Joomla Components, Modules and Plugins

Posted by: admin in TutorialPluginModulesJoomla 1.5JoomlaExtensionsComponent on  

Joomla is a fantastic piece of software and once you know how to use it, it's very user friendly. Certainly Joomla 1.5 has taken a huge step forward in usability. But for someone new, certainly for someone who never used a CMS before, it can be quit overwhelming in the beginning. We all had the same feeling the first time we installed Joomla: where do I start? Well a good start of course is to learn the basics. So if you are already familiar with Joomla, you can stop reading now (really!). In this article I'll explain the difference between the 3 types of extensions for Joomla: components, modules and plugins.



A component is in fact a seperate application. You can think of a component as something that has it's own functionality, it's own database and it's own presentation. So if you install a component, you add an application to your website. Examples of components are a forum, a newsletter, a community system, a photo gallery, etc. You could think of all of these as being a seperate application. Everyone of these would make perfectly sence as a stand-alone system. A component will be shown in the main part of your website and only one component will be shown. A menu is then in fact nothing more then a switch between different components. You can compare it a bit with your windows taskbar, where you see a tab for each open application.



Modules are extensions which present certain pieces of information on your site. It's a way of presenting information that is already present. This can add a new function to an application which was already part of your website. Think about latest article modules, login module, a menu, ... . Typically you'll have a number of modules on each web page. The difference between a component and a module is not always very clear for everybody. But if you think about it, it's really not that difficult. A module doesn't make sense as a standalone application, it will just present information or add a function to an existing application. Take a newsletter for instance. A newsletter is a component. You can have a website which is used as a newsletter only. That makes perfectly sense. Although a newsletter component probably will have a subscription page integrated, you might want to add a subscription module on a sidebar on every page of your website. You can put this subscribe module anywhere on your site. You'll probably agree with me that a site with just a subscription module and no actual newsletter component would be rather ridiculous.



They used to be called mambots in Joomla 1.0.x, but since Joomla 1.5.x they're called plugins. A plugin is a function which is performed on a part of Joomla before this part is shown. This part can be on content, on the editor, on the complete system, etc. This might seem a bit abstract, but you'll understand it with an example. Let's take one of the plugins of Ulti Joomla as an example: Ulti Reflection. This is a plugin which can make a reflection of the images you use in your content articles. To use this you just have to put something like inside your content. Before the content is shown to the user, the Ulti Reflection plugin will scan the content to find the {reflection} tag. If it finds the tag, it will replace the tag with the image and it's reflection. Be carefull not to put to many plugins one your website, because some of them can really slow down your site.


If the difference between the three types of extensions is still not completely clear, then I advice you to go to admin pages of your joomla installation and check the components menu, the module manager and the plugin manager. Joomla comes with a number of core components, modules and plugins. By checking what they're doing, the difference between the three types of building blocks should become clear. You can also check out the official Joomla extensions page. Browse through the extension categories and you'll be amazed about the extension possiblities you have for your site.

Comments (25)Add Comment

written by Angel Genchev, February 19, 2009
'found this using google - really useful explanation of joomla components. I didn`t knew what are the plugins smilies/smiley.gif

written by Paolo, March 15, 2009
thanks i'm new to joomla and i'vefound your info very useful and well explained

written by Jon Ross, April 23, 2009
Finally I get it! Thanks fir taking the time to decipher the Joomla-ees!!
Nice explanation

written by Accilies, June 25, 2009
Good explanation. Just starting off joomla and its good to find a vast community.


written by Jerry Jones, July 04, 2009
Though am using Joomla! as framework for my portal, I was new to this. Some 'Technical Terms' seems to new for me and I wondered exactly what does they really mean and do !!
Googled !!
Got this reference !!
....really am happy to know this basic technical terms. What an explanation. Buddy, start writing tutorials. It will rock !! Cheers !!!
Its very helpful article

written by IT Outsourcing, October 02, 2009
Hay thanks for such descriptive article. I really enjoyed while reading and now my idea for components, module and plugin is very clear.

written by Mohan, February 17, 2010
A very very good article for explaining component, module and plugin.

written by testttttttttttt, February 17, 2010
Though am using Joomla! as framework for my portal, I was new to this. Some 'Technical Terms' seems to new for me and I wondered exactly what does they really mean and do !!
Googled !!
Got this reference !!
....really am happy to know this basic technical terms. What an explanation. Buddy, start writing tutorials. It will rock !! Cheers !!!

written by swell design, March 29, 2010
Thanks for a helpful article. I'm putting together some documentation for my Joomla sites, and this will definitely help me explain things to the end users!

written by ray, April 19, 2010
thanks for the informative article

written by anjali, July 23, 2010
good explanation about components,modules and plugins..
Good explanation

written by shashi kanth, December 08, 2010
Thanks for such a clear cut explanation of the Joomla components, modules and plugins.
Makes perfect sense.

written by Amy, March 18, 2011
Thank you, very helpful!

written by vikram, April 01, 2011
thanks..... this is very useful for me.....
Its very good descriptions

written by Satish Anand, May 11, 2011
Thanks,such a very good explanation of module,component and plugin.
Very Good Description

written by Dan Curran, August 03, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to explain the differences.
Nicely Explained

written by Abdeali, August 03, 2011
Thanx for the nice explaination ... liked it
It's Gre8

written by Manish saxena, August 25, 2011
Good Explanation ,
it's realy help full for me. befeore this article i m confuse in components and modules.
Many question come in my mind. after this i m feeling so confident.

For my side defference between these two?

Modules :- is a way 2 show information or a way 2 show static value like show login form

Components :- is a way 2 interect db like check user exist in db request for login form

written by Dignesh, August 26, 2011
it's realy help full for me.perfect explain thanks
Good and Clear

written by issa, February 09, 2012
Nice stuff, thanks a lot
Extremely Helpful

written by Toni Njiric, March 05, 2012
Thank you very much. I've been searching for this on the internet.
Best explanation so far, I really appreciate it.

written by Bhavisha, March 16, 2012
First of i say Tnx...
i'm new for joomla and i don't have any idea about joomla. Rely Its Good Explanation ,
it's realy help full for me.......but now more que. come in my mind so again i confuse.
but all over its to much good and thank you very much

written by bachem, May 22, 2012
many thanks, explanation smilies/wink.gif
Module and Component

written by Duryodhan Bijewar, January 07, 2013
Abe Hindi Me Samjhawo Kamino Samajh nahi aaya.......
Very Helpful Tutorial

written by ubaidullah, February 20, 2013
I am new to joomla, i searching for these but not understand it, now i learn it. Thanks

Write comment

security code
Write the displayed characters