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6 Reasons Why People Might Think Joomla! Sucks

First off I would like to say that I'm fully aware of the fact that Joomla isn't the software equivalent of a magical fairy land. Neither have I spotted any unicorns in the Joomla scene, nor do I recall seeing double rainbows in the source code. There have been many changes within Joomla lately and a lot of the Joomla bashing is based on hearsay and old information. Therefore with this blog I'm going to try to set some faulty assumptions about Joomla straight- right from the start!

Hacks attributed to Joomla

The Security forum at has several 'my site was hacked' posts per day. While I'm sure many of these hacks are related to Joomla, very few (if any) of them are a direct result of using Joomla to power a website. The extendable nature of Joomla allows for some terrible extensions to hit the market while at the same time, allowing developers to create some amazing Joomla-enhancing extensions.
Just like any system where freedom is encouraged (and in which there is virtually no moderation as to what can and what can't be created and downloaded by users) there will be both good and bad extensions. It's worth noting that the extensions with known vulnerabilities even have a 'wall of shame' on the Joomla website, it is called the "Vulnerable Extensions List".
Also, lets not forget the media who loves to stir the pot by putting up headlines like 'Bug in Joomla leads to phishing attacks'. While the article continues to explain there is a possibility this problem might be caused by Joomla, all the 'headline scanning people' have already marked a '-1' for Joomla in their mental notebook.
Lastly to hopefully finally put this argument to rest: if there was a known security bug in Joomla (be it Joomla 1.0, 1.5, 1.6 or 2.5), there would be quite a bit more than several new posts on the Joomla security forum. More likely the internet would be swarming with them, and many of your favorite websites including many that you probably never realized were powered by Joomla would suddenly be 'down for maintenance'. Keeping your Joomla installation (just like any other piece of software) up-to-date won't likely decrease the security of your website either.

They don't know about the (influential) websites Joomla powers

Continuing on from the previous point, I'll bet many people have no clue how many of the websites they use are built with Joomla. Based on our own research Joomla is powering millions of websites. This means you've probably visited at least one Joomla powered website this week without knowing it.
If social proof (many people are using it, so it must be good) was a truly good guideline, I could now claim that because Joomla is being used by some many people, it therefore can't suck. Unfortunately I have spent too many hours of my life cursing at a certain internet browser with a very high market share, so perhaps usage numbers alone aren't a valid argument to show Joomla is actually a better product than many people think.

They mostly see ugly Joomla templates

Unlike the Joomla templates that are designed and created by professional, many (but not all) free Joomla templates are plain ugly. As outlined in the blog post 18 Benefits of Professional Joomla Templates, there is a large gap in quality between templates developed by professionals and templates developed by amateurs.
Unfortunately for the image of Joomla, the amount of people using free templates is likely far greater than the amount of people using professional templates (with balanced color palettes, matching typography, adherence to other best practices, etc.). Full disclosure: I'm a developer of professional Joomla templates myself.

The Wordpress or Drupal community told them so

In a famous psychological experiment an otherwise socially balanced high school class was polarized in just a couple of minutes. How they did it? They made the teacher say that children wearing a certain color of sweater were superior to children not wearing that color. Soon after the children wearing the particular color started liking each other better and started disliking people not wearing that color of sweater. This phenomenon is also known as group polarization.
The same thing is happening in the CMS scene. People using Joomla that interact with other people using Joomla will start seeing the benefits of Joomla (and downplay the bad points),making Joomla seem a bit better than - for example - Wordpress. At the same time, people using other systems that interact with other people using that system, will start seeing their favorite system in a more positive light (which will lead them to see other systems more negatively).
It's also important to realize that group polarization is inevitable. Therefore let the Joomla people love Joomla, the Wordpress people love Wordpress and the Drupal people love Drupal, while at the same time learning from each other and showing mutual respect.

Bad web hosting companies

Sure, Joomla can be tough on servers and resources sometimes. I'd love to see a lighter and faster core- however that doesn't override the fact that many web hosting companies have extremely poorly configured servers. The server and host problems range from cramming thousands of sites on one server to micro-sized memory limits and many others.
A Joomla website running slowly on one of those badly configured web servers will be perceived as 'another slow Joomla website', while the actual problem is caused by the web server the website is hosted on. After all "Facebook and Google are much faster". Yeah, if every Joomla website was running via their own dedicated server park located somewhere near your house they would be a lot faster too. On a side note: I have actually managed to make a Joomla website load up to 10 times as fast just by simply moving it to another web host. Web hosting makes a huge difference to content delivery times. It is imperative that you select the best host.

They haven't discovered Joomla 2.5+ yet

Many of the arguments which people use to build resentment of Joomla are based on their knowledge of Joomla 1.0 and 1.5. For example, starting with Joomla 1.7, the task of updating to a more recent release is only a matter of minutes- and doesn't require FTP. Furthermore Joomla 1.6 introduced better access control and with Joomla 2.5 you can now automatically check to see on your dashboard if your installation is up-to-date. Lastly, more joy for Joomla admins looms on the horizon. A complete overhaul of the Joomla Administrator (by Kyle Ledbetter) is earmarked for inclusion in the upcoming Joomla 3.0 release.

What Can Joomla Do?
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