7 Best Free and Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is a software used to simplify the management and publication of HTML content such as documents and images. It provides authoring and other tools designed to allow users with little technical knowledge of programming languages or markup languages to create and manage content with relative ease. Most web CMS use a database to store content, metadata, or artifacts that might be needed by the system. Content is commonly stored as XML, to facilitate, reuse, and enable flexible presentation options.

For those of you who are interested, I have here a list of some of the most well-known and perhaps the best free and open source content management systems (CMS) available:

WordPress is widely considered as the most popular blog publishing application, and is used by over 2% of the 10,000 biggest websites. It is powered by PHP and MySQL and offers many features including a plugin architecture and a templating system. The templating system includes widgets that can be rearranged without editing PHP or HTML code, as well as themes that can be installed and switched between. WordPress features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles. Automatic filters that provide for proper formatting and styling of text in articles are also included. WordPress has a rich plugin architecture that allows users and developers to extend its functionality beyond the features that come as part of the base install.

Drupal is a free and open source content management system (CMS) written in PHP. It is utilized as a back-end system for at least 1% of all websites worldwide, which ranges from small personal blogs to large corporate and political sites that includes and Although Drupal offers a sophisticated programming interface for developers, no programming skills are required for basic website installation and administration. Its standard release, known as Drupal core, contains basic features common to most CMSs. These include the ability to register and maintain individual user accounts within a role-based permission/privilege system, create and manage menus, RSS-feeds, customize page layout, perform logging, and administer the system. Drupal was also designed to allow new features and custom behavior to be added to extend Drupal's core capabilities via installation of plug-in modules.

Joomla! is an open source content management system (CMS) platform for publishing content on the internet along with a Model–view–controller (MVC) Web application framework. It is written in PHP, stores data in MySQL, and contains features such as page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, search, and support for language internationalization. Inside its first year of release, Joomla was downloaded 2.5 million times. As of today, over 4,000 free and commercial plug-ins are available for Joomla.

Movable Type
Movable Type is a weblog publishing system written in Perl. It supports storage of the weblog's content and associated data within MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. Movable Type optionally supports LDAP for user and group management and automatic blog provisioning. Features: Multiple weblogs; Standalone content pages; Asset and File Manager; User and user role management; Customizable templates; Tags; Categories, sub-categories and multiple categories for articles; TrackBack; Bookmarklets.

Plone is a content management system built on top of the Zope application server. Plone can be used for in principle any kind of website, including blogs, webshops, and internal websites. It is also well positioned to be used as a document publishing system and groupware collaboration tool. The strengths of Plone are its flexible and adaptable workflow, very good security, extensibility, high usability and flexibility. It excels when compared to other content-management systems in standards conformance, access control, internationalization, aggregation, user-generated content, micro-applications, active user groups and value. All of Plone's features are customizable, and free add-ons are available from the Plone website.

PHP-Fusion is a light-weight open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP. It uses a MySQL database to store a web site's content and comes with a simple but comprehensive administration system. PHP-Fusion includes features common in many other CMS packages such as easy integration of articles, forums, photogallery, web links, downloads, polls, shoutbox, search, and themes. It also offers users the opportunity to expand the standard packages with so-called "infusions". These infusions can be easily uploaded, installed, and managed.

XOOPS (eXtensible Object Oriented Portal System) is a CMS written in PHP that uses a modular architecture allowing users to customize, update and theme their websites. It aims to serve as a web framework for use by small, medium and large sites, through the installation of modules. For example, a small XOOPS installation can be used as a personal weblog or journal, but this can be expanded upon and customized, for example users might add the appropriate modules to store content in news, forums, downloads, and more.

If you have other favorite web content management systems that I failed to mention above, you can share them with us via comment.


  1. AnonymousMay 14, 2010

    what about typo3? (that is enterprise level, like vignette or interwoven packages)

  2. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    You can download and try most of the above using

  3. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    I heard of SPIP, widely used in France, with a highly customizable template system.

  4. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    Alfresco, while not as easy to use as the above, is more of an Enterprise type system. It is based upon Java and the company does offer support options.

  5. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    Blew right over WebGUI. If you go done the check list of everything everyone wants as far as features for a CMS, webgui does it. period.

    Its the most comprehensive and fast CMS, I've seen. Built in "/.? protection with built in threshold caching. Its out of the box able to do load balancing, it does file system caching and memory cahcing and DB cache of session. It supports just about anything you want to do... from colab, to blogging, articles, to multi-site hosting, to web gallery, to themed presentation based on user, to content distribution network support. It runs best with two httpd instances running, one on port 80 is a caching reverse proxy to handle all local static content (and there ccan be huge amounts) and the other is a modperl instance. Modperl handles serious numbers of requests and is very well optimized for its life as a data slave...

  6. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    I definitively missed Typo3

  7. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    Also Apache Lenya:

  8. I use Umbraco for .NET Open Source CMS, and for smaller CMS deployments I like the lighter weight gpEasy and Lightneasy.

  9. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    Don't forget eZ Publish (

  10. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    PHPWebsite! Nuff said.

  11. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    I was also curious how would typo3 be described. For example I use it regularly, and I hate it. For my taste it has many powerful features, but it's internal language called TS is just weird and uses some sort of logic that is beyond my comprehension. It's template system is completely screwed and without an extension you can't use a standard approach as one would expect. One could argue that it's intended for web applications, but it's default plugins suggest otherwise. Developing custom plugins that must have a front end and back end part is a nightmare. Although it has many plugins, it's rearly the case that plugins work out of the box, are outdated or just lack documentation. Implementing support for non english characters can be difficult. It's documentation is almost always outdated.

    I would not recommend it. Don't understand this wrong - this is a powerful cms.

    I am curious about your experience with typo3 and other cms's.

  12. AnonymousMay 16, 2010

    check modx out.. i'm in no way an experienced web developer or designer, but i learned some html and css in order to make a custom template for my website..
    modx was the simplest to make my template work as it needs absolutely no coding (ie. php) skills to build the template...

  13. AnonymousMay 17, 2010

    Wordpress is a blogging system not a CMS

  14. Let's not forget Silverstripe:

  15. AnonymousMay 17, 2010

    Don't forget jAPS 2.0 Platform (

    jAPS is not only a CMS, but it is an Open Source professional web platform tailored for both enterprises and governments that can help to make information, resources and processes accessible to everyone. The platform is compatible with accessibility international standards like WCAG 2.0 and specific governments laws such as Section 508, Stanca Law and PAS 78 for both front end and back office.

  16. AnonymousMay 17, 2010 is a blogging system, Wordpress is a CMS, check out

  17. AnonymousMay 17, 2010

    Dont forget Django also really suitable for building CMS. Cheers!!!

  18. AnonymousMay 17, 2010

    I've also been using SPIP, it has an excellent community and loads of great plugins. But at the moment you really need to speak French - the documentation is being translated by volunteers, but it's taking them all a long time... I think it's faster to learn French !

  19. title = "7 Best Free and Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS)"

    There are hundreds of them, but this is not the place to market your favorite by adding it in the comments. Otherwise the title would have been: "7 Best Free and Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) and what's your favorite CMS"? Who cares .......


  20. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    johan v

    I made several websites with CMS Made Simple. Works great!

    And don't forget CMSimple. Really simple. No database, just 1 HTML-file.

  21. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    Also look at WebGUI.

  22. Working on the new version of the portal I used jAPS2.0 ( I was impressed by the potential of the instrument. I recommend that everyone test it

  23. Pragayn cms.

  24. Pragyan cms.
    Has a good permissions management system.

  25. AnonymousJune 11, 2010

    Thanks for this list :)

    The Plone logo used above is wrong/outdated. The updated Plone logo is available on

  26. the best phpfusion web2.0 template

  27. What about dotnetnuke?

  28. Yes, I also used Free version of SageFrame . It got more beneficial features that can be handy for general users, site owners, developers and designers. The must prominent features seems uncountable even though the best I liked about SageFrame is its Open Source Framework and flexible architecture. Also it got free eCommerce Module AspxCommerce which can be more useful to all online shopping enthusiast like me. Its surely too be mentioned over here.

  29. What about Mediawiki?

  30. gpEasy (, is very under rated, truly very user friendly, very fast and very powerfull.