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Which Content Management System (CMS) should I use?

What are the strengths / weaknesses of the various PHP-based open source CMSes?

  • While some "List of X" style questions have been permitted here as community wikis, asking for the "best" answer is not going to get a single right answer.
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 4:37
  • The question can be changed to be made more looking for strengths of CMSs.
    – txwikinger
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 12:58
  • I edited the question - can this be reopened?
    – philfreo
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 19:14
  • Reopened, and community-wikified based on feedback here: meta.webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/212/…
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 23:10
  • 1
    I highly recommend one CMS per answer, to avoid lots of answers that just compare / contrast the same thing. I.e. "Joomla" -> 'strengths ... '; 'weaknesses'
    – Tim Post
    Commented Aug 8, 2010 at 5:51

8 Answers 8



I am a big fan of wordpress for simple small sites.


  • A large user base
  • Lots of templates
  • Tons of plug-ins to do anything and everything you can think of
  • A quick development pattern (means we get newer and better versions often)
  • A very simple and easy to understand event/filter model (makes it easy to develop plug-ins)
  • The Loop (everyone can make highly personalized templates for wordpress)
  • Easy to extend with custom post types and custom taxonomies (new in WP 3)


  • is really a blog engine not a CMS
  • only native support for 2 data types (posts and taxonomies)
  • Why is a blog the best rated answer on here. This makes me a sad programmer.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 4, 2010 at 11:50
  • @Chris: maybe because on one side there are millions of potential customers that think a website must be cheap and they don't understand anything about the code behind. On the other side there are millions of graphic designers, typographers, and any sort of people able only to create skins. They too don't understand anything about the code behind, but they try to sell websites anyway, and Wordpress is EASY. The market seems to be happy with this scheme. Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 12:30
  • I've found wordpress is horrible to try and reduce database threading since its mostly dynamic anyhow. Also since every URL passes through the MVC handler, you cant insert a subpage or individual PHP page without first adding that page dynamically and editing the resulting template first. Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:09
  • @Marco that still does not answer my question as to why a blogging engine is considered part of the CMS discussion. Thats my 2 cents anyway.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:58
  • The ultimate audience for a CMS is end-users. A CMS empowers people who know nothing about web technology to manage web technology. WordPress (love it or hate it) does an incredible job empowering non-technical end-users to produce results. I would far rather deploy a system that makes end-users happy than makes programmers happy. After deployment, programmers are rarely involved anymore. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 14:40


Drupal is powerful and flexible, but not the easiest system to get to know.


  • Powerful Module architecture that has allowed for lots of great add-ons.
  • Large helpful community that offers support and guidance freely.
  • Good templating system that allows for near complete control of design.
  • Large template gallery with many options to start with.
  • Used by several high traffic sites and small sites, which means the community has people in it that can help with both.
  • Large collection of talented consultants available to support


  • Complicated to get to know.
  • Documentation could be better.
  • steep learning curve if working alone.
  • um dupe? webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/2006/… Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:13
  • @Talvia, they're not exact duplicates - they both bring different points to question. In the case of exact duplicates, we can remove one of the questions but in this case the questions whilst having the same answer, provide differing points of view. Commented Sep 8, 2010 at 2:47



  • Open Source (free)
  • Very active community of contributors
  • Customizable (lots of add ons available for site customization plus you can create your own)
  • Lots of downloadable, free themes that work out of the box, or can be customized.
  • Scalable
  • Cross-platform (LAMP, MAMP, WAMP)


  • Documentation can be better
  • Inexperienced developers may face a slow ramp up time
  • Might be overkill for smaller projects
  • pro: some strong dev tools, eg. drush, features, aegir to name a few. con: Doesn't scale well out of the box.
    – Andy
    Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 14:57
  • pro: session management is quite secure from what I've looked at. con: half the code is now depreciated in PHP5 now.. Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:12
  • um dupe? webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/2006/… Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:15

Have a look at CMS Matrix this site is great as you can compare side by side any CMS.

  • +1 There are a ton of php based CMS systems and this is solid resource for comparison. My preference for any CMS moving forward will be one based on a Framework such as Zend, CakePHP, etc. Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 15:24
  • CMS Matrix is old and outdated by far...
    – Cold T
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 11:09
  • september 2010 that was not the case but thanks for the update. However I just checked the site has cms added december 2011 and Edee CMS was added yesterday. Are you sure it is out of date?
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 13:43

Symphony CMS


  • Completely extensible CMS (Insanely flexible)
  • Simplicity
  • Treats any XML source as a first class citizen.
  • Open Architecture (model your own content for you or your clients)
  • Define your own URL schema
  • Flexible Templating (you make your page and say where you want your content)
  • Frontend debugging


  • Learning curve is especially steep especially if you don't know XSLT
  • Doesn't have the variety of add-ons like other more popular CMS products (however it's decent)
  • Doesn't even try to be a one click or quick setup - it's for making your custom CMS.
  • I'd choose this for any mono-lingual site. It's super flexible, without being overly complex (unless you don't know XSLT, of course). You can build a site that does exactly what you want - no more, no less. Very helpful from a user's perspective - no distractions. If you want a head start, there are "ensembles", which are pre-built packages for certain purposes (blogs, ...).
    – DanMan
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 20:48



  • True content management system, unlike Wordpress.
  • Admin interface is pretty easy to use, once you have the hang of it.
  • Many many themes, components, plugins and modules.
  • Making your own templates is incredibly easy.
  • The Joomla framework is rock solid, although it takes a little effort to get your head round when you are developing extensions.
  • Not as popular as Wordpress so security flaws are rarer and less exploited. Vulnerabilities are patched very quickly though.


  • Often the better themes and components have restrictive licenses.
  • No custom user permissions management yet (it's coming in 1.6). But it has 8 fixed permission levels (User, Editor, Admin etc).
  • SEO isn't quite as good out of the box but there are components to handle that.
  • Generally development is slow, apart from security/bug fixes. Version 1.6 has been in development for at least 2 years now!
  • More weaknesses: "True content management system, unlike Wordpress", I don't thinks this is only a strength. Joomla is so TRUE CMS that most final users (no tech guys) aren't able to update something on their own websites due to Joomla complexity and its hundreds of features/options. When I sell to my customers a Wordpress based site, most of them are able to update it on their own, not on Joomla. Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 12:37
  • con: the backend interface sucks and the codebase is waaaay to large, making backups takes forever. (up to 1 gig??!?) Commented Sep 6, 2010 at 22:13

UltraPanel PRO


  • Has everything all the other CMS systems do, dynamic pages, dynamic editors, checkout system.
  • Has a backend interface even my 70 year old dad can use.
  • Can build a website easily in a day.
  • Is a PHP library set, not an MVC, so it is simple to inject 3rd party code wherever you want.
  • Its fast. 100/100 on google pagespeed if you keep your jscript organized and setup a static resource domain.
  • I wrote it from scratch so I avoided all the pitfalls other CMSs have. (also it makes it easy for me to make webpages, since I know the code.)
  • extremely detailed access log and user management.


  • very low userbase (maybe 50 websites are running it now.)
  • closed-source and not free.
  • low developer support (I am the only one working on it.)
  • revision tracking works on a site by site basis

Impossible to answer properly - the question is missing so much detail it looks like a troll.

Content Management Systems do different things for different people - for some its about making web publishing simple - for some its about managing a turnover of articles - for others its about distributing, selling and managing the intellectual rights associated with content. For some its about integrating billing with viewing / publishing of content....The term Content Management System is little more specific than Web based application.

Why do you care? What is it you need to use it for? What are the constraints on your application?

A quick search on Freshmeat turned up 90 listings Are you expecting a review of them all?

What has PHP got to do with it? Except in a very small number of highly specialized cases you shouldn't be looking for a tool based on the language its written in.

Read this then ask a better question.

  • 7
    I can see the point you were trying to make, however a less antagonistic answer might have been more effective in doing so.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 11:50

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