A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of computer software that is used to create, organize and maintain various forms of documentation. This documentation could be in the form of MS Word documents, PDF documents, HTML documents or MS Excel documents. However, here at Web Site Hosting IQ, we are mainly interested in the content of Web Site Pages. So we will be mostly examing CMS that handles the organization and creation of websites.

Now, there are many ways to skin a cat, so as can be expected (especially in the world of software!) there are many CMS products that will do a good and sufficient job of handling your website content. A simple Google search on Content Management Systems will yield enough results to be getting on with. However we will start by concentrating on a few free Content Management Systems that would be of most interest to the average webmaster.

First up is Drupal - an open source CMS (and therefore free to impliment) that has been around for some time and has built up a strong community of users who have used it to build a wide variety of websites such as community portals, personal websites, business websites and resource directories.

Some features or Drupal are:

  • collaborative authoring environments
  • forums
  • newsletters
  • picture galleries
  • file uploads and download
  • blogging

Next up is Joomla - another open source CMS (again, free to impliment). It has not been around for as long as Drupal and was originally called Mambo. Joomla claims that it aims to keep CMS as simple as possible while remaining powerful.

Joomla has similar features to Drupal, but because it is younger, it does not have as much of a community.

Next is Wordpress - another open source CMS (again, free to impliment). Strictly speaking, Wordpress is not actually a CMS but an internet publishing tool and more commonly known as one of the most popular Blogging tools. However, more and more people have been coming to use and describe it as a CMS and one thing that seems to bring people to Wordpress is its amazing simplicity.

Some features of Wordpress are:

  • Full user registration for collaberation
  • Spam protection
  • Full standards compliance
  • Easy installation and upgrades - the famous 5 minute install

So there is a brief look at three popular open source Content Management Systems.

If you are thinking of using a CMS for your website it pays to have a good look around to find the features that are necessary for you. All of the above have active forums where you can ask experienced users questions.