Content Management Systems Review

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A Review of Four Open-Source Content Management Systems

Open Source Content Management Systems

[schema type="review" name="Content Management Systems Review" description="This post is a review of four popular blogging content management systems - listing the features that make them popular, and my own opinions on each CMS." author="Rob Attfield" pubdate="2013-02-28" ]

Since I started my first self-hosted blog four years ago, I have come across a variety of web-based content management systems (CMS) that are very effective in the maintenance and use of blogs. Each of them carry out very similar tasks, but differ slightly in the unique features offered by each CMS.

If you have never tried using any type of web-based content management system before, I strongly encourage you to. Whether you are a writer, stay-at-home mum, or just someone who wants to share their knowledge, a content management system makes the creation of your prose’s an easy process. Uploading the scripts for your chosen CMS, creating the necessary database, and getting your self-hosted blog up and running is usually a simple process – some hosting providers even provide you with a one-click install for most content management systems. If you are having trouble getting started or come across any issues, these content management systems usually have a forum where you can ask questions and get assistance. They also come with extensive documentation.

Since I know most of you are itching to see the reviews on the content management systems, here they are:


(Image from WordPress – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

WordPress is the first ever content management system I came across, way back in 2008. WordPress is very versatile in the features that it offers , especially with the ability to add plugins – which can turn your (self-hosted) WordPress blog from “meh” to “wow”. You can also install themes to your WordPress blog – which gives you the ability to give your a blog the look and feel you desire.

WordPress was first released on May 27, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It is built on PHP and MySQL, and is accompanied by default CSS, Javascript, and jQuery files (usually in the default theme that comes with the installation).

As a web developer, I enjoy working with the WordPress content management system – especially the customization of themes. Although some of their code can be as dense as a jungle, I try to not worry about it too much. Developing my own plugins is something I have yet to do, but when I have enough time (due to studies etc), I’ll look into creating some original plugins.

If you want to give the self-hosted WordPress a go, you can go to my post which gives a run-down on how to set it up. If you cannot afford paid hosting, you can try out a free web host (such as – they usually provide you a free sub-domain (handy if you can’t purchase a domain name of your own). If you would rather not go down the free hosting route, you can use the WordPress-hosted version at; however, the capabilities of this version are considerably less than if you were to get the self-hosted one.


(Image from Upgrade PyroCMS to a “Buy”).

PyroCMS is a content management system I have only just come across, in the last two or so weeks. It is a very lightweight CMS that is built upon the PHP-based CodeIgniter framework, and is modeled on the MVC framework. PyroCMS was developed by Adam Fairholm, Jerel Unruh, Phil Sturgeon, and Joshua Pekera – who keeps improving PyroCMS on a regular basis.

This content management system is packed full of amazing features – which is suprising, given how lightweight it is. Some of the included features are:

  • PyroStreams.
  • Multi-Site Manager.
  • Beautiful Themes.
  • Powerful Addons.
  • Automatic SEO.
  • Control over navigation menus, email templates, and 301 redirects.
  • Easy theme development.
  • Mobile device detection.
  • Module view over-loading.
  • Analytics, Akismet, Storage Provider (Amazon S3 and Rackspace), SMTP, and Twitter Integration.
  • PyroCMS is easily extendable.

If you’re ready to give PyroCMS a go, I recommend you visit Nettuts+ tutorial on PyroCMS – which provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up PyroCMS quickly.


(Image from Deploying Joomla 2.5 to CloudControl).

Joomla is one of the most popular content management systems in use today – being used by organisations such as eBay, Barnes & Nobel, General Electric, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. More organisations using Joomla can be seen by visiting the Joomla Portfolio.

Joomla is another content management system that is based on Object-Oriented PHP, a MySQL or MS SQL based database, and put together using  software design patterns.  Some of the features Joomla offers are:

  • User Management.
  • Media Manager.
  • Language Manager.
  • Banner Management.
  • Contact Management.
  • Polls.
  • Search.
  • Web Link Management.
  • Content Management.
  • Syndication and Newsfeed Management.
  • Menu Manager.
  • Template Management.
  • Integrated Help System.
  • System Features.
  • Web Services.
  • Powerful Extensibility.


(Image from Ihre Website).

Drupal is the oldest content management system out of the five reviewed in this post, being established in 2001. Drupal is PHP-based, and can run with a variation of database systems – such as MySQLMongoDBMariaDBPostgreSQLSQLite, and Microsoft SQL Server. This content management system currently powers about 2.1% of all websites worldwide, and is the power behind high-profile websites like and

Drupal comes with a wide variety of features – of which are said to live in the “Drupal Core”. These features include:

  • Access statistics and logging.
  • Advanced search.
  • Blogs, books, comments, forums, and polls.
  • Caching and feature throttling for improved performance.
  • Descriptive URLs.
  • Multi-level menu system.
  • Multi-site support.
  • Multi-user content creation and editing.
  • OpenID support.
  • RSS feed and feed aggregator.
  • Security and new release update notification.
  • User profiles.
  • Various access control restrictions (user roles, IP addresses, email).
  • Workflow tools (triggers and actions).

Extra Content Management System Resources

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Content Management Systems Review
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