Content management systems are designed to streamline the management of larger websites and provide web developers with an intricate way of building up larger websites with minimal effort. There are a number of different CMS systems available that provide similar functionality, but there are also specialist CMS systems that have been developed for a particular purpose; similarly, you will also have the option to choose between free open source applications or commercial applications that you will need to purchase. When purchasing a web hosting plan you will have opted for either a Windows hosting or a Linux hosting plan; both platforms offer different features and it is important for you to know the difference between them as this will affect your choice of content management application – PHP applications are best suited for a Linux hosting environment, whereas ASP applications are destined for use in a Windows hosting environment. As a webmaster you will be able to appreciate your choice of CMS system once you have the application established on your website; as well as providing you with a web-based interface through which you can manage your website’s content, you will also be able to add functionality through the multitude of add-ons and extensions that are available for most applications and will be able to style your installation to suit the design that you are after for your website. Furthermore, there can also be benefits to your search engine optimization plan from choosing a content management system, although this will depend on your choice of application.
What are the three most popular CMS applications available?
Even though there are many different CMS applications available for different purposes, there are three incredibly popular applications that are used by most web developers, these being:
- WordPress – although WordPress has been designed for the sole purpose of being a blogging application, it has been developed over the past few years to become a fully fledged CMS system – as it is the most popular CMS available, there is a large repository of add-ons and themes that you can use to customize WordPress to the extent that you see as appropriate because you will be able to adapt the functionality of the application to meet your needs as well as the design to meet your own ideas – the best thing about WordPress is that its popularity means that it is updated on a regular basis to ensure that any security holes are patched properly, furthermore it is also open source meaning that you won’t have to pay a penny to use it
- Joomla – this has been designed to be used as a proper website CMS system, offering you a few more advanced features that WordPress and providing you with a different management system – with Joomla you are able to add individual pages as you wish, but functionality is also available for a “members area” if you wish to create a private part of your website that is only accessible to particular users – as is the case with WordPress, you can also add functionality through the numerous extensions that are available, although the number of add-ons available isn’t as high which may be a drawback to some
- Drupal – similar to Joomla, Drupal is another open source application that is maintained by an active community and has been designed to be modular meaning that it can be deployed in a number of different situations, allowing you to use it to power blogs or enterprise-class websites – a modular system may be more fitting for some web developers because it allows you to use the parts of the application that you require, as opposed to Joomla and WordPress that will both provide you with additional aspects to the application that you are unlikely to make use of – this allows Drupal to be very lightweight and enables it to serve web pages incredibly fast.
What are the main features for me to consider in a CMS application?
In order to choose the best CMS application for your needs, you need to have an understanding of the different features that pull together to make an application effective so that you can make a more influenced choice over what to use. The main points you should consider include:
- Update basis – the basis or time-scale on which an application is updated is something that you should always take into consideration because if any security holes are found in the version of the software that you are using then you want to be sure that a new update will be released ASAP to conquer any possible security threats – at the same time web applications should also go through rigorous testing before they are released to identify any possible threats before the software goes mainstream because this will help to maintain user confidence in the application and this is something that most CMS developers will post publicly
- User base – this is a more important consideration to make when using an open source CMS application because a large user base will mean that there are going to be a number of add-ons available whilst allowing you to ensure that updates will be available on a regular basis – however, at the same time a large user base can also make websites running the application in particular a more popular choice for attackers looking to take websites down and steal information.
In conclusion, choosing a CMS system is something that is going to be influenced by the functionality that you are looking to add to your website as well as whether you are willing to pay for an application when there are a number of perfectly viable open source alternatives. Even though some applications are designed for use on Windows or Linux, for the most part the most popular CMS applications available will be compatible with both platforms; however, this is going to depend on the specific features that your chosen web hosting plan supplies you with as there may be certain pre-requisites that need to be met.