Content Management Systems (CMS)

Best Content Management Systems (CMS) include:

Crownpeak DXM, WordPress, Wix, Joomla!, and MS SharePoint.

Content Management Systems (CMS) TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 30 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Content Management Systems (CMS) Overview

What is a Content Management System?

A content management system (CMS) is used to manage and deploy website content. With a content management system, users can create, edit, and delete content from a site. Typically CMS software offers an interface that does not require HTML skills or other technical knowledge. Content managers and authors can make changes without the help of a developer. However, customizing the layout and site experience may still require some coding.

Users can rely on CMS software to run any of these types of sites:

  • Blogs

  • News sites

  • Ecommerce sites

  • Corporate websites

  • Intranets


Blogging platforms are essentially very basic, simple content management systems. More complex tools allow users to manage more structured content across a larger number of pages. These content management systems also offer more integrations and allow users to configure rules for personalization based on visitor site activity or demographic information. The most advanced CMS software options are called digital experience management platforms.

CMS Features & Capabilities

The core purpose of CMS software is to simplify content processes for non-technical people. Users can focus on creating, organizing, and delivering content instead of wrestling with code.

The most common features and capabilities of a good content management system include:


  • WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor

  • Page templates

  • Library of website themes

  • Content versioning and archiving

  • Mobile optimization & responsive design

  • Publishing workflow

  • Form generation

  • Content scheduling

  • Asset management (images, articles, etc.)

  • Page caching (or other features to speed delivery of content to the site)

  • SEO support

  • Tools to tag content and create a taxonomy

  • Browser compatibility

  • Bulk management

  • E-commerce functionality (i.e., catalog, shopping cart, payment processing)

  • Community management (i.e., commenting, profiles)

  • Localization / regionalization with multi-lingual content

  • Other personalization options

  • User roles and permissions

  • API

  • Analytics tools

  • Import/export content

Pricing Information

Content management systems are usually priced based on a few factors. These include the number of users, volume of content, range of features, and whether it’s a subscription service or a lifetime license.

There are some free content management systems that are open source. (However, these are usually less user-friendly for authors. Open source content management systems will likely require more HTML skills to format content and help from developers to deploy/update content.)

For lower-end options, prices can start as low as $5-$10 per month per user (MS SharePoint, for example). Other options include Wix ($5/mo.) and SquareSpace ($12./mo.) Many of these content management system options include free versions either with limited features or for a limited time. Premium packages for enterprise level CMS are typically available by request.

Content Management Products

(1-25 of 119) Sorted by Most Reviews

Progress Sitefinity
229 ratings
171 reviews
Progress Sitefinity is a content management and customer analytics platform. It supports content management, tailored marketing, multi-channel management, and ecommerce sites.
MS SharePoint
1,576 ratings
169 reviews
Top Rated
MS SharePoint / SQL refers to Microsoft Sharepoint, a web-based collaborative platform, being used in tandem with Microsoft SQL Server to provide business intelligence analytics and reporting. They can provide BI content such as data connections, reports, scorecards, dashboards, and more.
WordPress
2,437 ratings
93 reviews
Top Rated
Wordpress is an open-source publishing platform popular with bloggers, and a content management system, known for its simplicity and modifiability. Websites may host their own blogging communities, controlling and moderating content from a single dashboard.
Wix
212 ratings
73 reviews
Top Rated
Wix is a free, hosted website builder, designed to be user-friendly and customizable without requiring coding from the user. It is well-known for its eCommerce solution, which allows users to build an online store.
Drupal
315 ratings
72 reviews
Drupal is a free, open-source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features such as account and menu management, RSS feeds, page layout customization, and system administration.
Squarespace
182 ratings
65 reviews
Squarespace is a CMS platform that allows users to create a DIY blog, eCommerce store, and/or portfolio (visual art or music). Some Squarespace website and shop templates are industry or use case-specific, such as menu builders for restaurant sites.
Joomla!
244 ratings
60 reviews
Top Rated
Joomla! is a free and open source content management system used to publish web content. Included features are page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, a search function, and support for language internationalization.
ExpressionEngine
82 ratings
60 reviews
ExpressionEngine is a content management system from EllisLab in 2002, a successor to pMachine Pro, a blogging system, which is written in object-oriented PHP and uses MySQL for data storage. ExpressionEngine is their flagship Content Delivery Platform.
Kentico Xperience
84 ratings
44 reviews
Kentico is a web content management system for building websites, online stores, intranets, and Web 2.0 community sites. Kentico CMS uses ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server for development via its Portal Engine, using Visual Studio, or through Microsoft MVC.
Cascade Server
52 ratings
44 reviews
Cascade Server is a content management system from Hannon Hill. It is designed for decentralized web teams amd can be installed or hosted by Hannon Hill in the cloud. It includes access to a web marketing tool to allow content contributors to promote, measure, and optimize their web content.
Weebly
106 ratings
41 reviews
Weebly, now from Square, is a basic content management system with blogging and eCommerce features. It can be utilized for building standard websites or specialized webpages for online stores.
Concrete5
63 ratings
38 reviews
Concrete5 is a free and open source, PHP built content management system for content on the web and also for intranets. It is optimized to support the creation of online magazines and newspapers.
Adobe Experience Manager
174 ratings
31 reviews
Adobe Experience Manager is a combined web content management system and digital asset management system. The combined applications of Adobe Experience Manager Sites and Adobe Experience Manager Assets is offered by the vendor as an end-to-end solution for managing and delivering marketing content.
Ektron Web Content Management System (Discontinued)
47 ratings
26 reviews
The Ektron Web Content Management System was a content management offering optimized for web that is now discontinued. Its creator, Ektron, merged with Episerver in 2015 and operates under the Episerver name.
Episerver CMS
55 ratings
26 reviews
Episerver CMS is a web content management system and digital marketing suite. It is designed to enable editors with drag-and-drop content. It is optimized for supporting ecommerce, digital content, and marketing campaigns.
Sitecore Web Content Management
120 ratings
26 reviews
SiteCore Web Content Management is an enterprise-grade CMS competing with Oracle WebCenter, IBM Web Content Manager, and Adobe. Features include drag-and-drop page building, a WYSIWYG editor, multi-channel support, .NET optimization, and integrations with third party software.
Adobe Business Catalyst (Discontinued)
61 ratings
21 reviews
Adobe Business Catalyst is an all-in-one cloud-hosted system for building and managing web content and online stores. It has a built-in CRM framework in addition to sales, service, and marketing features including eCommerce and Email Marketing tools. It is scheduled to be shutdown in 2021.
SDL Tridion Sites
38 ratings
18 reviews
SDL Tridion Sites is a web content management system designed for global enterprises. It is available as an on-premises, hybrid, or fully managed cloud solution with capabilities such as translation and localization management.
Crownpeak DXM
34 ratings
17 reviews
Top Rated
CrownPeak is one of the best-known providers of an Enterprise-level CMS delivered via the cloud. It is used by many large agencies as well as companies in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and non-profit sectors.
Acquia Platform
44 ratings
17 reviews
Acquia Platform is a digital experience and content management platform that supports Drupal-based development tools, hosting services, site building, and marketing automation.
Plone
21 ratings
12 reviews
Plone is a free and open source content management system built on top of the Zope application server. Plone can be used for any kind of website, including blogs, internet sites, webshops, and internal websites.
Jahia Digital Experience Platform
17 ratings
11 reviews
Jahia is a Java-based enterprise content management system. It features an integrated user portal, web publishing and content management, document management, collaboration, and multi-channel publishing.
Clickability
14 ratings
11 reviews
Clickability is a content management system acquired by Upland Software in 2013 which provides a SaaS platform for web content creation, management, publishing, analytics, digital marketing, and online publishing for marketers and enterprises.
Evoq Content
24 ratings
10 reviews
Evoq Content is a content management system within the Evoq business suite. Evoq Content is extensible with many modules that add caching, advanced content approval workflow, granular permissions, document management, mobile accessibility of content, web farm support, and an ecommerce engine.
Movable Type
16 ratings
10 reviews
Movable Type is a Perl-based content management system from Six Apart, featuring the capability to host multiple weblogs and standalone content pages, manage files and user roles, templates, tags, categories, and trackback links.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does content management system (CMS) software do?

Content management systems (CMS) give users the tools to create, manage, and deploy website content. Common use cases for CMS platforms include running and maintaining organization intranets, blogs, news websites, corporate websites, and ecommerce websites.

What are the main features included in CMS platforms?

Most CMS platforms include basic website creation and content management features. These include: a WYSIWYG editor, web page layout templates and themes, content versioning and archiving, a publishing workflow, content scheduler/calendar, content tagging tools, and mobile optimization capabilities. More advanced CMS platforms may include more features aimed at managing content with complex structures across multiple webpages.

Can I use CMS to build an ecommerce website?

Yes, CMS products can be used to build an ecommerce website and manage site content (e.g. product catalog, product descriptions, images, etc..). If you’re planning on using your CMS to build and run an online store, here are a few must-have features:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Publishing tools
  • Admin controls
  • SEO marketing tools
  • Deep website customization capabilities
  • Social media & email marketing integrations
  • A/B testing capabilities
  • Analytics and reporting metrics

How much does CMS software cost?

The cost of a CMS solution typically depends on a few key factors: range of features needed, number of users, and whether the product has a one-time license fee or a recurring subscription fee. Prices for subscription-based CMS products can vary between $5/user/month and $30/user/month. Some vendors don’t include prices on their websites but will provide a quote on request.