Top 5 CMS that you must learn

hey all,
I was wondering if i need to keep up website building trends for the good of my consultancy, which free top 5 CMS that you would recommend that i go master it to offer these to my future clients especially in cases where i need to revamp or migrate their old static sites to a CMS powered ones?

Im currently proficient in Joomla & Wordpress.

All feedback appreciated.

No one will put a gun to your head and “make you” learn any “must-learn” CMS. It’s a matter of client requirements—be objective and determine what your particular future clients are most likely to need. Ask yourself what kind of projects you normally do, and what tool would suit the purpose best.

Web development is not about selecting a universal set of a few tools and stick with them—it’s about adapting to client requirements and the specifics regarding your current project.

To fall into line with everyone else and start generalizing (yuck); I find that Drupal is a decent tool I’ve been stuck with for many sites though I don’t really love it, Magento is an ecommerce tool I work a lot with, WordPress is a powerful publishing platform, ExperssionEngine I want to use but haven’t done so yet, and PHP frameworks such as CodeIgniter and Recess you can bend at your will.

I focus a lot on simplicity of use and picking the cost-effective yet scalable solution for my clients. This requires an in-depth knowledge of what it exactly is they want. Like I’ve said before:

Discuss and decide, don’t generalize.

Of course, I’m guilty of picking a tool that stimulates my intellect as well. Easy equals boring, and new stuff is interesting stuff.

Joomla is ok, but can be sloooooooow sometimes. Drupal im not to impressed with either to be honest.

I know you’re big on these forums but this is just wrong. I can’t stand people who limit themselves like this. Don’t learn just a CMS. Learn PHP from the ground up, learn a CMS, sure, and also learn the framework the CMS is built upon, if any. In the case of ExpressionEngine 2, that would be CodeIgniter.

Why not be a genius at 15 CMSs and frameworks instead of one? Are you assuming that the poster doesn’t have enough IQ or knowledge to be able to wrap his head around more than one? Are you saying that you personally are only “specialized” on one piece of software? I don’t believe that. You probably wouldn’t say to a designer to specialize only in typography instead of learning advanced composition and color theory.

One CMS is not a whole science. It’s just a content management system. If you really know the foundation, you’ll plow through a new CMS very quickly. It might take some time to be a “Drupal guru”, sure, but being one doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything else you come across.

Don’t give people the idea that they aren’t capable of more. One solution doesn’t fit all—diversity is key.

I have only tried joomla, drupal and wordpress and joomla is first choice for me.

I recommend that you choose ONE CMS to specialise in as then you will know it far better than those who know a bit about two or three different ones. It will slightly restrict who your potential clients are to those whose web sites can be built easily with your selected CMS but should greatly improve your chances of actually getting the work because you are an expert in that CMS whereas the rest merely dabble in various CMS and therefore can’t possibly know the one you specialise in as well as you do.


I would suggest you to go for Wordpress and Drupal. They are the best CMS.


I know you said “free”, but I’ll list the ones I consider the most important regardless of licensing model. :slight_smile:

(in no particular order):

  • ExpressionEngine
  • Drupal
  • ModX
  • MovableType
  • WordPress

I’m not listing Joomla! as I’d not touch that CMS with a 10-foot pole.

  1. Expression Engine
  2. Wordpress

I think Expression Engine IS the only CMS you will ever need.

There is also a free version of EE so give it a whirl. Its not nearly as great as EE Full Version, but the price is better and you can still make some great dynamic websites with it. Its perfect if you prefer EE over Wordpress but have no budget.

thanks dude…haha, i too have bitter sweet moments with joomla. what i still detest about joomla is they r not very SEO friendly. should be better now i guess but i havent touch any new projects involving joomla for some time now as most of my projects revolves around wordpress

I don’t really recommend learning a specific CMS for business use unless you plan on making installations and stuff part of your regular skillset. Might be worth learning PHP and mySQL and then you’ll have all the raw skills you need to understand how all of those applications work (and thereby how to debug and configure them) without being tied into a specific CMS. After all, it doesn’t take too long to get your head around code written in a language you understand. :slight_smile:

“Top 5” is very subjective since there are 100’s of CMS’s to choose from - see for a big list.

A lot depends on the needs of your customers as well and those in the “top 5” might not always be the right one for the job. Saying that those that have been mentioned will cover most bases.

thanks for the link…that was really useful…never saw a site that listed CMSes that many…

In my view you actually don’t need any cms to learn, rather learn any server side language. Which will be more beneficial for you.

You can then customize that as per your own wish and you will know all the tits-bits of that, how it functions and all such.

While as far as cms goes, Drupal is a must try, it has lots of features.

Wordpress is the 2nd choice of mine and then MODx.


If your client just wants a simple CMS feature, it’s also worth having Perch up your sleeve.

As has been mentioned, there are hundreds of options. Not all of them require you to download and install code, either. Some are hosted online, and can be a very useful option. Though ExpressionEngine is my preferred option, I’ve just started to use BusinessCatalyst for a client who wanted all of the easy-to-plug-in business features it offers.

  • ExpressionEngine
    • WordPress
    • Drupal

Why learn a CMS? To speed up development time!

sure it’s best to understand programming language and in most cases you should understand the language your CMS is written in. Expression is written in PHP and you can also embed PHP code into a EE Template.

I invested alot of time learning EE and once you use it and you see how easy it is to create a website or even transfer an existing site into the Template system, you’ll find it to be irreplaceable.

Hands down it crushes WP in terms of its possibilities and ease of use. WP is easy to use, but not so easy to modify. EE excels in this aspect. You should definitely check it out.

ditto :slight_smile:

lol… I second that one of course :slight_smile: