How to Evaluate What CMS to Use

Nov 24 2009 by Joel Reyes | 117 Comments

Content Management Systems (CMS) have evolved into more than just publishing content, but managing your workflow as well. CMS’s nowadays allow you to easily conceive, edit, index, and publish content, while giving designers and developers more flexibility in customizing their look and functionality. Although there are many that require advanced skills to operate successfully, this article is going to cover a select few that offer a balance between design, code, and end-user usability.

How to Evaluate What CMS to Use

This article will help you make an informed decision on what CMS is right for you.

Evaluating Content Management Systems

Evaluating content management systems can be an overwhelming task, not because it’s rocket science, but simply because there are tons of them to choose from. However, with a structured approach to your evaluation, things can be much easier and less intimidating. Let’s talk about the things you should look at when deciding what CMS to use; here are eight characteristics that a good CMS should have.

1. Intuitiveness: easy to understand and use

Your CMS should have a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that’s easy on the eyes, doesn’t have overly complicated options, and offers simplicity in its administration interface. A good interface means that tasks pertaining to creating and managing your content will be quicker, saving you a lot of time and increasing your productivity.

You should also look at it from an end user’s perspective: if you’re building a content management system for a client who’s not "technology-savvy" and you choose a solution that requires a Ph. D. in computer science, it’s less likely that they’ll be able to use the system (thus, defeating the whole purpose of a CMS, which is to empower its users).

2. Flexibility and Ease of Customization

Flexibility and Ease of Customization

When taking into consideration a content management system, make sure that you’re not obligated to use their design templates. A large quantity of CMS solutions allows you to customize your own design without major restrictions. If your CMS forces you to choose a fixed and unalterable design template, then you’re stripped of creative license and your website will look like everyone else’s.

CMS’s that offer customizations on templates are Expression Engine, WordPress, and Joomla just to name a few; these content management systems boast and promote their ability to be easily modified.

3. Extensibility via Plugins and Modules

Extensibility via Plugins and Modules

A good CMS will allow you incorporate helpful site features into your site by letting you extend the default configuration with plugins.

Plugins/extensions/modules (their terminology varies between different platforms) make a difference in terms of enhancing your site’s ability to provide your site users with useful options for interfacing with your site.

Look for a CMS with a powerful Application Programming Interface (API) in case you need to write your own extensions. Make sure that the CMS you’re considering already has a huge list of plugins. Though you might not need plugins right away, it’s important that this is available to you, later down the road.

4. No Need for Programming Knowledge

If you’re more "design-oriented" than anything else, make sure you select a CMS where you won’t need to have extensive programming abilities to publish and maintain your site.

There is a wide selection of CMS’s that have WYSIWYG editors, letting you edit content without the need for code. Having to edit text through HTML markup can be time consuming and takes you away from other aspects of your managing and building your site.

Complex sites, however, can require a CMS that will let you type in some code, edit files with extensions such as .php, .css, .html, and make changes without that need for a third-party source code editor.

5. Optimized for Performance and Speed

Taking into consideration the speed your pages load on the browser, and how fast your site can make a connection to a server, is vital. Choosing a CMS that is bulky will drive away visitors rather then bring them in. By visiting examples of live sites, you’ll be able to gauge somewhat how fast pages load.

Keep in mind that you can increase the load time of your site by choosing a good host, and adding plugins that cache/compress/minify feeds, CSS, JS and also caches your database objects. A case study on this subject can be found here.

A simple and free tool that you can use to evaluate page response times of your CMS candidates is YSlow. Install it and head on over to demo sites of your CMS’s to see how well it’s front-end performs.

6. Security

Security

Adequate security for your site is very important and must be in place in order to protect your content. There are CMS’s that allow you to install specific plugins and edit files/permissions in order to increase security levels. Make sure you choose a management system that offers modules to protect the integrity of your site. You can also protect your site by selecting a CMS that allows you to easily assign a different username and password to each user. This will let you view and control what each user has access to.

For WordPress, be sure to read about essential security tips and hacks for WordPress.

7. Documentation and Community Support

Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to figure out how to do something, and not have references online that you can take advantage of. One way to ensure that you won’t be running into this problem is by reading through the documentation of your candidate CMS’s. Also, a quick Google search will tell you how popular and well-documented a content management system is.

The availability (or lack thereof) of support from users of the system can be a deal maker or deal breaker. When users are active and proud of being part of the community, you not only have access to individuals that are more familiar with the system, but also, you can be assured that the project will be developed continually. Nothing’s worse than investing your resources and effort on a dead (or soon to be dead) project.

8. Emphasis on Web Standards and Best Practices

Content Management Systems developed under web standards guidelines and best practices will ensure that you won’t get burned later down the road. When applications are designed with best practices in mind, you can be assured ultimate cross-browser compatibility, lean-and-mean code, and ease of maintenance.

Look for content management systems that promote the use of web standards, and those that put it at the forefront of their development and design philosophy.

Some Key Content Management Systems to Consider

Now that you know the key characteristics of a good content management system, let’s take a look at a handful of major CMS’s that excel in most, if not all, of those areas.

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine (EE) is a flexible CMS for any scope of project. Within a few minutes, you’ll understand how to easily begin creating content. EE’s templating system lets you quickly see instant changes live. EE also has a multi-layered caching system to try and minimize the database usage. In addition, EE lets you embed and run PHP directly within its templates, very similar to WordPress.

ExpressionEngine has various features such as allowing you to have multiple sites with just one installation of their software. Just as we spoke in the above section dealing with connections and load times, EE has a unique template caching, query caching and tag caching keep the site running at a pretty quick pace by storing database queries in memory to reduce database connections when generating web pages.

WordPress

WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular publishing platforms currently available in the market, and it’s known for being an excellent blogging platform. WordPress is free and open source, and it can be downloaded and installed as many times as you want.

WordPress installations are very quick and easy. It only takes a few minutes for your admin panel to be operational. If coding is not your strong suit, then no worries, WordPress offers its users a WYSIWYG editor (called Visual Editor).

Business Catalyst/Goodbary

Business Catalyst/Goodbary

Business Catalyst/Goodbary (owned by Adobe) is a powerful ecommerce CMS for developers. This content publishing platform has an array of useful features such as email marketing and in-depth site analytics. Business Catalyst gives you an easy way for your business to gain an online presence in no time. GB allows you to easily keep track of a customer’s actions, build and manage a customer database of any size, and sell your products and services online. Business Catalyst integrates well with a lot of popular payment systems such as PayPal, Google Checkout and pre-integrated gateways.

Joomla!

Joomla!

Joomla! is an advanced CMS with excellent function and content management. The installation process is pretty quick and easy. Joomla! is a complete CMS allowing you to build simple to advanced sites. Joomla also has super support for access control protocols like LDAP and OpenID, and can interface with popular and open API’s such as Google APIs.

With Joomla!, you’ll have more then 3,500 extensions at your disposal along with the support of an entire community. With a simple extension, you can add almost any needed functionality to your site.

One downside to Joomla! is that their heavy-artillery list of extensions often require you to purchase them. Hopefully, in the future, they will make their plugins free in order to aid users on a tight budget.

Drupal

Drupal

Drupal, a great open source CMS supported by a very active community, lets users publish content through any time with very little restrictions. Once the installation is finalized, you will discover features such as forums, user blogs, OpenID sign-ons, profiles and more. This CMS was written in PHP/MySQL for ease of customization and has one of the highest-regarded API’s in the open source content management system field.

Cushy CMS

Cushy CMS

Cushy CMS is a hosted and free content management system that’s lightweight, though powerful enough to jumpstart your site in a jiffy. With Cushy CMS, you have to add CSS styles to the sections that you will eventually change or edit. This CMS allows you to access and store content while it uploads this same data to server.

Cushy was built for content editors and designers and so it’s very simple and easy to manage. Being a SaaS, you don’t need to install or self-maintain the CMS.

TYPOlight

TYPOlight

TYPOlight is great for site builders that will be maintaining multiple sites and is an ideal solution for web developers. If you’re thinking about creating a simple or advanced site design with great functionality, then TYPOlight CMS can definitely get the job done for you.

RadiantCMS

RadiantCMS

RadiantCMS is a Ruby on Rails app. Radiant has a very active community for core support and updates. If you are a RoR developer, it’s right up your alley. Radiant has concentrated on making things much more user-friendly for end users and web designers. RadiantCMS also contains an innovative custom tagging language (called Radius) that’s easy to pick up.

SilverStripe

SilverStripe

SilverStripe is an open source application written on top of PHP and was designed with emphasis on flexibility. SilverStripe has many configurable options and is geared towards content-heavy websites.

This CMS was completely built on its own PHP framework, called Saphire. SS offers content version control and great SEO support. All users alike are welcome to customize the administration area for their clients or themselves.

The only downside with SS is that the default templates are garbage; however, that’s nothing a little elbow grease wouldn’t fix.

Textpattern CMS

Textpattern CMS

Textpattern CMS is a very popular system for many designers due to its simplicity.

Textpattern strives to provide great content management that produces quick, easy, and desirable web standards-compliant pages. There is no WYSIWYG editor because Textpattern utilizes textile markup for content generation.

The backend is very easy to use and follow. New users will learn the administration section with super speedy ease.

Alfresco

Alfresco

Alfresco is a JSP enterprise content management solution that’s quick and easy to install. Alfresco lets you drop files into folders and convert those files into interactive web documents. This CMS isn’t as easy to become familiar with when compared to others, however, with a little bit of time investment, you’ll definitely get the hang of it. Alfresco could be targeted more towards the intermediate developer, although its pure functionality allows it to become very usable. The administration GUI is very organized, well maintained, and easy to navigate through.

Got tips on how to evaluate the right CMS? Do you have experiences (good or bad) with the content management systems shown here? Talk to us about it in the comments.

Related Content

About the Author

Joel Reyes is a web designer and web developer with years of experience in the industry. He runs a development studio called Looney Designer. He works with standards-compliant HTML/CSS, PHP, JavaScript and WordPress development and design. Connect with the author via Twitter.

117 Comments

Design Informer

November 24th, 2009

Great post! I’m still using WordPress as my CMS though. :)

Brian Howard

November 24th, 2009

Wow based on your criteria you missed a couple!
Concrete5
MODx
I know there are tons of them out there, but

Levi

November 24th, 2009

Great points, documentation is key for me in choosing a CMS. After having tried ModX and found it to be too large and unwieldy for many of my clients I have settled on a little known Frog CMS. Small install, easy to show clients how to use, perfect for a smaller blog/portfolio site.

Diego

November 25th, 2009

Thanks, this came up right on time. We are currently working on some Drupal sites, this article may help convincing our sponsors that we can use other CMSs depending on the site requirements.

Stewart McCoy

November 25th, 2009

Joel,

I noticed Plone isn’t listed on here. I’ve not used it a lot myself, but my major professor (who also runs http://www.eserver.org) swears by it. I’ve also noticed it’s been the recipient of several awards.

Was it in consideration? If so, why did you decide to leave it off? If not, is Plone not on the radars of many professional web developers?

Arik

November 25th, 2009

What about Modx?

WebExpressMalta

November 25th, 2009

great article…. :)

WPCONCEPT

November 25th, 2009

Great article. I prefer WORDPRESS. I can develop themes for wordpress and for me is more suitable.

zeemiDesign

November 25th, 2009

Great Article! Provided some really great insights

Heinrich

November 25th, 2009

Great article. I’ll now need to sit down and compare them all for my new projects.

Adam Elleston

November 25th, 2009

I have been using MODx for about a year now and cant say that I want to stop. It doesn’t have all the modules that Drupal and WordPress have but it is easier to extend with event driven plugins and modules. I find that using Drupal I would use a module but then need to write custom code to modify the module as it would not work in the way it needed to for that project. MODx is a solid base on which to extend on which is why I like it, plus the community is so active and helpful.

FlashMoto

November 25th, 2009

Thanks for the article. All these points mentioned on the article should be taken into consideration while choosing a CMS. But you should also keep in mind that a really good CMS should support SEO options. On the basis of this aspect, I love Drupal and WordPress. They both very convenient for me.

Also I want to recommend you another CMS but for Flash websites that also impresses with its fuctionality and simplicity – FlashMoto CMS.

Thanks for the useful article!

Jordi Roca

November 25th, 2009

Great article. Thank you.

There is one important missing feature for many of us in Content Management: i18n and l10n.

The ability to maintain with ease a multilingual website, i.e. exactly the same website in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Some systems like Joomla or wordpress have plug-ins but in the end it becomes so difficult to manage a ML website with them.

Regards.

Joe Pendlebury

November 25th, 2009

Nice article.

Although I haven’t yet tried it out myself, I have heard a lot of good feedback about ‘Squarespace’ (http://www.squarespace.com). This is meant to be a particularly good CMS to be aware of if you are looking for a more ‘design-orientated CMS’ and don’t want to be bogged down with having to worry about using intermediate to advanced coding techniques to achieve the functionality you require. They also have some very nice features that a lot of other recognised and highly-rated CMS’ currently lack, such as an iPhone application which allows you to manage your site ‘on-the-go’.

Qoska

November 25th, 2009

…MODx maybe?

Brad

November 25th, 2009

I’m always still amazed that MODx is consistently missed in these reviews. It is by far one of the best CMS systems available.

http://www.modxcms.com

Bodgan Pop

November 25th, 2009

“Documentation and community support” – this is in contradiction “No Need for Programming Knowledge”. Yeah, there’s good documentation and awesome communities around a given CMS, but they won’t think technical problems if you have no idea about programming. Yes you could find some nice guy or girl to help you out, but giving server access to a stranger may not be such a good idea.

I think professional, paid technical support is a must.

MedicalWebGeek

November 25th, 2009

You also missed Sitefinity (www.sitefinity.com) and DotNetNuke (www.dotnetnuke.com). Both built on the Asp.net platform and easy to use. They also have free community editions.

Joel Reyes

November 25th, 2009

Thank you all for your comments! Many of you have suggested MODx as a great CMS. I’ve heard of it before, I’ll definitely try it out more and it would most likely be included in another list :)

mary

November 25th, 2009

Great article. I use a few of the ones you’ve listed plus one you’ve missed – MODx CMS. Definitely worth more than a look.

mary

RustyH

November 25th, 2009

PHPwcms is by far the best!

Noel Wiggins

November 25th, 2009

Great round up and review.

I have just completed my learning curve for word press, but as a web developer I feel it is my duty to learn all popular systems, in order to give the best product to my clients.

I will be diving into jumlia and drupal next.

But did want to mention for a simple cms tool for static websites I have been using adobe incontext editor and it has proven to be a life saver to my clients.

Matt Mikulla

November 25th, 2009

Great list. I’ve been using Textpattern for years. I definitely prefer it over wordpress, which most of my client sites use.

CodeDude

November 25th, 2009

You forgot one of the best light weight cms’s out there, Frog CMS.

Amy

November 25th, 2009

I wrote a blog post last week that focused mainly on WordPress, Expression Engine, Movable Type, Square Space, and Tumblr. http://bit.ly/39Eg4g

Without realizing it the issues that I kept coming back to were the 8 things you listed. — great analysis on your part!

doug

November 25th, 2009

Enterprise-level CMS compatible with .NET/.asp framework, anybody?

Ian

November 25th, 2009

I’ve used both WordPress and Drupal. I like WordPress for it’s simplicity and great out of the box feel. Drupal is more powerful, but the price is a bigger learning curve.

Izdelava CMS Strani

November 25th, 2009

You should try Surreal CMS. With only one step you could turn your html page into CMS system. Very simple and effective. And free!

lossendae

November 25th, 2009

One more vote for MODx CMS.

It has the best templating system ever.
I really hope that his popularity will grow soon.

deer421

November 25th, 2009

SilverStripe! Yes! I am glad you include it. I think its admin/editor application is currently the best out there. The interface is straight forward and intuitive. My clients are using it with no or minimal training.

Antonio

November 25th, 2009

Drupal & Joomla for complex sites and Modx for small sites. Nothing else is necessary for me…

razvantim

November 25th, 2009

Also another great CMS is Umbraco (http://www.umbraco.org/). This is .NET based CMS.

Roc

November 25th, 2009

Definitely missing MODx here.

kist

November 25th, 2009

I have used WordPress and Joomla. From the two i think Joomla is more easily editable via admin menu with modules, plugins and components. But it has some serious problem with code, it contains TABLES and other dirty stuff, not SEO friendly.

WordPress is more clean organized, more “modern” and SEO friendly. I like everything about it, the only bad thing is that you can only add widgets and modules to the sidebar when you are in admin menu.

I should try these others and see what’s best of all!

dubbs

November 25th, 2009

You missed the best CMS out there… MODx – http://www.modxcms.com ;] Big oversight!

Rob

November 25th, 2009

Wow. You don’t even mention MovableType. Have the people at SixApart fallen that far? I use MT because it’s easy to code in html and I prefer static pages, but dear god is their documentation awful. It’s nearly embarrassing. Still, I’m testing the beta of MT5 and am relatively pleased with it.

The best version of MT was version 3. Ever since then, the package has grown exponentially and the interface HAS SLOWED EXPONENTIALLY.

Keith Davis

November 25th, 2009

Hi Joel
Pretty comprehensive, but surely it has to be….. WordPress!
My only reservation about using wordpress as a client CMS is, how do clients optimise and upload images… any thoughts?

You should have a little “vote for your choice” button at the bottom of the article.

Bob Thorton

November 25th, 2009

You left out my favorite, Surreal CMS!

Shea

November 25th, 2009

After becoming acquainted with WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal I have come to a couple of conclusions with them.

WordPress is a fantastic Blog CMS. Not a full featured website CMS. For full feature websites I like Drupal over Joomla. Joomla was a great place for me to start understanding how larger CMS systems work as it provided most of my needs out of the box, but now I like the variety of options and updates that the Drupal Community puts out. Drupal can be daunting to someone new as there are quite a few contributed modules and some that tackle the same problems. This can confuse and annoy those new to the game.

MartinF

November 25th, 2009

…the only real easy CMS WebsiteBaker…

regards

Florian Stanek

November 25th, 2009

Choose that you know well:)

I use TYPO3. It can also be taken for small Websites as for real big ones too.

Nic Miller

November 25th, 2009

I absolutely echo all the requests for modx. It’s simply easier to use and more designer-friendly that any I have ever tried.

I was completely frustrated in my initial search for a CMS that didn’t require me to use PHP, and allowed me to have absolute control on the site’s appearance (NO hacking). Then a good friend recommended modx. I fell in love, and have been cranking out sites unlike any I’d made before.

Marcell Purham

November 25th, 2009

Which CMS s the best is a question that will never be answer. I think it goes off which is best for YOU. Great post

Scott Radcliff

November 25th, 2009

For me, good documentation and easy access the the classes and functions are key. It has to be extendable.

Tried Expression Engine and hated it.

kist

November 25th, 2009

I have tried the MODx cms! It is the best! I love it! Better than joomla and wordpress together! It’s really what i was looking for in a cms!

Ralph

November 25th, 2009

For those looking for a smaller CMS solution (like Cushy CMS), have a look at Perch (http://grabaperch.com/). I’ve totally fallen in love with it, and it has support for multiple languages. I prefer it over Cushy, Surreal et al. because it is hosted on your own server, and it is very simple yet infinitely flexible. You add editable regions to your pages, rather than having the whole site within the CMS.

Matt Hamilton

November 25th, 2009

Considering it just won the Packt Publishing Award for Best Other [non-PHP] Open Source CMS for the 2nd year running, I’m surprised Plone is not on your list. It fulfils all the criteria you have set above, plus has excellent multilingual support.

Another big point you miss out is to actually understand what you want to do with your CMS. e.g. WordPress is great for a blog or simple CMS site, but not for a company intranet. Plone is better for a company intranet or large public site with multiple authors and workflow, but overkill for a simple blog.

-Matt

Magrave

November 25th, 2009

I was a Modx addict, until I discovered SPIP.
The 2.0 version is very simple to use, and you can find a loooot of plugins to use with

Roberto

November 25th, 2009

Good article. We use Joomla and WordPress. Still have not had the need to look for something else. But it’s always fun to experiment, so I may try a couple of the above. Thanks!

Jonathan Meharry

November 25th, 2009

Am I the only one on here that loves ExpressionEngine? It takes a while to get used to the way they think but once you take some time to learn the system, it’s amazing how flexible and powerful it is. I’ve done all of my latest web projects – from big to small – with EE it was able to handle everything I threw at it.
You pay for it, but the support is amazing and you’re always guaranteed an expert answer to any problem.

Hannes

November 26th, 2009

I find it so sad that, where ever I see a listing of CMS systems, Plone is never listed. Granted it is not an easy to install system, but there is simply no equal when it comes to extensibility and security.

Kooboo

November 26th, 2009

Depends on what kind of site you are building. Your this article is more based on personal website. For enterprise applications, you need at least API for integration which probably is the most important. Beside that the #4, No Need for Programming Knowledge, I have seen enough people trying to make a page using WYSIWYG editor, they loving it. However again I will not recommend this practice for high level professional websites. Those WYSIWYG editors often create many ugly code which does not fit into a professional website.

Warren

November 26th, 2009

Great article I personally am a Drupal supporter and my site tends to be more Drupal-centric. I’ve tried Joomla and WordPress but my preference goes to Drupal. However, I have been hearing a lot of talk about Express Engine, might give that a try on my test server and judging by the comments MODx would be up there as well.

Keith Marc

November 26th, 2009

Good summary, although I’m missing the one I’m using – Kentico CMS (its Free Edition). Good summary, although I’m missing the one I’m using – Kentico CMS (it’s Free Edition). It definitely covers all the points mentioned!

SToto98

November 26th, 2009

Maybe you can add Automne to this list (http://www.automne.ws). It is a new french CMS for which documentation has not yet translated into English, but it worth a look.

pfeffer

November 26th, 2009

@doug
Try kentico cms (www.kentico.com)

Alice

November 26th, 2009

I inherited a site made with MODx and as a designer (HTML and CSS only) I don’t really like it I have to say.

Has anyone tried CMS Made Simple?

lmzan

November 26th, 2009

I’ve been using Xoops http://www.xoops.org for some time now and although it lacks on good looking free templates there is a pretty good number of modules available and a worldwide community of users and developers. It’s not suited for small blogs but it’s really effective with portals and business websites.

Max

November 26th, 2009

I’m using WordPress for my blog. The functinality is good and lots of plugins are available, but it is not a true CMS system.

I think Drupal is a #1 CMS for me at this moment – also lots of plugins, development API available and really good community support.

Also I was using MediaWiki engine as a CMS for website. The biggest challenge in this case is to explain to non-technical people how to use wiki formatting for layout.

Jordan Koschei

November 26th, 2009

WordPress is wonderful to develop for; I don’t know if I could ever change.

Jordan Koschei

Drop

November 27th, 2009

Agree with Jordan – WP is simpe, comes with lots of plugins – why bother about other choices?

Gerhard Jansen

November 27th, 2009

Great article.
Thank you.

Maybe another point one may take into accout are the costs for purchasing and run a cms.

px42

November 27th, 2009

Joomla stinks, WP is for blogs and maybe simple sites, Drupal rocks

Pixelic

November 27th, 2009

Thanks! This will come in handy.

LAW D

November 27th, 2009

I’ve been using WordPress for several years now, and I’ve using it for more then a dozen of my projects. I’ve gotten to good at developing sites with wordpress in the backend, that it is really hard for me to change to a different CMS. However, I’m starting to use Joomla now, and hopefully I’ll be a pro at it same as wordpress.
Thanks for the article.

Patrick

November 28th, 2009

Agree- MODx deserves to be up there. We’re basically:

WordPress: small sites and blog centric
MODx: mid-sized and some larger websites
Drupal and EE: bigger fish

James

November 29th, 2009

MODx – next Version named Revolution expected Winter 2009 :D

Mustapha NAJAH

November 30th, 2009

very nice analysis of the mentioned CMS, am a web developper and i work mainly with Joomla and wordpress and Drupal (in the pst) and i may say that these three are gainin’ ground at this moment. Recently, i read an article about “2009 Open Source CMS Award” (Link: http://www.weberica.com/general/2009-open-source-cms-award) in which WordPress has been awarded the Overall Best Open Source CMS Award, Interessting No !!

Jacques

November 30th, 2009

Great article. Cut my teeth with Joomla, and currently learning how to create WP themes from scratch. Been teaching myself PHP and MySQL and can’t wait to start playing around with the other CMSs I’ve learned about from other commenters.
MODx
TextPattern
MovableType
thanx

Patrick

November 30th, 2009

Surprised Refinery CMS isn’t listed here. http://www.refinerycms.com

Flick

November 30th, 2009

Great article here! I am a fan of WordPress but some of the CMSs here are really calling out to be tried and tested.

Joel

December 1st, 2009

Thank you all for your valuable comments! All of your suggestions make great additions :)

Paddy

December 2nd, 2009

After evaluating a couple of CMSs Concrete5 is the clear winner for me cause it is sooo easy to use both as a designer and as content editor.

Sir Gallantmon

December 4th, 2009

One that should definitely be considered for those who don’t like messing with code too much, but also those who want a powerful API is Enano CMS.

Enano CMS is a PHP-based CMS that is very standards-compliant and offers many features to make life easier for the website maintainer to put in and manage content.

It even supports using wikitext as the formatting for content in pages.

Enano CMS is highly extensible and secure, using AES and Rijndael for securing authentication. Its authentication can even be extended to support other methods, such as the Yubikey, which is currently supported via a plugin.

Check it out at http://enanocms.org

Karto

December 5th, 2009

Great article, but I kinda missed the cms “Magento” in this selection. I have been working with it for quite some time and think it is an excelent option.

Fil

December 7th, 2009

hhmmm. I use to work with spip 2.0 It is the perfect cms for small a big website. But the documentation is almost only in french. That is sad ’cause a lot of people would love to work with spip.
Trying right now ModX. Looks interesting and young. Hope it will grow up fast and strong.

Nathan Pope

December 8th, 2009

I have been loving WordPress. I have never hit a snag with all my personal needs and those of my clients. If I ever run into something that would take forever for me to program manually there is usually a plugin or solution to it somewhere.

Brett

December 8th, 2009

ExpressionEngine is the best CMS (if you have money), so I can’t use it for client websites a lot of the time. Its template system is second to none though, so if you’re a front-end only kind of guy that’s the CMS to go for. Very simple.

Textpattern has a similar template system to EE with its simple tags, so it’s as easy to learn, but I have too many issues installing it on a lot of hosts. If only it had as big a team behind it as WordPress – I don’t think WP would exist!

WordPress is nice and installs on all hosts pretty much, but I don’t like how the templates have PHP mixed into them and trying to use my own HTML in the widgets was a pain at times.

I’ll check out Moveable Type 5… I didn’t realise it was free again!

Altinkum

December 11th, 2009

very good article and l do like wordpress, joomla cant think internet with out theme.

gesnal

December 12th, 2009

I think it is difficult to choose the best cms product for your web site. Many times you have to make a bet for one of them, because you won’t know at all what implies to work with one of them.

jagoanweb

December 17th, 2009

nice article…
i don’t think there are so many kind of CMS.
too much choice means too difficult to decide..

Rachel

January 20th, 2010

Interesting article, although I don’t entirely agree ;-) I think a good CMS is one that does the job required. I’m new to this CMS arena (coded by hand previously) and I’ve looked at Joomla and some of the other more popular ones and I’ve not found the answers I’m looking for. I care little how complicated / easy the back end is, that’s my problem. What I want to know is what is it like for the client – is it obvious to them how to edit things, is it simple and inline editing or do you need to go off to an admin site to edit the content? How technically competent does the client have to be? Maybe CMS is not the answer and some other tool is. If anyone has some comments on that I’d appreciate it.

bum bum

February 6th, 2010

Alice I use CMS made simple all the time. It’s very easy to use and extend
by comunity writen modules, or if you need something special it’s easy to
write your own.

Nick Young

March 17th, 2010

Excellent article. I use Drupal for most of my work, now and then WordPress as well, although I tend to think of WordPress as a blogging platform. Both are excellent. Another one I do use now and then is Moodle ( http://moodle.org/ ), which is a free, specialised CMS known as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is essentially a CMS tailored to education.

Qreviews

April 19th, 2010

Good article. I use Joomla and WordPress. Still have not had the need to look for something else. But it’s always fun to experiment, so I may try a couple of the above. Thanks!

jan

June 12th, 2010

Typo3 is the best CMS if you are advancet developer, it has a perfect content block system which makes sites even for dummy clients unbreakeble. An Typo3 script alows you to set up page without writing a sigle line in PHP. Why Typo3 was not mentioned here??? You should be consider to add it next time.

Vinci

June 12th, 2010

+1 for Modx. After having worked with Joomla, WordPress, Drupal and then Modx, I’ve found Modx to be the best.
- Shortest learning curve.
- Very easy for site administrators to manage the site.
- Lightweight.
- Very easy and flexible to customize, using the variables, chunks and snippets approach.

Todd @BinaryHaiku

June 12th, 2010

It’s awesome that you wrote this last November and people are still Tweeting it and reading it. I’ve tried a few of these and I’m still a big fan of WordPress.

sunil

June 13th, 2010

WordPress is a popular blogging system. Not the CMS. We can convert it as a CMS…thats all

Brian

June 22nd, 2010

We liked Business Catalyst, but now prefer Verb CMS — http://verbcms.com/

Peter Gibbons

June 23rd, 2010

We have built a CMS platform that we believe runs with the big boys and in several cases crushes them. CMS-Logic is best described as content management system that your grandmother could control NASA with. It comes with all the bells and whistles and the flexibility that the average novice could easily manage. Not only is it a solid platform, but with our Store-Logic app, you can control not only your site content but manage your online store all in one admin. Give us a look. http:delaware.net

Alex Cooper

July 3rd, 2010

I personally prefer Radiant if on rails and WordPress on Php.

Lucas

July 14th, 2010

Concrete5 is an awesome CMS that uses in-context editing so you edit your site while your browse it. It’s easy for developers and even easier for end-users. Great community for support as well. Try it here: http://www.bit.ly/concrete5cms

Shane

July 24th, 2010

Thanks for all of yours great reviews , and finally because of this article I decide to go with Modx.

Allwww

August 14th, 2010

I am really missing WebsiteBaker in this list.
Have a go and look at websitebaker.org

Craig

August 25th, 2010

Thanks for the reviews of CMS, nice compilation

Bibek

October 9th, 2010

WordPress! I won’t really change. huh!?

George Petsagourakis

December 7th, 2010

I love HotaruCMS (http://hotarucms.org), it is plugin based, customized easily and really really well supported.

Lucas

January 10th, 2011

Bloated content management systems like Joomla or Drupal are terrible for the end-user experience and not very developer friendly. Concrete5 is a new powerful CMS that is easy for developers and even easier for end-users. It works on a in-context editing model so you make changes as you’re browsing your site. No more portal clones! If you’re tired of long training sessions and tons of client support requests, try a demo of Concrete5 here: http://bit.ly/concrete5cms

Sloughi

January 19th, 2011

Vive TYPO3 !!!!!

cathrene

January 20th, 2011

Nice article!! I have search something new which helps me a lot in handling my website named Proofcms.

Brian Larson

January 25th, 2011

Yet another shout out for MODx to be included on this list. Great post though!!

kalenik

January 26th, 2011

Good set of templates. Thank you very much, i found i was looking for a long time!

sogarab

February 21st, 2011

Good article and l do like wordpress

Michael Slater

March 19th, 2011

Nice collection of content management systems.

I recommend that people start with an analysis of their needs. If your site is more or less a blog, or a set of static pages, then WordPress and many others will do fine.

For a more sophisticated site with a lot of content, that requires custom database structures, there are many fewer options. In the open-source world, Drupal is probably the most common choice for this sort of site.

Open-source software, while it is free initially, can be very expensive to set up and maintain if done professionally. I believe the hosted CMS options are a better choice for designers and site owners who want to minimize their set-up cost, technology hassles, security risks, and server maintenance.

I cofounded Webvanta three years ago to address this need. We provide what we believe is the most powerful hosted CMS available — the only one that provides complete flexibility in terms of design and database structure, while remaining easy to use. Check it out at http://www.webvanta.com.

Juno

April 27th, 2011

Hmm. Nice. Fusion maybe? Not a very well one. The default interface is bad. The good thing is that it s ready for social networking site development. Modx is nice. I turned into cms thing with joomla, whichis still comfortable cms. WordPress is fast food i think. And the king is drupal. Heheh.

kamal

April 28th, 2011

I created a blog on the wordpress.thats very great experience…

Steve Roberts

June 1st, 2011

Concrete5 is the best CMS I have ever used – It is a real shame that it was not listed.

Concrete5 is so easy to use; training clients on how to use it has never been so simple. The inline editing makes it possible for even the worst techno-phoebe can to easily and confidently update their web sites.

Built-in versioning even makes it quick and easy to undo changes someone has made, and thank to a good user and group setup you can even ensure only certain users and/or groups have access to particular pages or even blocks.

For designers and developers, creating themes has been the simplest implementation I have ever done for any CMS.

There is a marketplace of full of add-ons and themes. Many cost a little, but they are affordable and there are a lot of free ones too.
One thing to remember is that Concrete5 itself is also FREE and Open Source.

The community is not as strong as it is for other CMSs, but it is growing and most importantly it is a friendly community, which is what many CMS communities are not these days.

Most documentation is around in the community forums and in the how-tos.
This means that you have to do some searching for the answers you need, but you can usually find what you are looking for in a few minutes.
If not, just post a discussion in the community forum and you usually get a quick response to your questions.

Overall, Concrete5 gives you everything you need from a content management system.

My advice is to forget about all the other Content Management Systems (or blogging systems if you are including WordPress!!) :)

Pankaj

June 10th, 2011

I have used Drupal, and its a tool that can give you any amount of customization you want. And yet, the out of the box experience is quite average.

Ben Vallack

August 13th, 2011

There’s also SetSeed http://setseed.com – a multi-site CMS designed for web developers to easily deploy multiple sites for their clients from a single installation. The CMS interface is designed to be both powerful and easy to use (especially by clients/content editors!). The platform is fully featured and lets you create complete websites and online shops without the need for plugins.

kopi

September 28th, 2011

WordPress is a fantastic Blog CMS, I’m still using it..

Kaira

October 12th, 2011

What CMS do you recommend for a real estate agency?
I am used to WordPress but I’m sure it is not the only option or necessarily the best one.

fotoregalo

October 26th, 2011

What cmd do you recommend for an e-commerce website?

FerreireX

October 28th, 2011

fotoregalo use Prestashop is realy nice and powerfull

Guyz what cms you recommend to create a site with the specification like

http://www.laterooms.com/
http://www.expedia.co.uk/
http://www.booking.com

Eduardo Sousa

November 25th, 2011

I wold like to know if there is any cms (if possible without a database) that allows to upload multiple images and they appear in the text area inline so i can add text between them.

Example:
http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~aas/pub/Varios … _Santiago/

This one was generated with picasa and then uploaded to a website, I wold like to do it with just a CMS

For example to make a extensive tutorial with lots of images

Thank you…

Eduardo Sousa

November 25th, 2011

Does Stacey allow to upload multiple images and they appear in the text area inline so i can add text between them.

Example:
http://paginas.fe.up.pt/~aas/pub/Varios/Personal/2004_07_27_Santiago/
or
http://urlmin.com/arh

This one was generated with picasa and then uploaded to a website, I wold like to do it with just a CMS

If it is not possible is it easy to implement i know some php? Is it easy to set a string in the text area? And what inserting a button on the editing area to do a multiple upload of images?

Thank you

Jeremy Wong

September 18th, 2013

I love using WordPress as it is powerful and flexible. But referring to the WYSIWYG web builder, I’ve also used Weebly and Squarespace for some different projects. They’re pure drag and drop so no coding knowledge is required. Although they always get criticized for for being inferior to the likes of WordPress, I think they definitely play an important role in opening up the possibility for people without any coding knowledge to gain an online presence. I think it’s wonderful from that perspective.

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