By now, there’s little disputing WordPress’ dominance as the King of the Content Management Systems (CMS). Powerful, flexible, and best of all, free to use, there’s little you can’t do with the most widely-used platform of its type on the web.
Yet whilst WordPress works perfectly as a catch-all platform on which to develop everything from blogs and brochure-style business sites to dynamic online stores, it isn’t the only open-source CMS out there.
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of web development, or simply find yourself fed up always turning to WordPress as your default CMS, here’s five top alternative platforms you might want to consider.
Yes, we’re starting with the most obvious ones first. Joomla‘s availability is often advertised by top hosting companies alongside WordPress as a key selling point, and for good reason.
Now in its second decade, Joomla is perhaps second only to WordPress in its market dominance, attracting scores of users thanks to its relative simplicity, excellent community support, and a vast array of plugins and extensions.
Design wise, it’s probably fair to say that you need to do a little digging around before you can find pre-designed themes which match the quality and flexibility of WordPress, but they are available.
The third open source Content Management System to complete the ‘Big Three’ (along with Joomla and WordPress), Drupal‘s community support certainly rivals that of Joomla, whilst its design features and pre-designed themes work together to create beautifully looking websites which, for this writer’s money, often trump what’s capable with WordPress.
A little harder to get to grips with than its main competitors, Drupal is nonetheless a very powerful alternative, and is even the CMS of choice for none other than the White House.
Concrete5 may still have its issues, and may not be the most newcomer-friendly CMS platform on the block, but for those with a little experience in developing websites, it’s certainly a serious contender.
After a little getting used to, the system can be used to create very attractive websites which rival any of its better-known alternatives.
The add-on extensions available also work heavily in Concrete5’s favour. Though perhaps not as many nor varied as with WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, they do work exceptionally well, and even avoid the plugin conflicts that can sometimes cause woes for WordPress users.
Though definitely a contender for the best CMS platforms around, Umbraco simply isn’t suitable for your average small business website. After all, that isn’t what it was designed for.
Rather, Umbraco’s M.O is to provide a powerful, open source CMS solution for big brand organisations who require large resources and exceptional flexibility.
To that extent, the CMS certainly delivers. It intigrates effortlessly with Microsoft .NET to create dynamic web publishing platforms that can be tailored as much -or as little- as needed, to meet the needs of large companies and brands such as Vogue and even the site for Microsoft’s own asp.net techology.
Though arguably as popular as the likes of Drupal and Joomla, Magento‘s reputation has been earned for a different reason. Whilst the latter two platforms work well as multi-purpose Content Management Systems, Magento is known purely as quite possibly the best -or at least the most powerful- open source CMS for eCommerce websites.
The good news, is that Magento can be used to create some very attractive websites and handle everything you’d possibly need to do with an online store. THe bad news however, is that it isn’t exactly the easiest system to get to grips with, requiring a pretty steep learning curve that could well be pretty off-putting to first time website owners.
What’s your preferred WordPress CMS alternative? Let us know in the comments below or join in the conversation on the Web Design DIY Facebook page. Alternatively, follow us on Twitter at @WebDesignDIY