Mambo vs. Joomla – These CMS Rivals Square Off

The original Mambo Open Source content management system has spawned numerous variations and forks.  Two of the major systems are Mambo as we know it today and the award-winning Joomla CMS.  Joomla 1.0 is quite similar to Mambo but version 1.5 has broke out with an identity all its own.  So, which CMS is right for you?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both solutions and we will cover them in this article.


While there has only been a slight change in the project name, most of Mambo’s development team abandoned the system in 2005 to create Joomla.  Every since then, the system has struggled in terms of popularity as a large portion of the Mambo user community followed the developers in favor of Joomla.  Be that as it may, Mambo remains a solid choice and continues to improve.

Advantages – Mambo is a stable, lightweight system that puts out exceptional performance on a busy website.  Despite losing the original development team, the project has good management and positive hope for future development.  Even as an open-source system, Mambo can be easily integrated with non-GPL systems and commercial extensions.

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Disadvantages – The biggest drawback to Mambo is that it lacks new extensions.  This goes back to 2005 as most of the developers who wrote extensions for the system shifted over to Joomla.  Another disadvantage is that Mambo has a smaller user community than Joomla, meaning you might have to search long and hard to get quality support.

Mambo works best for small to medium sized businesses as well as webmasters that do not require lots of upgrades and extensions.  To put it simple, this system performs better on a basic website that contains minimal interactive features.


As we mentioned above, Joomla 1.0 is very similar to Mambo.  In fact, there are a number of extensions that support both systems.  Although the first generation still has a large user base, that will all change soon as the Joomla development team is slated to halt support for the product this coming July.  Joomla 1.5 offers many improvements over the previous version and is largely supported by the development team and user community.

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Advantages – Joomla 1.5 is supported by a wide variety of extensions and the number is growing faster than any CMS that forked off from Mambo.  The system also supports many of the older extensions with the aid of the legacy mode plugin.  The rapidly expanding community ensures that you can get decent support and answers in Joomla forums.

Disadvantages – Joomla 1.5 is a bit heavier than the previous version and thus might run slower depending on the server.  This could make it real frustrating to keep your site fresh with the  necessary updates.  Additionally, the Joomla team has taken an official stance where the GPL states that commercial extensions are not to interact with the system’s API, basically ruling out any developers who do not want their extensions licensed under the GPL.  On the other hand, many developers have chosen to ignore this rule.  As it stands now, it seems as if this is one rule that will never be strictly enforced.

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Joomla is best suited for small to medium sized businesses with the need to create a content-rich site and access a variety of third-party extensions.

If you’re looking for a winner, Joomla is most likely to be supported into the future but Mambo will probably require fewer upgrades as versions aren’t released as frequently.

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4 thoughts on “Mambo vs. Joomla – These CMS Rivals Square Off

  1. in my point of view.. Joomla is a wonderful CMS which is getting famous by every passing day. Building a website through Joomla involves less time. Within the shortest span of time, we can build a wonderful website with excellent content management system.

  2. Well Joomla also do not have good support. There are lot of unanswered questions in forums. And I have problems with moving joomla sites. But I think Joomla is better than Mambo relatively.