Top 12 Free Content Management Systems (CMS)

Building websites by hand with all html/css pages was fine a couple years ago, but these days there are a ton of awesome Content Management System options out there that make our jobs as developers and website publishers SO much easier!

So, What Exactly Is A Content Management System?

According to Wikipedia, they describe a CMS as follows:

A web content management system (WCMS or Web CMS) is a content management system (CMS) software, usually implemented as a Web application, for creating and managing HTML content. It is used to manage and control a large, dynamic collection of Web material (HTML documents and their associated images). A CMS facilitates content creation, content control, editing, and many essential Web maintenance functions.

So take a moment and look over the list below of the 12 best free cms options available. Some might seem really familiar (we love wordpress) and some others might be new to you. They all deserve your attention for a few minutes. Hell, even test drive a few of them and see if there’s any that might work for a new project – I’m currently digging into SilverStripe which looks to be pretty damn awesome!

And don’t forget to let us know in the comments section which is your favorite CMS and why!

WordPress ↓

WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. WordPress is also what SpyreStudios and Design Newz run on (as well as my blog design website and my Guerrilla Freelancing blog).

Joomla ↓

Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla the most popular Web site software available. Best of all, Joomla is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.

Drupal ↓

Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations are using Drupal to power scores of different web sites

SilverStripe ↓

The SilverStripe CMS is a flexible open source Content Management System that gives everyone involved in a web project the tools they need to do their jobs.

Cushy CMS ↓

CushyCMS is a Content Management Systems (CMS) that is truly simple. It’s free for unlimited users, unlimited changes, unlimited pages and unlimited sites.

Frog CMS ↓

Frog CMS simplifies content management by offering an elegant user interface, flexible templating per page, simple user management and permissions, as well as the tools necessary for file management. Born as phpRadiant in January 2007, Frog CMS is a PHP version of Radiant CMS, a well known Ruby on Rails application. Although the two applications still share a family resemblance, Frog is charting its own development path.

MODx ↓

MODx helps you take control of your online content. An Open Source PHP application framework, it frees you to build sites exactly how you want and make them 100% yours. Zero restrictions and fast to build. Super-simple templates in regular HTML/CSS/JS (any lib you want). Registered user systems and a killer community. Welcome to web-building nirvana.

TYPOlight ↓

TYPOlight CMS is a web CMS that Uses Ajax and Web 2.0 technologies, has a live update feature for those of us who have multiple blogs, gives multi-language support and hosts a ton of other great features

dotCMS ↓

The fully functional GPL version of dotCMS continues to forge ahead – providing bleed–edge features and the latest code to a thriving community of developers and users.

Expression Engine ↓

ExpressionEngine is a flexible, feature-rich content management system that empowers thousands of individuals, organizations, and companies around the world to easily manage their website. If you’re tired of the limitations of your current CMS then take ExpressionEngine for a spin…

Radiant CMS ↓

Radiant is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams that was built on Ruby on Rails. It gives an endless list of awesome features and is definitely worth checking out.

concrete5 ↓

A CMS made for Marketing, but strong enough for Geeks! Concrete5 is an open source content management system. It’s revolutionary – and it’s free.

Learn to build your own CMS with PHP ↓

If you’d like to build your own CMS, Jason Lengstorf has an amazing tutorial posted on CSS-Tricks that will show you step by step how to build a simple CMS for your own website using PHP. It’s definitely worth checking out – I followed the tut and use it for a small note keeping page (similar to a to-do list) and learned a lot about php along the way :)

Your Turn To Talk

So, which CMS do you use? I’m sure many of you folks use WordPress, but have you tried any of the ones listed here? Which one(s) do you like better, and why?


  1. says

    I’ve been trying to learn Drupal. It has a lot of potential, it’s free and it has a great developer community. The only problem it’s hard for designers to convert psd layout into well functioning site. There are themes of course, but starting from scratch is a little hard. There is definitely a steep learning curve. I heard good things about Expression Engine, I just wish it was free.

  2. says

    I have just been playing with Perch (, which is a magnificent little CMS (providing the same sort of functionality as CushyCMS except that it’s all in your own control. OK, it’s not free, but is very cheap all the same. (I thought since EE is mentioned here–which is essentially a commercial product, even though the limited core version is free–it’s fair to mention Perch too.)

  3. says

    I’d change the order of the list, but the most famous one are here (in the past e107 was another good solution and the php-nuke like systems). When I got web presence I had my own minimalistic CMS and forum. The forum was quite well written, with different topics, avatars, bb codes, privilege levels, etc. After a while I was introduced to WordPress and fell in love. I also tried Joomla (Mamboo), Drupal and a bunch of other CMS, but in my opinion they are too complicated. WordPress is just an ideal base you can build upon. No need for complex systems to downgrade it. It is better to complete WordPress to serve your needs.

  4. Drakanor says

    This list is nice, but more than incomplete. E.g. it’s missing several leading Java CMS like OpenCms and HippoCms.

  5. Andrew says

    I work at a web dev shop that has standardized on eZ Publish. We’ve been really happy with it. It has a pretty steep learning curve, but once you move on beyond that its way more flexible than most other CMS’s (IMHO). We’re planning on moving to Solr for search soon, and they have their own plug in.

    Good community, good paid support options, and a really clean coding style. I’d recommend them.

  6. Eric K says

    @Ralph: Perch costs £35 and takes about an hour to setup. CushyCMS is free and takes about 2 minutes.

  7. says

    I use WordPress on 90% of my sites, and find it’s huge developer community and mass of free plugins a joy – as well as the incredibly intuitive admin area.

    I have also used Typo3 on a number of sites, which whilst very powerful is a pain to use in the admin area.

  8. says

    I used Joomla before but when I found out about WordPress and when I tried it… Now I wouldn’t change it for anything! :)

    Good list!

  9. Erlend says

    Why is eZ Publish almost never mentioned in these round ups? I’ve always found it far superior to both drupal and wordpress.. I guess maybe it’s a bit too complicated to hit the “mainstream” the way wp and drupal have.


  10. says

    When you’re talking about free CMS, you’ve got to mention DotNetNuke (DNN). It’s a free based CMS.

  11. says

    We just recently chose Rails-based BrowserCMS, mainly because of the recommendation by the Agile Philanthropy Group and their pledge for support. The story remains to be written as to whether we made the right choice.

  12. Jack Dempsey says

    A newly recrafted CMS from Browser Media deserves mention:

    It is extremely extensible, has many powerful features built in, and makes it easy for a non-technical user to customize and work with their site. Best CMS in Rails right now.

  13. Brian Lee says

    I’m surprised you made no mention at all of Plone; that’s one of the most popular CMS’s. It dwarfs most of the CMS’s you’ve mentioned. Typo3 was left out too.

  14. Luis says

    Thank you, didn’t know many of those. I’m going to try radiant, but right now my favorite is Textpattern.

  15. Jane says

    Wow! Not even a mention of Movable Type (free for personal use). How far they’ve fallen :(

  16. says

    Your article is a good starting point in exploring CMSs. However, it seems to me that the comparison is a little too shallow. The blurb beside each photo is very short and not terribly informative, which leaves the reader to make decisions based on the screenshot. This is deceiving, since most (if not all) CMSs can be modified with themes/templates. Perhaps a few words about ease of install/use/theme or a short description of your personal experience with it would have been far more useful. Still, a good start :)

  17. Aaron says

    I still use Textpattern. I like how simple it is, and they don’t try and apply any of their own “look”. The user community is great too.

  18. says

    I always see blogware like WordPress listed with a true CMS like C5 or Concrete5. It is true that blog content is content and WordPress handles that as well as Static pages very well but it is not a good fit for other types of content like a Modx, Joomla or Drupal application is.
    As you can tell, I am particular about “CONTENT” management systems and I am looking for the best of the best… out of the package (currently) my favorite is C5 Concrete5 but it is still not perfect but it is Super easy to work with and love the LIVE editor that Modx also sports.

    Looking for the “SMALLEST, FASTEST, CMS”? try NanoCMS, it is as described, except for my definition of Content .

  19. says

    I love WordPress and Joomla. I used CushyCMS too and for some clients, that’s the BEST SOLUTION. I hope to find more/better CMS systems like cushy.

  20. says

    WordPress is a great tool.

    I would also give a vote for CMS Made Simple. Great CMS that can fully customized. We have been developing with CMSMS for a couple years and see no need or reason to switch.

  21. says

    I use WordPress, primarily.

    Just a thought: Why would you write your own CMS? If you know enough php/MySQL to do that, you probably don’t need this article anyway.

  22. says

    I’m not sure I agree with WordPress being on this list since it’s much more a blogging software rather than a CMS. After about 6 months of forcing a blogging software to work like a CMS, I realized there’s a massive difference in the two.

  23. Jeremy says

    If you try any serious CMS capabilities with wordpress you’re going to be pulling your hair out.

    Want an image gallery? Custom write fields? Your stuck.

    It’s a great blogging platform – probably the best.

    Expression Engine out of the box is amazing. And you don’t have to deal with the headaches of third party plugins like Joomlah and Drupal do.

  24. Ryan says

    So does anyone else besides me think there are WAY too many CMSs? And few of them actually keep their promise, which is to be able to make the site editable by a non-techie users. I’ve used Joomla and WordPress and am considering that for personal sites where I’m the only one editing them, no CMS necessary. Really, what’s the point?

  25. says

    CMSMS wins hands down! Really simple to integrate, and features some great modules. My clients seem to like it too :)

  26. says

    Excuse the blog-length comment…but I’ve got some experience with several of the above that I’m happy to share. In a nutshell, I started with Joomla, learned Drupal, moved to WordPress, and even used Cushy CMS. Each has its own advantage.

    Joomla is an easy out-of-the-box solution, it has (one of the more) intuitive admin interfaces, superior community support, and a massive selection of 3rd party modules, both free and commercial. The Joomla templates available on the web are very professional – and from a design standpoint this makes Joomla one of the easiest CMS solutions to plug and play.

    Drupal on the other hand is both powerful and flexible – create your own content types with custom fields, use the Views module to display that content in virtually any way you wish; however Drupal isn’t exactly your out-of-the-box solution as it can require a ton of customization on both templates and modules to fit your needs. Someone mentioned a steep learning curve – this is very very true, mainly because the admin interface is not very intuitive.

    WordPress has slowly become a better CMS and there’s even a plugin for creating custom fields which opens the gate for its expansion into a system useful for more than just blogging. I think one of the best features about WordPress (from the designer/client standpoint) is its ease of use when training your clients to maintain their own pages.
    CushyCMS (free version anyhow) is pretty lightweight: add some classes to the div’s you want to make editable. Log in, edit. Save. Done. They recently added XML file support as well. Good for making small edits to small content areas.

    I’ve heard some positive reviews for Expression Engine but don’t like the thought of paying additional money for features that should, without question, be included in the core (ahem, search module, pages module?). Open Source CMS options like Drupal and Joomla blow Expression Engine out of the water when it comes to out-of-the-box functionality and free add ons (AFAIK!).

    Hope my experience helps to point someone in the right direction.

  27. says

    I think the question which needs to be asked here is not just what’s good for the designer, but what’s the most intuitive and easiest for the CLIENT. WP is pretty straightforward, but I’ve had customers completely befuddled by it, much less something like Joomla or Drupal.

  28. Jan says

    HI, I’m using Joomla! and have tried WordPress both are very good, as your CMS core so you do not need to build the UI from beginning and just use the advantage of these free CMS and build your own extensions and create a better CMS

    Do not get me wrong but I think that working hard on your own CMS from scratch it’s just wasting of time, you will never be as good as the community of these CMS

  29. says

    As many others have said CMSMS (CMS Made Simple) is one of the best, and is much more powerful than its name suggests.

    It’s also worth pointing out that although the Expression Engine Core is free, that is only available for non-commercial or non-profit use so it doesn’t really fit in a list of free CMSs

  30. Jan says

    @Davide Giacobino: WordPress is better! – Why? Depends on what you need, If you need just Bloging then maybe yes, but I can do the same in Joomla!

  31. says

    I’ve only used Expression Engine but am very happy with it.

    To be fair, its not actually free, but it is very easy to pick up, and as someone with no experience in php, or any other programming knowledge, its amazingly flexible and powerful.

    I’d love to say I could use something like Joomla (being free to use), but ultimately, the ability to use a vast amount of tags, conditionals, (community developed) modules, and functionaility with nothing but a knowledge of html and css behind me makes Expression Engine perfect.

  32. says

    I can’t believe Textpattern is not on this list!
    It’s the only CMS I use, I think its unbelievably powerful and easy to use.
    There is such a big community behind it as well, its so easy to find anything you need.

  33. says

    My site is built on Drupal. Click my username “jlbraaten” to see. I agree that there was a steep learning curve.

    Also, I’m trying to get my friend to work on a CMS, but he’s a .NET fiend and most of the good ones out there are PHP. Thanks for the mentions of the .NET solutions.

  34. says

    Here’s another vote for CMS Made Simple. I’ve used EE, WP, Joomla, none are even close to how easy CMSMS is.

  35. says

    This list covers most of the CMS, I will advice for Joomla. Joomla is the one which has largest plugins and modules available to add on ur website.
    Even though it little big and complex but its worth when you wish lots of features on your website.

  36. says

    I’m familiar with most of these as well, but for our general client base of publishers, NGOs and other agencies, the TYPO3 CMS fits there more extensive needs. For the lesser complicated sites, WordPress with Thesis is a no brainer.

  37. says

    An awesome list, also appreciate the links to cms-tuts -can never get over learning some new code! Must say personally I like WordPress, but some of these look like they could be worth a go!

  38. says

    For clients of web designers, it is important for the CMS to be customizable, yet extremely user-friendly for those who have no experience with programming/design. In the past, I have found SilverStripe to be the most user-friendly, the most customizable, and the most aesthetically appealing. Other CMS like PINT, which is used by various academic institutions is too restrictive while WordPress can be overwhelming with all of the different options and plug-ins.

  39. says

    I believe that Drupal is the best CMS out there…It is very powerful and robust and with all the modules that you can add you can extend its power even more..Customising a drupal site is not that difficult too…Drupal 6 is even more amazing I just cant wait for Drupal 7. My site has also been built using Drupal..

  40. says

    WordPress is still the best while Joomla is the first choice for business and e-commerce sites. Thanks for listing these CMS.

  41. says

    I’m definitely trying WordPress as CMS. I’ve invested a lot of time in using Joomla, but its just too slow once you add all those plug-ins.

  42. says

    hi i am new to cms and i was looking 4 a good forum and blog where the user can only use on log in 4 both and have other features, i look into joomla it was good, wordpress good but the thing is which is the best or which has the more features and support thx in advance and really great article

  43. Alexander says

    I tried almost every one of these systems and each system is a story for themselves, each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, but the best I have WordPress (for smaller sites and blog systems), and Joomla (for commercial sites have a lot of high quality modules) I’m not sure but it seems to me that no one mentioned, the super multiblog system, developed together in partnership with people who have worked WordPress but later they went different ways

  44. Ayan says

    Thanks for the nice little piece here,

    Very informative for us non-techie types.

    I am the operations manager for a small advert agency. Most of our work is print grapics, promotional materials, menu’s, etc. We have a team of some very talented CS guys. We want to expand our offering and be able to create websites for our clients. These are small family owned pizza shops, gas stations, dentist offices, etc. who would love a web presence, if it was inexpensive. We have great, decades old relationships with these clients and would love to help them out.

    So, what content management system would you suggest for us? One that is open source, easy to use and geared towards promotional marketing. I keep hearing Joomla or Bluenog / Bluenog ICE from our guys. What do you suggest?

    Thanks for your time and help,

  45. says

    I love programming web platforms and CMS systems. Beside my full time job developing enterprise level WCMS that multinational organizations use (such as Olympus IMS, Hologic …) I enjoy developing my own minimalistic and absolutely revolutionary CMS written in Mozilla’s XUL.

    I am probably too proud and too self confident about my own creations to use other solutions ;-).

  46. says

    Great thanks for very good article! It was interesting to new some CMS more!
    But I can’t to choose what CMS would be good for news web-site, for Internet media? I use Joomla for some years, and we put on it tens articles in a day. The Joomla work with huge number of articles not very good, and many news topics on frontpage make it work slow… What do You think about what CMS to choose?

  47. ninad says

    it didn’t start 2 years back…the first cms i know phpnuke rolled out sometime in 1999. by 2002 most major sites used a php based cms and there were already countless cms’s available including drupal , xoops and most popular at that time postnuke which has now closed down.

    it’s funny you havent mentioned xoops …its still my favourite and ezPublish..which for the last 10 or so years has been voted as no 1 cms..ahead of drupal and joomla.

  48. says

    Hi, great post. But what I would love to know are which are best for web designers who don’t want to use pre-defined templates and want to import their own code / designs and layouts into a CMS.
    Or even better.. ones which allow me to put their code in the areas of my sites which need to be editable…
    Any thoughts would be appreciated :)

  49. says

    Just want to throw in my vote for Concrete5 — absolutely love it. Super easy, inline editing right on the page… Do check it out. Only downside is many of the modules (“add-ons”) are not free — but, they’re code-reviewed, vetted & approved by the CMS developers, which is good.

    Some of these CMS’s I’m familiar with and others I’d never heard of — it’s very exciting how many free and open-source ones are out there now. I hope to give some different ones a try.

    A couple that I came across which are not mentioned in any of the comments:



    Can’t vouch for them personally, and I stay away from hosted solutions, but might be a good option for some.

  50. Arthur says

    I spent some time looking and trying and ended up using tiki

    primarily becasue it was the only one that handled multilingual so well. A welcome surprise that it handles about almost everything else too Wikis / Forums / Blogs / Articles / Image Gallery / Map Server / Link Directory / Bug Tracker / RSS Feeds. Its free open source.

    So I’m still using it ove several sites now. Its downside is that its feature set is so huge it can be daunting to set up at first adn a steep learning curve for the unitiated. And off-the-shelf themes are few and mainly ugly (doesn’t touch something like Joomla! for that).

    I think they’re trying to improve that side of things now.

  51. says

    i worked with joomla and wordpress. i found wordpress a better and stable tool than joomla, even it doesn’t have so many features…

  52. says

    I will have to lean more towards Joomla and WordPress. While Joomla can help you create extensive websites it still comes with those nasty tables that can make building a nice site more difficult. With no real way to overide the table HTML without hacking the core files.

    On the other hand WordPress has gained my favor since it can be used as a blog and a website CMS not to mention it’s very easy for clients to use. The best feature that I love about wordpress is that is has an extensive CODEX that explains in detail how to use it’s template tags.Not to mention unlimted page templates.

  53. says

    I mostly use Joomla, but find it very limited, unless you have money to waste on buying new modules and components. What is the best CMS? Something Simple, Easy, User Friendly, Flexiable, Front End Editing.

  54. says

    hi guys, i am looking for a sort of system that will alow me to do the following

    1. alow my users to register for my site
    2. alow my registerd users create there own profile from a template
    3. alow my registed users to upload a few photos to there profile
    4. and have the ability of messageing other users via there profile

    thanks for takeing the time to help me on this, i have my own dedicated home web server not running sql at the moment but are looking into this as its the way the web is running


  55. says

    Update: I’ve changed my blog over to Squarespace from Drupal (see the comment above) and am loving it very very much. I think the design-centric community would dig it as well.

  56. says

    I’m just learning the joomla cms system. Do you think its easy to make a new theme for it or is this going to be a problem?

  57. says

    Having built my own CMS I can say there is certainly reason to do it yourself. Going back to free ones is something I am loath to do, but good for peaking at new features / improvements

  58. anand says

    thanks bro, pls let me know which is CMS is good for non blog for small business website where we can add lot of video’s and flash

  59. says

    I prefer Juice CMS from Yorkshire. Most people will never have heard of it because its based on the very latest XML XSLT technology. Very similar to Symphony and with features to die for. There is no design that cannot be implemented using Juice CMS. End users love it because of its simple interface and developers love it because of its power.
    Check out

  60. Cindi says

    Expression engine – the level that is of any value for online presence – is not free.

  61. says

    Template CMS 0.9 Features:
    – Easy to install, use and update
    – Easy administration interface.
    – Multilingual interface administration. (English, Russian +)
    – Minimum requirements for web hosting (without sqlDB only PHP)
    – Keywords and description for each page and for all.
    – Easy page editor (WYSIWYG).
    – Create a backup of the site.
    – Ability to change themes.
    – Friendly URLs.

  62. says

    I used Joomla for 3 sites..But not satisfied with SEO features and now looking for an alternate cms for company website. Anyhow my first joomla site ( using SOBI2 business directory component cannot be changed as it is the only free n best directory component.

  63. Dave says

    Great round up – some names I’m going to explore further – both in the post and the comments. I’m particularly intersted in CMS systems that are .txt file based and not server based, like WP, Joomla etc. That means .php is the file format to choose and a file storage system using simple .txt files rather than a MySQL or other server storage.

    One name I don’t think I didn’t see was DocuWiki, a .txt file based storage Wiki format in .php. I like it and have used it as well as Mark it up CMS

  64. Isaac says

    Nice list! But I have to agree with all the other commenters… CMS Made Simple needs to be included on this list!

  65. says

    CMS Made Simple – is simple for a simple website… Wow, so many ‘simple”… Imagine you need a blog with CAPTCHA. CMSMS doesn’t have a decent blog. People may like it if they don’t need any extra features. Nowadays, Forums and Blogs are ordered by almost all of our clients.

    – Arkadi (

  66. says

    I’ve tested both Joomla and Drupal, but finally decided on CMS Made Simple instead, as it was the easiest to use!

    Sure it has lesser features than the others, but HEY! What the customer needed was just a simple portal that they could update by themselves using a simple WYSIWYG editor.

    CMSMS fits all of their requirements perfectly, and they too feedback to us that it was extremely easy to use!

    I’d continue using CMSMS for my future customers! :)

  67. says


    It is a unique content management system for managing data in XML format. Easy graphical interface enables you to control the profiling data for the creation of hierarchical structures.

    SoftXMLCMS provides a fast and easy way to create a professional, multilingual website and manage its content.

  68. says

    50/50 on WordPress. I found to many plugins had little to no instructions and left me a little confused on how to use them as some of their support sites were not in english. I installed feedwordpress (RSS FEEDER) plugin, deleted a page where I had feeds linked and then plugin it hit an error in line 26. I uninstalled and reinstalled it, but the error never went away, so can no longer use it without deleting the entire site(To my knowledge) and reinstalling. I have now found similar issues with other plugins, that if you stuff it by accident. Deleting the plugin and reinstalling will not fix the issue, so my copy is slowly filling up with more and more little bugs and finidng myself not being able to use the 5star Plugins(Learning by my own mistakes). Wish I could reinstall the whole site but will loose too many hours of work. Other than that, I use it for Latest News(Which I use the Post Section) a directory, and two calanders. I did find though that WordPress can do alot of thing, but does not do anything extremal well except posts.

  69. says

    I have used both joomla and wordpress. Joomla has far more flexibility in what you put on each page and where (module positions). With wordpress the sidebar functionality is pretty basic and you have to use plugins just to make your site function more like a content management system.

    WordPress should really evolve into a more powerful cms, at the moment it is great for your first site, and it is very user friendly, but it can’t outperform joomla in terms of functionality.


  70. says

    Nice list, each one of them have special features that are not present from the others. for blogging, i’ll go for wordpress but a for a general site development, Joomla! is at the TOP!!!

  71. Ivo Stickan says

    I use Joomla and Drupal in my projects, good combination, for example if you need something simple then it’s Joomla worth to use, more advanced Drupal. I think Contao should be good. Can anyone tell what CMS system should be the best for ecommerce project like thanks.

  72. Marosh says

    Do you know what CMS system should be the best for creating Forms. However all sending data from form I would like to see on browser as well. Example of Form like :

    I know that I can use PHP source and MySQL database for this kind of forms, but it would be cool if I can use CMS.

  73. says

    Well, I am going to step out on a limb here and say that I would put against any of the ones mentioned.

    I would say that BWB is superior in terms of cost, functionality and SEO. It is hard to stay apples to apples with CMS comparisons, but I have used many over the years and still find that is the overall best that I have ever used.

    This CMS has features that I have not seen in any other CMS. I used Joomla for about 3 websites a few months ago and regret it completely. It took me two weeks to find someone who could put in a photo gallery like the client wanted, and it was not a complicated one, pretty bare bones.

    Some of the massive features include the ability to actually copy an entire website, add forms within SECONDS, add Flash photo galleries quickly and easily and complete on-page SEO capabilities.

    I would appreciate anyone’s feedback, I would hate to be missing something.

  74. Craig Adams says

    Concrete5 for me all the way!, I researched and tested several cms for months before settling with Concrete5. Give it a chance and you won’t be disappointed. No other cms can offer a function that allows you to move content around the browser in a drag and drop process. Once it’s set up its as easy as click and edit.

  75. Hellstorm says

    I’ve tried Joomla and Drupal and they are too difficult and confusing for me. On Joomla I had several errors and on Drupal I simply can’t upload nice themes. It’s driving me crazy. I’ll try concrete5 (:

  76. Marosh says

    Hi All,
    I tried installed concrete5 and WP. But I got MSQL SERVER Error.
    I Found out that error is because WordPress and C5 requires MySQL version 4.1.2 or higher. And My host provider is running version 4.0.13.. :-(
    Do you have any suggestion,please? Or do you know any CMS with requires MySQL version 4.0.13?

    Thanks for help

  77. says

    None of these CMS’s compare to, I have used WordPress and Joomla, don’t even get me going about Joomla, I once spent over a week just to try to get a simple Flash photo gallery up and running on a Joomla site, almost lost a client.
    WordPress is for anyone who doesn’t know any better. I have just started to try out Concrete5 and I like it so far, but it doesn’t compare to BWB. It is cheaper, BWB has a monthly fee, but is a far superior CMS. For instance, I am working on a site today, one thing I noticed is that when you are on a page in C5 you can’t just click on a nav item and go to that page, you can in BWB, saves tons of time, don’t have to logout and save, just move to the next page, save your edits if you like.
    The other main thing was in building forms. With BWB you can freekin cut and paste form fields, like a handful at a time, awesome. W/C5 you have to add one field at a time. BWB even comes with premade contact and mailing list form. You can literally create a form in less than 15 seconds and have it be functioning.
    Well, I like C5 and will continue to work in it, like I say, it is cheaper, but from what I have seen no CMS mentioned in here is as easy, fast and as functional as BWB:

  78. Mils†ein® says

    I think its all you considering only for PHP platform.
    If you are arguing about ASP then i think we SageFrame® is best of rest.
    You can get free download customize as your requirement and also can be easily used.
    so I better consider as the Best CMS available.
    thank you
    Peace and cheer

  79. Array Hunter says

    uhm..ok im using this apps..phpbb for my forums..and wordpress,,they both are running well..amazing cms,,and ill try all of the cms above,,sorry abt my english..thx for listing these cms ^^

  80. says

    I have used Expanse CMS ( since I started web designing. I now have the publishing rights for it in the UK and its become open source. It’s built by designers for designers so its super easy to create HTML template files using simple template language.

  81. Lubos Pernis says

    WordPress is on the top now. I tried a amater cms from Slovakia, but i think it wasn’t horibble. Really simple thinks are really cool.. Like Wp or joomla.

  82. Stevemo says

    I like PyroCMS, really easy, simple just enough eye’s candy and build on Codeigniter framework so easy to extend

  83. tosh says

    I have found wordpress to be the easiest to use, it even comes with an app for the iphone so you can update it on the move.

  84. Torkin says

  85. says

    any cms can be “plugged” in to use a facebook ID….if there isn’t a plug-in in any of these, then one would have to be written, but I wouldn’t suggest the facebook log-ins unless your ready and able to control spammers

  86. Paulthebassguy says

    Composite C1 is quite a good CMS as well but the problem is that the templates have to be edited within the CMS itself, within the browser.

    Which of the above (if any) allow you to easily create your own .Net templates (or user controls) in visual studio with CMS-editable content but your own server side code?

    I know that EpiServer does this quite well but that’s expensive – is there an open source one that anyone is aware of?


  87. Tom5445 says

    phpwarmsky is also good templates but you cant edit them directly from a browser. its very easy to install. just type in the database info, select your mods and admin info and go to the site. it has a powerful forum with fork as a feature.

    don’t you think that phpwarmsky should be included as 1 of the 12 best?


  88. Staffan says

    What about CMS Made Simple? A powerful CMS that is simple and intuitive to use. Probably my favourite so far, although GetSimple is pretty nice for smaller projects.

  89. Zala11 says

    The best CMS for multiple languages is Tribiq CMS. Easy to use interface and easy to build large sites.

  90. Rahni says

    I used Expression Engine for a while at work. It’s pretty user friendly but its not free, and that sux..

  91. Russ says


    I use WordPress and I have enjoyed it. However, when I upgraded to 3.1.1 I found that when I attempt to create a new page (or edit old pages), I have no options to choose a parent page or create a page without a comment box.

    I am a newbie.. I would appreciate help!

    Thank you,


  92. says

    Nice to read a post on CMS’s that doesn’t give the impression that all cms systems are blogs. I have been using WordPress for a couple of years but I needed a very simple cms for my small business clients. I ended up building my own which wasn’t as hard as you would think. I think wordpress is awsome but it does present a small learning curve for anyone who is completely green. That cost me a few client and so I built my own with simplicity in mind.

  93. says

    I don’t think WordPress is remotely “there” as a CMS. It is really blogging software. A CMS should allow for something different other than the typical scrolling front page, which is really annoying if your site has nothing to do with real time events. For CMS I’d rather a site that focused on encouraging people to explore the content and poke around, which blogs by their very nature discourage, what with content scrolling off into oblivion and whatnot. Is there a CMS that accommodates this?

  94. says

    In my view.. Joomla is the best CMS for small business websites. but if you are looking for a website only for blogging purposes then wordpress..

  95. says

    Excellent list, only I do not know whether I would MemHT CMS could enter the list for some time I used it in version 4 and proved to be good. Now I definitely switched to WordPress. Thanks

  96. says

    At first, I didn’t like WordPress at all. I felt like it was not user friendly and just unorganized. But I gave it another go and tried to learn how to use it. Now I’m loving WP! I like the widgets, and the ability to customize the button and most especially that it can be integrated to any website. I just simply adore WordPress and cannot wait to share my wonderful experience in using it!

    Aurora Mesner
    Easton Accountant

  97. Marakov says

    WordPress is not, by its own description a CMS. It is a blog application and used as such is superior. It is when people try to make it into a CMS that it is far from superior amongst a plethora of other choices (including in-house CMS creation).

    Most developers I know and have worked with choose a CMS first and foremost based upon the language they are most prevalent in using and comfortable with. Usually this would be PHP or RoR since they are the two Open Source giants, but let us not forget about Python and ASP.NET which both have great choices and contenders. Plone for Python is excellent and Open Source while ASP.NET has DotNetNuke as well as others.

    I truly believe Joomla! excels so well at its popularity not just because it is a great all-around CMS, but because it and PHP are so easy to deploy and use. Joomla! installation is a cinch, and PHP is including on virtually all hosts. RoR requires so much work to have a local development environment setup that I can see why many developers opt for the easier to setup PHP and a local environment such as WAMP or XAMPP or LAMP.

    I think once you have made a choice on language, the choice on CMS or framework becomes far easier. RoR I prefer but it is also a language and framework that is far more geared towards team development and large-scale sites. That’s not to say a lone developer cannot or should not use RoR, just that I have found most loners opt for PHP and most prevalently Joomla!, which is an absolutely excellent choice for small businesses. Its strength definitely lies in its expandability through plugins, modules and components. Though I must also say that for budding developers, that is also its greatest weakness. These add-ons create a certain level of laziness for developers, where we search for a solution rather than develop one. Don’t get me wrong, no reason to recreate the wheel if you do not need to, but oft times this causes unnecessary code and bulk on a site that in-house development would avoid.

    Now, all that being said, which CMS do I prefer (outside of in-house) the most? Radiant based on RoR.

  98. says

    Nice overview. Definitely bookmark for detailed reading. Some web hosts make it real easy to set these up with a one click install. I know I’ve seen it on the one I am using, except i had to do it manually because they were upgrading the system or some excuse like that…

  99. says

    Thanks for the comprehensive lesson about cms. Personally I prefer using wp as my blog platform, which I feel so versatile and modern. Futhermore, you can visit my site based on worepress about effective ways to earn money online, uh…just check out the career safe online site.

  100. Nimesh says

    Sageframe should have been given a mention here. First thing, a Dot net cms is way better than Php cms in terms of security, file handling, you say next…..and in my personal experience Sageframe is the most dynamic off all dot net cms…..Dot net nuke, Joomla and Drupal are obsolete….move ahead folks !!! Download this cms from its absolutely free of cost.

  101. Ernest says

    I need a CMS that can do Image Galleries!!! I have not found one that clients can maintain there own Galleries and add there own albums with out me having to add another page or any extra code every time they need a new album.

    If anybodies out there, HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!


  102. says

    I run a vegan blog and I’m looking for a new CMS. I currently use wordpress (Sel Noir Cuisine) but the only themes I like don’t function the way I’d like them to be. No matter what, the core is a blog, not a website.


  103. says

    I have been using content management system for my site since I don’t have any ideas on HTML or programming languages. With CMS, you can easily manage your site. It’s hassle free. Most of it are paid version, so I am grateful that you shared us free content management systems that I can use..Thanks…

  104. says

    I’ve “grown up” on wordpress and all of my web properties are built on that interface. It’s great for google rankings and relatively simple. They’ve done a good job getting the bugs out the past few years and have been very aggressive with new releases which is great. However, I never felt you can really get a good clean, “bright” look with WP. I’m thinking more and more about joomla but don’t know much about the interface.

  105. says

    My vote goes to WordPress. I’m using it on more of my sites and I’m content with it. The admin panel is easy to use and there are many great plugins and tons of templates.

  106. says

    i love wordpress…and majority of people does…it’s going to rule the world of cms in near future…

  107. says

    There are a lot of CMS’ out there and I hear a lot of info about them. The ones that get the most light though i’ve noticed are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Expression Engine and Business Catalyst.

    I haven’t yet found one where I would jump out of my shell but I’ve noticed that despite the huge selection of CMS’ out there people will usually just stick with what they know or learned first. I went out of my way to learn expression engine though and have a love hate relationship with it but the more I work with it the more I realize I love it.

    Thanks for posting this, these roundups are always useful.

  108. says

    I use WordPress for my blog, I find it very easy to use and the number of available plug ins means you can customise it to your hearts content.

  109. says

    Great list thanks for the effort, as a company we tend to favour WordPress however we also have loads of clients that use Joomla. One system not mentioned on here is LightCMS which seems to be appealing to many thanks to its drag and drop system when designing the template for the sites. I’ve also heard of another one called Cosmoe which even comes with it’s integrated email marketing software.

    For newbies who come across this list. Many of these CMS will give you a limited version of the software for free and then charge you for extras or for monthly usage. Whichever you select give it some time before giving up on it, some come with a steep learning curve but in the end it’s usually worth it.

  110. says

    I cant believe DNN (DotNetNuke) has gotten only a few mentions, its extreamly modular, there are so many extensions out there in the market place. Its on page editing functions make a breeze for anyone even the novice to be able to publish content. Its super easy to skin. For me DNN is hands down the best CMS.

  111. Aayush Garg says

    I don’t get it, you wrote exactly same thing for every cms(atleast for first 5), sorry but it would be kind if you explain each one, that’s why i came here in the first place.

  112. says

    I’ve been using Kala CMS lately and it seems like these guys did a really great job in some areas which are not so good in most of the websites managers, like allow changing any piece of the HTML, supporting the latest Bootstrap, using Less for CSSing, full support for multilingual, great analytics reporting, and very good prices and free plan!

    See for yourself at


  1. […] Top 12 Free Content Management Systems (CMS) | SpyreStudios So take a moment and look over the list below of the 12 best free cms options available. Some might seem really familiar (we love wordpress) and some others might be new to you. They all deserve your attention for a few minutes. Hell, even test drive a few of them and see if there’s any that might work for a new project – I’m currently digging into SilverStripe which looks to be pretty damn awesome! […]

  2. […] Top 12 Free Content Management Systems (CMS) | SpyreStudios Building websites by hand with all html/css pages was fine a couple years ago, but these days there are a ton of awesome Content Management System options out there that make our jobs as developers and website publishers SO much easier! (tags: wordpress download free articles blogs web-developer web-developer/tools) Filed under: No Comments Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on this post ) […]

  3. […] Top 12 Free Content Management Systems (CMS) | SpyreStudios Some might seem really familiar (we love wordpress) and some others might be new to you. (tags: opensource tools webdesign WordPress blogs blog-tools programming) […]

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