10 Common Misconceptions about Joomla!
“A reputation, once unjustifiably lost, serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of perception.”
People tend to crystallize their opinions. Sometimes a man may thrive, but fall short, regardless of his actions. I believe that Joomla has suffered such an injustice and I would like to give my two cents. Over the fifteen years I've almost exclusively worked with it, I've discussed Joomla with hundreds of people, and here are 10 commonly accepted opinions, which I personally find untrue.
10. Joomla is not suitable for e-commerce websites.
It is true that some CMSes are primarily targeted on e-commerce. However, that does not mean that Joomla cannot be used to create large and complex e-commerce websites. Joomla’s structure and extensibility allowed the creation of numerous e-commerce extensions that empower site owners to create product catalogs, shopping carts, and order management systems, as well as integrating with various payment gateways and much more.
I have seen and created multilingual e-commerce websites with thousands of products and shopper levels. Thanks to Joomla’s core ability to filter content based on access level and language, such tasks can easily be tackled.
9. Joomla is deprecated.
PHP is still actively developed and empowers gigantic websites, including Facebook, Wikipedia and many others.
8. Joomla is not mobile-friendly.
This belief is completely inaccurate. Joomla is 100% mobile-friendly by default, both in its back-end and front-end.
To better understand this, we need to consider that Joomla utilizes responsive templates to achieve mobile friendliness. Moreover, its layouts are also built with responsiveness in mind.
It has been over a decade since I last saw a template that isn't responsive, but even that would still be independent of the CMS itself.
7. Joomla is not as secure as other CMSes.
Like any CMS, or any piece of software, Joomla receives security updates. Regular updates do not indicate a lack of security, but rather inspire confidence in the contributors’ alertness. Considering the large number of features in the Joomla core, the volunteers’ attentive attitude is impressive and praise-worthy.
In my personal experience, I have never seen a hacked up-to-date Joomla website. On rare occasions that I saw hacked Joomla sites, both the core and extensions were severely outdated.
6. Joomla websites are not visually appealing.
Most CMSes, including Joomla and WordPress, use some kind of a template mechanism to present content. In Joomla, templates are like a frame that you place your photos in. Both are substitutable, and each one is independent of each other.
Anyone who says that Joomla websites are unappealing is simply missing the fact that what they describe is not Joomla itself, but a template they saw. It is true that choosing the right template can sometimes be challenging, but when you use Joomla you can, at the very least, rest assured that your website is not just an empty façade.
5. Joomla has very few extensions.
Joomla has a vibrant extension ecosystem that currently hosts more than 5,000 extensions. These extensions cover a huge range of functionality, including e-commerce, social platforms, newsletters, forms, quizzes, galleries and much more.
It is a fact that other CMSes offer a multitude of plugins, compared to Joomla. However, that is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes the quality of such plugins can be really low, and their presence only results in a frustration and choice overload. On the contrary, due to structural requirements, Joomla extensions tend to be well made and maintained.
4. Joomla is not search engine friendly.
Some say that Joomla 3 had gaps in its SEO functionality. While I personally haven’t seen such gaps, everyone now agrees that Joomla 4 and 5 have fixed them all.
Joomla has several built-in SEO features. These include Search Engine Friendly URLs, as well as the ability to edit page titles, meta descriptions and keywords for individual menu items. Moreover, it includes microdata in its layouts, and offers redirections for old URLs, right in its core.
These features, along with the wide range of SEO extensions available, provide everything you need to build a well-structured website, optimized for search engine visibility.
3. Joomla is not as flexible.
On a programming level, Joomla leverages PHP’s object orientation and namespaces, organizing its core into classes, in order to provide a feature-rich environment out of the box. What people tend to overlook when discussing this approach, is that most of these classes do provide event triggers for plugins. Unlike other CMSes, such triggers primarily aim to extend existing functionality rather than changing it. This is truly beneficial, because it guarantees the core’s stability and uniformity across all installations.
On a user level, Joomla is actually much more flexible than other CMSes. Views and layouts can be overridden in your template, allowing you to customize anything that shows in your front-end. Modules and menu items automatically include options that a lot of other paging systems omit.
Did you know?
Joomla modules include an option called “Bootstrap size”. Given the right front-end template, Joomla is pre-configured to split modules in columns!
To summarize, Joomla is just as flexible as any other CMS, as long as you know how to use it.
2. Joomla is slow.
Joomla is a free CMS that offers many good, free extensions and a variety of free templates. As a result, it rightfully attracts users on a low budget, often even non-profits. It can only be regarded as an unfair comparison to stack such websites up against high-end, expensive projects.
In reality, Joomla can be blazing fast. It offers built-in cache and performance metrics, capable of analyzing the TTFB up to very small details.
In general, the speed of a website depends on dozens of factors:
- the hosting environment,
- the server configuration,
- the size and complexity of a website’s content,
- the chosen template.
Ultimately, when people say that Joomla is slow, they usually refer to their experience with a specific template or website, rather than the CMS itself.
1. Joomla is hard to learn.
This is by far the most common misconception about Joomla. Joomla does have more features and capabilities out of the box, but it is designed to be super user-friendly.
What is commonly perceived as hard to understand is the menu structure. Joomla has a distinguishing method of presenting content in the front-end, that can be summarized in the following statement:
Content is not visible on the front-end, unless you want it to.
In order to comprehend this, we need to realize that Joomla websites depend on a backbone, which is the menu. Every page of the menu has three basic elements:
- Main content that originates in a Joomla component
- Reusable side content items that are called modules
- A template that controls the positioning of the above
The main component is selected in the menu item options. It can be an article, a category or anything else found under “Components”. Modules and template styles are assigned to multiple menu items from their respective back-end interfaces. Knowing this, you already know how to build anything you need, and where you need to place it depending on its nature. Unlike other CMSes, this simple architecture promotes excellent arrangement and proper website design.
Additionally, Joomla offers a wide variety of documentation and tutorials, which can help users learn how to use it effectively. It also has a large and active community of users, developers and designers, who are available to provide support and answer questions.
To bring it all together, Joomla provides an excellent user experience, while guaranteeing that you create high-quality, well-structured websites, at the same time. Despite the words of some, Joomla remains a trustworthy environment, capable of striking a remarkable balance between the needs of the many, and the preferences of the few.