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What is a CMS (Content Management System)?

CMS stands for Content Management System. It is a web application that allows you to create, edit, and manage content on a web site. A CMS lets you set up a web site quickly and easily. Most content management systems specifically have these features:

  • User management with permissions or roles
  • Version control to keep track of different versions of the content
  • Ability use different designs but keep it separate from the content
  • Ability to create HTML using a Rich Text editor
  • Content hierarchy or other organization that allows you to organize the web site pages

A CMS will save you loads of time when building a website. No longer will you have to slave away writing code that someone else has already written. Instead you will use existing code and focus on the content.

CMS Features?

  • A content management system allows you to easily create new content
  • The content can be managed by anyone, even if they don’t have web development skills
  • A good CMS makes it easy to optimize your pages for search engines
  • New features like polls, user managements systems, and forums can be quickly installed and integrated into your website
  • Because most CMSs are used by many people, more bugs are fixed and they can be very secure.


  • Security. The other side of the coin is that attackers will be more likely to look for exploits in popular content management systems so if you don’t keep the software up-to-date you may become a target.
  • It can be less flexible than raw HTML and require learning a new system which may be more time consuming if you already know a programming language well

Here are some of the most popular systems that also happen to be free:


Joomla is one the most popular and easy to use content management systems on the internet today. It is a derivative of Mambo.


Drupal is an incredibly powerful CMS that has become very popular. It includes advanced features such as SEO, multi-language capability, and a vast array of modules.


ModX is not as popular as most other content management systems but it probably should be. It provides powerful features like search engine optimization and the ability to edit content right from the front-end. It also includes some cool AJAX components.

If you want to give a particular CMS a test run to see how well it works or how it will meet your needs, check out Open Source CMS. Learn more about “CMSs?”. If you want to explore a list of other content management systems, try Wikipedia.

Originally posted on Tue Jul 22, 2008
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