChat Live Chat: another great solution for providing live chat support on your Joomla! website. This plugin does not come with chat session restrictions, but only one agent profile can be created while using the free version of this plugin.
  3. MyLiveChat: create an unlimited number of agents, departments, and sessions with this extension. However, only one agent can be online at a time while using the free version.
  4. Zopim: this chat platform supports one chat session at a time, allows visitors to rate the chat experience, tracks visitor paths, offers automatic translation, and more.

Website Login Prompts

  1. YJ Pop Login: use this plugin to create a JavaScript pop-up window for new user registration and user login.
  2. Popup Login Module: this module generates a pop-up window for user logins. A second button can be used to redirect users to a signup page.
  3. Horizontal and Drop-Down Login Module: this simple login module can be used to create a horizontal or vertical login form, or to hide the login form behind a button which displays the form using a drop-down menu when activated.

Allow Visitor Comments

  1. DISQUS Comments for Joomla!: this plugin makes it easy to integrate the DISQUS comments system to your website.
  2. AL Facebook Comments Box: allow website visitors to be able to comment on your pages and articles with their Facebook account. For Facebook comments along with a lot of other features, take a look at Simpl Facebook.
  3. JComments: let your website visitors leave comments on any page or article of your Joomla website. With robust controls, you can easily enable or disable comments for any page, article, or category. With built-in spam protection, your visitors will be encouraged to comment without being discouraged by seeing a flood of spam comments.

Social Media Integration

  1. Social Media Profile Icons: add icons that link to all of your social media accounts with this simple plugin. For a more limited set of icons in a different style take a look at Social Icons Module.
  2. Simpl Facebook: integrate a variety of Facebook tools with this plugin. Features of this plugin include Like, Send, and Follow buttons, as well as Facebook comments, and the ability to embed a preview of your Facebook page.
  3. Xpert Tweets: send your Tweets directly to your Joomla! website and grow your Twitter following.
  4. Simpl Pinterest: add Pinit buttons, a Pin widget, Follow buttons, Pinterest Board and Profile widgets, and more with this plugin. This tools is ideal for “How-To” websites and food blogs.
  5. LinkedIn Widget Slider: add your LinkedIn personal profile or company page to your website with this plugin.
  6. Google Plus Widget Slider : display your Google Plus profile on your website.

Other Resources

Hopefully you’ve found one, two, or three dozen extensions you can use for your next Joomla! project.

A powerful and highly extendable CMS, Joomla! can be used for virtually any purpose. To learn more about getting the most out of this powerful platform take a look at our Joomla! Tips and Troubleshooting Guide.


Further Reading

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to web development:

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Jon Penland

About Jon Penland

Jon has worked in many capacities in the high tech world, including engineering and development. He's written many articles for WhoIsHostingThis.com, including expert reviews of web hosts, programming resource guides, and even front-end development tutorials. He lives in Georgia with his wife and five children.
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