I've been tasked with the job of building a web server and Intranet site using perhaps Joomla for creating an alternative to Microsoft Sharepoint and would like some advice of what steps to take and how to get started.

A bit of background is that we used Sharepoint which was included with our SBS server, and have migrated to Server 2003 and would like to have a solution as similar as can be to Sharepoint for FREE or a fraction of the cost. Ideally we would like it to be a central point for employees to use to keep upto date with Internal news, have a calendar, and links to stored documents like SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures).

I hope that explains it a bit better, sorry for being so unclear in my first post!

  • Do you have to stay with Windows?
    – Alex Angas
    Jun 16, 2009 at 11:09
  • 1
    Very nice question, I'm looking for the exact same solution!
    – pauska
    Jun 23, 2009 at 8:48

13 Answers 13


Hey, SharePoint Services (WSS) IS free. Microsoft Office Sharepoit Services (MOSS) isn't, but for the purpose of an intranet site, WSS should do it.

This is of course if you are using Windwos Server as a base... (which is not free).

Edit: Here is a good comparison between WSS and MOSS.

  • 3
    It might be free as in free beer but not free as in freedom. One of his requirements might be his freedom.
    – tomdeb
    Jun 16, 2009 at 9:13
  • absolute freedom only comes when coding your own solution out of the problem :)
    – AlexDrenea
    Jun 16, 2009 at 9:20
  • 3
    Sharepoint services are NOT free, since you pay for the OS. Jun 16, 2009 at 9:21
  • 6
    @Taras - since the OP's already purchased Windows 2003, it's close enough to "free" as makes no odds from their point of view; the cost of the windows 2003 licence to run it isn't an issue.
    – Rob Moir
    Jun 16, 2009 at 13:53
  • yes, but you never know when you need to buy a new copy if you outgrow your old server or put more stuff on it, and upgrades still cost.
    – gbjbaanb
    Jan 1, 2010 at 17:19

I would recommend Mindtouch (formerly Deki Wiki). http://developer.mindtouch.com/

We use it for exactly this purpose; company announcements, sharing of public files and documents, and a knowledgebase and documentation repository for IT staff.

You can run it in the pre-provided VM image, which we are currently doing, or you can install source to a Linux server, or MSI to a Windows server.

You mentioned calendar features, which this won't currently do. However there has been talk of implementing Exchange Calendar access, its just no one from the community has stepped up to make it happen.

The open source verison is free, while you can pay for support and additional enterprise-level extensions (such as salesforce integration etc).


Have a look at Alfresco open source Enterprise Content Management. It can be used standalone and integrates with Joomla and Drupal.


Maybe good old DNN can help with your tasks, It got very good modules for Events, Forum, File and Picture sharing, Also easy to set it up and run.


You give little information about your concrete requirements. Maybe you could elaborate?

That said, you might consider a Wiki. That's what we use for most of our internal documentation.

There are many free ones to choose from.


Since you ask about document sharing: You can embed documents (as files) into most wikis, and new uploads of a document will be versioned, so in that sense they allow document sharing. If you need more functionality, such as directly working with the document in the wiki (eg. compare versions), and conflict resolution for concurrent edits, you'll have to look.

There may be wikis which do this, but I don't know any offhand.

  • 2
    I like this one, if there are any wiki packages that support document-sharing? Jun 16, 2009 at 14:44

Normally with WSS you can have all you need. Also check out the following resources to help you build your intranet:

  1. Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Lots of OOTB apps for an Intranet, such as Project mgt, Document Discussions, classroom mgt, timecard mgt... worthy to take a look at.
  2. Ten Themes for SharePoint in VSeWSS Projects (look it up on MS Download site), with these you can change the L&F of your intranet site, so it doesn't look like Sharepoint. You'll need Visual studio and other tools for installing them.

If you are looking for open source alternative - a good CMS for intranet building is EZ publish It is a LAMP application, so basic knowledge of Linux(Unix) environment plus Apache, MySQL and PHP would be needed. Oracle is supported by EZ publish too.

You should probably start by reading documentation, installing application and testing it. After you have more understanding how to customize it, you can start modifying it to fulfill your requirements.


You may also look into Oracle Application Express (APEX). Oracle 10g XE is free for commercial use too. You need to configure Oracle APEX (latest 3.2) on 10g XE.

Oracle APEX is an Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool. And with APEX, it will be easy to create web pages with no time. Have a look.


why not use a blog tool like wordpress?

it supports both news, where the latest content at any time shows at the top automatically, and static info, like pages available from a menu.

couple that with a calendar plugin, a wiki-plugin (or a simple integration with a separate wiki tool like media wiki in the form of links back and forth), and disk space where you can store large documents and then link to them from the main intranet page..

..and you got a nice intranet.


If your company can qualify as a bizspark partner with Microsoft, then you can get 3 years free use MSDN software inside your company. see http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/ for details


Have a look at TikiWiki. Currently in the process of implementing it as a knowledgebase/news portal for a large government organization.


Centralpoint CMS Portal gives Sharepoint users a viable alternative. This platform picks up where sharepoint leaves off, allowing you to create multiple web projects from a 'singular' database, instead of creating many databases which pose challenges to federate a search 'across' them. Basically, Centralpoint gives you one database, considate of Roles, Audience Types, and AD Integration to tie it all togehter, and relate information together...based on the role of the individual accessing it.

Centralpoint is a document management system, as much as it is a content management system, email broadcasting, forms management, roles management....portal. Visit www.oxcyon.com

  • Site collections are their own database, but webs in a site collection are all in the same DB and are searched accordingly. Many small companies can do just fine with a single site collection.
    – MrChrister
    Dec 31, 2009 at 18:21

We are a large (intl) manufacturer, who was looking at Sharepoint Portal Services (as we needed to license and manage multiple portals within 6 countires). Their cost was prohibitive, as was Websphere (didnt like IBM/WS), and we ended up signing with a little known firm called Oxcyon for Centralpoint. This was against our policy, as Oxcyon had absolutely no coverage from Gartner and Forrester, which had us concerned. Now, the only thing that concerns us is that gartner and forrester still do not recognize these guys, yet they are the clear choice over sharepoint. This video says it all..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qFx17dAlTQ&list=UU23hobKCGSScYxTN3GSFPFQ&index=2&feature=plcp

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