Before starting, I want to mention that I wanted to write an article about Joomla maintenance services since a long time ago.
The Joomla maintenance services is a tricky topic and as there are some competitors on this market, I always thought it might be interesting to share my reviews on these services with my readers.
A recent coincidence gave me this opportunity. Indeed, I've subscribed to another Joomla maintenance service for my clients websites (and mines too). In this article, I explain you why I've changed, which solution I've selected and everything you should know about it.
Why using a maintenance service for your Joomla website?
No matter you own a single website or you're a web agency with many clients websites to manage, it's always the perfect timing to remind that YOU MUST keep your Joomla site(s):
- updated for user experience reasons,
- updated for safety reasons,
- updated for SEO reasons.
With a Joomla maintenance service, you constantly keep an eye open on the most importants points like:
- new Joomla version to install,
- extensions update warning,
- website backup outdated,
- server potential issues,
- backend logging warning,
From my experience, this is exactly what every site owner should (must?) subscribe because nobody can't watch website(s) 24/7.
Wait, you can't do it or don't want to be bothered with this?
No problem, simply contact me and I'll manage your Joomla site(s) for you.
What maintenance service should you use for your Joomla website(s)?
This article isn't about to list and to compare every Joomla maintenance service available today. This kind of article would be probably boring to read and also obsolete in few months.
There are two important points to care about before choosing the Joomla maintenance service for your website(s).
SaaS or self-hosted?
First, there's a philosophical difference on the way you'll use your Joomla maintenance service.
SaaS (acronym for Software As A Service) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. SaaS is also known as on-demand software, web-based software, or web-hosted software.
This is generaly more handly for newcomers. They only have to register, fill some fields and they are good to go. On the other side, the users have nearly any control on the data they shared with the service. And if the service shut down temporarly or more longer, there's no way to access to the services and no way to recover the data.
Self-hosting is the practice of running and maintaining a website or service using a private web server. Self-hosting allows users to have more control over their data, privacy, and computing infrastructure, as well as potentially saving costs and improving skills.
This one requires some tech skills and you will probably save money using such option. The user has complete control over their data and can decide how and where it is hosted and can avoid relying on third-party providers that may have privacy issues, security breaches, outages, or changes in policies.
Free or paid service?
If money is an issue for many today, there are still some points to consider here.
Some Joomla maintenance services might be expensive if you have a large amount of website to manage. I won't share any pricing here, that's not the point of this article.
Some other services are cheaper - or even free - and you must check if the features proposed are what you are looking for managing your website(s).
But as you'll read now below, the pricing is maybe not the only point to consider while choosing your Joomla maintenance service.
What Joomla maintenance service I use (and why)?
Since 2019, I was using mysites.guru from Phil Taylor.
Good SaaS Joomla maintenance service, reasonable pricing, the only sensitive point here is... Phil.
In short, Taylor is well knowed in the Joomla community to be a "very complicated and very complex personality". Despite his Joomla knowledges and assets, he is banned on all Joomla officials channels because of his agressive repeatedly behaviour.
In fact, you can be blacklisted simply because he is not agree with you. I've discovered that many people in the Joomla community have terminated their subscriptions to his service only because of... him.
My point here is only to warn you. So, you can subscribe to his service (£199 per year) - which is good - but be aware that it's pretty common to have communication issues with Taylor.
Last 18th Oct, I received this email with no context, no explanation:
While I was looking for another maintenance service for my clients's websites, on the very same day, Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos published the first release of a new Joomla maintenance service: Akeeba Panopticon.
Totally coincidence because Nicholas would've released earlier his solution if it wasn't for a WordPress 6.3 bug which kept him busy between September 30th and October 9th.
So, I decided to give Panoptikon a try.
Presentation of Panopticon, Joomla maintenance service
Akeeba Panopticon is a self-hosted, free-of-charge site monitoring software for Joomla sites created by Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos. The idea for this software was first conceived in February 2010 when Nicholas was pondering the future of Akeeba Remote Control. He just never had the time to work on it until last March, when his idle doodling with the Joomla! API inspired him to make this happen.
As mentionned on the description page, Panopticon is not meant to replace site monitoring services for all users. That's not its reason of this service. Panopticon gives you freedom of choice by providing a self-hosted site monitoring solution which can be installed and maintained by non-experts on commodity web hosting.
Panipticon - Greek word meaning "all-seeing" - offers the following features:
- Joomla version, and update availability,
- Extensions which need to be updated,
- Template overrides to check,
- Server PHP version, and whether it needs to be updated,
- Connectivity issues,
- Accessible throughout and for erveyone,
- Backup and security automation,
- User groups to grant access to clients,
- Free of charge and Free and Open Source Software,
Please note that this service does not offer an uptime monitoring — and there are no plans for offering this feature. This is intentional. More explanations here if needed.
As you'll see now, the installation process is pretty simple. To install and run Panopticon, you must follow these steps:
- 1. Download the latest version of Panoptikon on the project page: https://github.com/akeeba/panopticon/releases
- 2. Unzip the archive downloaded on your computer.
- 3. Transfert the files on your server via SFTP (FileZilla or similar)
- 4. Create a new database on your server (check the technical requirements here)
- 5. Open your browser and launch https://path/to/files/transfered/on/your/server/index.php to initiate the installation process.
As Nicholas's documentation is perfectly clear, I will not stupidly copy/paste the same infos in this article. I kindly invite you to open the following links:
- Step by step installation tutorial
- CRON Jobs
- Step by step managing sites tutorial
- Mail templates
- Working with log files
- The .htaccess file
- Advanced customisation
- Custom CSS
As I was kindly invited by Taylor to leave his service, I've transferred in Panopticon all the Joomla sites monitored previously on mysites.guru. For the record, it takes only 2 or 3 minutes to add a new website in Panopticon.
Since, I've already updated several extensions on various clients sites and everything went super smooth. As expected!
Am I satisfied?
It's a bit early to say it but there are many positive points that makes me very confident about this promising Joomla maintenance service:
- Solution coded and offered by Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos, one of the major Joomla developer, father of Akeeba Backup,
- Self-hosted, free of charge and free and open source software,
- Panopticon will probably envolve in the next weeks, months, based on users feedbacks and requests: new features, translations, etc,
- For 90% of my clients's websites, Panopticon is perfectly taylored. For the 10% remaining, I'll probably consider to add an uptime monitoring solution. Not a big deal
In short, I strongly recommend Akeeba Panopticon a Joomla maintenance service for any site owner, site integrators and web agencies with tens to hundreds of Joomla websites who want to keep their costs and data under control.