CMS Options: The best choices.
If you want a content management system that’s going to facilitate your content creation and control on the web, it pays to shop around. These are four of the best free-to-use sites on the web today.
Blessed with a usability interface that makes it virtually paint-by-numbers, WordPress is by far the easiest CMS to work with. Most small businesses use either WordPress or Drupal for their DIY websites because of this. The PHP blogging platform is far and away the most popular CMS for blogging, and probably the most popular CMS overall. It’s a great platform for beginners, thanks to their excellent documentation and super-quick installation wizard. Five minutes to a running CMS is pretty good. Not to mention the fact that the newest versions auto-update the core and plugins from within the backend, without having to download a single file. For those users not familiar with HTML or other markup language, a WYSIWYG editor is provided straight out of the box. The backend layout is streamlined and intuitive, and a new user should be able to easily find their way around the administration section. WordPress also comes with built-in image and multimedia uploading support.
Drupal is another CMS that has a very large, active community. Instead of focusing on blogging as a platform, Drupal is more of a pure CMS. A plain installation comes with a ton of optional modules that can add lots of interesting features like forums, user blogs, OpenID, profiles and more. It’s trivial to create a site with social features with a simple install of Drupal. In fact, with a few 3rd party modules you can create some interesting site clones with little effort. One of Drupal’s most popular features is the Taxonomy module, a feature that allows for multiple levels and types of categories for content types. Drupal also has a very active community powering it, and has excellent support for plugins and other general questions.
Joomla is a very advanced CMS in terms of functionality. That said, getting started with Joomla is fairly easy, thanks to Joomla’s installer. Joomla’s installer is meant to work on common shared hosting packages, and is a very straightforward considering how configurable the software is.
Joomla is very similar to Drupal in that it’s a complete CMS, and might be a bit much for a simple portfolio site. It comes with an attractive administration interface, complete with intuitive drop-down menus and other features. The CMS also has great support for access control protocols like LDAP, OpenID and even Gmail.com. Like WordPress, you can add just about any needed functionality with an extension. However, the Joomla theme and extension community relies more on paid plugins and themes, so if you’re looking for customizations, be ready to pay.
SilverStripe is another PHP CMS that behaves much like WordPress, except has many more configurable options and is tailored towards content management, and not blogging. SilverStripe is unique because it was built upon its very own PHP framework Sapphire. It also provides its own templating language to help with the design process.
SilverStripe also has some interesting features built in to the base, like content version control and native SEO support. What’s really unique with SilverStripe is that developers and designers can customize the administration area for ther clients, if need be. While the development community isn’t as large as other projects there are some modules, themes and widgets to add functionality. Also, you’ll want to modify the theme for each site, as SilverStripe doesn’t provide much in terms of style, to give the designer more freedom.
CMS options. When choosing your content management system it pays to shop around. Each CMS has its own merits, and its own quirks, and this review of the top four systems should give you some guidance.