I've been told that Sitecore is the closed-source CMS of choice (due to its insane flexibility).

That said, what is the Open source equivalent? Or is there one? I've played with Drupal and it seems more of a blogging platform than a CMS. Do you have a different experience? Do you love a different CMS?


12 Answers 12


Despite not being familiar with Sitecore, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Drupal is a pretty good match, exactly because it is insanely flexible.

When looking to migrate a church website from static HTML to a CMS platform, I downloaded and trialled over 50 different platforms. Took my weekends for several months- yeah, I'm a sucker for punishment! Most I could discard in less than half an hour - stability problems, lack of documentation, no community to speak of, and so on. Drupal was my final choice.

The default configuration of Drupal is blog-like, sure, but that seems to be mostly because that's a configuration new users understand and can use as a staring point for customisation.

A key ability that I like is the way that Drupal treats all content the same - allowing you to show multiple perspectives of the same content from different places within your site.

Some modules, such as CCK and Views, are so powerful as to require independent study in their own right. As you can guess, this is both a good thing and a bad one.

I'm a full time developer - but have almost never needed to crack the hood and worry about PHP code.

If you want a prepackaged solution with full support - something close to the closed-source model - check out Aquia Drupal, they offer a full installer and support with some stunning extras. (Clarification: Aquia's Drupal distribution is still GPL, so you can download and trial/use it for free. They just provide support and some network services as well).


I speak about Drupal because it's the only I know and use. Drupal is a bit "programmer oriented". It's written in php, works mainly on mysql but you can hook ldap too. Things are not exactly easy if you are not satisfied by what a module does and it takes a while even to be understood and used. The good news is that Drupal has great community and a lot of good books/ebooks very usefull to learn it (http://www.packtpub.com/drupal-books)


Having investigated a number of Content Management Systems for several different projects, I must say that it depends.

The biggest challenge I experienced was matching the functionality provided by the hosting provider with the goals of the client. Basically, the client wanted a fancy new site but didn't want to pay significantly more for the needed hosted functionality.

That said, I have had good success using Drupal. I found it easy to administer, the designers were able to use the modules to deliver the functionality desired, most hosting plans included the PHP and SQL db functionality needed, and the end customer liked the results. Unfortunately, I have also been hit hard by XSS vulnerabilities


Joomla and Plone seem to belong on the list.

Drupal's out-of-the-box default setup is somewhat "bloggish", but it can be used as more of a straight CMS, and take into account that blog software is just CMS software designed for posting articles over time.


Joomla or Typo3 depending on how much time you have to learn to customize , Joomla is easier to learn , Drupal is good too there is alot of plugins to choose from. I really liked making typo3 websites after I got the hang of it, it has a great backend interface, good for organizations where there will be multiple website editors in different departments.



Because it`s secure, flexible, looks phantastic by default, has many additional modules and is written in python.


I think that Wordpress is the CMS of choice. Even though it is a "blogging" platform, the sheer volume of community contributions allows a wordpress site to achieve anything that "pure" cms solutions like Joomla can.

All that is needed is a tweaked theme to leave out the blogging features such as comments if you don't want to use them.

An example of this is this non-blogging site of mine which runs on wordpress and was built from scratch. This one runs on a tweaked, out of the box theme that I modified the header graphic and removed comments, and we only use pages, not posts.

  • 1
    The only problem with wordpress is that it gets targeted by malware writers as soon as vulnerabilities are published, and upgrades have a habit of hosing your customization. Jul 20 '09 at 1:04
  • I would agree that it is a VERY high profile target. I haven't had any problem with customisation if you follow the "rules" and only tweak in the wp-content directory. However when it works, the upgrade process is brilliant. Jul 20 '09 at 6:01

Plone is a really good CMS, with a fantastically friendly and helpful community. It works out of the box for small sites, it has a new tool called Deliverance that makes skinning it trivial, and it can be extended up to enterprise level, and is very flexible.

That said, obviously it depends on requirements. A lot. But as a safe bet to start with, Plone is good.


If you're looking for a very flexible (the only really flexible that I know) and robust CMS MODx is your choice. MODx have the thing that in my opinion is the most difficult thing to find in this kind of product: It is oriented to end users and also to developers.


I posted a little write up of CMS offerings in the .NET world:


Of the OS ones - Umbraco & N2CMS come out top - am actually using N2 on my current project and it's working out very well.


It really depends on the requirements of the individual project. For us, Umbraco (a .NET based CMS) turned out to be a good solution, as it's highly customizable and extendible. It's possible to develop the website or application completely in the browser (using razor) without any setup of development tools, but you can also develop with visual studio and deploy the CMS and your custom extensions yourself. They have a good community and lots of plugins available. You set up individual document types for every installation, therefore your users will only find input sections and options relevant to their site. I guess it's not the best solution if you're looking for a CMS with lots of templates and if you want to install and instantly run an out-of-the-box solution. There are a few starter kits available to do so, but it's not like joomla, wordpress, typo3, etc. where there are numerouse templates available.


Joomla! has a lot going for it. Having grown from Mambo, the number of very professional plug-ins and templates available is just staggering. It's easy to learn, and very customisable.

Although I personally don't care especially for PHP, credit where it's due: Joomla is a well designed, extensible framework.

  • 1
    Ugh. Massively disagree. Limiting permissions, difficult to extend, and a significant pay-to-play culture in the extensions community makes Joomla a no-go for me.
    – ceejayoz
    Jul 19 '09 at 16:58
  • The pay to play culture is what turns me off of Joomla despite using it - that and a lot of the developers don't really realize what GPL actually means for their code as well and some get really pissy when you opt to modify.
    – Chealion
    Jul 19 '09 at 20:29
  • If you reckon you have to pay to get quality themes, plug-ins or modules for Joomla then you aren't looking hard enough at the available options.
    – RET
    Jul 20 '09 at 12:32

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