In this post I will cover 6 of the most popular content management systems available in PHP and detail their strengths and weaknesses.
WordPress was released in 2003 by its developers Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a blogging platform but over the years has been extended to be a full-fledged content management system.
Pros of WordPress
- Lots of plugins both paid and free with an active open source community.
- Editorial environment is liked by content writers.
- 70% of the world’s websites run on WordPress.
Cons of WordPress
- Its not fantastic for security although this can be mitigated and no platform 100% secure.
- Code wise its a bit of a mess with a mix between procedural and object oriented coding.
- Limited to use only a single theme per website.
Drupal was developed and released by Dries Buyaert in 2001. Originally designed as a message board it morphed into a content management framework with the core of the software providing basic content management functionality. Drupal is used by lots of political and public sector organisations and is actively maintained and updated by its community.
Pros of Drupal
- As with WordPress there is a dedicated community which produces good plugins which enable a website built using Drupal to be extended to other uses.
- Updated regularily
Cons of Drupal
- The content UI, although improved recently, is still not great.
- Learning to develop with Drupal can have a steep learning curve.
- You might not find the plugins you need.
Joomla is built on a MVC design pattern and based on the Symfony PHP framework. Its coded by its open-source volunteer community and has a good reputation for SEO and internationalisation with is functionality included in its core.
Pros of Joomla
- Joomla offers a flexible system which is easy to customise.
- Thought of by some users as the most user friendly CMS.
- It offers search engine optimisation as standard.
- Multi-language handling built into core.
- Different templates for different website content.
Cons of Joomla
- Joomla is more complex than WordPress.
- Joomla has poor backwards compatibility with its earlier versions.
- Lower number of extensions than either WordPress or Drupal.
Craft CMS is a flexible user-focused CMS. Unlike the other CMS’s mentioned so far there is a free version for personal websites but most websites will require a commercial paid license.
Pros of Craft CMS
- Uses the Twig templating system.
- Very Customisable and easy to learn.
- Based on solid Yii PHP Framework.
Cons of Craft CMS
- Whilst there is a free license, Craft CMS is basically a paid product.
- Licenses for plugins such as shop can be expensive.
- Nowhere near as many plugins as the other CMS systems.
Based on the most popular PHP framework Laravel, October CMS is designed to be easy to use and have an easier learning curve than other CMS frameworks. October CMS is very popular within the CMS and developer community. In 2021 October CMS changed its licensing model to provide for future financial viability and now charges $19 per year for updates.
Pros of October CMS
- A decluttered interface and focus on simplicity for the end-user.
- Uses Twig for page templates.
- Based on Laravel.
- Built in support for CDN.
Cons of October CMS
- Less plugins available than other CMS platforms.
- License required.
- Less documentation and help available online.
Signalfire offers CMS development in WordPress, October CMS or using Laravel Nova with Laravel for more complicated projects.