This has lead to the demand for solutions that are functional as well as cost effective at the same time. Open source Content Management Systems have done an excellent job to bridge this gap of demand and supply. Open source being Free helps keep the cost down of a website built using the CMS; the cost is usually for the time the designer puts in for customizing the design. It is amazing to see the features a CMS website offers at such little cost. It puts so much power at the hands of the website owner.
There are quite a number of CMS systems available that do a very good job of managing content online. However, today I am going to mention only 5 of the most popular ones around and a brief description of what they offer.
This is no doubt one of the most used and preferred CMS system around the world. It is a web publishing tool that one can use to create a beautiful website or a blog. As WordPress puts it, “WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.” The best thing about WordPress is its ease of use and the availability of thousands of plugins to extend its functionality. There are many free themes available with WordPress that one can use to instantly get started with the new website or blog. It is very user friendly and no technical knowledge is required to maintain a WordPress site.
Joomla is a preferred CMS for many. It is an award winning CMS that lets you build websites and powerful online applications. It is used by many web designers to build websites for their clients; once the site is ready the client is capable of managing the site on his own. It does not require advanced computer knowledge to set it up and many hosts provide once click install of the software. It is not surprising to see so many sites using Joomla.
Drupal is an open source CMS and has its fair share of fans throughout the world. The Drupal core files are very light on features and depend a lot on modules to extend its functionality. Drupal may not be for everyone as there is a learning curve that one must overcome to be able to fully utilize its features. After installation, there will be numerous plugins that need tweaking to get started with the design of the site. It is overall a very good CMS if you have time to play around with it. Certain degree of technical knowledge is required.
DNN is the leading open source CMS built on Microsoft’s .Net platform. Its Community Edition is free to download and use. Its other versions are paid and come with better features and support. Installation is fairly easy but it does have a learning curve associated with it and it is better if installation and setup is done by a professional. There are plenty of modules, both free and paid, that can be used to extend its functionality, but again it is difficult for a non technical person to maintain the site. The site does have a rigid structure that is difficult to play around with in terms of design. Overall, it is a very good CMS to maintain a complex site.
NopCommerce is an open source free ecommerce solution that is based on the Microsoft’s .Net Platform. Installation is very simple and is absolutely free to use. It is relatively newer than other already existing open source ecommerce platforms. The CMS comes with plenty of features that one may wish to have in their ecommerce site. Though development and updates to the software is being made quite frequently by the nopCommerce team, however, more attention will need to be paid to the templating engine which is still quite difficult to work with. Quite a bit of technical knowledge of the .net platform is required to give it a custom design. Overall, it is an excellent product to build ecommerce sites with.