By Tom Museth

What’s your favorite content management system?

By Tom Museth

Recently we ran a series of posts comparing and contrasting the two heavyweights of the CMS world — WordPress and Joomla. Over five instalments, Mark Atkinson compared the two systems in every detail from installation, through plugins and themes, to SEO.

The series was a runaway success, generating a swathe of commentary from the SitePoint community, and fomenting a bit of heated public opinion — which is always a good thing. One aspect of the debate we didn’t anticipate was just how many fans of other CMSs were keen to chime in and have a say. Fans of Drupal, MODX, ExpressionEngine and more all wanted to let us know that there’s a universe of great content management systems outside the Big Two. It was an enlightening and informative dialogue.

It got us thinking: maybe we should run more articles on CMSs. Perhaps we could compare another two similar CMS powerhouses over several instalments; or break down one into its constituent parts; or just run a hands-on tutorial using a certain CMS where you can get your hands dirty with code.

So how about it — when it comes to content management systems, what would you like to see featured on SitePoint? What’s your favorite? Why? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll put our authors to work on it!

  • I would like to see an article on CMS & why Drupal surpasses them all.
    Drupal is the only serious CMS system. WordPress & Joomla are simple and limited playtoys compared to drupal. Also the community of drupal is way larger and more creative than the other systems. (Only on the aspect of themeing drupal needs to play catchup.)
    I would like an article on this

  • CSD

    I’d definitely like to see an in-depth series of articles on Drupal. I started playing around with it when v7 was released but became disillusioned by the lack of updated documentation. It seemed like everything was written for v6 or lower and it was difficult to sort through the information to find the “correct” way of working with v7, especially when it came to theming. Now that it’s been about a year I’d be curious to see if the documentation is better organized and up to date, and then maybe I would consider picking it up again…

  • Nate Chapman

    Expression Engine

  • Spacebeers

    Drupal all the way for me. It’s sped my development time up loads. The learning curve was fairly steep but I wouldn’t go back now.

  • It’s German only, but it’s my favorite CMS.
    Very impressive use of modern javascript-apis!

  • I have long been a supporter of MODX, which surprisingly few other developers seem to have used. I love it because it doesn’t get in the way. It isn’t overly prescriptive about how you develop, or what technologies you have to use, or what your design should look like. Additional functionality is coded in PHP and there’s a rich API if you need to tap into internal stuff in the CMS. And of course it uses TinyMCE for its editor, which makes it easy to use for non-technical editors too. The more recent Revolution version is a bit more tricky to set up than its predecessor, but I still find it a powerful platform for creating websites with.

  • I’ve become a huge fan of Perch ( I’m just wrapping my first project in it, and embarking on a second. It’s been mentioned Sitepoint before, and I think one of the developers is the author of a Sitepoint book. It’s not free, but it’s very reasonably priced, and has great documentation and support.

  • WordPress ROCKS!!!

  • I prefer Perch ( ) I find it’s less intrusive and easier to build with than WordPress. It’s really ridiculously easy to use.

    If it’s a larger site I tend to perfer Code Igniter, while not a CMS it does allow one to build CMS tools for sites.

  • Perch. It’s simple and elegant.

  • Drupal

  • Patrick S

    I would have to say I’m using Anchor CMS a whole lot and I’m fond of that one.

  • For about 10 years I’ve been working with all types of different CMS’ including the big boys. I’ve been using and developing with concrete5 for around 4 years now and nothing even comes close to it in ease of development AND ease of use for the end-user. I’d give them a look. (Disclaimer: Referral Link)

  • Jay

    Great start… I think u also have to differentiate between free and paid, or what budget. For a small price, form my recent resaerch and soon to come purchase, it seems WordPress with the Genesis Framework + the Dynamik CMS add-on seems unbeatable… for 90% of web sites out there, they make Dreamweaver etc., obsolete, and add WooCommerce, I am not sure you can limit that potential for every small to medium sized businesses, personal sites, startups… any input is more than welcome on this… this is IMHO according to some leaders in the field and recent reviews.

  • Having tried out just about every CMS on the market, we kept coming back to MODX. We now use it for every site we build. Its ease of use, robustness and flexibility make it head and shoulders about the competition.

  • MODX is our favourite CMS. Ease of use, creative freedom, but best of all, our clients love using it.

  • After trying all the main CMSs, I settled on SilverStripe as my CMS of choice. The main reason being how easy it is for my clients to use, much more straightforward than WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, yet still has features such as page history etc. Also, as it is built on it’s own PHP MVC framework, it’s incredibly flexible, and makes it very easy to add custom features to sites.

    I’ve probably launched close to 20 sites using SilverStripe now, and the new SilverStripe 3 is just lovely!

    I’d highly recommend checking it out at


  • Please do go further on the topic. As a student who studied both, I’m much more interested in other CMSs.

  • I am painfully biased toward a particular CMS.

    I do find it endlessly tiresome to see awesome web development sites and blogs focus so narrowly on just a couple very well known tools. SitePoint, SmashingMagazine who publish great content on creating amazing websites and applications with an incredible diversity of tools, frameworks and techniques, tend to ignore one of the common threads of websites today: the CMS.

    We see articles daily on bleeding edge and best practices on CSS, JS, PHP and RoR. It amazes me that even though a huge percentage of projects these techniques will employ will end up living in a CMS, we don’t see enough information on the next phase: tool choices and implementation.

    I’d love to see more articles about CMS applications that include reviews, techniques, tips and more. In fact I could honestly see SitePoint be able to dedicate a whole section just to CMS with sub-sections for many highly used and new CMS offerings.

  • Shad

    I’m a fan of ExpressionEngine myself. Like the complete freedom and the support.

  • I personally love C5! A very simple cms to use and administer. Setting up a C5 website literally takes 2 minutes!

  • Ah, the ole CMS debate. I have been designing websites for more than 15 years, and I started out with tables and straight html. I was not an early adopter to content management systems – however, the day came when one of my clients logged into his website to add some pics via FTP and deleted/changed some important files.

    That was when I started to look into content management systems. I tend to stick with Joomla just because a) I know it inside and out and b) because clients find it easy to use and they don’t mess up the core files.

    One other content management system that I see great promise with is the Boonex Dolphin social networking script.

    Would love to see some in-depth reports on why people like to use some of the lesser known content management systems.

  • madr

    I would love to see more about SilverStripe and Django.

  • I love Concrete5, because it’s very easy to understand for clients. The in-context editing is really intuitive.

  • we’d love to see more about concrete5 on sitepoint. let us know how we can help

    ceo, concrete cms inc

  • Raymond Gentry

    I would like to see what people think the best ASP.NET based CMS is.

  • Kise S.

    I’d probably say drupal is the best PHP CMS

  • MODX. MODX is an amazing platform that grants a design complete freedom of templating. It has an incredible community, a crack team of developers working on it. And they -listen- to you and help you. The people behind MODX are as amazing as the software. Add that to two very powerful friendly versions ready for any small business or corporate/enterprise scenario and you have a recipe for CMS nirvana. We love MODX.

  • Alicia

    How about Textpattern, or Movable Type and WordPress? They are less known, but have some nice features. Maybe you can also compare micro CMSs, like PageLime and CushyCMS.

    Also, I would be interested in a comparison of PHP Frameworks (CodeIgniter, Yii, CakePHP, etc.)

  • For us its Concrete5. An amazing CMS.

  • I’d love to hear about two different CMS ideas I have. Joomla vs Drupal, because I know designers who use both. Then, I wouldn’t mind hearing about the benefits of the lesser known ones (to me): MODX and ExpressionEngine. You guys did a very good series on WordPress (which I use) vs Joomla that I was following daily in my RSS feeds. Keep up the great designing content! :)

  • concrete5

    By far the easiest CMS for most editors, versioning advance permissions and now workflow!

  • I highly recommend taking a look at Concrete5. It is very user-friendly, and my clients love it!

    I have been using Concrete since 2009, and after comparing it to other open source CMSs out there, I have found Concrete to be – by far – the most user-friendly and easily extendable CMS out there. Also, the Concrete online community is far more active and supportive than any other I have ever seen!

    Concrete itself has many features out of the box, including (in the latest version) advanced permissions, clean urls, user profiles with private messaging, ability to create custom layouts, easily add Meta data to pages, just to name a few! It is also an ideal platform for creating intranet / extranet projects! With Concrete, you can build anything!

    To learn more about Concrete, see the website link I provided above.

  • I have been developing with Concrete5 for over two years. I think it is a CMS platform well worth talking about.

  • I’ve used Joomla, WordPress, Modx and Drupal and BY FAR Drupal is my favorite. It takes quite a while to learn but in the end I’ve found it’s more flexible than the other solutions (especially joomla). The only caveat is that it does have such a steep learning curve.

  • I would like to see more coverage of Concrete5, its a much underrated CMS, extremely easy to develop for and very easy to learn for end users, the Concrete5 community is one of the most helpful and friendly I have ever come across.

  • dave

    I’d like to know if there’s a cms for large html sites. Directory structures for flat sites are fine until you go into hundreds of pages. Is there s cms out there that can help organize a mass if html files, sub directories, and dare I say images …

  • Andres Vaquero

    Drupal would be my choice for an open-source non-eCommerce CMS with advanced features and high flexibility to serve a medium/semi-large scale site. Although there are a few things not best like speed, non-OOP legacy code, a relatively steep learning curve (depending on your background)… over time I have found it to be the best open-source solution I have come across.
    It has a great community of developers, over 10.000 contributed modules and the power to be tailored to (almost) any requirement without the need of any core hacks.
    It’s advanced roles and permissions system makes it easy to deliver a website to a client, because through it you can create an account with only those features that the client is going to need, hence simplifying and eliminating the risk of clients breaking the site. In my opinion far more superior than Joomla! or WordPress, but of course a more complex and technical solution.

    For an e-commerce solution my praise goes to Magento. Again a steep learning curve but unlike Drupal it features an excellent OOP framework which makes it far more pleasurable to develop for.

  • gfd


  • I would like to see a comparison between Drupal and Concrete5 featured on SitePoint.

    I am new to Concrete5; however it is fast becoming my favorite CMS! I am experienced with different CMS’s. Five years with Drupal, 6 months with WordPress and a month with Concrete5.

    What I like about Concrete5:

    User Interface is Sexy and Easy to Navigate

    Concrete5 has one of the slickest interfaces I have seen for a CMS. I think the News pop-up after logging into your site is brilliant. Informative, functional then gets out of your way. Very well done!

    Elegant Theme System

    Easily create a theme by adding a few lines of code to your template. Easily adjust visual presentation of core components by overriding views from MVC.

    Easily Extend Core Leveraging MVC

    With Concrete5 you can easily extend just about anything either programmatically or by simply copying a template to the proper location. The directory structure is very intuitive.

    Market Place

    I feel Concrete5 has done something truly unique here. Their Market Place provides a venue for end-users to easily find reliable modules to extend their site’s functionality while also providing a place for developers to sell their custom modules. Modules are tested by the Concrete5 team. End-users can purchase, or use the FREE modules without leaving their site. I feel its a win-win situation.

    Concrete5 is truly innovative CMS. The user interface with its context editing, daring full MVC approach and unique Market Place make it a CMS you defiantly want to try!

    Thanks for listening,

    Kevin a.k.a (Devmaster)

  • Always be WordPress for me due to the ease of maintaining it.

  • Simon Giesemann

    ModX by far. For my clients, it’s the ease of use within the manager interface. I have set up a community group website where many of the editors had no prior computer experience.
    For me, It allows me complete freedom as a php developer for any crazy requests my clients come up with. Creating templates from (x)hmtl/css is so simple and flexible.. I have a whole bunch of projects based on ModX Evo and a handful based on Revo and the more I use Revo the more I love it and the more I wish I could invest the time to go back and upgrade those Evo sites!

  • ralph.m

    One of the hardest things about choosing a CMS is to determine how each one works, what functionality it offers, how easy it is to use and what skill levels it requires. It’s often no easy to get clear answers to these questions by visiting each CMS’s website (a major bugbear of mine). So these detailed comparisons are very valuable.

    The first thing I would suggest is to group CMSes into types. I’m not convinced that comparing WP and Joomla! is so useful, as it implies that they are alternatives to achieve the same end (which is debatable, unless you think an apple plays the same role as an orange).

    How about detailed comparisons of Drupal, Joomla!, ExpressionEngine and MODx.

    Then perhaps a detailed comparison of smaller CMSes like Perch, Pulse CMS, Unify, and perhaps CushyCMS, PageLime and similar.

    And then compare Shopping Cart CMSes.

    Etc. :-)

    • Great! Heaps to choose from here ralph.m.

  • Tunji

    If you haven’t tried Concrete5, you are yet to use a real CMS.

    I particularly like the fact that you can build static websites outside Concrete5 (no matter how complex) and “concrete-ize” them in a few easy steps.

    Also with a plethora of add-ons at the Marketplace there’s an add-on (free or commercial) for every function you can imagine.

  • Brocberry

    My website was made with Drupal, so my vote goes for a comparison including Drupal.

  • tomy

    I have discovered smanagerCMS and since then never look back

  • i think wordpress is the best cms in the word for blog i use on wordpress check it

  • Wow … what a fantastic response! Thanks so much everybody. I’m going to mine this thread for ideas and suggestions. Expect to see some more CMS-related stuff all over SitePoint shortly.

  • I’ve actually just written my own. Or rather, am writing my own. It started out because I had a couple of websites with their own little management system but I figured I could just create a single version that could cater for those and other websites in future.

  • BulletProofPoet

    I’d love to see more on Drupal. Having created a couple of websites with it, I’d love to get a bit more in-depth. It certainly seems to be one of the most comprehensive & flexible platforms out there!

  • Lu

    I used to be a big Joomla & Drupal guy but this last year I have swung right over to Concrete5 – it is simply fantastic. It just makes sense from a client, designer or developer perspective. Yes of course you can do most things with all CMS’s with a bit of hacking and fiddling but what makes Concrete5 great is everything just works – its actually fun building sites. It does not get in your way or force to learn a special way of approaching a site. Being a designer first and foremost, it is hands down the easiest CMS to work with – design anything and simply include a handful of tags and Concrete5 is plugged right in.

    The new workflow & permissions system is awesome and opens up the CMS to an entire Enterprise market. I highly recommend everyone to check it out, you won’t regret.

  • Manoj RG

    I luv to work with wordpress for its easiness and plugins availability. But if I wanted to do more advanced functionalities, will definitely go with drupal…

  • Keep the comments coming people. I’m collating your votes and will be talking to our authors shortly. (I had no idea there were so many of you Drupal fans!)

  • Robbo

    Concrete5 here too.

  • Tom

    For me it has to be TYPO3, not as very popular outside of centrel Europe but a fantastic enterprise level CMS/Framework nonetheless

    Many critics claim it has s steep learning curve that is too steep. I accept that its tricky to get to grips with but once you’ve committed the time to learn and understand the CMS you are rewarded with platform that is renowned for its security and flexibility.

  • I started with Joomla and it has always been a easy to use and powerful resource. When I began learning I wish there were more online resources. The Joomla docs wiki was helpful but lacking ease of use for begining developers. I want to learn more CMSs as I have time, but Joomla is a solid solution. I’m glad it is getting more support as the years go on. Since SitePoint published a WordPress book, I have been waiting for the Joomla book.

  • We use both WordPress and Joomla and have a very similar take as Atkinson on their relative merits. WordPress for blog type sites and Joomla for more complex sites. We have found definite limitations of WordPress in more advanced sites utilizing large menu systems, where WP has some major problems. It is obvious that many negative comments about Joomla are from those who have not used the most recent 2.5 version, nor are familiar with the available extensions or extension development. The stereotypical view of Drupal is that it is better at handling very large sites. We have not used Drupal yet, as we have not found any client’s site that Joomla did not work great with.

  • Amos

    I like WordPress BUT Drupal is my Favourite.

  • Matt

    I prefer using getsimple CMS, it is very good for small sites with a very easy to use template system and friendly backend. It does not use any database and is based in PHP so it will work in many environments. Looking forward to checking out the others listed in the comments too!

  • Anon


    I’ve used the three major ones (WordPress, Drupal and Joomla) on major sites and by far, WordPress is the best.

  • Silverstripe and Concrete5.

  • Jeffgtr

    Drupal is by far the most versatile cms I’ve encountered. I have yet to come across anything it can’t be molded into. The thing is there is a learning curve. It’s not something you would decide on a whim to build a site on top of for a client. If you take the time to really learn it you’ll find you can build a very robust site. D7 has come a long way in ease of use for users. Joomla drove me crazy and WordPress, just seemed limiting to me although I know many love it. My advice is to find one and learn it in depth instead of flip flopping around. As far as learning Drupal, lynda .com has some courses to get you started, there is YouTube and Vimeo, and a vast international user community. Don’t sit around waiting for a skim the surface article to appear here. All you need to know is already out on the web. Start digging in.

  • Lynne

    It is so time-consuming investigating (and trying) different CMSs. Also you may need two in your arsenal – one simple, one more comprehensive. So two categories of CMS perhaps?
    I would also like to see Silverstripe compared with others.

  • Ryan

    MODx. Period.

  • It’s time for you people to start paying attention to ProcessWire – an up and coming CMS that will make Drupal, Joomla and WordPress feel like torture.

    Let me give you my personal top 3 reasons why:

    1. Designed with information architecture concepts, from the ground up: rather than a flat list of “nodes” or “pages”, PW uses the most natural kind of content organization there is: a sitemap – and a data-model (and data storage pattern) that enables stronger content semantics than probably any other CMS. PW was born with something like Drupal’s “CCK” (custom fields) and the entire CMS was built on it.

    2. Complete front-end freedom! Because PW stays away from presentation, our HTML/CSS guys can do their job in a fraction of the time it takes to program a Drupal or WordPress theme. Because presentation is the bulk of what Drupal and WordPress modules do, PW will probably need a couple hundred good modules supported by the community, to accomplish everything you can do with 11,000 modules in Drupal or 20,000 add-ons for WordPress. (ever wonder why there are so many modules for these CMS? I bet you thought that was a sign of success?)

    3. Developer Joy! Learning and programming ProcessWire is easy. You don’t need to read documentation to learn about obscure integration points or magical function-names – no more stuffing arrays with magical keys. PW has a leaner, more streamlined codebase that is easier to understand and extend, is more flexible (in every sense of the word) and executes many times (dozens) faster than e.g. Drupal – even before you turn on caching.

    I could add many more things to this list, but this should be enough to make you curious!

  • D.

    As a php developer: Silverstripe
    Worpress, Joomla, Drupal ecc have a too much ‘old-school’ PHP architecture

  • Jankit

    My favorite is WordPress.

  • Tom

    I’ve personally never found a limitation with WordPress I couldn’t get round with a little thought but it works for 95% of the time with little or no ‘hacks’ for both large and small websites.

    It’s interesting to see how dismissive some of the people here are being about ‘other’ solutions that don’t match their own preference.

    i.e. ‘Drupal is the only serious CMS system’ – in what way? Please list the ways in which it solves problems others don’t. I’m not disagreeing with you but that kind of statement doesn’t help me or anyone else to know whether it’s worth using or not.

  • Bigorangemachine

    I love concrete 5. However the wordpress I am more comfortable with and has a great admin system.

    Concrete 5 has some things you need to get use too. I didn’t find the plugin system easy to understand. I’m sure it was something I wasn’t comfortable with and there wasn’t a need to learn it at the time.

  • Chad M.

    For me, the weakest part of the Joomla’s project is its documentation, especially for understanding how the CMS and/or platform is put together and why. While things will still work without understanding this, for anyone trying to customize behavior and features a bit more deeply (such as when dealing with extensions and template frameworks which interact deeply with the existing codebase) it’s difficult to sort out parts are doing what or where to find it out—especially with project specific code/functions.

    So, I would love to see something that at least provides an outline and, blue-sky dreaming here, that explained and documented the different bits of code & function calls (even some basics, but thorough would be fantastic).

  • For typical business sites, Concrete5 is a great tool. I’ve developed in WordPress and Joomla! 1.6 and found myself regularly running into limitations of the two environments and learning typically consisted of workarounds for those limitations.

    The development process maps to an intuitive workflow for web site development — not a more restrictive model like a blog or newspaper. Themes are straightforward to develop. The underlying framework easily supports extension. The end user editing interface works very well for end users — half of the sites I’ve developed have teams of from 1 to 10 people of widely varying skill levels updating the site with minimal instruction.

    For a blog, you can’t beat WordPress. For extensions, Joomla! currently is the way to go. For a rich underlying application data model on large sites, Drupal is the way to go. But for the typical business website, C5 offers a great tool for developers and end-users.

  • concrete5 :)

  • I discovered Concrete5 when the Perl based software I was using needed replacing.

    For a blind test I set up comparative evaluations with all the usual suspects, Drupal, Joomla etc, then told some key customers wiith average technical ability (but no development background) to login, add a page, add some text and put a picture on it. All without any prior training or guidance.

    The response was that Concrete5 won by miles.

  • Concrete5 is THE best CMS I’ve come across after trying sooo many of the others and it’s FREE.

    So why not try it and see for yourself: (Referral Link)

  • Concrete5 is still my favourite. Recently had to go back and work on someone’s WordPress site – ugh! – I’d forgotten just how intuitive Concrete5 is.

    I’d recommend all to have a look.

  • ilaria

    Concrete5 is my favorite :)
    Easy to implement for developers, intuitive for customers who need to update the site. Excellent!

  • Kalhua

    The best CMS is the one I write myself as no CMS fulfill 100% of my needs ! :-)

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