Content management systems are simplified technologies for maintaining websites without development knowledge. Website owners have something called an admin panel, through which they control everything. Via this admin panel, they create pages, simply insert media, or even drag and drop elements that enhance each page.
CMSs work on prebuilt components like templates, themes, and plugins. Simply put, these prebuilt elements are blocs of code providing ready-to-use UI and functional features. So you don’t have to build them from scratch, but can customize them if you want to. More importantly, many CMSs are open source, which means they – or at least some of their services – are free to use.
Today, there are hundreds of content management systems available. Some of them we know, some are completely new to all of us. All in all, almost 50% of the world’s websites are built with a CMS tech. But with a list so long, what are the 10 best CMSs of 2020?
If you are a frequent reader of our posts, you noticed already that we often talk about WordPress. And how can we not? WordPress is amazing and we absolutely love it – us and 37.5% of the world’s website owners. WordPress also dominates the content management system market with a 63.3% of market share.
The main reason WordPress is so popular is of course the community. There is an army of contributors providing content, components, and support for WordPress users. Also, WordPress opened the door for a plethora of – now thriving – businesses. Thousands of companies today provide WordPress based services, themes, or plugins. And of course, thousands of agencies like Wiredelta build professional looking websites in WordPress for clients who have a limited budget.
If you think about it, WordPress is the Robin Hood of CMSs. It takes the best and most professional looking UI/UX and gives it to those who can’t afford to spend millions on a website. WordPress has a bit of a learning curve if you know nothing about websites. However, once you got a hold of that, it’s easy, and there are tons of videos and tutorials available on the internet to help you out.
Although it cannot compare with WordPress, Shopify is still the second most popular CMS today, with a 4.4% market share. Shopify was created in 2004, by Scott Lake and Tobias Lütke as a personal online store for snowboarding gear. The reason Shopify exists today is that the two founders were disappointed with the existing solutions at the time. So, they took the matter into their own hands and build their own solution using Rails, a framework based on the programming language, Ruby. But, Shopify only became available for the public in 2006.
Today, Shopify is part of one million online platforms, including popular websites like The Washington Post and PC Magazine. However, what makes Shopify special is that is built for scale, speed, and most of all security. The team invested heavily in their APIs and even created their own Ruby-based templating framework, Liquid. More impressively, they acquired a massive network of 3000+ security researchers around the world.
Just like WordPress, users can create their own Shopify hosted store, or integrate Shopify on their existing website. Shopify is easy to set up and provides a drag-and-drop UI for quick customization. On the downside, Shopify is a paid service, with prices starting at $29/month.
Joomla! owns 4% of the content management system market share, powering 2.4% of the world’s websites today. Like many other CMSs, Joomla! Is open-source and completely free to download and use. However, if users want an even simpler solution for their webshop, Joomla! also hosts platforms as a subdomain of joomla.com. This service also starts out as free.
Joomla was created in 2005 by Parth Lawate and his colleague Ashwin Date and is built in PHP. Today, the technology comes with a package of 70 accredited languages and over 8.000 extensions. However, the best part of Joomla!, like with WordPress, is the community. This software, like the aforementioned one, is built by and for the community.
As a result, anyone working with Joomla! benefits from a lot of support. Moreover, Joomla! comes with extensive documentation, training courses, and certification opportunities. Basically everything and anything to get your started.
Drupal is also an open-source, PHP-based content management system. Initially launched in 2001, Drupal is today maintained by the Association with the same name. Although Drupal only owns 1.6% of the CMS market share, the tech powers 2.6% of the world’s website.
Drupal only provides 2.890 themes. But it has an impressive library of 45.771 modules – the equivalent of WordPress plugins. However, Drupal also brings packages called distributions, which are bundles created for different sites based on each industry. These bundles contain themes, modules, and pre-set configurations. The idea behind these packages is an easy setup for specific site types.
For example, users can install Commerce Kickstart, Drupal’s e-commerce solution. This bundle provides users with everything they need, minimizing the customization and setup needed. Services like this save a lot of time for small businesses looking for a quick solution. And it’s free.
Not far behind Drupal, we have Squarespace, also launched in 2004. Squarespace currently enjoy 2.5% of the total CMS market share, powering 1.5% of the world’s websites. However, this technology is actually closer to Shopify in their business strategy rather than Drupal or Joomla!.
Much like Shopify, Squarespace provides an easy to use solution to a quick and professional website. However, Squarespace is not as limited as Shopify, offering options for classic websites, e-commerce platforms, and brand building.
Being also extremely user-oriented, Squarespace is easy to use, where users literally create their site step-by-step. And the first step is choosing a template, where users have a plethora of beautiful designs available for them. Sorted by each site type – such as portfolio, e-commerce, etc – the templates work like Drupal’s distribution bundles.
The templates come with themes and functionality needed for each specific site. Unfortunately, unlike WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla!, Squarespace is paid for. But, on the bright side, this service is quite affordable, with monthly fees starting at $16.
Initially launched in 2006, Wix currently owns 2.4% of the market share and powers 1.4% or the world’s websites. Wix promotes its platform as the free website builder, but also offers multiple, flexible premium plans for its users. In other words, for personal sites and small promotional sites hosted on Wix, their basic plan is free. Although limited, this package still provides plenty of themes and customization options.
However, anything from there is part of a paid plan. For example, if you want to connect your current domain with Wix, the monthly fee is €4.50/month. But Wix ads will be visible on your site. So, If you want to remove the ads, you need the Combo plan, which is €$8.50/month For Business and E-commerce plans, the plans are quite different, with the basic plan starting at €17.month.
Bitrix24 is more than a content management system solution, it is a business administration marvel. Britrix24 – originally known just as Bitrix – was initially launched in 1998 but over the years, the company shifted its focus on cloud-based solutions. So, in 2011 Bitrix24 Cloud was launched.
Today, Bitrix24 is trusted by over 7 million businesses around the world, their website builder owning 1.7% of the total CMS market share. Among their services, Bitrix also offers customer relations management (CRM) solutions, an excellent communication platform, marketing and analytics tools, and more. Moreover, all of their services start out as free, a strategy that helps small businesses and startups integrate Bitrix into their system and grow.
Bitrix24 itself is based on PHP, however, the technology itself is a framework in its own rights, comparable to both Drupal and Joomla!. Simply put, Bitrix uses a similar way of rendering webpages as Drupal. But, their templates and pre-built components are very similar to those provided by Joomla!. Nevertheless, Bitrix24 is a unique SaaS company worth looking into.
Blogger is a free blogging tool owned by Google and is currently integrated on 1% of the world’s websites today, with a 1.6% market share. The tool can also be paired with other Google services for more features.
Moreover, because it is a Google product, Blogger is easy to use and quick to set up. Nevertheless, the blogs created with this tool are highly customizable directly from the admin panel for a unique, personalized look.
With the free option, bloggers host their new site with Google. So, like with other CMSs including WordPress, they will get a subdomain linked to the Blogger domain, blogspot.com. The format will look something like example.blogspot.com. But, for a $10.month fee, users can get rid of the blogspot.com extension, and simply have example.com.
Magento is already a household name, being one of the most recognizable eCommerce brands today. Although Magento only owns 1.3% of total CMS market share, it currently handles an impressive amount of over $100 billion gross merchandise volume for its clients.
In many ways, Magento compares closely with WordPress’s Woocommerce. Magento is based on PHP, and it is an open-source, eCommerce oriented solution. This means that, just like WordPress, Magento is free to use and it also comes with some free themes and features. However, most of the available components available are paid for and you will need a specialized PHP/Magento developer before you decide to install it.
In other words, Magento is not an advisable choice for beginners or small businesses. While creating and running an online shop using this technology is awesome, it can become very costly, very fast.
Our last contender, OpenCart owns 1% of the CMS market share. Since its official release back in 2013, OpenCart has come a long way. This PHP-based, open-source eCommerce solution is promoted as a completely free solution. “No monthly fees, no catches”.
With over 13.000+ modules and themes, OpenCart is a worthy adversary to other CMSs out there. However, because of the way it works, OpenCart gets lost in the sea of content management systems available. Unlike WordPress or Magento, OpenCart only provides the free version. This means that before a business can use OpenCart, they have to have a developer ready.
On the other hand, there is no real limitation to what you can do with OpenCart if you have the technical knowledge or resources available. Their features set no caps on how many products, categories, or users you can manage. They also offer a Multi Shops feature and an analytics dashboard for monitoring your performance. Simply put, OpenCart is an all-in-one tool. OpenCart may not have the marketing budget Magento has, but it surely is a tool fit for any startups looking for a good eCommerce solution.
There are hundreds of CMS solutions available today. And as we’ve seen from our list, some are free, some have paid features. But the point is that there is no such thing as the “best CMS in the world”. The reality is that each of the tools mentioned today – as well as those that did not make the list – have their pros and cons. So, whether you work in a big corporation or just launched your very own startup, find the CMS that suits you best.
Nevertheless, we hope that our list gives you a head start in your search and that it makes your life a bit easier. But, if you worked with a CMS that you really loved and we did not mention, tell us about it. We would love to learn from your experience.