Top 10 Popular Content Management Systems — WordPress Challengers Included

Top 10 Popular Content Management Systems — WordPress Challengers Included

Jul 30, 2012

If “Content is King,” then the Content Management System (CSM) could rightly lay claim to being the very castle itself.

Whether you’re setting up a corporate website, a standard blog or just want to announce your presence on the Web, the age of hand-coding HTML pages and CSS is a thing of the past.  These days, just purchase hosting and install a CMS and within minutes you can have a website that looks highly polished, displaying the very content that you wish to share with the world.   Of course, there are many different ways in which you might use your website, from displaying a gallery of images to advertising your services, running a technical support page or even an online magazine. This is why, despite the popularity of the WordPress platform, there are many CMS alternatives available, each with its own strengths.

MakeUseOf, a daily blog that features cool websites, computer tips and downloads that make users more productive, has put together a list of content management systems (free to download and use unless otherwise stated).

The Girardbrewer.com team is posting the list “10 Most Popular Content Management Systems Online”on our WordPress blog.

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. MODX
  4. TextPattern
  5. RefineryCMS
  6. Drupal
  7. Concrete5
  8. DotNetNuke
  9. Umbraco
  10. TinyCMS

1. WordPress

WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.  WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a dynamic CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features, including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by nearly 15 percent of Alexa Internet’s “top one million” websites. Easily the most accessible and possibly the most commonly used, the strength of WordPress is in its quick installation and the massive user and developer community that results in a vast array of plugins and enhancements for the platform.  Throw in the added bonus of a vast template library and easy PHP and CSS file editing from within the admin screen and it becomes quite clear why WordPress is used for everything from personal blogs to e-commerce websites.

2. Joomla

Joomla is a free and open source content management framework (CMF) for publishing content on the Web and intranets and a model–view–controller (MVC) Web application framework that can also be used independently.  A quick trip to the Joomla website will reveal the claim that millions of websites are running on the software, and the reason for this is simple – it is extremely customizable, suitable for pretty much any purpose.  This is why Joomla is often used by small- and medium-sized businesses, large organizations, non-profits and individuals. Joomla’s admin section is easy to use and with the vast array of options from templates and styles to adding feeds, content blocks, menu management tools and more, you can see why this is a popular choice.

3. MODX

MODX is a free, open source CMS and Web application framework for publishing content on the Web and intranets. MODX, licensed under the GPL, is written in the PHP programming language and supports MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server as the database. It was awarded Packt Publishing’s Most Promising Open Source CMS in 2007. You need little or no coding knowledge to use MODX.  With more than 100,000 websites ranging from enterprise-scale businesses to sole traders, MODX is easy to use, allows non-technical staff to create content and affords various advantages such as using multiple styles on the same page. Additionally, ModX minimizes the need for SEO expertise as it is developed as a “blood brother” of search engines, presenting all of the information required by Google, Bing, etc., without additional plugins required.

4. TextPattern

Textpattern is a free, open source CMS. While it is often listed among weblogging tools, its aim is to be a general-purpose CMS suitable for deployment in many contexts. Textpattern is written in PHP using a MySQL database backend. With a minimalist, direct admin interface and flexible design engine, TextPattern is another ideal solution for producing blogs and corporate sites alike.  Equipped with import tools (ideal if you’re thinking of transferring content from another CMS) and featuring a native anti-spam system to block unwanted comments, TextPattern will also allow you to extend its basic functions thanks to a range of plugins that can be installed via the browser window.

5. RefineryCMS

Refinery CMS is an open source CMS written in Ruby as a Ruby on Rails web application with jQuery used as the JavaScript library. RefineryCMS supports Rails 3.2.  Refinery differs from similar products by targeting a non-technical end user and allowing the developer to create a flexible website rapidly by staying as close as possible to the conventions of the Ruby on Rails framework.  Refinery embraces the same conventions that have made the Rubyframework platform a success, adopting a strong focus on the end user when developing the user interface and providing an easy hook to add new functions and redesign both the front end and the admin screens. Featuring a range of different engines (blogs, membership, search, image gallery and many more), this is a CMS that is suitable for businesses of many different kinds.

6. Drupal

Drupal, a popular free and open source CMS  and content management framework (CMF), is often one of the first choices when building a new website.  Like many of the other tools listed here, Drupal can be scaled for personal blogs or enterprise mega-sites and, as with WordPress, there are thousands of modules that can be added to increase functionality.  Drupal is written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is used as a back-end system for at least 2.1 percent of all websites worldwide, ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political and government sites including whitehouse.gov and data.gov.uk.  It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration.  The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features common to CMSs.

7.  Concrete5

Concrete5 is an open source CMS for publishing content on the Web and intranets.  Concrete5 was designed for ease of use, for users with minimal technical skills. It enables users to edit site content directly from the page. It provides version management for every page, similar to wiki software, another type of website development software. Concrete5 allows users to edit images through an embedded editor on the page.  Aiming to make it possible for anyone to build and manage a website without investing a lot of time and money, Concrete5 has a tough job on its hands, but appears to be doing well. This CMS is positioned as the ultimate time-saving solution to designers, developers and site owners alike, which probably accounts for its popularity. Easy to use, with a strong focus on the end user, website designer and developer alike, Concrete5 is certainly worth a look.

8. DotNetNuke

DotNetNuke is an open source Web CMS based on Microsoft .Net.  DotNetNuke was written in VB.Net, though the developer has shifted to C# since version 6.0.  It is distributed under both a Community Edition MIT license and commercial proprietary licenses as the Professional and Enterprise Editions.  The world of CMS solutions is full of software written in PHP. DotNetNuke, meanwhile, is a rare exception. Software written in Microsoft’s ASP .Net is more suited natively to Windows servers, and this consideration (along with the fact that many corporations host their intranets on Windows servers) is one very strong reason to opt for DotNetNuke. Another is the ease with which developers can customise a Web application in DotNetNuke thanks to the open API, while end users benefit from an easy to use system.  Unlike many other of the solutions listed here, DotNetNuke is not free to use, although a demo site and trial can be used.

9. Umbraco

Another ASP.Net solution, Umbraco is a free-to-use (with optional paid-for services such as support and training) open source CMS platform.  Umbraco is written in C# and deployed on Microsoft based infrastructure. The open source backend is released under an MIT License while the UI is released under the Umbraco license.  With open source licensing (a rarity in ASP.Net) and that all-important need to keep things simple for the Web publisher, this software is hugely popular among corporations, boasting Heinz, SanDisk and the pop group Take That as some of its users. The user interface for article creation might be more familiar to any Web admin who has used a browser-based Web server administration console, but its clear layout is popular with website editors.

10. TinyCMS

TinyCMS is an open source, lightweight PHP CMS script. TinyCMS uses AJAX page loading to add a little more style to a website.  TinyCMS also includes a simple administration panel to manage pages and settings easily. Users can create, modify and rename pages from the admin panel, and modify the settings file directly.  Ideal for small sites and for keeping things simple, TinyCMS uses the TinyMCE article submission tool and a few PHP files to create the website. There is no database, meaning that once the pages are cached on the server they should open pretty quickly. There is every chance that the solutions listed previously could be complete overkill for what your website is trying to achieve. Sprawling SQL databases and endless pages of active server-side code could be sitting redundant if all you need to do is display a few useful pages with the odd bit of functional eye candy, which is where TinyCMS comes in.

There are various pertinent matters you should consider when choosing a CSM, and these are all informed by your own expectations, your aims and the purpose of the website. Simply choosing one and using it without being aware of HOW you will use it could waste a lot of time.

  • http://www.dotnetnuke.com Scott Willhite

    Just a minor correction for DotNetNuke. DNN is absolutely free to use! We’re the largest open source project on .Net, with over 7 million downloads and powering more than 700,000 websites. We don’t provide free hosting for DotNetNuke, but almost any .Net capable host can provide a DotNetNuke install of our Community Edition! Thanks for the mention!