Understanding Joomla Addons and How to Install Them

In Joomla you have extensions available to you that give you the ability to dramatically alter your website. By learning to use extensions you greatly increase the options that you have with a website and any Joomla user needs to understand extensions to make the most of the program.


Joomla Addons are programs that you can add into your website to give it new capabilities that it did not have before. For instance you can transform your basic website into a full blown store with an ecommerce extension. Before you should only show content on your website, now you will be able to sell items to customers and make money from your site. There is a huge number of different extensions that make just about anything you can think of possible on your website.

There are three different types of addons that you can get for Joomla and it is important to understand the differences between them all. The three types are known as components, modules and plugins.

A component is normally the most advanced of the three types. It brings along the major changes to your website such as transforming your website into a full featured store, or social network. A component is going to supply most of the content for your website in most cases and will be attached to its own database tables.

A module is the next step down from a component. It isn't the main supplier of content to the site, and normally just adds an additional function somewhere on the page. A module could be used to draw gas prices from another source, or it could be connected in with a component to add more functionality to it. Usually a module does not have its own database and is connected into the main database or the database of another module.

The last, and simplest of the three is a plugin. Typically plugins are put in place to alter the output of another function in the program. Plugins usually react to certain events on the page. Eight different plugin types exist, search, user, xmlrpc, editors-xtd, editors, content and authentication. Each of the types defines the type of stimulus that it needs to react and plugins normally only accomplish very small tasks.


Now that you know what the different addons do it is time to learn how to use them properly. The first step to installing something new is to download the extension onto your computer. Make sure that you know where the extension directory is located because you will have to reference it. Navigate to the extension manager in Joomla and go to the Install tab. From there simply click on Upload File and Install and then browse to the directory of the extension that you downloaded to your computer earlier.

When you are installing some of the larger components you may also have to choose to install the sample data or not. When this is the case you will see a button that says Install SAMPLE DATA after you install the component. If you want the sample data simply click the button, if not you are finished. Sample data will fill in the program with basic samples so that you can see how everything works. If you already understand the program you probably don't need the samples, but they can be good for learning. When you understand how to use extensions on Joomla you gain a huge amount of flexibility and power with your websites.