Cascade Server Reviews

53 Ratings
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Score 7.9 out of 100

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Reviews (1-25 of 44)

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February 23, 2020
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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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.
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December 07, 2018
John Dezember | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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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.
Read John Dezember's full review
December 01, 2018
Andrew Bauserman | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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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.
The support staff are all well-versed in Cascade, respond in a timely fashion, and provide excellent service.
Read Andrew Bauserman's full review
December 17, 2018
Craig Campbell | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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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.
Read Craig Campbell's full review
December 01, 2018
Cary Thomas, MBA CMA | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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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.
Read Cary Thomas, MBA CMA's full review
April 23, 2019
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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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.
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February 17, 2016
Mallory Rice | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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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.
Read Mallory Rice's full review
February 16, 2016
Jeff Dillon | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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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.
Read Jeff Dillon's full review
December 23, 2015
Michael G. Wagner | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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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.
Read Michael G. Wagner's full review
June 30, 2015
David Van Wie | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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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.
They have always regarded any question or problem we encountered as very important. We have never felt that they ignore or downplay any issue and not once has anything been left unresolved. They also hold an annual conference where users are invited to attend and share their experiences and wisdom with the entire Cascade community. And with the care and support the provide, we all feel a part of that community.
Read David Van Wie's full review
April 16, 2015
Erik Espana | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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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.
Read Erik Espana's full review
April 08, 2015
Jason Slater | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
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.
Read Jason Slater's full review
June 30, 2015
Curtis Travers, MPH | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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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.
Read Curtis Travers, MPH's full review
February 25, 2015
Josh LaMar | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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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.
Read Josh LaMar's full review
December 18, 2014
Graham Lewis | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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We use Cascade Server across our entire university web site. It allows us to maintain consistency with branding while allowing individual departments to take control and ownership of their content.
  • It is very easy to customize to your needs as well as your users needs. You can build out custom editors for different departments based on what kind of content the need to display.
  • It is really easy to use one editor to populate multiple pages not only in the same site but using different sites as well.
  • Since you can have multiple publish points, it is really easy to test out different design options when working on a redesign.
  • A bit of a learning curve from administration stand point if you don't have any programming knowledge.
It is a perfect choice for a university with both a small web team or a large web team. If you want a product that is easy on your users as well as administrators, Cascade Server is the product.
The responses are quick and right on point. There is also a huge user support group as well.
Read Graham Lewis's full review
March 19, 2015
William White | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
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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.
Read William White's full review
July 09, 2015
Collan Davidson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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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
  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
They are very helpful.
Read Collan Davidson's full review
August 28, 2014
Christopher Davis | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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Cascade Server has been Philadelphia University's primary means of web content management for five years now and approximately 90% of our website is generated via a push from Cascade. With the web communications team (roughly 3 people in marketing and public relations) serving as designers, developers, writers, managers, trainers and consultants, faculty from almost every one of our 75 graduate and undergraduate programs along with staff from approximately 10 administrative departments act as content editors. Using Cascade, we have addressed the need to decentralize basic content updates while maintaining control over not only the technology, but in many ways more importantly, the brand.
  • In-context (i.e., in page as it appears) editing with a simple WYSIWYG editor that anyone who can use a word processor can understand
  • Push system that results in easier server management and clean, compliant output
  • Support from LIVE human beings that don't just refer you to a help document but will actually help you by telephone and email (i.e., great customer service)
  • To be used to fullest potential, Cascade Server requires at least one developer who knows or is willing to learn Velocity script
  • Setting permissions for users could be simplified as, depending on your build, there are some redundancies regarding user setup
Cascade Server is well-suited for medium to large institutions that need centralized management and development but want to decentralize content updates and editing. Getting started can be daunting, especially if yours is a complex design in a department with few developers. If "out of the box" design is a goal, I recommend early on spending time and money on necessary customization. While Cascade can be a turnkey solution, it is best used in concert with Hannon Hill's team of experts who can assist with the foundations, the growing pains and learning curves that are inevitable early on. The goal, oddly enough, is to work toward a time when you don't need them anymore!

During the selection process, give Hannon Hill an idea of what your designers or consultants have in mind for a design. Show them sites you like and sites you don't like. Ask them if Cascade Server can deliver the type of site you require. If you are a more traditional institution with a basic design in mind, you will spend less on customization and launch faster. If, like us, you are a design school, you will have to be up front about your needs and the possible cost involved in custom design and initial setup.

Also, ask the folks from Hannon Hill to demo the product in detail, both to a large room full of management types, and smaller groups by phone who will end up being the ones who will manage use of the product. Their team of sales, marketing and training staff explain the advantages of Cascade Server better than any other company I considered. Simply put, they seemed to care more than the competition did.
Read Christopher Davis's full review
August 27, 2014
Casey Gates | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
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At our college we use this CMS for our main website and a few smaller sites. We have been using Cascade Server since 2004. We were one of Hannon Hill's first customers. Cascade Server runs the college's main website. With any organization we have business problems that need to be met. The biggest is having a large number of users that work in different departments on campus that need to update their department's site. These users do not have coding experience. Cascade has a simple solution to do this by using your standard WYSIWYG editor. To add to this we are also able to add student interns into the mix of using Cascade Server by using "workflows". This allows a student to make changes to a page. Once the page is submitted it goes to someone higher up in the chain for approval of that page. If the page checks out okay it gets published. If changes need to be made it gets rejected and sent back to the student. Cascade has answers for our biggest hurdle of having so many users that need to update the site.
  • One thing that is nice about Cascade Server is it sits on a different server than where it publishes to. The thought process behind this is if you ever need to upgrade or do maintenance or if your server running Cascade Server crashes, your site will still be live because the content that gets published sits on a different server. Unlike a CMS like WordPress. If WordPress crashes, your site crashes.
  • Another awesome thing the Cascade Server does very well is they offer great customer service. You can give them a call at anytime and speak to a user support specialist who will walk you through a problem. You can also expect an email back within the day if you chose to send an email to user support instead. You might not even have to send an email if you search through the very well organized knowledge base they have on their site.
  • Hannon Hill specialized in higher education. So being in Higher Ed, it makes it easier on both the college and Cascade Server to troubleshoot/compare/contrast with other colleges.
  • Hannon Hill does have a handful of sites that they run that are not Higher Ed sites. So if you aren't in Higher Ed I wouldn't let that scare you away.
  • One major thing that I would like to see differently is how often a new version gets rolled out. Recently, they decided to start rolling out a new version every few months rather than just having one big rollout once a year. It sounds great on paper that they are making so many improvements. But to gather the time it takes to upgrade Cascade Server at a particular time when it isn't affecting a ton of users across campus is tough. This usually ends with me being in my office upgrading Cascade at 3am every few months.
  • Going based off of my last example, they have a remedy for this but it's a costly one. They have service plans that include Hannon Hill doing all of the hosting instead of you having Cascade hosted in house. With this plan they will upgrade Cascade Server whenever an update becomes available. Once again, sounds great on paper but it comes with a heavy price tag that makes it not affordable to do.
  • Being web based makes for some clunky user interaction. It is a very robust system. With it being web based it makes it hard for Hannon Hill to make it portable. If you had a quick change to make on a page I wouldn't suggest trying to conquer that task on your phone. A tablet even is pushing it. Also going off of usability, it is very friendly in all browsers. Works wonders in Chrome and Firefox, works not so hot in any other browser.
  • For all of their backend functions, they use Velocity. Which is a Java based language. It is very similar to your typical languages but to do anything other than your basic functions you need to know Java in order to accomplish something.
Cascade Server is a robust system. For smaller companies with very little users in the CMS I would not go with Cascade Server. If you have a bigger company with a large number of backend users updating pages; then I would really consider Cascade Server. If you don't have a web developer or webmaster in house it might not be best for your company either. If that is the case you might be spending a lot of time with Hannon Hill user support.
Read Casey Gates's full review
August 26, 2014
Phillip Coxwell | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are currently using Cascade Server in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, but it is also being used in other colleges and offices across campus as well. In our college, it helps us manage the website easily by letting multiple users in each department/office manage their own pages without having to be proficient in website code. Also, it allows us to control exactly what they can edit, which helps keep our pages uniform and makes it less likely the other users could mess something up.
  • Cascade Server can be used to break down pages into "blocks" which are basically snippets of code that can be reused over and over again. Using index blocks makes many things on our site so much easier because the block basically finds the information for us, and then all we have to do is write a small XSLT or Velocity format to process that information. Cascade Server makes use of this very well so that we can easily make our pages more dynamic. It's almost like they write themselves at times.
  • In Cascade Server, templates can be used in a way that can make updating the design of your site a breeze. Basically you have one or two base templates that every page on your site references, plus your css files. When it's time to change the design, all you really need to do is replace the css and change your template. You can rearrange and modify your blocks to make sure that they don't go crazy, but once the css and template have been updated, the rest is a piece of cake.
  • User management is handled well in Cascade Server. We have ours tied in to Active Directory, and we add our users through the ldap connection. Once they have been added, however, managing them is easing with groups. I just give a group the permissions it needs and drop the users in. I think it's vital to be able to restrict what a user can edit, and at times, what they can even see. Cascade lets you show your users as much or as little as you want.
  • For me, writing formats has been the bane of my existence at times. Now I am not technically a programmer, so it may come as no surprise that XSLT does not come easily to me. I can modify formats that have already been written, but not write new ones. That being said, the formats do work great, it can just be very technical for those who may not have those skills. However, I have found Velocity much easier to write and understand, but the only problem I have with it is the lack of documentation at times. Hannon Hill has been working to provide more support for Velocity though, so even though the formats can be very technical, they are becoming easier with Velocity.
  • Workflows are great, but they can be confusing. Using the workflow builder is the way to go, but for the ones I have made, I have had to follow a tutorial each time. They can definitely take some getting used to as far as setting them up.
I feel that Cascade Server can be made to work well in just about any situation you may have. One thing I have noticed, however, is that it can get frustrating if you are attempting to use it to manage large files that are on your site (such as photos and videos). In this case, it would work well to host your pictures and videos separately (Flickr/YouTube, etc) and then embed them in your site from there. Other than that, Cascade Server can be used to manage anything from a small site, to many large sites, to a blog or whatever you may have. If you can put it on the web, you can manage it in Cascade Server.
Read Phillip Coxwell's full review
February 25, 2015
Nicolle Hanson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
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.
Read Nicolle Hanson's full review
September 06, 2014
Alexander Christian | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I used Cascade Server when I was managing my residential housing website. I found that while I was able to input text and pictures quite easily, I found the other features less accessible. Facets such as, background design and enhancements, were difficult to navigate and took away from the overall experience of website development. At another position, I used the software for a similar purpose, but again I was not pleased with the ease of use. As an individual who is at a beginner level with website management, I struggled to produce the creative ideas that I wished to implement. I would prefer an interface that allows for easy transitions and apparent features.
  • Text editing
  • Picture implementation
  • Basic display functions
  • User interface
  • Media implementation utilities
  • Basic start-up guide
Cascade Server has its appropriate uses and its faults. I would recommend this software to a beginner level website developer. It is necessary for the basic functions of marketing, however, it lacks intricate tools to further progress advanced innovation. My biggest complaint with the system is its lack of accessibility to its users. I would prefer a software that can be easily managed on another interface, and provide the necessary skills for immediate usage.
Read Alexander Christian's full review
September 05, 2014
Pranjit Kalita | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Cascade Server as a content management tool for managing the websites for the Purdue University College of Science. There are several departments within this reach (Math, Stats, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Computer Sc.), plus the College of Science itself. We manage their websites according to their requests of new information, new design of their websites, or delete old information. Furthermore, we also look for broken links and errors by making use of another software called InSite, and try to fix them. Mostly, we manipulate the individual web pages to include new information by using their HTML scripts. There are only around 5-7 of use in charge of using this system for the College of Science, three of them being full-time, and the others including me being part-time since we are students.
  • Content addition including pictures, text, video
  • Template creation common across various pages, thereby greatly reducing time
  • Making header and footer blocks
  • Managing the left and right panes
  • Individual pages need to load faster
  • Publish message sometimes takes a long time to be pushed across all machines, perhaps increase the speed of the publish message
  • There is a problem with the hierarchy of the publish message pages, in other words, we have to publish the individual pages before publishing the page that calls them. This is a little confusing. Perhaps this could be addressed.
Some key questions to ask about Cascade Server are:

1. Is it easy to pick up?
2. Is it reliable?
3. Does it ever crash? If yes, how easy is it to recover?
Read Pranjit Kalita's full review
September 02, 2014
Hrishikesh Deshkar | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cascade Server is being used across all the departments at Syracuse University. It is primarily used for maintaining the university website and the websites for individual departments. The common IT department at the university holds the administrative privileges for defining and maintaining the style sheets and design of all the websites. This takes care of maintaining the uniformity among all the websites hosted.
  • Dashboard - This gives the summary of all the major notifications and status updates. For example, the documents that are pending or need to be published.
  • Saves draft of edited pages before publishing them. This helps in continuing the work back from where it was left.
  • Assets can be uploaded from anywhere in the document. For example, while creating hyperlinks to internal documents, cascade gives you the ability to upload documents from that position without having to navigate to a different screen/page.
  • If changes are made and published in one page, I've often had to publish the entire base folder to push forward the same changes and see them on the front end.
  • Pages stored in cache memory can create some problem. I had to open a new incognito window and refresh the website to see the changes in the front end.
  • The biggest problem I've had is ghosting of pages. If by any chance while moving or deleting the pages, Unpublish is unchecked the pages still remain in the backend and they are tough to find for deleting them. Because of this, they cannot be over written, old versions load on the website and new updates are not seen.
  • One thing that can be done is display a popup of Unpublish checkbox or give a tool tip to explain what will happen if the user doesn't unpublish the pages while moving or deleting them.
It is suited to organizations with multiple departments and who want to maintain uniformity in their website design. So questions to ask would be:
1. How many departments do you have?
2. What is the traffic you are expecting on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis?
3. Do you want to restrict any changes to the design by the authors who edit child websites on the server?
Read Hrishikesh Deshkar's full review
August 27, 2014
Amey Ghadigaonkar | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cascade Server is used mainly by people without hands on experience with web technologies like HTML/CSS. I am a member of the technical staff and advise non-technical people of the usage of the Cascade Server. The main business problem it solves is abstraction from the underlying technical details of our website and allows for easy content creation.
  • It handles the underlying HTML/CSS details very well. In my experience, in most of the cases, our accounts and HR department was easily able to create content quickly on the Cascade Server without needing help from any technical staff.
  • It provides the ability to define multiple kinds of layout. This is essential for creating a decent UI without too much hassle.
  • The style sheets are centrally located. I can change the logos for the entire website with just a few clicks. Also, I have restricted access to these config files to ensure that the site is not tarnished unknowingly by other employees. I thus don't have to worry about any sudden changes on the live server.
  • Cascade Server does not allow for easy integration of JQuery plugins. Every time I hit enter on the content manager, it creates a new div. This really messes up my JQuery.
  • The publisher queue SHOULD be multi-threaded especially when pushing to different sections of the website. It will greatly reduce waiting time for users.
  • The "new" feature on the menu bar inside the Cascade Server takes forever to load. Why are the links on generated dynamically while the page is loaded like a normal menu-bar? It starts to load when I click on it and it takes about 3-6 seconds to load. Thats very bad response time.
Cascade Server is suited if a majority of your content creators/publishers lack technical knowledge to make things happen without a CMS. It is less appropriate when creating interactive websites, or websites with responsive elements like AJAX requests or modern libraries like AngularJS.
Read Amey Ghadigaonkar's full review

Feature Scorecard Summary

Role-based user permissions (19)
API (12)
Internationalization / multi-language (7)
WYSIWYG editor (19)
Code quality / cleanliness (18)
Admin section (19)
Page templates (17)
Library of website themes (2)
Mobile optimization / responsive design (15)
Publishing workflow (19)
Form generator (7)
Content taxonomy (13)
SEO support (14)
Bulk management (14)
Availability / breadth of extensions (11)
Community / comment management (5)

What is Cascade Server?

Cascade Server is a Java-built content management system from Hannon Hill. It is designed for decentralized web teams in most major industries including higher education, government, healthcare, and technology. Cascade Server can be hosted on premise or by Cascade Cloud. Unlike multi-tenant SaaS, Cascade Cloud users are not limited by any standard implementation and can choose which features are applied.

A Pro License of Spectate, Hannon Hill's content marketing tool, is included with the purchase of Cascade Server. Spectate allows content contributors to promote, measure and optimize web content. It is highly customizable with many developer tools (advanced code editor, extensive API, workflow builder, etc.) and end-user tools (WYSIWYG editor, workflow wizards, analytics and reports, image editor, etc). It has multilingual capability and in-text editing features, support for uploading any file type, flexible user permissions and collaboration tools, notifications and messaging, stale content notification, and other features.
Categories:  Content Management

Cascade Server Features

Web Content Creation Features

Has featureWYSIWYG editor
Has featureCode quality / cleanliness
Has featureContent versioning
Has featureAdmin section
Has featurePage templates
Has featureMobile optimization / responsive design
Has featurePublishing workflow
Has featureForm generator
Has featureContent scheduling

Web Content Management Features

Has featureInternal content search
Has featureContent taxonomy
Has featureSEO support
Has featureBrowser compatibility
Has featureBulk management
Has featureAvailability / breadth of extensions
Has featureImport / export
Has featureWebsite analytics

Platform & Infrastructure Features

Has featureAPI
Has featureInternationalization / multi-language

Security Features

Has featureRole-based user permissions
Has featureUser-level audit trail
Has featureVersion history
Has featureSimple roll-back capabilities

CMS programming language or framework Features

Has featurePHP
Has featurePython
Has featureJava
Has feature.NET
Additional Features
Has featureFull support of COPE (create once, publish everywhere)

Cascade Server Video

Using Velocity and XSLT in Cascade Server

Cascade Server Downloadables

Cascade Server Integrations

Spectate, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Cascade Server Competitors

OU Campus, Drupal, TerminalFour Site Manager

Cascade Server Pricing

  • Has featureFree Trial Available?Yes
  • Does not have featureFree or Freemium Version Available?No
  • Has featurePremium Consulting/Integration Services Available?Yes
  • Entry-level set up fee?Optional

Cascade Server Support Options

 Free VersionPaid Version
Social Media
Video Tutorials / Webinar

Cascade Server Technical Details

Deployment Types:On-premise, SaaS
Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac
Mobile Application:No

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cascade Server?

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.

What is Cascade Server's best feature?

Reviewers rate Page templates and Publishing workflow and Bulk management highest, with a score of 8.9.

Who uses Cascade Server?

The most common users of Cascade Server are from Enterprises and the Higher Education industry.