DNN Best Use Cases
March 04, 2014

DNN Best Use Cases

Zolt Seregi | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Overall Satisfaction

DNN is being used in several areas. We are using it at my current employer as our externally-facing website, for clients as their CMS, and also for a few personal websites and blog platforms. At former employers, we used it primarily as our code base for custom intranet CMS solutions with integration into the Microsoft infrastructure.
  • DNN is a feature-rich, open-source project with a flexible license. This let us use it without licensing costs for custom solutions or as-is with no custom code just plug-in modules.
  • DNN is written in Microsoft .NET C#. This allows our developers and our customers to use their existing skill set to install and maintain the solution.
  • DNN is made for Windows platform, allowing us and our customers to deploy solutions to existing Windows servers or in some cases hosted platforms.
  • DNN integrates with Windows authentication allowing us to deploy intranet solutions and use single sign-on for improved user experience and security.
  • DNN is developed with Microsoft Visual Studio, which is great if your developers already know and use it, but switching to it can be expensive in terms of licensing (for paid versions) and training costs.
  • DNN module creation is powerful for custom solutions but more complex, time consuming, and error prone than some other open-source solutions based on open-source scripting languages that can be edited without needing to be compiled.
  • DNN has a rich 3rd-party ecosystem of modules and themes but it pales in comparison to a CMS such as WordPress.
  • DNN's foundation on Microsoft technologies is a strength if you need it but a potential limitation if your organization is not entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem. For example, a quick search on some freelancer sites shows that WordPress developers outnumber DNN developers 10 to 1.
  • DNN has allowed us to decrease our development costs by using a solid CMS framework instead of having to develop one from scratch.
  • Using DNN has allowed us to leverage our development team's expertise with Microsoft technologies.
  • DNN allows us to use existing Windows infrastructure to deploy solutions without having to install and manage 3rd-party frameworks or add-ons.
  • DNN gives us fewer choices in themes, plug-ins, and contractors with specialized skills compared to some of the more popular CMS and blogging platforms. For example, we've had more luck finding graphic designers who can create custom WordPress themes than DNN skins.
DNN and WordPress share many similarities and can be used for the most part interchangeably when the goal is to create a simple hosted website. However, in other cases the requirements dictate a very clear choice. If your organization is invested in the Microsoft ecosystem in terms of software and employee expertise then DNN is a superior choice. However if you will be relying on contractors for installation, development, and maintenance then WordPress' popularity means you will have more options.
For use as a self-hosted intranet DNN is an excellent choice with many benefits over competing products. The fact that it can run on Windows servers using built-in functionality is huge in terms of leveraging existing software infrastructure and human capital. We find it very well suited as a general purpose CMS solution with the ability to extend with third-party modules, custom-built modules, or even code base changes if needed.
DNN should be a consideration for an organizations using Windows and having developers proficient in Microsoft technologies, particularly C# .Net web-forms. However, there are alternative open-source CMS platforms, such as WordPress, that are more popular and, in my opinion, a better choice if the system will be hosted off-site or maintained by outside contractors.