What is a CMS? A CMS (or Content Management System) is software that runs in your browser and that allows non-professional users to easily archive, organize and publish the contents of a website without having any programming knowledge.
A CMS provides a graphical user interface (control panel) from where you can manage every aspect of your website. You can create and edit site content, add images, new pages, videos, and set the overall site design.
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WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Prestashop, and Drupal are some of the main CMS web currently on the market.
- How does a CMS work?
- Content Management System plugins, themes and extensions
- What is the best CMS?
- CMS WordPress
- Joomla CMS
- Drupal CMS
- Ghost CMS
- Pros and cons of using CMS
- The pros of using CMS
- The cons of using CMS
- CMS: which one to choose?
- How to start using a Content Management System
How does a CMS work?
Without a CMS, you would have to use different programming languages to build a website.
You should also manually upload your content to your webspace. A modern website consists of two main parts: front-end and back-end.
The front-end is that the part that your guests see inside the program: blog entries, pictures, recordings, data, and connect with pages, pamphlet structures, and so forth.
The back-end consists of the database and the website features. The content is saved in the database and is transferred from the back end to the front end every time a user requests a web page.
If you use a content management system, there is no need to write front-end or back-end code. It is an intuitive application that runs in your web browser.
A content management system allows you to use a content editor to create new posts, new pages, and submit all content online.
You can also configure your settings with the help of drop-down menus, checkboxes, and more.
When your content is ready, simply hit the Publish button and it will instantly appear online.
Content Management System plugins, themes, and extensions
Most major CMS allows you to add extra features to your site in the form of extensions,plugins, and themes.
By default, a CMS allows you to make posts and pages and style the general look of your website.
Additional features such as search engine optimization (SEO), security, newsletters, contact forms, or image galleries usually need to be installed separately.
The idea behind this structure is that each site manager has different needs and only wants the functionality they need.
You don’t need to have technical or programming knowledge to use plugins or extensions. Usually, you can install them directly from the Content Management System, with just a few clicks.
Finally, many plugins and extensions are free while the more advanced ones may be paid.
The WordPress CMS for example has thousands of free plugins in the official plugin repository.
You may have already heard of popular WordPress plugins such as Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache, WooCommerce or WordFence Security. There are also plugins to integrate your site with external tools like MailChimp, PayPal, Eventbrite, and social media like Facebook and Twitter.
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What is the best CMS?
Lately, there is a large choice of CMS. Each caters to the different needs of users so that everyone can find the one that best suits their own.
Here are the most favoured content management systems currently on the market.
WordPress is the number one CMS.
According to Built With statistics, this open-source CMS currently powers over 36% of websites around the world. Born as a blog publishing platform, it is used for all types of websites, from portfolios to corporate sites and eCommerce.
The popularity of the WordPress CMS stems from its incredible versatility and ease of use. There are actually thousands of themes and plugins to select from to customize the location to your exact needs.
Joomla is another well known, free Content Management System with an impressive set of built-in features and support for over 60 languages. It is suitable for any website that needs comprehensive content management, such as training institutes, or complex websites such as social networks.
Numerous front-end and back-end templates are available to help you build a solid foundation. What sets Joomla apart are user groups, user management options, and other integrated features such as banner and search management.
Joomla is developer-friendly and at the same time offers an intuitive interface. If you want to know how this cm compares to WordPress, check out our guide.
Drupal is a professional CMS used mainly by the corporate world.
NASA and other major companies have chosen Drupal as their web content management system. Drupal sites have excellent page load times and are very safe.
Drupal comes with modules that work out of the box and integrates seamlessly with popular analytics, web marketing, and eCommerce tools
If all you are looking for is a clear writing experience for both bloggers and readers, you should give Ghost a try. This CMS platform allows you to simply focus on writing your posts, is user-centric, with a minimal user interface, and uses Markdown in the Editor. Using an FTP, you can upload your own themes and content.
You can choose between the free downloadable self-hosted version and a premium version hosted on Ghost servers. Ghost also deals with basic social sharing and SEO. However, you will be limited in your choice of hosts, as many shared hosting providers do not support the code used by Ghost.
Ghost is an excellent CMS platform for creating a blog or running a small online publication, but not much more.
PrestaShop is an increasingly popular content management system for building online stores.
It is currently used by around 270,000 merchants around the world. PrestaShop is a great CMS solution for small and medium-sized eCommerce, it allows you to quickly set up your online store and customize its design.
PrestaShop places great emphasis on compliance with the law. You can set up taxes by location, make the payment process compliant with local laws, and more.
Magento is a popular eCommerce CMS platform used by companies such as Samsung, Nike, and Ford.
It allows you to create a complex online store with all the features. You can create professional product and delivery pages; manage inventories, orders, shipments, and more.
You can also add coupons, landing pages, up-sell and cross-sell campaigns to your online store.
Pros and cons of using CMS
A content management system is an ideal choice for many website managers, but it can also have several downsides.
Here are the main pros and cons of using a CMS.
The pros of using CMS
- The use of a content management system does not require technical or programming knowledge.
- You can easily install and update both the CMS and its themes, plugins, and extensions.
- You have the option to choose from hundreds of graphic themes.
- You can add extra features using plugins or extensions, such as SEO, security, newsletters, social media buttons, and eCommerce.
- The content management system is equipped with features user management. You can quickly set up different user roles like subscriber, author, publisher, administrator, store manager, etc.
- Most CMSs are upheld by client networks, including support gatherings, online visits, Slack channels, Meetup gatherings, and then some.
- The CMS is well documented. You have access to online documents, FAQ pages, theme and plugin descriptions, tutorials, and videos.
- Almost all CMSs are free, so you will only have to invest in domain and web hosting.
The cons of using CMS
- The themes sometimes feel like a stencil, although they are very customizable. If you choose a well-known one you may come across other sites with a similar design.
- The CMS has less flexibility than websites with code written: “by hand”. If you need a particular function, you will need to hire a programmer to implement it.
- Websites using a Content Management System are more frequently targeted by hackers. However, security risks can be significantly reduced by using special plugins.
- The CMS may slow down the loading of Web sites. Pages usually don’t load as fast as on a hand-made site. In most cases, you’ll need to use additional plugins and extensions to improve page load times.
CMS: which one to choose?
When choosing a CMS, you will need to consider several factors.
A content management system that works well for one website may not work as well for another. It is always helpful to listen to the experience of others, but you must first evaluate your needs before making a choice.
Here are the important questions you should answer:
- What kind of website do you need? For an e-shop, choose an eCommerce CMS such as WooCommerce Prestashop or Magento. For a blog or a corporate website, using the WordPress CMS is the ideal choice. but you can also consider Drupal.
- What features do you need? Check if the content management system has plugins or extensions for your needs, such as security, caching, marketing, social media sharing, advertising, and SEO.
- How much can you spend on your site? You have to pay for the domain and web hosting. While most plugins, extensions, and themes are free, more advanced ones come at a cost.
- Will you have additional needs in the future? For instance, on the off chance that you intend to make an online portfolio, pick a CMS that has a good determination of portfolio module.
How to start using a Content Management System
Before you start using a content management system, there are a couple of other tasks you need to do.
First, you will need web hosting. Web hosting stores all the content, files, and databases needed for your website. Your CMS is in constant contact with the webserver, uploading and downloading files every time you add new content or when a user views your site in their browser. You’ll have to choose a web hosting provider that supports the CMS you want to use.
After choosing the web hosting provider, you will need to choose and register a domain. The domain is the name of your website that users enter in their browser. Usually, you would like to get the domain separately from your hosting plan.
After choosing the hosting provider and purchasing the domain you can start setting up the CMS from your hosting account.
Most web hosts offer one-click CMS configurations, the whole process is therefore automated and only takes a few minutes. When the CMS is up and running, you can log into your site and start adding content and customizing the design.
A content management system allows you to create a dynamic and modern website without any programming knowledge and low costs.
In addition to its ease of use, the main appeal of a content management system is its customization. Using themes, plugins, and extensions you can choose the design and features that best suit your needs.
The CMS makes possible a successful online presence for anyone, be it webmasters, blog authors, startups, and established companies.
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