Here at InMotion Hosting we tend to recommend WordPress highly. But that doesn’t mean WordPress is by default the best content management system (CMS) for every website, every situation, or every user. There are some instances in which a different content management system might fit the need just as well if not better than WordPress. So in this article we answer the question, “What are some alternatives to WordPress?”
- What are some alternatives to WordPress?
- Dynamic Content Management Systems
- Static Content Management Systems
What are some alternatives to WordPress?
I’ve broken this article down to two major types of content management systems: dynamic content generators and static content generators. Dynamic content generators (like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, among others) most commonly use a combination of a scripting language like PHP and an SQL database service like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, or some form of the above. On the flip side, static content generators use a scripting language like Python, Ruby, Go, or others to parse a series of text files and produce a full “static” website. Static, in this sense, means no server-side processing is required. You build the whole website locally and publish it to the server in whatever fashion you desire. Most commonly, you will see static site administrators using a version control system, like Git, to sync their local files with the server.
Dynamic Content Management Systems
When it comes to dynamic alternatives to WordPress, your options are many. Dynamic content management systems used to be written and configured by hand. As websites got more complex and more and more larger teams began contributing content, the idea of a content management system with a front end for readers and a back end for “admins” became highly in demand. And soon, there was a market for ready-made content management systems that one only had to install, configure, and start using.
- Somewhat more geared toward advanced users and developers, Drupal is still widely in use, and on some very high profile websites. Built on the Symfony PHP framework, Drupal provides a wide range of compatibility and features for competent PHP developers. Likewise, Drupal offers a user-friendly back end “admin” area for non-developer users.
- “Try it, it’s free,” says the project page for the Joomla content management system. Currently up to version 3.9, Joomla offers a stable, dependable environment for managing your web content. Joomla maintains a large following among developers and designers, so if there’s a template style you like the chances are quite good you’ll find a designer/developer to help achieve your vision.
All of the above are available with a one-click install on managed VPS hosting plans.
Static Content Management Systems
As mentioned above, static site generators provide many of the same features as dynamic generators. However, since they create static HTML documents, they are significantly faster and will consume fewer vital server resources. For pure informational sites, static site generators might be exactly what you need.
- A static site generator written in the Ruby language. Supports markdown syntax, pretty permalinks, categories, and tags.
- Written in the Go language, Hugo provides a command line interface and many of the same web front end features you expect from a full CMS.
- Org Mode
- For users of the Emacs text editor, the Org major mode provides publishing tools for converting documents into a series of linked HTML files.
Whether you decide to go with a static or dynamic site, your choice will come down to how you want to engage with your website. For teams comfortable comfortable with command line integration and version control, static site generators are a great option. For teams that require a web back end, and users generally more comfortable with a graphical user interface, dynamic CMSs are probably going to be the best way to go.