How to make the Right Choice? 5 Popular CMSs in Comparison

5 Popular CMSs in Comparison

When choosing the right CMS, one is spoilt for choice between less complex blog construction kits and extensive enterprise systems. If you have to decide, you should first and foremost consider what purpose the system should serve and what your intentions are for the site. A distinction is made between three areas of use or application: Web content management, blog publishing/news and social publishing/communities. When choosing, you need to determine the content and goals.

Web content management focuses on content creation and management. These offer complex rights management, text search, news management, and multilingual capabilities. Blog Publishing/News focuses on blogging including linking to social media platforms. Social Publishing/Communities focuses on online communities and active users, so it is suitable for user-generated content.

When it comes to choosing the 5 best content management systems, most agree that WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3 and Contao are the best CMS systems. We present to you the front-runner among the CMS: WordPress. With a usage of around 64.5%, it is and remains the most popular CMS on the market.

Not only bloggers, but also larger companies and online stores use WordPress. In the beginning, WordPress was just a simple blog software and became more and more popular over time, so that more and more functions, templates and plugins were added. WordPress is suitable for beginners as well as advanced users, because the functions can be extended as desired.

The installation and configuration of WordPress are very simple and straightforward. Likewise, plugins can be integrated quickly and are mostly intuitive to use. Especially in terms of search engine optimization WordPress offers many helpful plugins.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Very easy and fast installation.
  • Very many free and paid design templates to choose from.
  • Numerous plugins for SEO, layout, security and much more.
  • Plugins and widgets enable many features.
  • Ideal for search engine optimization
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Intuitive use
  • Large community
  • Has limited stability and performance with very high traffic.
  • Updates sometimes have security holes.
  • Backend can only be modified to a limited extent.
  • A popular hacking target due to its reach.

Joomla – Open Source CMS with its own fans

Joomla seems to have its own dedicated fan base and is the third largest representative among CMS systems with around 3.5%. Just like WordPress, Joomla is suitable for both beginners and advanced users. However, the operation is more complex and demanding than WordPress.

With Joomla you have to use less extensions, because most of them are already available in the basic settings. Fewer plugins means less error-prone, less security risk and better loading time. Nevertheless, some problems need to be solved with an extension.

A large community offers help in the form of a forum or online manuals to help beginners use the CMS.

Unlike WordPress, Joomla divides extensions again into plugins, components, modules, templates and languages, whereby these can be used in the backend and frontend. A disadvantage of Joomla is mainly the rights management. This problem can be solved with an extension.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Community support in the form of forums and manuals.
  • For beginners and advanced users.
  • Uncomplicated settings of the templates.
  • Very low effort for installation and configuration.
  • Many extensions and design templates.
  • Intuitive to use.
  • Lack of rights management.
  • Some extensions are chargeable.
  • Extensions have to be updated manually.
  • Has security gaps and is attack surface for hackers, because it is only usable with many extensions.

Drupal modular system with CMS structure and large community

Drupal was initially a social platform and then Drupal developed into an open source editorial system. The focus of this CMS are social publishing and community portals, where members can publish their own content (user-generated content). Due to the focus on social publishing, however, it is more suitable for small to medium-sized community projects. Due to this focus, the role and rights system is also different from the other CMSs.

Due to its modular structure, it offers extensive customization options. Just like other CMSs, Drupal also offers numerous modules and extensions to meet the personal needs of users. With the help of the extensions, company portals and complex multi-domain structures can be implemented.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Many functions that can be integrated as building blocks (modular system).
  • An individually customizable backend.
  • Many extension modules and individual customization options.
  • Multi-domain management.
  • New functions represent a complicated intervention in the backend.
  • Customization of the backend is comparatively complicated.
  • Server performance and loading times need to be controlled.
  • Installation of modules only possible via FTP.
  • Requires additional installations, as the basic configuration is very lean.
  • Very complex configuration

TYPO3 for the enterprise solution

With more than 11 million users, the CMS TYPO3 is one of the most important CMS on the market. TYPO3 is an enterprise management system with numerous functions, so it is particularly suitable for larger company portals and e-commerce platforms.

It also offers an easy connection to other systems (CRM or ERP solutions). TYPO3 is suitable for more complex projects supported by IT professionals, among others. For smaller projects, however, the effort is not worth it.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Large community with fast help.
  • Professional providers for TYPO3 support.
  • Implementation of complex and multilingual page structures.
  • Numerous functions, flexibility and good extensibility.
  • Professional rights management with interfaces for business applications (CMR and ERP systems).
  • Specialized knowledge or a long training period is necessary.
  • High administration effort
  • High effort for installation, configuration and maintenance.
  • Higher hosting requirements
  • Complicated backend

Contao – the user-friendly CMS

Contao was initially marketed under the name TYPOlight and contains many practical features of the other CMS. If the extensive basic configuration is not enough for you, you can flexibly adapt the CMS to your wishes with extensions.

It is a very user-friendly CMS with numerous functions. Just like WordPress, Contao can be used intuitively and also offers an uncomplicated multilingual backend. Unlike WordPress, however, the backend of Contao is individually customizable to your needs. The focus of Contao is especially on accessible content in HTML5.

In addition, Contao has an integrated manager for themes, through which the design and layout of your website can be individually configured using predefined modules. A particularly big plus point is the security, as this CMS has high standards and offers 4 years of support for bug fixes and security updates for the LTS version. For the developer version, there is at least half a year of support.

Contao is suitable for small and larger projects – corporate portals, microsites, e-commerce platforms or intranet implementations.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • High security standards Support for bug fixes and security updates.
  • Uncomplicated entry into the handling of the CMS and creation of the website.Very powerful and extensible system architecture.
  • Uncomplicated and user-friendly installation, configuration and administration.
  • Easy maintenance and updates.
  • No multi-step workflows in the default configuration (only with extensions).
  • Small community

WordPress offers the simplest and fastest solution when it comes to creating and managing content on a website. In addition, it is suitable for beginners. Our CMS comparison shows that WordPress is the most popular CMS for good reasons, however Joomla is also a favorite among some. It offers a wide range of extensions and lets users customize the system flexibly and individually.

TYPO3 is also a good CMS, but requires training and more understanding of the matter. Another extremely complex CMS is Drupal, although for smaller projects the functions are usually not exhausted. With Contao, the user-friendliness as well as a barrier-free access to the content are plus points.

Nevertheless, it must be said that depending on the goals of the operators, WordPress or one of the above CMSs does not always have to be the winner. All CMS systems have their advantages and disadvantages, which must be weighed against each other.