What Is Joomla and How Does it Work? [The Easy Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022


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If you are interested in web development, you have probably heard of Joomla. Even some job listings are looking for people with experience in the software.
But what is Joomla and what is it used for exactly? Allow me to break it down for you in this Joomla overview.

What Is Joomla?

Joomla is an open source platform on which websites and applications are created.

Since its initial release in 2005, it’s primary focus has been on usability and extensibility. As it grew, it received numerous awards and is regarded as one of the best softwares in its category.

Joomla won’t ask for your credit card details. It is a completely free open source solution available to anyone and everyone with a desire to build any kind of website

Joomla has a large and active developer community of volunteers. Thanks to the many extensions and templates, it is presently one of the largest CMS systems available.

But for better understanding of what Joomla is you need to know what CMS is

Here’s how it goes:

What Is a CMS?

A content management system helps users create, manage, and modify a website. All that without any specialized technical knowledge. 

Almost all websites are built with some kind of a CMS platform nowadays. To name a few:

  • Wordpress
  • Joomla
  • Durpal 
  • Magento

The Joomla CMS is currently the 2nd most widely used on the internet. 


Joomla is a powerful choice to build a website. It comes with nifty options and tools within its software. Even more so at the moment, because of the recent major release of Joomla 4. Here are some of the essential Joomla features:

Ease of use

Joomla is intended to cover the requirements of both - experienced developers and non-technical users. The newest version has a very user-friendly interface.

To make things easier, you can download extensions to make the Joomla builderdrag and drop’.
The Joomla editor for blog posts is designed to simplify your content creation without any learning curve.


Out of the box, the platform ships with just two templates. They are appropriate for a basic website. But a majority of users will opt to install a third-party template to better suit their site.

Fortunately, you can find thousands of Joomla templates online. This includes plenty of free ones.

You can also install back-end templates. They control how your Joomla control panel is organized or how it looks. 

Multilingual support

Joomla CMS is an open-source software. As such, it has a huge international community that helps it grow. Currently, it is fully translated to 75 languages thanks to volunteers.

Joomla Extensions Directory (JED)

Similar to the plugin store WordPress has, Joomla has its own marketplace for extensions. You can find over 800 extensions to enhance the functionality of your website

All are easy to instal and are 100% Joomla verified. There are free and paid ones. You can find any tool you may need for a website - from e-commerce to SEO, backup, security and others.

Joomla Security

The Joomla platform is one of the safest. That is thanks to the constant security updates. The extensions directory is also constantly monitored so you can be sure any install is safe.
The platform has two factor authentication and extensive access control levels to avoid the chances of hacking.

There are a lot of good Joomla extensions that help protect you from attacks. These plugins allow you to: 

  • scan for vulnerabilities 
  • enforce strong passwords 
  • implement a firewall to block common security threats

And more!

Joomla SEO optimisation

Joomla’s native SEO optimization extends to menu items and modules. 

Joomla features the essential SEO-optimization functions that can be extended by experienced hands. In case you use those tools properly, you can rank your Joomla site high in search engines without the need to turn to third party extensions

You can do all - manage metadata, keywords, create sitemaps, and more.

Joomla PHP applications

We’re looking at not only a CMS, but also a PHP framework that allows you to write web and command-line applications. The Joomla framework and CMS are independent from each other. You don't need to install the latter to use the former.

Joomla Pros and Cons

As with every tool, this one also has its strengths and weaknesses.


The CMS makes sure it always stays on top. It is:

  • Completely free and open source
  • Great for SEO 
  • Great for e-commerce e
  • Offering one-click upgrades and updates
  • Featuring plenty of support tool


But of course, it can be all roses and sunshine. Joomla can work on its:

  • Extensions 
  • Number of free templates 
  • Compatibility issues between several Joomla components and plugins

Joomla Alternatives

There are plenty of other platforms that accommodate different types of websites and experience levels. Let's look at some of the most notable Joomla alternatives:


WordPress hardly needs any introduction as it is the most used and well-known platform. It is the main alternative to Joomla.

The real power of WordPress lies in its over 50,000 free and paid plugins to enhance your CMS functionality. Same goes for the themes - no other platform can beat the number of choices you have.

It is also very easy to create and publish your content. But this simplicity also extends deep beyond the surface-level functionality of the CMS. Joomla is more complex than WordPress and provides more flexibility for advanced users.

While both platforms provide the tools for any type of website, the Joomla blogs functionality is still catching up.


If you want to build an e-commerce website, Shopify is one of the best platforms to start. The difference between platforms like Joomla and WordPress is not only the obvious online store focus. Unlike those, Shopify is a paid service.

It is an all-in-one e-commerce platform. It includes hosting and domain in the package so you don't have to go through the hassle of setting this up yourself. This makes it very easy for anyone to start selling products online. It is a great start for complete beginners.


Wix is a simplified website builder suitable for beginners.
It is an all-in-one solution that delivers all tools and integrations. You don’t need to install anything manually. There is no need to register a domain separately or look for a hosting provider. Both are already included in the price plan.


If you decide to go for an all-in-one platform, another option very similar to Wix is Weebly. While its free plan is very limited, the paid plans are affordable and offer everything you may need for a variety of websites. Even if you are a beginner, you can build from blogs to online stores with ease.


One more all-in-one website builder platform worth mentioning is Squarespace. While WordPress is the most popular CMS, Squarespace is the most popular website builder. It is also oriented to beginners. It has numerous features, more than 110 templates, and a great stock content library.

Joomla, however, is better for SEO.

Wrap Up

It’s not hard to see why Joomla is so popular.

It’s free and brings a balance between being accessible to beginners and flexible for experienced developers. Thanks to the extensions available, Joomla can be used to build a website for nearly anything.

So, why not give it a try?

You’ve got nothing to lose.


Who uses Joomla?

The Joomla platform currently hosts 2.5 million active websites. This includes all kinds of them - from government sites to online stores and blogs. The websites of Harvard University, IKEA, Ebay and MTV are built on it. 

Is Joomla free?

You can build a free Joomla site, but you will need to purchase hosting and domain from a third party.

Is Joomla any good?

The Joomla CMS development is supported by a large coding community of volunteers. Because of this it constantly grows and stays on top of the industry standards.
It also offers the customizability and flexibility a professional developer may need.

Is Joomla better than Drupal?

Both CMS platforms are very similar. The main difference is that Joomla successfully covers the needs of both beginners and professionals. If you are a professional developer you might find Durpal more suitable for your complex project with its built from scratch approach and flexibility.
In short, if you don't have any development knowledge or the budget to hire a developer, you should avoid Drupal. 

For more information about what Joomla is, check the article above.


Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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