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Social Networking Extensions for Joomla

A system of user profiles that allows for the display of user information, activities and interaction is a common requirement for many websites and there is a variety of software available, of varying quality. The purpose of this article is to provide a guide to some of the options available.

The main contenders are Community Builder, JomSocial, and Mighty Extensions Touch.

Community Builder

Community Builder, available from is a good choice if you have a very limited budget, since it is free to download, and licensed under the GPL, although you have to pay a small charge for documentation and extras such as a profile gallery.

There is no real problem with this as an extension, however it has been around for a long time, and does show its age. It does not include the more modern features of a social networking application, such as a wall, and even features such as a profile gallery are only available as a paid extra. However if all that you need for your site is a basic user profile system then this will do the job.

If you can afford it though, I would recommend that you consider one of the commercial extensions.

Rating 3 out of 5


In my view JomSocial – available from - is by far the best social networking extension going. It looks great, it includes the all the main features that you would want for a Joomla! social networking site. They include: a wall, activities feed, profile gallery, user upload of photos and video, user comments, user groups and messaging. There is also support for Facebook Connect – which allows users to log in through their Facebook account. There are also a wide variety of plug-ins available, plus an API for developers.

Even though the license is non-GPL commercial the source code is not encrypted. This is a significant advantage. If your site is successful, then sooner or later you may want to modify it, and so will need to be able to modify (or at least view) the code.

I installed this extension recently on a social networking site that I was designing for clients. They were very pleased and impressed with it, as was I. When they required a few changes to the layout I was able to make them quickly and easily, due to the open source code, and the fact that it conforms to Joomla's MVC architecture.

If you want to build a really professional social networking site based on Joomla then JomSocial is the extension that I would recommend.

Rating 5 out of 5

Mighty Touch

Mighty Touch - available from is also worth considering. It is considerably cheaper than JomSocial, but does offer fewer features. I think that this extension really comes into its own if you use it in combination with other Mighty Extensions components, since it features integration with several of these, including Resources, User and Member, and there are a number of suite packages available. However that of course will push up the total cost, and I have to say that I found some of the integration a bit buggy.

So it depends on the emphasis of your site. If you are planning a complex site in which a membership system will play a part, but is not necessarily the main focus of your site, then the Mighty Extensions system may be the way to go. There are free tryouts available on all their products, so you can take a look for yourself.

The main downside to this extension is that it is encrypted using ion-cube. I am not a fan of encrypted code, for me the existence of open source code is very important.

Rating 3 out of 5


Other Alternatives


Available from

This extension promises a lot, unfortunately the current release is far too buggy to be a realistic choice for a live site, and its future seems somewhat doubtful at the moment – see


In theory, with its flexible system of user roles and permissions, Drupal should be a natural choice for building a social networking site. However in practice I have found that the current social networking extensions for Drupal are less than satisfactory, and I would recommend that you stick to Joomla unless you have a strong reason to prefer a Drupal site (though it is a good CMS in its own right, I just happen to prefer Joomla).


Elgg is a purpose-built social networking CMS. Having tried it out myself I think that it is not bad, but not great either. It seems to have a strong user base though, so may develop further in future. It is GPL licensed, so you will be free to modify the code as you wish, and there are a substantial number of extensions available.


PHPIZABI is another purpose-built social networking CMS. Unlike Elgg it is not GPL licensed, so you may tend to run into licensing problems if you want to modify the site code. The code is however open source.

In some ways it is more sophisticated than Elgg, and may not be a bad choice if you only want a simple social networking site. However if you want more than simple social networking for your site then I would strongly recommend using Joomla – it offers you so much more.

To sum up, if you want a really professional social networking site there is a clear winner in my view: a Joomla site with the JomSocial extension. If you really cannot afford JomSocial, then Community Builder is a reasonable choice.