According to MillForBusiness, 380 new websites are created every minute. Yes, you read that right, every minute!
And you’d never find an easier time in the past for creating a new website. Thanks to numerous platforms and open source Content Marketing Systems (CMSs) that have been developed, you can create almost any kind of website very quickly.
If your website is focused solely on content, you will be better off creating one with a free CMS. Unless of course, you have the budget and time to create a custom website.
If you choose to build your website with a free CMS, you can save not only time, but also costs on future maintenance expenses.
There are many good content management systems available. This might pose a challenge when you are trying to find the right CMS for your website.
At the end of this article, that challenge will cease to exist. We will discuss the five best free content management systems, highlighting their strengths and drawbacks.
Here is a list of the five content management systems we will review:
The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve heard about content management systems somewhere.
Because of it’s huge popularity, there’s also a very high likelihood that you’ve heard about WordPress.
WordPress is by far the most popular content management system. According to BuiltWith, 48% of the top one million websites use this platform.
WordPress has grown from its initial concept as a blogging platform to a widely-supported and powerful tool for creating complete websites.
It is supported by pretty much any PHP-friendly hosting service providers. Some even have dedicated plans for WordPress hosting.
Its extensibility, i.e. its ability to add functions and change looks, makes it suitable to build a wide range of web applications. These include but are not limited to blogs, professional websites, and even forums.
In the world of content management, WordPress is the definition of “ease”.
It features an admin dashboard that is easy to understand and use. It also provides a content editor and gallery to add pages/posts and media files.
What you can do with WordPress is almost limitless. If you want a feature, just Google it. There’s probably a plugin for it already.
If we were to talk about all the features that WordPress offers, we’d need a dedicated article to cover them all.
For a summary, these are the key features of WordPress and why it is believed to be a great CMS.
WordPress Key Features:
- Flexible and adaptable. Features can be added and designs customized.
- Manages content with ease
- Active and supportive community. Its developers regularly update the CMS.
We have successfully painted WordPress as the holy grail of all content management systems.
So maybe now you’re wondering why bother to consider any other one? Well, WordPress is truly a great CMS, but even the greatest option can have downsides to consider.
The downside of WordPress is the need for a couple of plugins to add a single function. There are other CMSes with most of the functionality you would ever need straight out of the box.
Although it doesn’t equal WordPress when it comes to market share, Drupal isn’t a CMS to write off. In fact, when it comes to security, a large number of webmasters prefer Drupal to WordPress.
Not that WordPress was designed any less secure than Drupal. However, the extensibility offered by WordPress is also its greatest weakness.
Due to the large number of third party plugins available to extend WordPress features, it imposes a level of vulnerability to the CMS. Each time one of these plugins is added to WordPress, the system becomes more vulnerable to potential hacks.
Drupal is less dependent on third party plugins. Logically then, this makes Drupal less susceptible to hack attacks. As a point of evidence for the system’s strength, I present to you a very strong example: NASA.
Drupal’s key features:
- Strong security
- Out of the box support for multilingual functionalities
- Advanced taxonomy system
- Over 30,000 extendable modules
The downside of Drupal, however, is that it has a really steep learning curve as compared to WordPress. Unlike WordPress, which beginners find easy to learn, Drupal needs a much higher level of technical know-how to use properly
With very similar features as Drupal and WordPress, Joomla! is a CMS that is definitely worth noting.
One of the benefits of using WordPress is the simple admin interface it offers, and Joomla! doesn’t lack in this area. It features a user-friendly admin interface that helps you add content to your website easily.
It is also developer friendly. With Joomla!, you can extend the functionality of your website with plugins and modules.
And if you decide to scale your website, this CMS is great for that, as long as you have programming knowledge.
- Advanced and easy-to-use admin dashboard
- Support for unique design across every page
Although Joomla does sound great when reading about its similarity to WordPress and Drupal, it can be a pain for beginners.
It also doesn’t have available an extensive library of extensions. For features you cannot find already weaved into an existing extension, you have to build it yourself. This weakness means that Joomla is much more suitable for technically savvy webmasters.
Typo3 is another powerful CMS. Due to its scalability and modularity, Typo3 is more popular among large corporate websites.
With the ability to create multiple websites and extend their features with plugins and extensions, Typo3 is ideal for developing robust sites.
If you prefer a beginner-friendly CMS, then Typo3 is not for you. You’ll be better off using WordPress.
Typo3 is more suited for people with programming skills,who can add or modify the functionalities of the software directly in the code.
Despite its drawback with respect to user friendliness, Typo3 still shines in some areas. It can help save time when you want to create multiple websites. With just a single installation, you can create multiple websites using the Typo3 platform.
Key Features of Typo3:
- Scalability and expandability
- Supports multilingual websites
- Multiple website installations
- Mobile friendly
Now for one drawback: Typo3’s extensive expandability features place a relatively heavy toll on server performance. So, if you’re using Typo3 for your website, be ready to pony up to pay for better server performance and bandwidth.
On a list of the most user-friendly CMS options, Blogger would definitely be number one on the list. If all you want is a blog and you want to avoid any technicality in any way, then Blogger is a platform that you should consider.
It is a free CMS, providing key features right out of the box. This simplicity makes it easy for you to publish your blog posts quickly.
At one time, nearly every website serving up from Blogger had similar looks and feels to each other.
More recently, however, we’ve seen more custom templates available that give Blogger-powered sites a unique and clean look.
The entire platform is powered by Google, by the way, so you’ll need a Google account to set one up.
Key Features of Blogger:
- Beginner friendly, and the platform is self-explanatory.
- Free. You can set up a blog with no upfront investment.
- No technical expertise needed.
- Hosting and subdomain are both included on the setup
Although Blogger is simple and great for beginners, its simplicity comes at a cost. After learning more about blogging, many bloggers will decide to move to another CMS alternative. This is due to the difficulty of adding more functionality to their sites.
So there you have it, The 5 best free content management systems.
Before picking any of the content management systems we have talked about, think and decide first what is important to you. Is it User-friendliness, Extensibility or large community support? If you take time to answer questions like these, you’ll find it much easier to make the right choice.
To recap, these are the 5 best free content management systems.
Go! Build something awesome!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.