Joomla Forum Review

(June 29, 2010 23:53)
Last Version 1.5.18 (May 28, 2010). Released under GPL License.
Resources Website Joomla Forum Website Download Download...
Company Open Source Matters, Inc..
Price Free.
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What is Joomla?

Joomla is a content management system, so it is not a forum only, but a full PHP stack ready for building and maintaining websites. It won several prizes since it was created, and is clearly one of the Top 10 open source web softwares.

Why reviewing Joomla here?

Joomla is a basically a CMS system, but it could be really more than just this. Its pluggable components are really powerful if you wish to extend the capabilities of your website, and adding a forum software to an existing Joomla installation is nothing but easy. This review is not only based on the Agora component we have chosen, but is more general about what Joomla is able to support, with a plugin, or not.

Review Updates:

  • June 29th, 2010: First Review.

Joomla Forum is recommended for Large Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • PHP 4
  • PHP 5
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 1.3
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Lighttpd
  • Nginx
How Forum Data are Stored.
  • MySQL
  • Postgresql
  • Microsoft SQL Server
Operating Systems
Systems Supporting this Software.
  • BSD UnixBSD Unix
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
  • GNU/LinuxGNU/Linux
  • Apple Mac OSApple Mac OS
Browser & Client Requirements
Compatible Browsers
List of Compatible Browsers.
Mozilla FirefoxMozilla FirefoxInternet ExplorerInternet Explorer
Google ChromeGoogle ChromeOperaOpera
Apple SafariApple SafariKonquerorKonqueror
Mozilla SeaMonkeyMozilla SeaMonkey
Required Plugins/Technologies
Additional or Basic Requirements from Client Side.
Javascript, AJAX.
Languages supported by Joomla Forum.
Supported Languages:
Dari Albanian
Bangali Bulgarian
Portuguese (Brazilian) Belarusian
Catalan Chinese (Simplified)
Czech German
Danish Estonian
Esperanto Spanish
Finnish French
Galician Greek
Gujarati Croatian
Hungarian Indonesian
Hindi Persian
Icelandic Italian
Japanese Khmer
Laothian Tamil
Lithuanian Latvian
Malayalam Montenegrin
Macedonian Mongolian
Dutch Norwegian
Pashto Filipino
Urdu Polish
Portuguese Romanian
Serbian Russian
Arabic Swedish
Slovene Sinhalese
Sindhi Syriac
Thai Turkish
Ukrainian English (British)
English (American) Vietnamese
Afrikaans Chinese (Traditional)

List of existing translation available on the Joomla Community website.

Joomla Installation - Main Configuration

Joomla is extremely simple and convenient to install. Just follow the wizard and your Joomla instance will be ready in a minute. A classic LAMP architecture is needed, but Joomla could be installed on more exotic platform, like Microsoft IIS + MS SQL or other well known web server, like Lighttpd.

Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat/Threaded Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • URL Redirection Forum
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons Yes Topic Tags No
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements Yes
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
  • Preview Button
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • HTML
  • Wiki
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
  • Upload via Classic Attachments. Images are all at the end of the post.
  • Use BBCode or HTML. Need to type the URL of an already hosted image.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments Yes Syntax Highlighting Plugin
Message Rating
Yes Message Quoting Yes

Joomla Create a topic

Posts features are quite complete, even if it lacks, by default, a spell checker, this is the only thing you'll miss from Joomla. Indeed, the several editors available (by installing additional components, or by default) are very useful depending on your needs: HTML editor only, that provides just helper buttons, plain text, if you need a strong control on user input or, the classic and famous TinyMCE editor, that brings WYSIWYG capabilities to Joomla.

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation Yes
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
  • Portal
  • Website Home Page
  • CMS
  • Wiki
  • Blog
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
  • Custom Template Engine

Joomla Forum Screenshot

Joomla is a really complete CMS... when some additional components are embedded with it. So you'll have to install complementary modules to benefit of additional features, like a calendar. About bundled softwares, the primary goal of Joomla is being a CMS, so publishing a website or a blog is, of course, provided by default by Joomla.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Joomla Forum features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Pre-Moderation In pre-moderation, every post needs to be validated by a moderator before being published.
Post-Moderation The moderation is done afterwards, if an administrator notices a problem or if a member reports something wrong. Each message is therefore directly published.
Reactive Moderation By reporting any problems, members are reactive against moderation problems. Moderators' main objective is to regularly check user reports, without having to follow each threads.
Moderator per section Yes
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
Shadow Topics
When a thread is moved, the previous position is kept in order to inform users of this modification.
Close/Lock Threads
Close/Lock Problematic Threads
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
User Registration
  • Free Registration
  • Registration needs Approval
  • Invitation Only
  • User Account created by Administrator
  • Confirmation sent by email for validation
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
Guest Posting Yes
Multiple Administrators Yes
Send Warnings to Users
Inform users by email or PM that they infringe the board rules, and could be excluded for such behavior.
Forum/Section Restricted Access
ACL could be use to determine if a user or a group of users can access (in read only, post message) to some sections and topics.
User Banishment Yes

Administration & Support

Administrating Joomla is really easy and powerful. Its menu-based layout is clear and simple to use. Once your Agora (or other forum components) is installed, directly go to the Components menu, and open the related entry to customize your forum installation.

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
Administration Tools
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
Yes Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
Plugin Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
Installation & Upgrading
Installation Method
How this forum software could be installed.
Installation Wizard
Upgrading Method
How this forum software could be upgraded.
Upgrade Wizard
Updates Notifications
The Admin Panel informs you when a new version is released.
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to Joomla Forum.

It is possible to migrate datas to Joomla, but unfortunately, no other forum softwares are supported yet. More information...

Of course, in the Joomla ecosystem, the most famous forum component, Agora, is able to convert existing forum competitors:

  • Kunena
  • ccBoard
  • Simplest Forum
  • joo!BB

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.

Security is really well implemented, and you can rely on the Joomla expertise to support your forum software. Anti-spam features like Captcha pictures and IP blocking are here to prevent your forum to be flooded by third-parties attacks.

Vulnerabilities Advisories Criticality

Secunia Criticality

Secunia Advisories severity affecting Joomla Forum.

Vulnerabilities Impact

Secunia Impact

Secunia Advisories impact affecting Joomla Forum.

Customization & Social Networks

Add new features to your forum installation.
~5116 Available Plugins. More info »
Modify the style of your forum easily.
~250 Available Themes.
Custom BBCodes Yes Smiley Packs Yes
Thread Icons
Yes Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
Integration with Applications, Social Networks, Intranet...
Social Networks
Users can share information from their social network account...
CMS / Blog Bridges
Integration with existing Web publishing tools.
  • Joomla
User Accounts Integration
Do users be able to log in with their corporate, Google, Facebook,... accounts?
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).

Joomla Share Toolbar

If you prefer not using a specific forum extension but instead use a pure installation of an existing forum software, Joomla provides forum bridges for the following forum products:

More information on the Forum Bridges Extensions page.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
XHTML 1.0 Transitional
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
CSS 2.
Click to see if it respects CSS norms.
Accessibility (WAI)
Web Accessibility ensures that the forum is usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.
Conformance to AA level.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does Joomla Forum correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Joomla Forum unique:

  • CMS coupling
  • Very powerful administration backoffice

Final Words


Joomla is, without any doubt, a really good Content Management System. Its ability to support big websites and its configurability makes it a must have in the CMS world, as Drupal. It's therefore not a surprise if, by just adding a additional forum component, that this forum will benefit of all of these advantages.

Of course, it'll require more time and it is a little bit more complex than a simple MyBB installation, but if you plan to not just create a forum, then you have to think straight away about what will support your news, blog,... modules. And of course, the idea of using a CMS is really good, because all your website architecture will be centralized with a robust system (think about user accounts, antispam features,...), that is simply not true if you look at more simple forum software.

About our recommendations, we advice you to use the Agora component, that is one of the most complement Forum component in the Joomla world (even if others are good as well - Kunena). If you are more looking to a classic forum bridge, then we advice you the PhpBB 3 + Mehdi's Phpbb THREE bridge couple.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (9)

Great review thanks for the

Great review thanks for the information about Joomla


Hell? ?t's me, I am also

Hellο іt's me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this web site is in fact fastidious and the viewers are genuinely sharing good thoughts.


Thanks for the information.

Thanks for the information. And i will be back to your blog.

skydaffodil's picture

I have visited your website

I have visited your website and found here Great reviews , Thanks a lot for given this information ,


many thanks

many thanks


Great Review, Joomla has got

Great Review, Joomla has got to be one of the best open source CMS softwares around.


I used to work with sites

I used to work with sites created on Joomla! and I must say it is the most clear and understandable platform I ever worked with. Respect to its creators. Great job, guys, and thank you!


No offense guys, but from my

No offense guys, but from my personal experience, I think the developer of Joomla could have done a beeter job at simplifying things. Why wordpress was developed to be so easy to use while Joomla developers seems like made it for software developers only who know all the stuff! The Joomla forum is also not easy to use. I am sorry!

a1qa website


Joomla is a good content

Joomla is a good content management system. It has a simple user interface. Features are nice and easy to use. The plugins are making our work more easy.

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