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Extension of the month

AcyMailing logoThe Joomla! Extensions Directory currently lists 8,868 different extensions designed to add functionality to the Joomla! core. Everything you can think of is there, from appointment booking and holiday let components through forums and security packages to map and weather add-ons, including some that could only be described as 'niche products' (fancy running your own World of Warcraft Guild, anyone?). But most of these extensions are provided by third parties rather than the Joomla! development team, and while the review system can be helpful they are not quality-assured. In each newsletter, we'll feature an extension that has been thoroughly tried and tested on Zipfish sites. If you see something you like, get in touch!

This month's extension is AcyMailing, the email list component that provides the newsletter you're reading. It comes in three versions: Starter (free), Essential (£21 per year), and Enterprise (£64 per year), and for most users the free version (the one used here) is fine. Here are some of the features that make AcyMailing so useful:

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Additional security for your site's admin area

Padlock on red backgroundI've been experimenting with a plugin offering a further layer of security for the admin login, and so far it's worked well to prevent automated attempts to access the admin area with stolen logins. This kind of attack is an increasing problem: I'm notified by email every time there's a failed login attempt on a Zipfish site, and they come in their hundreds every day. The plugin works by adding a password to the URL for the admin login, so instead of going to http://www.mywebsite.com/administrator/index.php you'd go to something like http://www.mywebsite.com/administrator/?UnguessablePa88word . That small change means that the automated scripts bombarding sites with stolen logins won't be able to find the login form.

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How to make documents downloadable

If you frequently offer downloadable files via your website, there are Joomla! extensions designed to make upload and organisation simple - but if you simply want to add a one-off download to an existing article, it's possible to do it manually. Here's how:

Before you start, check that the name of the file for download has no spaces in it and isn't too long. E.g., 'A history of beer mats in the Ukraine.doc' could become 'ukraine-beermat-history.doc'. NB: If the filename contains spaces, the upload process will fail.

Upload the file to your website's media manager

  1. From the admin area's top menu, choose 'Content' then 'Media Manager'.
    Menu showing dropdown options
  2. Click on the 'downloads' folder to open it (if there is one), or create a new folder called 'downloads'.

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