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Extension Manager is the section of the site where you can install, update and manage 3rd Party Extensions. It is also where you go if you want to install updates for the Joomla Installation itself.

3rd Party Extensions are compressed files that you download from the developers site directly to your computer. In most cases the file that you download will be the one that you upload to Joomla and you DO NOT unzip it before uploading. Occasionally, you will find that the developer put several zip files together into a file with a name like unzip-first.zip. In this case, you uncompress the containing file on your own computer and then unload the individual zipped files as needed. Be sure that you follow the instructions of the developer.

Extensions that have been reviewed by the Joomla Community are listed at extensions.joomla.org. If they are on this site, you can feel fairly certain that they are safe to use and do not pose security risks and won't break you site.  There is a Vulnerable Extension List, docs.joomla.org/Vulnerable_Extensions_List, as well that lists Extensions with known bugs.

There are three ways that you can install Extensions. You may have to use one or the other methods depending on the limitations of your Internet connection, file size limits and hosting company limitations.

Note: It is best practice to backup all of your website files and the database before installing any Extension. Extensions can cause conflicts and there is the possibility of the installation bringing you site down. You can quickly restore your site to its previous state if you have a complete backup.

Installing Extensions

Install from the Web

This tab will display a multitude of available extensions from which to choose with a list of Categories for filtering. If you know the name of one, you can search by that name. You can also search by popularity, rating, newer extensions and recently updated extensions. There is a display of links to the 3rd Party Providers websites for fetching the extension. If the extension is paid, you will still need to arrange payment with the provider.

Upload Package File

The Upload Package File tab in Extension Manager is very straightforward.  You select Browse to find the .zip file that you downloaded from the developer, click Open in the file finder box, then click on Upload and Install. Joomla installed the Extension into all the correct folders in your Joomla Installation. 

Once installed the new Component will show up in the Component dropdown menu.  Occasionally you will need to enable a plug-in for the Extension.  You can find the Plug-In Manager under the Extensions dropdown menu.

Install From Directory

If you have a slow file upload speed with your internet connection, or some other reason that you can't upload the zip file using the Upload Package File method, you may find that you need to upload the .zip file to a temp folder in your website files on your hosting company server.  Be sure to keep the file in the compressed state before uploading ans it would greatly increase the upload time. Before uploading is is best to be sure that the temp folder doesn't contain any other files.

Once the zipped file is uploaded, you need to uncompress it using your hosting companies file manager or cPanel.  The files should all be uncompressed into the temp folder itself.

In the text box in the Install from Directory tab, type in the path to your temp folder. Something like this.  It can be difficult to figure out your directory structure for this step.  I have joom3 in a subdirectoy of my zemplate.com home directory.

/home/joom3/temp

Install from URL

If your files reside in a location where you can access them via an URL, type it in here.

Update Extensions

Update will check your site and inform you if Joomla or any Extensions have Updates available.  You need to be careful with just saying Yes to Updates.  First, back up your site and your database.  Updates can cause unexpected changes and conflicts. You may have customized something in site, edited a .php file, or something else.  If you have the backup, there is hope that you can duplicate these changes with the updated files.

Manage Extensions

You can click on Manage in the list of the left side of Extension Manager to see a list of all of the Extensions that are installed in your Joomla Installation.  Occasionally you may need to Enable or Disable an Extension and this is where you do this step.  This is also an informative listing in that is shows you the version of the Extension.  Some 3rd Party Extensions will have known bugs in certain versions, you can verify the version of your 3rd Party Extension from this list.

Joomla! Project

Unless you have installed numerous 3rd Party Extensions, you will likely see mostly Extensions that have the Author name of Joomla! Project. These represent the core Joomla installation extensions.  

If the status of an Extension shows a lock - that means that you cannot uninstall or unpublish this extension. These are necessary for the site to run properly.