Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems

WordPress is the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world when it comes to popular content management systems. It powers the most websites, has the largest user community, boasts a massive collection of plugins and themes, and is very easy to set up. You could very easily register a domain name, find some quality free web hosting, install a fresh copy of WordPress, modify your DNS settings at your registrar to point to your new free web host, and boom – You have your own website with a custom branded domain name fully functional, in under an hour or so. That’s pretty impressive. At the same time, WordPress and WordPress Themes have become a bit of a monopoly on the CMS marketplace, and we all know that monopolies are not always ideal. There are some truly fantastic alternatives to WordPress if you would like to venture out on the path less traveled. Let’s take a look at 15 contenders right now.

Content Management Systems


Craft is a powerful Content Management System with features like Position Select Fields, Logout Warnings, Single Titles and Statuses, and more. Craft is tailored to users who like to be able to edit the code by hand to get the exact result they desire. It is built with scalability in mind and built on top of the super capable YII PHP Framework. YII is one of the most powerful PHP Frameworks available today.

October CMS

This fantastic content management system is built on top of the popular Laravel PHP Framework. It is a framework that goes back to the basics and has everything you need, but not more. Bloat is the enemy, and October CMS fights back with a Samurai Sword. Another benefit is that October CMS makes use of all the latest and greatest features of PHP. If you need to build a simple website, or a complex web application, October CMS can handle it.


Typically I’m afraid of ghosts, but this Ghost is a blogging platform that is getting a ton of buzz for it’s very slick and visually pleasing layout along with its Node Powered backend. The Ghost Content Management System is suited for everything from a one person blog all the way up to a modern web publishing powerhouse.


Drupal is a content management system that powers many high profile website on the internet such as The Economist,, MIT Visual Arts Center, University of Oxford, Newstica, and many more. Drupal has a huge community that supports many modules which can extend the core of the CMS. With this flexibility, you can build a full range of websites from the simple to the advanced. It has a steep learning curve and is resource intensive, so be aware of some of the drawbacks.


Joomla is another popular Content Management System the powers all kinds of websites including Corporate Intranets, Online Magazines, E-commerce platforms, Government Applications, Non Profits, School Websites, Personal Home Pages, and more. Some of these include MTV Networks Quizilla, International House Of Pancakes, Harvard University, and The Green Maven. Joomla began in the year 2000 and has over two hundred thousand users and contributors, so you can be sure it will be supported for some time.


SilverStripe is a bit of a framework and a bit of a Content Management System. The SilverStripe Framework can be used as it’s own entity, apart from the CMS portion of the software. As modern web development practices evolve, the line is getting more blurry between what is a content management system and what is a development framework. SilverStripe seeks to bring the traditional CMS into the more modern approaches of Models, Views, Controllers, and Object Relational Mappers.


If all of the mumbo jumbo of these modern frameworks gets you a bit flustered rather than excited like some of the geeks among us, perhaps a more simple solution is for you. The Anchor CMS system is lightweight, drag and drop, easy to install, and a mind numbingly small footprint of only 150 kilobytes! It’s a very interesting approach and worth investigating further.


As cool as Kermit, Frog is a fast and simple content management system that just works. It has excellent documentation, and an active forum to get help with support. Frog actually dates back to 2007 when it was under the name of phpRadiant. It was formerly a Ruby on Rails application and Frog is now moving forward the PHP version.


More than 90,000 websites make use of the CushyCMS software. CushyCMS makes it easy for folks that are quite as technical who aren’t able to dig into the server side of things. This content management system takes a unique approach by setting various areas of the page as an editable region. This way, end users who just want to publish content in an almost Word Document type of way will not feel intimidated by an abundance of technical jargon. Try out CushyCMS, they make it easy.


The Concrete5 content management system take a similar approach to that of Cushy, allowing end users to make easy edits of content. Concrete5 boasts a truly impressive array of technologies including Laravel, Doctrine, Symfony, jQuery, Redactor, and Doctrine. You see, the developers just got excited reading about those buzzwords, while the end users happily plug away in the user friendly editor. Cambridge University Press is just one well known organization that makes use of the Concrete5 Stack.


The old has become new again. It happens all the time in the history of humanity. What once was the utmost in cool and style gets replaced by the hot newness, only to be replaced once again by an original trend. In this case, we’re talking about flat files baby. Flat file content management systems are coming back in a big way as Web Designers, Developers, and end users seek to simplify the process of working with their data. Statamic was built by content managers for content managers. Check them out to see if it might be a good fit for you.

The Secretary

With a sexy high heel logo, Secretary CMS is a content management system catering to the ultra creative. Photographers, Artists, and Designers will feel right at home on this content management system. Secretary features a powerful Flow process which allows the end user to make use of drag and drop functionality to organize the project. This is the CMS for those who are looking for the pinnacle of unique design.


The dotCMS targets enterprise level clients with a Java powered framework. Where many of the others listed here are making use of PHP and the various frameworks built on top of it, dotCMS chooses to provide a scalable solution with powerful application programming interfaces for Java Developers. A very powerful solution which might be more than what the average web publisher needs.


Contao has a friendly module based platform which makes things like forms, calendars, news, and disability friendly options available for your users. It makes the management of user rights easy and search engine optimization built right in. You can try an online version of Contao at their site to kick the tires before downloading. Contao has over 1500 extensions, 387 developers, and over 950,000 downloads.

Expression Engine

Ellis Labs is the company behind the popular Expression Engine content management platform. Ellis Labs may best be known for their popular Codeigniter PHP framework which took the web development world by storm when it was released. Codeigniter went on to become one of the most popular MVC frameworks for PHP however Ellis Labs has since stopped development on Codeigniter and sold the rights to the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Expression Engine benefits from the long history of professional PHP development that Ellis Labs brings to the table. If you need an absolutely rock solid platform for very high traffic applications and enterprise level support, Expression Engine may be the platform you need.


You see, WordPress is not the only game in town, just look at all of these great content management system options for you to review. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with WordPress at all, there is a reason why it has attained near monopoly status in the content management system world. This article was about exploring other options for those who desire to try a more unique approach. Thanks for checking out this post and please share with a friend if you enjoyed it!