Below, you will find a list of Magento 2 extensions reviewed on the Firebear website. All Magento 2 modules are combined into groups depending on the vendor. We are trying to review new tools on a daily basis, so the following list is constantly growing. Besides, there is a tutorial that describes how to select a Magento 2 extension below. As for similar articles, you can also check all Magento 2 modules compared on Firebear as well as a list of Magento 2 plugins gathered by the functionality they provide (check this section with digests), for instance, the best layered navigation extensions.
Above, you can see a huge list of Magento 2 extensions from more than three dozens of vendors. You can find either budget-friendly modules, complicated enterprise level solutions, or plugins that provide robust functionality within a user-friendly interface. All of them are designed to enhance the default Magento 2 features providing you with the advanced improvements. And this is only a tip of the iceberg. The ecosystem is much more extensive with thousands of various extensions available. So how to choose a proper tool to apply Magento 2 changes that you really need? You will find the answer below.
We’ve decided to create two guides explaining how to choose Magento 2 extensions. The first one will help you to create a healthy store with the minimum effort but a few limitations. The second guide provides tips on how to inspect Magento 2 modules in a more complex way with fewer limitations
Below, we’ve listed several basic requirements for every Magento 2 module. Follow them and you will never inflict harm to your store. Let’s take a look at the first tip.
Do you really need this Magento 2 extension? Does it provide lacking features? Do you need them?
Always try to find answers to these questions before purchasing a new Magento 2 extension. Note that some Magento 2 features are enough to cover your business needs so that it is not necessary to replace them with the help of third-party modules.
You live in the world where everyone is trying to sell something to you. Unfortunately, the Magento 2 ecosystem is not an exception. Thus, try to find out whether you really need these advanced tracking capabilities provided by a third-party module or the default functionality is enough to cover your needs. Often, merchants install Magento 2 extensions and use their basic functionality only that is provided by the platform out-of-the-box.
There is also a situation when a vendor offers two modules with similar features but under different names or one extension provides only basic functionality while there is a more robust module. Is it necessary to purchase two Magento 2 plugins that offer similar features? Of course, not. So be attentive to what is hidden behind different names. Perhaps, you are going to install to similar solutions.
In case of a module with a basic set of features and its more robust variation, you have to think wisely. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish: your e-commerce business may grow essentially so that basic features won’t be enough to cover the new needs in the nearest future. Thus, you will have to purchase the Magento 2 module with the extended functionality. Consequently, it is better to spend more money on it in advance – you will save your budget in future.
But there are also situations when the basic features are enough even if your business grows dramatically. Let’s take a look at Aheadworks. This company provides two extensions designed to enhance the default Magento 2 functionality in two absolutely different ways: Automatic Related Products and Who Bought This Also Bought.
Automatic Related Products provides the best way to create, customize, and manage related products on your website. The module offers a huge selection of settings and fully customizable related products display on the frontend.
Who Bought This Also Bought is another plugin in the company’s portfolio that improves the way related products are displayed on your storefront. This Magento 2 extension provides a basic functionality and incorporates absolutely different principles than the previous tool. It offers fewer opportunities when it comes to the customization of related products display, but you will save $200 purchasing this tool. What extension to choose?
Although you may find tutorials with the direct answer to this question, we think that the situation must be described in a more specific way. At the first blush, “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish” may work here but everything depends on the particular features of your business. For instance, you have a small store and don’t have many customers yet. Who Bought This Also Bought won’t work. But do you need to spend almost $500 on Automatic Related Products? No, you can use the default Magento 2 features to create product relations.
In case you already have lots of purchases and the block with related products isn’t a reliable source of revenue, Who Bought This Also Bought will be enough. But it won’t let you create as precise product display as the Automatic Related Products Magento 2 extension does. Thus, you can use ARP to increase the efficiency of this frontend section. But how significant is the bump?
The answer depends on the products you sell. If you are working with car parts, the block with related products won’t be helpful unless you display some supplementary goods there. But if you sell books, the highly configured related products section may dramatically increase sales. And you need the Automatic Related Products Magento 2 extension to implement the most precise customizations.
Consequently, you should consider all nuances of the desired Magento 2 extension and the specific needs of your business before purchasing the plugin. The new module should be really helpful. If the advanced functionality is not necessary, you will just waste your time and money. And don’t forget about system resources and possible conflicts between extensions that may occur with every newly installed tool.
Now, when you know that the Magento 2 extension should be really necessary for covering your business needs, pay attention to the reliability of the plugin. The most simple way is to look for an extension on the Magento Marketplace. Modules pass a long procedure of verification before being approved on the platform. As a result, potentially harmful content is not represented on the marketplace. If the desired Magento 2 extension is represented there, you can undoubtedly purchase it. Of course, it is always better to review the plugin’s code before installing it, but this is a tip from the more complex tutorial that is available below.
At the same time, you may evaluate the vendor’s website and module reviews, but there are several important nuances we’d like to draw your attention to. Firstly, a user-friendly store with many reviews may be a reason to worry. It is always hard to make buyer’s share their thoughts regarding the purchased products. Sometimes, it takes months before someone shares their opinion about a module. At the beginning of the Magento 2 era, several vendors posted lots of fake reviews on their Magento 2 extensions to attract the attention of potential buyers. It seems that everybody does that but beware of merchants who pitch it strong.
At the same time, a website with an ordinary interface or poor product descriptions may be a source of budget-friendly and reliable tools. For instance, Fooman didn’t provide demos to the company’s core products for a long time, but the Magento 2 extensions developed by this vendor were brilliant: they provided advanced functionality that replaced core Magento 2 features combined with top reliability and user-friendly experience for both backend and frontend. Now, the modules are even better due to the past updates and you can explore their demos on corresponding product pages.
Thus, the best way to discover how reliable is the desired module is to review its code. You can ask someone to do that. Alternatively, it is also possible to browse the Magento 2 community for the opinion of specialists regarding the vendor or even the selected module. And don’t forget about the Magento Marketplace. You can find a module there but purchase it from the vendor’s website.
Never forget about possible conflicts between modules. The more Magento 2 extensions are installed – the higher the probability of conflicts is. Unfortunately, this is the reality you have to deal with. But you don’t need to be afraid of such kind of issues. Indeed, it is possible to reduce the probability of conflicts by following a few simple steps.
First of all, let’s return to the beginning of this tutorial. Do you really need all these modules to be installed? Perhaps, it is possible to use the default Magento 2 features to cover your business needs? Remember, the probability of conflicts between Magento 2 extension directly depends on the number of modules. Of course, other factors are also influential, but the more plugins you install, the higher the probability is.
For instance, we offer a fully-featured import/export solution designed to replace multiple connectors. Buy using the Improved Import & Export Magento 2 extension instead of multiple connectors, you eliminate conflicts between various import and export solutions because you do not need to install them. The single module does all the import/export routine. The same is about various SEO suites that combine multiple modules under the same roof. Thus, it is possible to install Magento 2 SEO Suite by Mageworx replacing multiple smaller extensions and lowering the probability of conflicts between them to zero.
Besides, you can essentially reduce risks by installing only a top-notch Magento 2 extensions. This is not a guaranteed cure for the disease, but the probability of conflicts is reduced if you use reliable community-proven tools. We’ve just described multiple ways to find such modules above.
Another way to reduce conflicts is to use Magento 2 extensions developed by the same vendor. Note that they are usually designed to perfectly match each other reducing the risk of conflicts. At least, you can always ask only one support team to help with your problems and receive a guaranteed solution within a short period of time. In case of plugins by multiple vendors, it is much harder to fix the problem.
Run the audit of installed tools periodically. If you don’t use something – delete this Magento 2 extension. Thus, you will reduce the risk of conflicts as well as resource consumption. And don’t forget about software updates: upgrade the installed extensions since this usually reduce various bugs that may cause conflict with newly installed tools.
These were basic requirements and recommendations on how to select a Magento 2 extension. They are useful in both cases: either you want to replace standards Magento 2 features or get the absolutely new functionality. Now, then you know the core, we can talk about more specific tips.
Always inspect the extension’s code before installing it. We’ve already advised that above, and now it is time to pay more attention to the tip. If you are not a developer, ask someone to do that. Once again: don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. If you spend a few bucks on the inspection right now, it may save you a few hundred of bucks necessary for reducing issues caused by the poor code of the installed Magento 2 extension.
Unfortunately, the quality of Magento 2 extensions varies dramatically so that you can always face the module that is potentially harmful. Even the Magento marketplace does not provide a 100% guarantee of safety and clarity.
Kristof Ringleff recommends avoiding one-click installations directly to the live environment. In his blog post dedicated to the same topic, he insists on installing Magento 2 extensions manually since it is the only opportunity to inspect the extension’s code before it is installed. The procedure is much less user-friendly than a Marketplace installation and it requires more time, but you can prevent many issues by applying this approach to Magento 2 extensions.
Checking the extension’s code must be a habit – not a boring routine. Every good developer understands the importance of this process, but what code is acceptable?
Somewhere in the ideal world, you may try to find the Magento 2 extension developed according to the latest coding standards and best practices. Indeed, nothing similar is associated with a daily routine, and your goal is to monitor the code looking for obvious red flags. What if the code is encrypted?
You cannot read it;
You cannot modify it.
In this case, you should accept all possible risks or try to find another Magento 2 extension that provides similar features.
Modifications to Magento core are usually unacceptable. They revamp the behavior of your website making it less developer-friendly. And there is a high probability of unwanted headaches. According to Kristof Ringleff, the same treatment is similar to core classes. He accepts that there are several cases when it is necessary to replace a Magento core class, but you should examine such extensions most precisely.
Besides, Kristof recommends readers to pay attention to the following nuances:
A license check. If the extension implements a license check, it may not only consume lots of resources but also move your store down because there is no response from the vendor’s license server. Carefully check this aspect before installing any Magento 2 extension.
Customizations. You may be interested in customizing the functionality of the new Magento 2 extension according to the specific business needs. Note that not all modules allow doing that. Even if the opportunity is enabled, it may still be hard to achieve your goal due to the lack of custom events or theming capabilities.
Database install/update scripts. The SQL folder of the extension contains the database install/update scripts that characterize the behavior of the module. Explore them for the in-depth understanding of the plugin’s functionality. According to Kristof Ringleff “Less is more when it comes to making changes to the Magento core database tables”
Malicious intent. The Magento ecosystem is far from being ideal. Thus, you still have to check the code regarding the malicious intent. If something connects to a third-party server and sends data there, it is a reason not to install the extension unless you work with a connector that implements data synchronization with an external system.
If you’ve discovered a potential issue or something that you don’t want to have in the code of the installed Magento 2 extension, you have three possible resolutions. Firstly, choose another module. It is the most obvious and at the same time effective way to prevent problems caused by the possible code uncertainty.
Secondly, you can contact the support team of the extension to find out more details about the problem that keeps you on the trot. It may require some time before you will get the answer. Perhaps, you will need to follow up a conversation to get all the necessary details about the issue.
Thirdly, it is possible to replace the problem customizing the code. Depending on your particular case, any of these three approaches may solve the problem most efficiently. If it is a rare extension, contact the support and implement the necessary customizations. If there is a more reliable replacement – choose it undoubtedly.
We hope that the tips mentioned above will help you select only the best Magento 2 extensions creating a healthy e-commerce store with top-notch features and functionality. What modules do you use? Why can you recommend them to others? Please, share your thought in the comment section below.