Top 5 content management systems

Aug 4 by Kimberly Aris

There are many efficient content management systems available online. Designers and developers are accustomed to learning the ins and outs of not more than one or two content management systems. So these systems have to be very versatile and efficient.

There’s an ideal CMS for any type of website, and all you have to do is research and experiment until you find what works best for your goals. These are the top 5 CMS, three of which are without a doubt the best on the market (WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal). The last two are subjective favorites. They have a great balance between easy-to-use features and optimal support.

Take a look and see which one will help you build the perfect website!

1. WordPress

Cost: Free

The acceptance of WordPress as a CSM had a rough start, due to its mostly blogging-orientated platform features. However, it is now considered one of the most accessible and efficient content management systems. It powers websites as simple as catalog-style sites, and as complex as fully-functional social media networks.

WordPress has thousands of themes and templates that are fully customizable, using thousands of plug-ins and widgets. It’s not an overstatement to say that you could turn a WP into a social media network, an e-commerce platform, and much more. The functionality and versatility of your WP depends solely on your capacity to find and use the perfect plug-ins.

The very active community that WordPress has, allows you to enjoy easy access to a generous source of information, tutorials, and any other WP development details that you’d like to research.

If you’d like to use WP for its original purpose, still offers a hosted multi-blog platform, which incorporates all the basic functionality of a blog.


  • Large community of designers and developers with a wide variety of information and tutorials;
  • Large variety of free or purchasable plug-ins and custom themes that allow you to build any type of site through WordPress;
  • Easy-to-use content management dashboard.


  • It’s easy to overcomplicate a simple website;
  • The standardized installation process creates vulnerability, making it almost impossible to avoid security breaches without the use of extra security features;
  • Customer support is more or less inexistent, so you have to rely on the unofficial responses of other WP forum users.

2. Joomla!

Cost: Free

Joomla! is a popular CMS choice among websites that belong to entities such as Harvard, MTV, and Citibank. It is ideal for back-end networks, inventories, complex business networks, along with usual websites.

Joomls!’s activity and considerable progress has built a strong and active developer community around it (reaching over 250.000 users). This fact makes finding tutorials and a generous amount of information easy. This CMS is fully customizable without the need of coding, thanks to the large amount of plug-ins and add-ons available for Joomla!. The only detail in which Joomla! falls short is the quality of custom themes. When compared to WordPress, it’s easy to see the lack of quality and diversity.


  • Authentication is done using OpenID, Google, LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), and other user-friendly methods;
  • Over 7000 extensions available;
  • Active developer community that offers generous amounts of information.


  • Back-end work isn’t particularly user-friendly, though still efficient;
  • Lack of theme quality and diversity;
  • Easy to overcomplicate simple websites.

3. Drupal

Cost: Free

Drupal is a well known CMS as well. It powers websites that belong to top-notch businesses such as MIT, Sony Music, Popular Science, and many others. It incorporates useful tools and features that can help you build internal/external sites. It’s a very efficient when it comes to content organization.

This CMS’s active community incorporates various forums, IRC channels, and even has live Drupal events where developers can exchange ideas and information. The majority of information available is community-based, that’s why it’s always updated. You can find out everything from installation, to complex website building methods.

Drupal allows you to increase and improve your website’s functionality by offering over 6.000 add-ons. These modules remove the need of coding, allowing you to focus on designing your website, and coming up with high-quality content.


  • Significant community-based support with reliable sources of information;
  • Over 6,000 add-ons, giving Drupal its versatility;
  • Commercial support that Drupal receives from the business industry.


  • Easy to overcomplicate simple websites;
  • Quality commercial themes come at a price, since the free themes lack variety and quality;
  • Customizing a theme is difficult.

4. ExpressionEngine

Cost: $99.95 to $299.95

ExpressionEngine has its core base code written in CodeIgniter, which is the open source PHP framework that they own. This CMS is a hybrid of commercial and PHP software. Being a commercial platform means that EE has a community of developers that offer technical support using their own experiences. Websites powered by ExpressionEngine can be viewed on Show-EE, and examples include Canon Ixus and A|X Life.

Although EE lacks in modules and plug-ins when compared to the before-mentioned content management systems, the available official plug-ins and add-ons are the ones that almost all websites use, such as e-commerce platforms, forums and reports sections. Thanks to its community, you can also find plug-ins developed by other users.


  • The commercial aspect of the CMS allows users to enjoy high-quality support;
  • Has its own security systems, removing the need of additional security measures;
  • Fully customizable websites, with no boundaries for designers or developers.


  • High costs for commercial websites;

  • Easy to overcomplicate simple websites;

  • You only get to use the CMS after purchase, with no free trial period available.

5. TextPattern

Cost: Free

TextPattern may not get as much spotlight as other content management systems get, but it certainly has a lot to offer. It’s a versatile CMS that makes customization easy even for less tech-knowledgeable users. TextPattern converts content to XHTML using Textile. The tag system makes both the developer and visitor experience very user-friendly.

As most less-popular content management systems, TextPattern lacks diversity when it comes to themes and add-ons. You can find approximately 120 official themes, for both front-end and back-end customization, and 700 plug-ins. You can use these plug-ins and over 50 mods to improve your website’s functionality.


  • Offers user-friendly experience;
  • Ideal for websites of various sizes;
  • Online manual and helpful information available.


  • Small community, when compared to other content management systems;
  • Reduced number of plug-ins and add-ons;
  • Lack of high-quality themes.