Umbraco best packages (free and paid)
Table of contents
Packages are like spices, Umbraco is your meal. Plugins give Umbraco additional functionality, ability to do more things faster and better way. They extend the possibilities Umbraco has by default and can be a great benefit for every Umbraco-based website.
Umbraco CMS does not have so many packages like WordPress but continues to have a strong development community behind it. Over the years, Umbraco has had hundreds of packages published to the Our Umbraco Marketplace by community members.
Since Umbraco has so many different packages available today, it can be a daunting task to find the right extensions, mainly because you have to deal with specific versions and compatibility issues. Some packages are not maintained or contain bugs, which can break your website and be a real pain during development.
Below we will explore Umbraco's free and paid packages that every site should consider in its arsenal. Here is a list of best plugins that I use and highly recommend:
uSync is an open-source package that is well known to Umbraco developers.
uSync can help you to synchronize and deploy Umbraco model changes between various environments. This plugin is probably one of the most popular Umbraco cms packages ever. What is remarkable about this solid package is that during the Umbraco conference called CodeGarden 2015 - Umbracians voted for uSync to win the Umbraco development award.
📽️ Video: uSync Dashboard
uSync key features:
The StarterKit is the default starter kit for Umbraco 7/8/9 that was created initially in 2017. It was designed to provide developers with a boilerplate structure, based on best practices and design patterns learned from working with Umbraco CMS for the past years.
This plugin is great for anyone who wants to quickly build a basic Umbraco site with predefined pages like Home, Products Catalog, People, About, Blog, Contact, and more. You can create and publish new content real quick.
📽️ Video: The StarterKit overview
Starter Kit is a perfect option if you:
Dedicated Media Folder is your Content Editor's best friend.
Dedicated Media Folder speeds up essential media-content workflow by putting Umbraco Media Picker on steroids. The package was designed to automate creating special media folders and introduce an effective media management system.
📽️ Video: Working with Media files in Umbraco - Boss Mode
Dedicated Media Folder - before creating folder automatically
Dedicated Media Folder - after creating folder automatically
Dedicated Media Folder key features:
Doc Type Grid Editor is a back-office extension that significantly simplifies creating grid editors (components) inside Umbraco Grid cells - based on document types definition. Umbraco's Grid Editor can be one of the most powerful features-especially if you want to display complex and well-structured content.
DTGE gives Umbraco Grid more power and speeds up the development workflow signiﬁcantly.
To create a custom grid editor component using DTGE you need to:
📽️ Video: Doc Type Grid Editor - putting CTA component into grid cell
Doc Type Grid Editor key features and benefits:
The Umbraco Azure File System Provider was created to provide an Azure cloud option for storing media files. The benefits of this package are that keeping media files in Azure saves space on your website's hosting and provides faster access to these media files. Umbraco CMS + Azure blob storage is a perfect combination for websites with data-intensive traffic that run 24/7 without downtime.
Storing files on Azure blob storage will give several benefits:
Umbraco Azure File System Provider key features:
Getting the package to work with Azure Private blob storage (recommended for security) can be challenging, but it's possible. If you want to find more, please read the article Setting Umbraco CMS to work with Azure private storage.
Simple Redirects is an extension that allows you to manage HTTP redirects directly from the Back-office panel, as the name suggests.
📽️ Video: Simple Redirects Manager overview
SimpleRedirects key features:
The Media Protect package was designed to protect media files and folders the same way Umbraco protects content (documents). This extension is a perfect choice if you want to limit media files access only for authenticated members. In other words, users have to be logged in to view or download files.
How does the media protect package works?
Once you click on the media file or folder, you can choose one of the protection level options:
Media Protect restrict options
Media Protect redirect pages options
Media Protect Log Viewer
Media protect key features:
Media Protect is using IAuthenticationProvider abstraction with default ASP.NET Membership API (System.Web.Security) which allows you to swap and use a custom ASP.NET Membership / Role provider. You can easily switch to Single Sign-on (SSO) authentication and the media protect package will work.
The Dashboard package was created in 2018 to provide an easy-to-use, intuitive interface for editors to see what's happening on their website.
The Dashboard package mainly provides basic statistics about content changes so you can know how often your content has been edited or updated and who did it and when they did it.
The Dashboard overview
The Dashboard key features and benefits:
A Star Rating property editor may be an excellent choice for rating items such as news, articles, blog posts, products, restaurants, etc.
Star Rating plugin for Umbraco
The Star Rating key features and benefits:
To find the best packages to suit your needs - I recommend visiting Our Umbraco marketplace. The site is very user-friendly and gives the ability to browse all packages by popularity, date, or category. Plugins are divided into several categories: Collaboration, Backoffice extensions, Developer tools, Starter Kits, Umbraco PRO, Website utilities, Umbraco Cloud.
The Umbraco package ratings are essential. Any community user can vote by giving a "like" which provides a good insight into the quality of the package. Naturally, the best packages have a lot of downloads, and you can see both metrics.
Finally, we went through the top Umbraco packages and I hope you learned some interesting things from this article. Before installing a new package, remember to check if your Umbraco website version is compatible. If you have the Umbraco extensions, which are the least popular, and compatibility issues, do not install it as this could mess up the system. However, the popularity of Umbraco plugins does not always mean good quality and added value, so be sure to do some research before installing!
Do you have something to add?
Feel free to let me know about your favorite Umbraco packages in the comment section below.
I would love to check them out.