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How to Choose the Right CMS for Your Website – Open Source CMS Comparison




  1. What is a content management system?
  2. What is an Open Source CMS?
  3. Which CMS should you choose: Drupal, Joule or WordPress?
  4. Comparison table of the most popular CMS platforms
  1. What is a content management system?

A content management system (CMS) is an application that allows you to create and run your website. You will get an admin panel – an interface where you can create and update pages, posts and other types of content (images, videos, etc.) and organize the content as you want. You will also be able to change the design of the site through the admin panel by installing themes (design templates) and changing them at any time. All the actions are done just by clicking on the buttons – you won’t have to write any codes or scripts in most cases.

  1. What is an Open Source CMS?

The CMS leaders are, Drupal vs WordPress   Joomla and Drupal. Not only are they free, but they are also open source CMS engines. This means that their source code is open to the public. You can use, edit and customize the main engine files on your site. If you find a great way to improve the platform, you can let the developers know and help them cool down their engines in the next update. Anyway, let’s take a look at these open source CMS platforms together.

  1. Which CMS should you choose?

There are three giants in the CMS world: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. They have been around since 2000, 2005 and 2003 respectively and there is no rival for them apart from this trio. All three platforms are free. Each has an army of devotees. But how do you know which CMS is best for you? Let’s go through each of these platforms one by one, starting with the most popular. WordPress Content Management SystemWordPress is an open source CMS that supports more than half of the world’s CMS sites. It becomes more and more comprehensive, intuitive and popular with each new update version. WordPress has an engaged community, tons of free plugins (more than any other content management system), and the easiest interface to use. Managing your content with WordPress is perfectly straightforward: you create a page, add it to the menu, post something to it, and see your content on the front-end of your site. All of this constitutes a preeminent CMS platform. So why do so many people choose WordPress for their site? Because WordPress is the easiest CMS to use. Joomla Content Management System Some says Joomla is the perfect balance between customization possibilities and usability, but it’s much more complex than WordPress. Keep in mind that if you’ve never worked with this engine before, you will need some time to get used to modifying it. Assigning plugins to modules, positioning modules on different pages, configuring layouts and other necessary manipulations can be difficult for a beginner.

On the other hand, the extension developers and the Joomla community have come up with many inspired solutions to common web design problems that are difficult to solve in WordPress. If we take a Joomla slider extension as an example, you can set its location on the page, how long each slide is displayed, the sliding effect, and the pagination type. In summary, Joomla CMS is a good choice if you have this endless curiosity and eagerness to learn. Even though it takes time and effort to get used to its peculiarities, people very often fall in love with Joomla. Do not hesitate to consult our Joomla Startup course with all the information you need to start your first project on Joomla.

You can install it on your computer to try and test it too.

Drupal Content Management SystemDrupal is the “pinnacle” of CMS platforms. Drupal is aimed at other CMS, just like Man of Steel for other members of the Justice League. You can do almost anything with Drupal. I am often fascinated by the number of options available in the engine. Many things that in WordPress or Joomla would require custom coding have ready-made solutions pre-built in Drupal by default. And it can be further improved with third party extensions. But I’ll be honest with you: learning how to do it is a real challenge. It takes a lot of work and patience to master it.

“Drupal is addressed to other CMS, just like Man of Steel to other members of the Justice League”

Drupal is ideal for large, serious websites and organizations that can afford full-time admits. A good example is the White House site on Drupal. I cannot recommend that you start your first online project with Drupal, lest you get discouraged. This CMS can also be easily installed for testing on your computer. The most important thing to consider when choosing a CMS platform, in my opinion, is how much time you are willing to devote to its development and maintenance. If you are experienced in basic HTML and PHP coding and intend to create a large online project with lots of contributors, you should probably use Drupal. If you are looking for a mid-sized social network or a news site, try Joomla. Website design NZ, with all its possibilities for improvement, will be perfect for beginners. A very simple WordPress based site can then scale to any type of site you want. Feel free to check out the comparison table below, which ranks platforms based on their most important features.

  1. Comparison table of the most popular CMS platforms

To sum up, let me help you decide between which CMS pair you have chosen for your personal finale.

Choose WordPress over Joomla if you need:

  • A greater choice of ready-made designs;
  • Sharper choice of plugins;
  • Low learning curve;
  • Simple sales / blogging platform.

Choose Joomla over WordPress if you:

  • Have at least some basic knowledge of HTML / CSS;
  • Love blocks and operating modules (like in Tetris);
  • Are ready to learn a little to open many awesome hidden functions;

WordPress vs Drupal

Choose Drupal over WordPress if:

  • You anticipate that your project will evolve enormously;
  • You like to understand interfaces;
  • You’re looking for what other CMSs just can’t do;

Joomla vs Drupal

Choose Drupal over Joomla if:

  • You tested it on your local server and liked it;
  • You have experience using basic content management and web design systems;
  • If you make the uniqueness of your site’s design a cornerstone;
  • If at some point you plan to hire a professional developer.

Now that you know a little more about the three most popular CMS engines, let us know which one you are going to choose for your website. If you’ve worked with any of these platforms before, please share your thoughts on their performance in the comments section below. Also, there is a large collection of open source themes on Template Monster, check they all out!


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