Our Top 10 Free Joomla Components
We've always insisted that our choice for choosing Joomla as a CMS of choice over others is the availability of a multitude of extensions which makes sure that any functionality your website requires is probably available out there. Having said this over and over again, we bring you the Top 10 Free Joomla Extensions.
One of the most annoying things I find in Joomla is the way that images are handled by the default content editor. The fact that you have to switch from writing an article to uploading an image, and back to the article bugs the hell out of me! JCE (Joomla Content Editor) addresses this issue very nicely. When you click the image button, you get a window which allows you to upload images on the fly. And once you upload and insert the image, you get a WYSIWYG view of the image. Also, the way you can quickly insert links to your Joomla content, is another great feature of JCE. There are loads of other features in JCE, but these are the two which I can't live without, and which once you try, you won't be able to live without either!
2. eXtplorer - AVOID THIS EXTENSION OR UPGRADE TO THE LATEST VERSION
Are you using eXtplorer??? Make sure you update to the latest version as there was a huge security vulnerability late last year!
One of the things which makes a drastic difference to your ranking in search engines (provided you have good content), is search engine friendly (SEF) URLs. sh404SEF gives you complete control over your SEF URLs. The level of customization of this product is incredible. There are two modes, beginner and advanced, so you can have a basic SEF setup or you can tweak the settings to your liking. Supports a large number of the most popular Joomla components, and most 3rd party component developers ensure that their component is sh404SEF compatible. So do yourself a favour and make sure you have sh404SEF installed.
Do you know what the secret of a successful website is? A community - a user base which visits your site over and over again. Community Builder makes it easy for you to create a community in your Joomla website, with features such as extra fields in profile, enhanced registration workflows, user lists, connection paths between users, admin defined tabs and user profiles, image upload, front-end workflow management, integration with other components, like PMS, Newsletter, Forum, Galleries. You can build a community without CB, but your life will be much easier if you use Community Builder.
There are two ways to make money online, advertising, and selling wares. Virtuemart, is your ticket to creating an online shop for your Joomla website. VirtueMart supports most things to set up an e-commerce website, including different categories of products, full shopping cart function, tax calculation, calculating of postage and package fees for any part of the world, discounts / coupons, and lots of small modules which enhance the functionality of the online shop.
Another common function of any website is to create a download area, which supports a different number of files over various categories. DOCMan is the most popular download component available out there. It is quite easy to setup and maintain, and has a good number of configurable options, including who to allow to download (registered vs all users), download statistics and various other functions to help support your download area. (Our download are is powered by DOCMan)
One thing we preach over and over again here at DC, is the importance of taking backups. Unfortunately, with such an extended system as Joomla, it is inevitable that there might be problems, both in terms of security, or in terms of configuration. In case something happens to your website, you need to make sure you have a fully working site in the shortest time possible. JoomlaPack is a great backup and restore component, which easily and quickly allows you to create a Joomla backup, such that if something happens to your site you can restore your as soon as possible.
AkeebaBackup has the best User Experience we have ever experienced. And the restore process is the absolute smoothest experience ever. It's hard to find a free components with such a complete and smooth experience as this one.
If you want to create the widest possible audience for your website, you need to go multi-lingual. Although the core Joomla functions are translated into most languages, your content will not be automatically translated. FaLang supports the translation of your content. It features several functions to make it easier for you to translate the dynamic content (articles, etc) of your site, and thus create a multi-lingual content website.
Another popular function for a website is setting up a forum. A forum is very intuitive, especially for support issues and simple "chatting". Kunena is a Joomla forum which plugs directly into your Joomla website, using registered users from your site. It is one of the few forums which has most required forums functions. The great thing about Kunena is that you do not need to play around with files to create a link (bridge) to one of the other popular forums, like phpBB. Its just, install and go ... DART Creations Forums are powered by Kunena
EasyDiscuss is a comment like component which allows your visitors to create a discussion on each of your Joomla articles. It integrates with many popular Joomla extensions such as Community Builder (see above), JomSocial and EasyBlog. It allows you to give badges to users who are often conversing on your site to keep them coming back. Overall, it is an essential tool to keep your users engaged and coming back for more.
Always make sure to make backups when you install 3rd party components. Installing 3rd party extensions on your website creates inherent security issues.