Content Management System List

content management systems

Compiling a comprehensive content management system list would see this post wander into the TL;DR category; however, there are three main contenders that it’s worth comparing: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. There are other companies on the market providing general CMS services (such as CMSMS, Mambo and Xoops) while there are many more that offer bespoke solutions: phpBB for forums, phpLD for directories, Pligg for social networks and Moodle for educational courses. However, it’s Drupal, Joomla and WordPress that are by far the most popular for most site owners.

WordPress gains popularity through its ease of use as even beginners can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Originally designed as a blogging platform, the system was originally intended for the user who could do little more than write an e-mail. This mindset has continued with the current programmers; everything is clearly laid out and the navigation system follows an intuitive path. Joomla takes longer to pick up while Drupla is said to have the steepest learning curve of all.

Depending on the nature of your business, WordPress’ multi-user function can be a great help. New users can be included in seconds, with levels of authority ranging from admin to contributor. Another of the key benefits of WordPress is the easy integration of plugins and the ability to change themes at the drop of a hat. The main downside to WordPress is that its security isn’t great and it’s possible for someone to hack into it with relative ease.

For a blog, personal website or small business, WordPress should be able to handle all your needs without the requirement for much learning or help from experts.

Joomla is more advanced than WordPress but is a firm favorite with designers and developers because of its capabilities, although fans of JavaScript will be upset to know the two aren’t compatible. Fans of Joomla say that once you get your head round the system (like the difference between ‘sections’ and ‘categories’) it’s simple to use. Like WordPress, it’s possible to get ready-made templates for use, however changing your template can be tricky as the inner workings of the site (such as the modules) need to be configured to the template, rather than the other way around. Although all three CMS providers make their software open source, ongoing support for Joomla templates and modules can often cost the user a bit of cash which isn’t the case with the other two.

Basic SEO functions, such as search friendly URLs, take a bit of time implementing with Joomla, whereas on WordPress this can be accomplished with one quick edit or the installation of a decent plugin.

Drupal is the most powerful of the three, however that power can only be unleashed by those with great coding skills. The site has been created by developers for developers, so for the average user things can seem a bit complicated. That said, once you get your head round the complications, Drupal offers you the chance to do almost anything. You can easily add extra functions on to your site – so if you want a Wiki, a forum or an e-commerce section, Drupal can easily accommodate these needs. Documentation for Drupal, often subject to gripes and complaints from users due to its scarcity, has steadily improved with many commenting on the improvement with the latest version of the CMS.

People are always going to have different favorites from this content management system list, but it seems in this case the most common difference is the user’s main skill: writers tend to prefer WordPress, designers like Joomla while developers opt for Drupal. Each CMS has the potential to be used on any sort of site so until you’ve experimented and found your Goldilocks CMS, you’ll never know for sure which is your best fit.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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