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Cascade CMS

Cascade CMS
Formerly Cascade Server


What is Cascade CMS?

Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams…

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Popular Features

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  • Publishing workflow (19)
  • Role-based user permissions (19)
  • Admin section (19)
  • WYSIWYG editor (19)

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What is Cascade CMS?

Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams in most major industries,…

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This component helps a company minimize the security risks by controlling access to the software and its data, and encouraging best practices among users.

Avg 8.1

Platform & Infrastructure

Features related to platform-wide settings and structure, such as permissions, languages, integrations, customizations, etc.

Avg 7.7

Web Content Creation

Features that support the creation of website content.

Avg 7.6

Web Content Management

Features for managing website content

Avg 7.4
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Product Details

What is Cascade CMS?

Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams in most major industries, including higher education, government, healthcare, and technology.

Included is Clive, an engagement and real-time personalization tool for collecting information and using it to craft personalized web experiences. With it, users can build profiles and engage with audiences through targeted content delivery.

Cascade CMS Features

Web Content Creation Features

  • Supported: WYSIWYG editor
  • Supported: Code quality / cleanliness
  • Supported: Content versioning
  • Supported: Admin section
  • Supported: Page templates
  • Supported: Mobile optimization / responsive design
  • Supported: Publishing workflow
  • Supported: Form generator
  • Supported: Content scheduling

Web Content Management Features

  • Supported: Internal content search
  • Supported: Content taxonomy
  • Supported: SEO support
  • Supported: Browser compatibility
  • Supported: Bulk management
  • Supported: Availability / breadth of extensions
  • Supported: Import / export
  • Supported: Website analytics

Platform & Infrastructure Features

  • Supported: API
  • Supported: Internationalization / multi-language

Security Features

  • Supported: Role-based user permissions
  • Supported: User-level audit trail
  • Supported: Version history
  • Supported: Simple roll-back capabilities

CMS programming language or framework Features

  • Supported: PHP
  • Supported: Python
  • Supported: Java
  • Supported: .NET

Additional Features

  • Supported: Full support of COPE (create once, publish everywhere)

Cascade CMS Video

Using Velocity and XSLT in Cascade Server

Cascade CMS Competitors

Cascade CMS Technical Details

Deployment TypesOn-premise, Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud, or Web-Based
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux, Mac
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Cascade CMS (formerly Cascade Server) by Hannon Hill is a content management system, with built-in tools to help users eliminate stale content, increase digital outreach, and promote end-user adoption and accountability. Cascade CMS is designed for decentralized web teams in most major industries, including higher education, government, healthcare, and technology. Included is Clive, an engagement and real-time personalization tool for collecting information and using it to craft personalized web experiences. With it, users can build profiles and engage with audiences through targeted content delivery.

OU Campus and Drupal are common alternatives for Cascade CMS.

Reviewers rate Page templates and Publishing workflow and Bulk management highest, with a score of 9.

The most common users of Cascade CMS are from Enterprises (1,001+ employees).
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Reviews and Ratings


Attribute Ratings


(1-25 of 44)
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February 23, 2020

Cascade Server rocks!

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is the perfect CMS for our needs and is being used in several schools across the university. Cascade Server is powerful in its versioning, ability to check-in/out assets, provide the workflow, and cross-site sharing. On-boarding our users to update pages on the websites is super easy and helpful to me as I would not have time to do all of the content updates myself. The problems it solves for us are managing several sites in the same place, easy to approve content, and version control of all of our content. We even use Cascade Server as a content repository for staff to find information quickly and easily during the workday.
  • Versioning
  • Multiple sites
  • More robust reporting and ability for end-users to create various reports.
  • The online help through the knowledge base is hit or miss. Some pages need to be updated, and some of them are hard to follow.
Cascade Server is well suited with it's WYSIWYG editor being better than most editors that I have used in other systems. In context, editing makes adding content easy compared to the last CMS I used where you had to wing it and view the page outside of the CMS to see if it was correct. The ability mix HTML, CSS, and the Script of your choice anywhere and with ease.
The scenarios were Cascade Server is less appropriate would be in the use of compilers or programs like Visual studio. You need to go out of Cascade Server and go to other environments to perform tasks and then copy the result to Cascade Server. You can write directly in Cascade Server, but it's easier to do in and editor that is specific to a function.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We manage content from across hundreds of university web pages with Cascade Server. It allows us to implement a consistent style and others meet other guidelines in a central location, as well as assign different roles and levels of access to different people.
  • Simplified page layout.
  • Allow quick editing and previewing.
  • Use templates and apply CSS.
  • Image uploading and linking can be cumbersome.
  • Users posting in div tags and inadvertent coding into content HTML can mess up page design and navigation display.
It is pretty easy to use, has limited downtime, and is somewhat customizable but is also able to control how users can modify the look and feel of webpages.
Craig Campbell | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is the primary content management system at the University of Hartford. Over the past 9 years our user base has grown throughout campus, and, with the launch of a redesigned site in 2019, it will be used to build out, or be the hub for, about 95% of our University's external website content. Cascade provides an environment where web content can be created, reviewed, edited, and shared in an easy and consistent way, without much internet experience. It meets our users' needs when and where they have them, and sets guardrails to keep everyone using best practices, such as SEO and accessibility.
  • Version upgrades on the cloud are lightning fast. Only took about half hour to convert our site, with about 50,000+ assets.
  • Setting permissions is very intuitive and easy to set up at a high or granular level.
  • CMS tracks assets and links when moved, deleted or renamed, and allows for relational publishing of all effected assets.
  • Integrates directly with many third-party products, including Google Analytics, Siteimprove, WebDam, and many more.
  • Great customer service!
  • There aren't many options in who can assist with developing sites, as there aren't many Cascade developers available. We contract most of our development work with third party vendors.
Cascade Server is a great system for institutions that don't have employees with web development skills on hand, and the budget to build their site. Once a website is set up to meet company needs and goals, the bulk of the work will shift to content contributors, with little development necessary. Whatever cost that could have been saved on developing an open source system will be recouped in a year or two.
John Dezember | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Cascade CMS for our institution's main website. While it is primarily used by the Communications Department to manage the visual display, most other departments have a presence and update their own content within the system. A major benefit is Cascade CMS's workflows. Workflows allows content contributors to make changes that are then approved by their supervisor before being published online.
  • Cascade CMS makes no assumptions about your content. Templates control how the content gets displayed.
  • Workflows are intuitive and allow for one or more people to review content before it is published.
  • The published site is static (no database connection) which allows for faster page loads and reduced risk of attack.
  • Upgrades require some technical knowledge; there is not a one-button upgrade.
  • There is not an integrated backup/restore. Our IT department manages backups for this server.
Cascade CMS is great for working with large quantities of content that can then be reused across multiple sites or other apps. The workflow system is robust and completely customizable. Managing users is easy with available custom authentication options like LDAP.
Andrew Bauserman | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade CMS is the university's primary content management system, supporting multiple web sites including all administrative offices, all Arts & Sciences undergraduate and graduate programs, and our four graduate and professional schools (business, education, law & marine science). The CMS currently has approximately 200,000 objects (pages, images and files) managed by about 1,000 web content editors.
  • Cascade CMS uses a simple folder–page paradigm that our content editors can quickly grasp, as it parallels the drive structures they find on their Mac and Windows computers and the URL paths within their sites.
  • A powerful and flexible Content Type system allows site managers and administrators to simplify complex page structures and user interactions into manageable fields and WYSIWYG content blocks our content editors can maintain.
  • Cascade CMS implements a fully-baked-publishing paradigm. This allows public-facing web pages to be served by an arbitrary number of front-end web servers, while isolating the CMS itself from any spikes in external traffic.
  • Cascade CMS provides granular control of permissions/actions pertaining to non-publishable (administrative) and publishable assets assigned to users, groups and site-specific roles. Additionally, optional workflows, asset-naming criteria, file-size limits, spelling and accessibility checks, and other restrictions/automations can be applied and enforced.
  • Cascade CMS is not an out-of-the-box pre-built system that you can install, turn on and expect to be serving sites and pages on day one. It's not a blogging system like WordPress, or a drag-and-drop system like SquareSpace (both of which I've used for their own purposes). You need to have someone tasked with management and system administration – and if you implement the on-premise self-hosted version, you ought to have several people. We have the university's IT shop handling infrastructure (server hardware, containers, clustering, operating systems, load-balancing, DNS, database servers, NAS/SAN drives), our Web & Design team managing Cascade CMS (system settings, sites, templates, permissions) and managers coordinating each respective academic unit (A&S, business, education, law, marine science).
Cascade CMS is an enterprise system. It can handle many users assigned to specific groups and roles with very granular permissions. We have about 1,000 users in over 600 groups managing approximately 200,000 assets. It has the potential to be very user-friendly for content editors – but is dependent upon the system administrator and site managers tailoring templates and content types appropriately.

For a small web site with a few users editing a handful of pages, Cascade CMS is overkill. Grab a WordPress or SquareSpace theme and be done. But if you expect to have 100+ users and 1,000+ pages, where the latter options become unwieldy, Cascade CMS is best-of-breed.
Cary Thomas, MBA CMA | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Scripps Research uses Cascade Server across the entire institute, on both campuses (La Jolla, California and Jupiter, Florida) for both our external web presence and our intranet. We distribute web page authoring among our scientists and academic and administrative departments -- so the product is used for many different purposes and audiences. During 2018 we completely redesigned the external site using a professional design firm and their brilliant ideas were fully implemented with Cascade Server.
  • Templates
  • Distributed authoring
  • Overall we feel that Cascade Server meets our needs with a wide variety of features.
We use a variety of navigation techniques depending on the audience and the department that is presenting content. Cascade Server accommodates that variety easily.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Cascade Server as our centralized web content management system, for both our external facing public web pages as well as web accessible internal pages through our portal. We find it easy to use, and our content editors find its interface intuitive. In addition, the support that Hannon Hill provides for the users of Cascade is outstanding. That Spectate, which allows for personalization of web content, easy form generation and lead tracking, is also included with Cascade Server and integrates seamlessly with it, just makes an exceptional suite of web content tools.
  • The content contributor interface is much like Word, and easy for our content providers to use.
  • The company is highly responsive to suggestions and input when building out versions.
  • Spectate comes free with Cascade.
  • With the roll out of the newest version, many improvements were made.
  • They could extend versioning to other pieces within Cascade.
  • Extending integration with other platforms, both for pulling information and pushing information (which is on their roadmap already).
Cascade is well suited for a web content management system, whether centralized or not; it's very adaptable to different environments, and works just as well for a small shop as a large one, for education, large businesses, or small non-profits. With the flexibility it offers, I can't think of a situation it would not fit; however, to set everything up someone in your team has to know some programming - or you can work with outside companies to help get you up and running. Their training is good, though, so if you have someone with a programming background they can be brought up to speed quickly.
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade is the server used for our university's main website. It was originally setup to allow all campus departments to keep their sections up to date. But it's not intuitive for users, which (even with training) has led to fewer and fewer users. This has resulted in my department going back to doing most of the website updates.
  • Security is decent
  • Organization (allowing use of a folder tree) is helpful
  • Backups of page versions works well
  • Plain and simply, this is not a WYSIWYG editor - not matter how hard they market it as one. What you see on the backend is NOT what you see on the front end. You have to know at least basic coding to get things spaced correctly, and if something is more complicated - you need to know more than basic coding. Want to add a picture into the main body of a page? Text formatting, image cropping... it just doesn't work as well as it does with other products. Example: Better know how to add space around the image in Photoshop or be able to add spacing in HTML. Otherwise the image will sit directly against the text.
  • Functions that you're used to seeing on most websites, like comment capability, 'posts you may like,' tagged pages, and website searching is either missing completely or is difficult to implement and (therefore) doesn't work.
  • Updating to new releases doesn't mean everything actually gets updated. You have to do A LOT of backend work to make new functions work. or you'll have missing functionality and issues like styles not looking the same from the backend to the frontend, etc.
  • iframes! Video can only be embedded through iframes, there is no capability to use third party widgets unless you can make it work in an iframe, etc. And don't even get me started on forms.
  • After years of repeated trainings, everyone completely abandoned the web calendar, because it was way too difficult to use. It was literally blank for a year before we replaced it with an outside system - which we had to embed in an iframe. (See above.)
  • There is no open graph integration. So if someone shares one of your webpages on social media, Facebook, Tumblr, etc won't recognize images, title or description. Unless you code each page separately when you create it.
  • No login capability for frontend users. So forget about user forums, or other info that you'd want to require a login to see.
  • Sit search capability is pretty sad. Can't tag or keyword pages to help with searches, can't designate landing pages to come up first when their topics are searched, and can't search specific sections of the website.
  • Side blocks are sometimes cutoff - and some just don't show up at all on mobile devices.
Even though we know that switching servers would be a HUGE project (especially for our small team) I can't wait to get started. Cascade just doesn't keep up with open source options. I'm very tired of telling people "that's a great idea for our website, but we can't do it with Cascade."
September 16, 2016

Cascade Server is solid

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Our Cascade Server instance hosts 185 sites, for several academic departments and programs across our entire organization. The ease of use, allows us to offer a self-service tool for our end users that is easy to use without web management experience. Cascade helps use provide a solution for departments and programs that wouldn't have the technical resources to build and maintain their own site.

Cascade Server is a powerful CMS that is flexible, adaptable and scalable.
  • It's easy to use, even for non technical end-users
  • Technical implementation can be as simple or as advanced you need
  • The amount of clicks can be reduced in order to speed up the user experience
  • Can't query the database directly
Cascade Server is well suited for medium to large scale organizations, due to their ease of user and site management.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
It is being used at California State University, East Bay. The entire website is managed through Cascade Server, for educational purposes.
  • The asset management is one of the best features.
  • Creating individual blocks to complete a web page with different lines of code makes it simple to display.
  • The help guide provided by Hannon Hill is nice to have when you're learning on your own.
  • Improve the browser support.
  • Enhance the block features.
Mallory Rice | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I was the primary user in my department, using it to update our department's website content very often. It was being used across the whole organization, and it was set up by our IT department who still controlled the back-end design and structural support. Certain departments had control over content and updates, and other departments worked entirely through the IT department for updates. Since our department had such high update rates, having immediate control was very important.
  • Easy, almost text-document style interface for people who don't know coding and HTML. Made it easy to update.
  • Have the option to switch to HTML and CSS if needed, in case there were more intricate things I wanted to do.
  • Having the ability to save drafts to get back to later made it easy to work on longer and more complicated page updates.
  • With the ability to time page availability (go up on this date, come down on this date, etc) we didn't have to worry about timelines as much.
  • Most of the more confusing aspects of Cascade were simply when the tools went above my head--usually when that was the case I just sent an email to IT to get help.
  • The publishing aspect had a lot of steps sometimes.
  • Sometimes the HTML would update to something else, even though I had changed it, in HTML. Usually something with paragraphs or breaks.
Cascade Server is definitely well suited for a large website, such as in higher education. It would definitely be overkill for a smaller business or personal webpage. You need someone with CSS, HTML, and I assume Javascript knowledge to get everything set up initially, but as far as I'm aware there isn't a ton of maintenance needed after the fact, unless a large website redo occurs.
February 16, 2016

Cascade in California

Jeff Dillon | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is the campus central content management system. It is being used across the entire organization. Approximately 80% of our campus web sites are managed with Cascade. Cascade helps the central web team support campus web development through providing accessible, branded templates. Content managers can focus on the content and not the code behind the pages.
  • Cascade Server pushes pages to a static web server via SFTP so when we need to apply an update to the database or application, public pages remain available but not updateable. This is very tolerable for our users especially during off hours.
  • Cascade Server has a built in link checking so links don't break when pages are moved or renamed.
  • Hannon Hill does a great job of listening to its customers. The company is Higher Ed focused and feature requests are often included in future releases.
  • The way Cascade handles permissions can be difficult if users move between areas in a large organization. If users leave the organization entirely, it is easy to de-provision by removing from the global AD group.
  • Workflow is available in Cascade Server but is a bit complex and not as user-friendly as some other systems.
Cascade Server is a great solution for organizations where the users do not have advanced web programming skills. The more technical the users, the more frustrated they might become. A small technical team can get the system up and available but it is not built to really have a more advanced user that is not an administrator.
Michael G. Wagner | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Cascade Server to build and maintain the Website. The product allows us to easily expand and customize our website on a daily basis.
  • We can customize the edit screen to add form fields which allows us to then customize the output.
  • We can set permissions to view or edit content on a very granular level.
  • We can customize the site template as needed.
  • Cascade has few pre-built templates or plugins, so our site is a fully customized build.
  • XSLT formats can be challenging to edit.
Overall, we have found Cascade Server to be an excellent CMS for an enterprise level website. We have segmented our news and events content onto separate platforms, WordPress and Helios, due to ease of use and to mirror the web architecture at our university.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
We used Cascade Server in our own organization as a SaaS Content Management System. We wanted a CMS that allowed our customers to easily manage their websites via a web-based tool. We had around 50 different websites managed within one Cascade Server instance, which allowed our customers to manage and publish their content to their websites that we hosted. We also hosted many other Cascade Server instances, and implemented it for other organizations. It was used by both the Web Development team and the Digital Marketing Team (search engine optimization).
  • Very easy-to-use. I trained over 200 users, and never once heard someone say that it was difficult to figure out. People generally left the training excited to get started managing their content.
  • Technology independent. We were able to put any language into it that our customers required: .NET, classic ASP, PHP, static HTML.
  • Customer Support. The Hannon Hill team was truly amazing when it came to helping their customers, including us. They always went above and beyond to fix issues, help customers figure out complex methods for using Cascade Server, and general support.
  • Annual User's Conference. This was a great event that brought Cascade Server enthusiasts together, and the entire Hannon Hill staff was present and available for customers to talk 1-on-1 with.
  • Cascade Server had a hard time handling a large amount of data. Since it is a "push" CMS (publishes out individual files that are disconnected from the CMS, vs. a "pull" CMS, which dynamically displays the pages by reading the CMS's database), it had to index pages and content in order to build the pages. If there were a ton of items to index, it took a while to process. They were constantly improving this process, however. I would have liked to have seen an option of using a pull vs. push model.
  • Cascade Server was not as "drag-n-drop" enabled as other products out there. Customers sometimes complained that Cascade Server wasn't "slick".
  • Cascade Server was very developer-friendly, allowing development shops like ours to customize it the way the customer needed. However, there were many times where development was required to make an application, whereas having an app that you could just insert, style with some options, and have it work, wasn't available. Hannon Hill always provided the app code, but there was no good way to just drop it into a required a good amount of configuration.
If you need a CMS that is user-friendly, and is able to be customized by developers, then Cascade Server is your tool. If you are looking for a "slick" CMS that requires fewer developers to be involved, then Cascade Server probably isn't for you. Remember, however, with "easy to implement out-of-the-box" comes severe limitations with what you can do with it. Cascade Server is the CMS of choice if you don't want those limitations, and you want to tailor it to your organization's specific needs.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is currently being used across our whole organization to provide support to an online journal. Our online journal is the main product of our organization and is hosted on a website that is completely reliant on Cascade Server. Therefore, editing our journal requires extensive knowledge of Cascade's features. The server allows our online journal to be thoroughly edited, from the placement of text in strategic locations on the webpage to the addition of images and graphics to enhance the look and credibility of our online journal, all the way to the addition of important documents to serve the journal's main functions. Cascade Server allows our online journal to be easily and quickly edited, reducing the time it takes to edit features on the webpage and adding important documents that need to be instantly added or removed due to the current state of the journal.
  • Cascade's display interface is very similar to the interface one uses to navigate the files in their computer. An experienced computer user should have no problems navigating through Cascade's interface to find webpages and files.
  • Creating new files and pages is as easy as finding the appropriate folder and hitting a couple of buttons. A new user can easily figure out how to create new files and folders without any training.
  • Cascade ensures that no two editors publish the same draft at the same time. When one is ready to publish a page, Cascade informs them if there is another draft of the page available to be published. This feature helps save unnecessary time and confusion that happens when more than one person is working on a webpage.
  • Although Cascade's interface allows for easy location of files, the font and folder sizes can sometimes make navigation and identification of files and folders uncomfortable to a user's eye.
  • Except for deleting and renaming files, Cascade does not allow for much editing of multiple files and/or webpages simultaneously. This can sometimes cost valuable work time.
  • Cascade does not have a clean and organized system for users to leave comments to each other and/or on specific webpages.
Cascade's file management interface is very similar to an operating system's file management interface. In other words, navigating through Cascade Server's files and folders is as easy to do as navigating through one's computer's files and folders. A new Cascade user should be able to easily locate files and webpages without much formal training, if any.
July 14, 2015

Cascade scales

Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade is being used across the entire organization. Most units are managed by the central web group, however larger units like the one I'm in have dedicated web development staff and have more access than others. Over all it helped unify the organizations' web presence and branding.
  • Unified templates
  • Dynamic data definnitions
  • Reusable data
  • Xslt and velocity scripting
  • Bulk publishing
  • User/group permissions
  • Scheduled publishing jobs
  • Interface rendering speed
  • System resources
It is great for a hierarchical, large scale, data heavy website. Less so for a highly dynamic and agile website. It is frustrating to have to publish the entire site to "cascade" a change.
July 09, 2015

NIU Huskies

Collan Davidson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is used as our main web client for NIU. We use it campus wide, especially in the Marketing and Web Communications Department. It helps us maintain our NIU website.
  • Analytic data
  • Web content
  • Storage
  • Loading speed
  • More custom templates
Curtis Travers, MPH | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
My department uses Cascade Server as the main software to create webpages, following our institutions guidelines. In fact, Cascade Server is available to our entire organization. It allows any individual, study, or department to create their own website without much need for interventions from our IT department. The ability for any individual to create their webpage themselves is a big cost and time saver.
  • Easy to learn
  • Simple controls
  • Point and click functionality
  • Ability to use more advanced options
  • Cumbersome file layout
  • Certain instruction manuals can be difficult to find
  • Lots of clicking to get simple things done.
  • Needs to be more streamlined
  • Publishing files seems redundant often
Cascade Server is well suited for large institutions to release the burden on an IT department and website development groups. It allows the individual within your organization to create and manage their own website with very little oversight from web development teams. If you have basic computer skills and understand file hierarchy, then you can use this program to create your own website.
David Van Wie | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is used across our entire organization as the preferred tool for web content management. We currently work with more than 200 content managers across our organization that keep their individual sites current and Cascade Server has made that job infinitely easier than in the past. Cascade Server has solved our problem of standardizing the web content management experience and makes it much easier for department managers to quickly see web pages that may be out dated and in need of attention.
  • Cascade Server handles the task of permissions and access very well. It allows for very precise permissions based on individual assets from an entire site all the way down to a single page or directory. Users and groups are easy to understand and manage.
  • Customization of the product to fit our needs is amazing. Our programmers have been able to create a system that is superbly flexible, yet does not allow for "off-the-wall" changes and edits to pages.
  • Version control is wonderful. User can now make edits to pages and not feel pressured to make it perfect, knowing that it can be rolled back to a previous version to start again, if needed.
  • Not much that I can add here, except that as a non-programmer, it can be a bit overwhelming to understand all the options and capabilities of the system. We have programmers who have been able to do almost anything we need with the system, but I can't understand it!
I think the one question I would put to someone interested in a WCMS is related to the size of the website and organization. I think Cascade Server excels in a situation with a larger website and a deeper user base. A very small website may not need some of the key features we rely on, and it may be much more complex than they would need.
Erik Espana | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is the web content management system used throughout our organization to maintain the official college website. It's used to solve countless business needs, including admissions marketing, fund-raising, news, events, photo galleries, staff directories and job openings. It's also used by the central marketing department to improve search engine optimization and accessibility, and manage a mobile-friendly website (Kurogo).
  • Cascade Server comes with several avenues of support. The main resource is, where all support requests are handled by staff but other users frequently contribute. Other avenues include the annual user training conference and the "Idea Exchange," where users vote on new features.
  • Because Cascade Server is XML-based, it can ingest any XML-formatted feed (e.g. RSS) from external platforms like Flickr, Tumblr and WordPress. Conversely, content can be published in multiple formats, following the "Create Once, Publish Everywhere" (COPE) strategy. For example, a single page, published as a traditional HTML file, can also be published as a mobile friendly page and PDF document. Similarly, a groups of press releases can be published as an RSS feed and a group of website pages can be published as an XML Google sitemap.
  • Cascade Server user interface is customizable for different content types. We've created custom interfaces for admissions open house pages, job openings, staff directories, events and press releases.
  • One of the drawbacks of being an XML-based content management system is that any text entered, that isn't XML-compliant, triggers an XML error and the content can't be saved. The company seems to be working on this, as it recently released a new feature allowing content to be saved as JSON and CSS, which don't have to be XML-compliant.
  • There is room for improvement when working with images. While the company has made improvements to the image editor and recently added the ability upload images via "drag and drop", the system can't save multiple versions of uploaded images automatically (e.g. original, medium, thumbnail).
  • While Cascade Server's push architecture offers performance and security benefits, it can make maintaining a large website challenging. For example, the only way to re-publish template-specific pages is by writing your own web services application in either PHP or Java.
Cascade Server is well-suited to teams that are comfortable with XML. Fortunately, clients no longer have to rely on XSLT to format content in the system. Developers can now use a more powerful and intuitive scripting language called Velocity. In terms of system administration, clients can now pay Hannon Hill (the parent company) to have their Cascade Server hosted in the cloud. This might be preferable for clients who don't want to worry about hardware purchases, installation or upgrades, or rely on their organization's IT department.
April 08, 2015

Power has a price

Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is used to maintain the official website for the college primarily devoted to recruitment and alumni/parent relations. It also supports many official office websites. It allowed us to transfer content maintenance duties to various office staff involved with the content development rather than funnel all updates through Web Communications.
  • Very flexible. The system is based in XML which allows for a lot of flexibility for distributed and syndicated content with XSLT and Velocity.
  • Large and active user community in Higher Ed. This system is used by many other higher education institutions so there are many relevant resources beyond the vendor and Higher Ed is an industry where other institutions help each other.
  • Distinct separation of content from layout. It is very easy to break content out into separate blocks for reuse while leaving a template and layout intact.
  • No inherit control over types of content that users can upload such as pdf, jpg, or other files. This has to be done via regular expressions. It's also possible for users to create files/folders that don't use web-safe naming conventions.
  • Requires an experienced XML/XSLT developer to implement and structure. Because it's so flexible it's also very complicated to implement a structured solution that allows users to maintain content without getting frustrated with layout and formatting challenges with the WYSIWYG.
  • The system doesn't support the latest XML/XSLT standards so you must use a lesser known scripting language Velocity to accomplish more advanced tasks.
Do you have XML/XSLT developers? Is your user base one of frequent use or infrequent use as infrequent use requires much more support? Are your users technically competent with the ability to navigate file/folder structures and understand basic web concepts to maintain content such as linking, uploading, publishing?

We have users that are not competent and try and follow exact steps to maintain content rather than grasp the concept thus increasing their support needs. Workflow is incredibly complicated and can be more of an impedance to users. There seems to be no easy way to overhaul a websites IA and content while keeping the current site alive and then swapping it out later.
March 19, 2015

Cascade Server Rocks!

William White | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Currently HCCMIS uses Cascade Server to manage multiple websites including 2 WordPress sites and a number of custom coded sites. The goal is to expand the use across other companies held by the parent company. Cascade Server has solved site consistency problems as well as providing us excellent compliance records.
  • By removing the core coding skills from the average user including non-technical individuals, Cascade Server allows all users to produce consistent content regardless of the content author.
  • By providing excellent workflows content publishing is easily monitored and controlled, including scheduled after-hours publishes.
  • By allowing multiple publish destinations you can easily test things out and publish to development servers before making anything live on the public site
  • We safe a ton of time monitoring stale content and broken links now that Cascade Server handles these for us automatically.
  • Would love to see better integration with Spectate. We have need to manage our social media and the lack on connectivity via API prevents us from accomplishing this.
  • Would love to see the ability to parse code within the default content block. Think WordPress shortcodes.
  • The new button layout at the bottom (sticky buttons) are messed up. They are difficult to click as they start popping in to show the draft buttons. Instead of inserting them to the right and shifting the others to the left. Just put the new buttons in on the left to prevent this jumping around
Cascade Server is suited well for any company that has a need for non-technical as well as technical content authors. The only drawback from some companies is the expertise needed to develop and code the templates.
February 25, 2015

Simplicity at its best!

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
My organization uses Cascade Server on a daily basis. It's very easy to learn for all users across our organizations, not just techies. The great benefit Cascade Server offers is, it allows us to let everyone in our organization update and mange their web pages.
  • Allow the use of multiple users and groups.
  • With working in such a large organization, it makes it easy to manage multiple web pages, by allowing users to update their pages.
  • Cascade Server is very simple and easy to learn.
  • Cascade Server could have more updated "How to" content.
  • Improve the documentation and offer more plugin features
Cascade Server is best suited in large organizations.
Josh LaMar | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is being used by roughly 1500 people at Indiana University to manage around 400 sites from 7 campuses including IU Bloomington, IUPUI Indianapolis, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, IU Southeast, and IUPUC Columbus. We have a decentralized IT infrastructure so we needed a push CMS that would allow people to use one system to publish to many different types of web servers. We also decided to use Cascade Server to mitigate risk since other dynamic CMS sites were regularly getting compromised. The sites managed on Cascade Server include marketing gateway sites like, as well as admissions, departmental sites, schools, news and much more.
  • Cascade Server is generally very secure because most of the time it publishes out static HTML content. We've not had a compromised site using Cascade Server.
  • Cascade Server is good at previewing your site before making it live. The built in page preview supports HTML, CSS, and Javascript so you can see exactly how the page will render once published.
  • The Hannon Hill team is very good at providing quick support. They have a support forum, a Knowledge Base and also an idea exchange where you can submit feature requests.
  • Cascade Server is good at being agnostic when it comes to installing the software and publishing the content to a web server.
  • Unlike most content management systems I was use to, Cascade Server has a publishing queue that takes time to render and then publish out your content. The queue is shared among all users of the site. We've set best practices to publishing (such as never publish the full-site during business hours).
  • Most content management systems provide community plugins and themes, however Cascade Server does not.
  • When you first come into Cascade Server as a developer, you'll find there are a lot of connections to piece together a page. In other words, the learning curve is steep.
Cascade Server is good for static content sites. However, it's a little bit involved to create a dynamic web site in Cascade Server (although possible). I would also recommend looking into the universal migration tool which is a CMS agnostic tool for copying the content from any live website to Cascade Server. Although Cascade Server can run on any environment I think it's common to install it on Apache and MySQL. Since files are stored in the database as BLOBs the database can get pretty large (upwards of 100 GB). This doesn't seem to have any impact on performance.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Cascade Server is being used across a whole organization, including individual departments. It helps make all of our webpages consistent and easy for us to manage.
  • Cascade Server is easy to use and navigate through. I am not very web savvy and I particularly enjoy this product. it is easy to create, find, and edit new webpages and add photos and links
  • My organizations website looks so much better because of Cascade Server, and we have been able to train numerous people and get them on board to use it for their own departments site within the organization. Everyone is enjoying Cascade and making use of its easy-to-use format.
  • Many people can attend to a website using Cascade, making it easy to divvy up responsibilities while still maintaining a consistent, nice-looking website.
At a university where many people, units and departments need access to edit pages and areas of a website, Cascade Server is the perfect tool.
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