How To Choose The Right CMS

Content Management Systems have become one the internet’s most powerful web developer tools since PHP.

In a market where websites need to be built faster and easier, many developers are turning to Open Source CMS to get the job done. Unfortunately there are now thousands of CMS’s floating around the web and finding the right one has become somewhat of an ordeal.

This article will discuss how developers can find the right CMS for any occasion and will give a review of some of the best CMS’s I have discovered, as well as recommendations on which CMS to avoid like the plague.


What is a CMS

A Content Management System (CMS) is a Web application that uses a database (usually MySQL) or other methods to create, edit, and store HTML content in a manageable way. Content is created and edited on the web in an administration portion of the web application (referred to as the Backend). The resulting content is then displayed to the viewers on the regular site (referred to as the Frontend).


Why should I use a CMS

There are several possible reasons for using a Content Management System, but the main reason for using a CMS is to make creating and editing of content simple and easy. Often developers forget that this is the main purpose of a CMS and in search of more and more functionality, they cripple themselves (or their customers).

Content doesn’t just include text however. Sometimes the content you need on a site is a contact form or user authentication system. The trick is to find the CMS that provides the functionality without sacrificing ease of use for yourself or, depending on the situation, your customer. A good CMS will allow you to spend more time focused on the design of the frontend then on implementing extensions or functionality.


5 Most Common Mistakes

Mistake 1: Choosing a Geek Friendly CMS

First and foremost it is imperative for those developers building sites for customers that they remember that not everyone is as tech savvy as you are. Even if you’ve found a CMS that you like and work well with, it doesn’t matter unless you’re making the site for yourself. The most important factor in the site should be whether or not the customer can use the site like they imagine it should work. So, in the long run, it will be better for your health if you pick a CMS with a simple admin interface, even if you have to customize it more to meet the customer’s needs.

Mistake 2: Bigger is Better

Beware of any CMS, open source or not, that cites its huge following as reason to use their system. Don’t be taken in by the promises of a huge, helpful user community, and all the beautiful extensions or plugins the systems already have to offer. It’s a TRAP!

Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves. Similarly, picking a CMS based on a following is an extremely bad idea.

Another reason why people will choose these types of CMS’s is because they see that there is a huge community of developers or amount of money behind a certain web application. To this I turn to a favorite quote of mine:

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that was the case, Microsoft would have great products.”

If you haven’t guessed, that’s a quote from Steve Jobs explaining why it’s better not to be the behemoth. What really matters is the people behind the product and that they are the right people for the job. Not how many people you have working for you.

When it comes the open source CMS’s, often we find that there is nobody tracking development or finding the right people to make what others need. The average community member becomes the main source of functionality and the result is a huge jumble of average extensions and functionality with a few nuggets buried so deep you’ll never find them. So I repeat my advice to beware of the behemoths.

Mistake 3: Going With the Little Guy

Again, this is the same as #2, where in an attempt to recover from an unfortunate run in with a behemoth you pick an overly simplistic CMS. Always make sure to check that the CMS you are looking into does include extensions with the functionality you will need. Many times you may stumble upon a promising CMS, but do not invest in it until you have found that it offers what you need. Unfortunately some of the best CMS’s out there are still developing.

Mistake 4: Not Doing Research

Always, always do research before settling on a CMS. Check sites they give as examples. Email the administrators of those sites and discuss the pros and cons of the CMS. Talk to developers and keep an open mind.

There does come a point however when you must invest some time in testing out the system and attempting to build a site. Do so for yourself before ever promising to use the system for a customer. Sometimes you may believe you have found an extension or module that will work and upon testing will discover it is seriously flawed. Other times you may discover that the only way to get a module that functions properly is to purchase one.

Mistake 5: Allowing an IT Guy to Pick the CMS

Never, ever, ever allow an IT guy to choose your Content Management System. It is a rare breed that understands both code and a friendly user interface. Whether you are a big company or small group of freelancers, it is imperative that whoever the Mac guy is among you, sign off on anything that the IT guy presents. It may be a headache, but making sure that the CMS you use has a good user interface is essential and will save you a lot of pain in the long run.

If you find yourself in the situation where you are allowing a coder to build your functionality for you, first provide a list of requirements and then have them present you with your CMS options. That way you may make the decision that best suits you or your customer.


What to Look for in a CMS

There are many things to look for in a content management system but here are a few of the more important ones:

  1. Quick and easy installation
  2. Simple administration interface
  3. Quick and easy extension of CMS for extra functionality
  4. Simple template manipulation
  5. Helpful user community

Although this may seem counter intuitive, look for the CMS with the best design appeal for you. Having an appealing design is one of the best indicators that the interface will be user friendly, though always remember to do your research before investing your time and energy into any particular system.


The 3 Most Promising CMS’s

The development of open source Content Management Systems is continuing at an increasing rate. There are new systems emerging constantly and many of these systems are beginning to show promise. Behemoths of the CMS world such as Joomla! and Drupal have been unable to break from a cycle of inadequate change. Perhaps the new generation of CMS that is emerging may be able to change things for the better.

So here’s a list of the most promising CMS’s that you should keep an eye on, as well as the best working options, and those CMS’s that you should spurn:

1. Frog CMS

It’s an absolute winner in this category with a new PHP CMS based off of Radiant CMS. Frog CMS shows the most promise of any CMS that is currently in development. The extremely friendly administrator interface is its golden gem. The community for Frog remains small, but despite this the project is developing quickly, while plugins are constantly being produced at high standards to fill the gaps.

Frog’s strength lies in its developer community which is committed to producing an extremely functional CMS which maintains its user friendliness. The 1.0 version is currently in development and should arrive soon. Frog CMS

2. Concrete5 CMS

This CMS does something very different from other systems in that it integrates the administration with the frontend seamlessly. The only other CMS that does this is LightCMS. Concrete5, however has the same advantages as Frog CMS and is much less complex than its counterpart. Concrete5

3. iWeb

Technically it’s not an open source CMS, but what it represents is a step in the right direction. This program was Apple’s first attempt at a web publishing system and works in unison with the .mac (now MobileMe) system. If Apple ever spent any time focusing on delivering a fully outfitted program by adding more to what is already a fantastic system with iWeb, there would be no need for any other CMS. I would keep an eye on Apple in the future for just such a program in their iLife suite. iWeb


Top 5 Content Management Systems.

1. Drupal

Drupal is easily the most functional open source CMS available today. It allows for the editing of content directly on the page, and is easily extended through the use of modules. Themes can be developed easily with CSS and though it has a few issues, it is the least frustrating CMS of any available. Drupal

2. WordPress

WordPress began as a simple blogging system but has grown into one of the most powerful CMS’s on the Internet. The administration interface which has become so easy to use for millions of bloggers translates over to extended versions of WordPress.

As developers have realized its potential to act as a user friendly CMS, many plugins and extensions have been produced. With the release of BuddyPress for WordPress MU, it matches most other open source systems available in functionality and far surpasses them in user friendliness. WordPress

3. Radiant CMS

A simple CMS powered by Ruby on Rails. It’s simplistic design and method of content management makes editing content easy. The focus of this CMS is to offer minimum functionality for small development teams, which allows those who know how to write Ruby on Rails to easily customize their own systems. Radiant CMS

4. Magento

An especially effective e-commerce content management system. Offers features above and beyond normal e-commerce systems such as virtue-cart. A must have for online stores. Magento

5. Silverstripe

A simplistic CMS, with a growing community. Easy to customize and change. Shows potential to match other systems such as Drupal, but not quite there yet. Great user interface. Silverstripe


Avoid Joomla

Joomla is evil. That’s all there is too it. The only way to get the functionality you would ever really need beyond basic content management is to pay large sums of money for commercial modules. The community is huge in the worst possible way. There are a million modules for one problem and it is near impossible to find the right one.

The interface is deplorable. None of the methods of content management make any sense, and it is obviously not meant to be user friendly considering the top dollar training offered for the system. If there were ever a CMS to avoid, this would be it.

That’s the end of the list. If you know to avoid Joomla! you’ll know how to avoid anything else that might hinder your experience creating and managing a website. Whew! There! Joomla!



Always remember to research a CMS before investing time in it. Never forget that the main purpose of a CMS is to make creating and editing content simple and easy. Never sacrifice the user experience for functionality. Remember these things and it will drastically improve your experience with Content Management Systems.

Written exclusively for WDD by Jason Mosley. The article reflects his opinion only and doesn’t necessarily reflect WDD’s position on the subject.

Have you used these systems successfully?  Which ones do you like best?

  • Brenelz

    Surprised to see someone hating Joomla. I haven’t personally used it a whole lot, but it seems that a lot of people like it.

    • tomiko nakamura

      don’t know why so many people are against joomla. it’s great. and with the modules, you can get the one closest to what you need if if you didn’t get exactly what you need, then tweak it and you’ll be fine. this site i manage with joomla… and it’s ok. joomla is great.

    • KevinM

      The reason most people hate Joomla is because they are to lazy to do the work needed to make it work.

      As with the person who wrote this article. He/she wants the solution to be handed to them! Their opinion is that the tools available is gross in size does have its merits.

      The fact that Joomla is so big makes it impossible to know the crap code from the good code. There are allot of extensions for Joomla that should be banned from the internet.

      However Mr. Editor, to simply state that Joomla sucks because you want an easy way out. Is a week statement without a good reason!

      The fact that Joomla controls a very large chunk of the CMS world is enough to show your ignorance!

    • Anders Svensson

      I am a freelancer and have been working with Joomla for several years now.
      However, I have stopped suggestion solutions based on Joomla to my clients. It is simply not up to standard anymore and its standard functionality is to limited. You are depended on extensions and modules to get e decent installation.

      Its URL management is dreadfull.
      A modern system should be able to handle multiple languages with out extension. Joomla can not.
      Joomlas meny management SUCKS.

      Joomlas SEO SUCKS. In order to get decent HTML from Joomla you need to develop our own theme from scratch and override most of the core modules.

      This is just a few point of the wounderful Joomla, not to mention their lovely community….

    • John Coonen

      It’s all about finding the right tool for the job. Good points on some top picks for CMSes, then Matt discredits his points at the end with tantrum. Too bad Web Designer Depot approved it.

  • Mats Lofgren

    Thanks for a great post! I only wish you had posted this 6 months ago when I spent endless hours looking for the right CMS to focus in on. In the end I went with WordPress, both for its ease of customisation and massive community but not least for the user-friendliness to the people who ultimately are going to be using it. Will revisit Frog though as I recall it looked promising.

  • Sembetu

    Excellet job of breaking this down. I wholeheartedly agree with your post. However, there is one CMS I would like to add to your list:

    I am currently working with this CMS for my own portfolio site right now. The feature set is pretty small as far as modules and themes go, but the ease of use is about a 9 in my book, and I am usually a Drupal advocate. Additionally, it is easy to theme, requires no database, and has great documentation. I wouldn’t use it for an enterprise level site, but for a lot of folks building their portfolios, or building small sites for “mom’s n pops”, it could have a pretty high ROI.


    I am in no way affiliated with PluckCMS or any sponsoring organization. This information is provided purely in the spirit of sharing knowledge with the community.

  • Brandon Cox

    Interesting thoughts about Joomla. I’ve never liked it either, but also don’t hear much negative about it. I’m checking out the others now – thanks for the research!

    • creativeblondes

      just checked out the video on their homepage.. seems great for the simple CMS usage that me/myclient want

      • creativeblondes

        oeps.. i ment to reply on the comment below

  • Owen Anderson

    Another really simple CMS is Cushy CMS. It’s not really advanced, and there’s no plugins for it, but it is great for really simple sites. Well worth a look.

    • rubric

      Agreed. For sites that are 1-100 pages, Cushy CMS has really let me empower the non-tech client and let me get out of the loop (for all the right reasons) when needing to update a site’s content. Cheers for Cushy CMS!

      • jsrothwell

        Not me. I dont like the idea of putting my clients’ sites up on their host. If they offered a download then maybe Id give it a whirl but until then it’s not for me.

  • Joe Hickman

    Awesome article, especially regarding Joomla! Thanks for the read.

  • John

    I agree – Joomla’s evil. I personally use WordPress for all my CMS needs. Go WordPress! :D

  • WPCult

    Very nice write up of Content Management Systems.

  • Nokadota

    Oh man, Joomla is horrible. I use Expression Engine for my main blog, I’m surprised it wasn’t on the list. Silverstripe is an excellent open-source CMS. I’m thinking of using it for my design site, just so I know how to use different CMS’s.

    OMG, Joomla. *shudders*

  • insic

    hahahaha. I love to hear you say “Joomla is evil”. You are absolutely right. I always discourage my clients not to use joomla too. Thanks for the great post.

  • Georg Ringer


    your mistake-section is great, but the best CMS-section is just crap, sorry!
    WordPress is really not a CMS but a blog with some cms possibilities and magento is even less a CMS because it is a 100% ecommerce-thing which allows to publish some static pages which is not really comfortable.

    I don’t know from where you are but in Europe, espcially in the German speaking countries, TYPO3 is used very often. It is one of the bigger CMS, Open-Source, but you can turn everything off what you don’t need and so there will be no overhead for the customer and if he needs one time a feature more, you can just turn it on again!

    Have a nice day

    • Dainis Valtas

      +100% to Georg Ringer about WordPress and Magento.
      The first thing about CMS Joomla! – editors do not need Administrator (Super Administrator) rights. Without buttons of administrator functions the admin panel is nice and cleen :). Template system is easy to use. Plugins – there is tons of them – if you REALLY NEED SOME – just try!. Do you really need it?

    • Sebastian Trappe

      Of course WordPress is great as a CMS. Yes, Magento is very specialized, but hey, products are site content that needs to be managed too. You have to realize that a CMS can be a wide variety of products, it’s NOT one product-type where every software does the same. (I’m from Germany too, I know that many people get confused about this here)

      Typo3 could be there, but meh, not really into it

    • Sirlon

      WordPress was a bloging tool, but now with custom post types, etz. it’s defiantly a cms.

      And a side note on TYPO3.

      I hate it. I’m from Austria and have to work with it, because every damn idiot, several years ago wanted typo3. It’s powerful but a way to complex and outdated.
      I am also that guy who do not like Joomla.

      But that’s just my opinion.

  • Kathy H

    I’ve been happy with CushyCMS. I’ve got about 25 clients using it now. There’s nothing to download, and I haven’t had to give a single client a lesson in how to use it.

  • Navdeep

    Drupal is always #1. Good review on the mistakes…

  • Roderick

    Nice article, a little bit harsh on Joomla! for my liking, but fair enough assessment of its problems.
    I still have many clients using Joomla! and they are all happy, but since almost a year I try to use WordPress as often as I can, just because is much easier to use, for me and for my clients.
    Magneto is also a winner for e-commerce websites, I upgraded all my clients that were using Opencommerce to it and I’m very satisfied with the results and how easy is to use.

  • Andrei B

    Hello Depot,

    Pretty nice article. Even though from my personal point of view, I don’t think that Joomla is the boogeyman. I’ve been using Joomla for some time now (a few years), and it depends on what do you expect from a CMS.
    You are right that finding the right plugin and/or extension can be a pain in the butt, but then again, it depends on how good you are in researching what you’re looking for.
    Another quite important aspect of choosing a CMS, is knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, and trying to think in perspective what are your goals for that particular website. If you simply want to blog, WordPress is the best option. If you want to expand your blog into a portal for example, that you should consider installing a more advanced CMS, and most important if upgrading from one CMS to another CMS what are the options for moving the content (which I find to be very important, but also difficult in some cases).
    Sorry for commenting this much, but I thought it would be nice to share :).

  • cccmien

    I totally agree with you conclusions.
    I have experience with both Joomla and Frog CMS. Joomla just gets you frustrated the more you use it. It’s not flexible at all and generates crappy html code. Most of the plugins are buggy or have version incompatibility problems.
    I converted to Frog CMS (PHP port of Radiant CMS). What a releave! Full flexibility for the developer and non tech savvy clients like the simplicity of the admin interface.

  • Evgeny

    What about a wiki as a CMS?
    For example I know that Atlassian push their Confluence enterprise wiki as a great solution for content management, as well as a collaborative platform that naturally a wiki is really all about.

    As far as I know it has all the required features, like permissions and so much more. Weird you did not mention wikis as a solution for CMS.

    • Belinda

      We use Atlassian Confluence at work, I’ve found it great. I have to teach partners all over the world (often without English as a first – or even second – language) how to use our site, and I’ve found it really easy and intuitive.

      For freelance stuff, though, I use WordPress as much as I can :-)

  • Adam

    Nice post. I use a CMS called MODx. Not sure if you have heard about it, but it is great for me. The interface is great, clients have used it before training and can start getting content in straight away. In terms of extensions there are a good number, but the important thing is the active forums. The founding members of the CMS are so active on the forums its unbelievable and they are really open to suggestions, they make it clear that the CMS’s direction is shaped by everyone using it. Also people are not using it because thats what they are used to, like I have found with Drupal. Drupal has more extensions than MODx however after using Drupal at work for a year now, I would easily offer MODx over Drupal, because its the core functionality and interface that wins it for me. Because at the end of the day I have had to dop or re-write nearly all the Drupal modules I have used to fit the clients needs. Drupal forums are so bloated with poorly coded modules its a complete nightmare. If you have not used MODx then do so, once you get your head around the terminology you can have a basic site setup in hours. The one thing MODx needs is high profile sites, as its not been around as long as Drupal or WordPress, I am sure once it has a few high profile users it will become very well known.

  • Luglio7

    I think that the most promising cms is symphony

    take a look :)

  • Antti Tuppurainen

    You wrote a nice review, but are you trying to irritate on purpose all us Joomla lovers :?

    The power of Joomla is in its flexibility: You may choose to go with basic installation, but also find from the great collection of extensions your need.

    Open Source vs Commercial: It’s changing ( and soon only OpenSource extensions are listed.

    Wondering why comments are empty and the discussion has moved to Twitter about this review.

    • Wade O

      I really like Joomla, All the paid extensions are actually a bargain compared to having a custom one made. They have a million plugins and most are free.

      I manage like 10 joomla sites and it just plain works and it is very versatile.

      My vote is for Joomla any day of the week, I like Drupal as well they have a development community that is structured like Joomla.


  • Marcin


    an interesting article. I run several sites, using some of the content management systems mentioned above. I definitely vote for Drupal – in terms of sheer power, it can’t be matched by any other system.

    I have some sites running on SilverStripe. I like it because it is very easy for editors to use – the content management interface is very streamlined. However, it can be confusing at times – certain options which you would expect from the admin interface (and which are available in other systems) can be changed only by directly editing the template files.

    As for Joomla, I have some large sites running on Joomla and I actually like it. First of all, I like it for the speed of implementing custom designs – it takes me about 50% less time to code a new skin for Joomla than for Drupal. I also don’t have a problem with its interface for content editing – works fine for me, especially after adding some free modules, like JCE (better editor). The greatest drawback – lack of granular access control. If I am designing a site with several levels of authors, editors etc., then Joomla would not be a good match.

    To your list, I would also add CMS Made Simple ( – a very nice CMS system if you need a small to medium website, with some unique advantages.

  • David Hellmann

    Yeah! WordPress <3 :)

  • Andrei

    I like the article, but you are wrong about Joomla! Really, I build websites with Joomla. It’s all much easier. I can find free modules/components/plugins and much more.

    I know that programmers don’t like Joomla, i know! :)

    I’m a designer and I can tell you that I can manage this CMS all by my self.

    Best regards,

  • Matt

    Great Post!

    This is exactly what I needed. Thanks.

    However you could have mentioned one more CMS- Pluck
    It doesn’t require a database and you can customise the looks within minutes. Best CMS for very small sites.

  • Mike

    I want to promote the excellent CMS “CMS Made Simple” because of the easy installation, easy to use back-end and extremely easy and flexible templating.

  • Dave

    Forget all CMS you listed above. Try MODx. :-)

  • J. Carloff

    Just have to fully disagree with your evil criticism regarding Joomla. Jealous ?

  • Dave W

    Maybe you could add umbraco to the list.
    A nice looking and easy to use UI for the backend.
    Easy for the developer too.
    But it’s not a Php or Ruby CMS like the others in the list. It’s .NET
    Helpfull community.

  • Steve

    Sorry, but although some of your article has merit, overall it lacks serious objectivity.

    I would also add the following observations:

    Anyone who is looking for a CMS for a particular purpose should avoid anything labelled as “showing promise” since there is no guarantee that such promise would be fulfilled. A user may invest time, and perhaps money, in such a system only to find themselves with a lame duck at a crucial point in their site’s development.

    “Early adopters” of concepts or products the world over are often colloquially referred to as “geeks”. Such could be said of “early adopters” of CMS systems “showing promise” and yet you counsel against “geek friendly” CMSs and suggest avoidance of an “overly simplistic CMS”. Surely any system in the youthful stages of its developement could be categorised as an “overly simplistic CMS” by its very nature as a young platform?

    Of your “Top Five Recommendations”:

    Drupal has a deserved reputation as a CMS platform, as well as a deserved reputation for relatively poor and proportionately more expensive commercial extensions and support. It is also widely recognised as a system that is more approachable by the tech-savvy developers than the ordinary user.

    WordPress is a solid blogging platform and is excellent at what it does.

    Radiant does not show on “Google Trends”, meaning that no-one is performing and Google search on it. The inference from that being it has a [very] small user base. This is borne out by their own web site “continuously improved by a team of core committers with dozens of additional contributions from the Radiant community”. A small number in anyone’s book for something you may want to base an important web presence upon. I’m not dissing Radiant but it’s relative obscurity does not lend itself to mainstream usage (at present)

    Magento is an e-commerce (shopping cart) application, plain and simple (and very good at what it does) and does not merit presentation as a CMS at all. Listing Magento as a CMS is even more perverse than doing the same with WordPress (although this latter is my own opinion only)

    Silverstripe has a greater presence than Radiant but even so it still has the “most promising” tag attached to it; see the title of the 2008 Award it received from Packt.

    Your final comments against Joomla are, at least, factually flawed but at worst displaying personal bias at the cost of losing objectivity. Let me explain my thoughts:

    The extensions listing at lists 4367 extensions in some 29 Major categories and a good few more sub-categories. All browsable and all searchable. The HUGE majority of which are free/open source and that includes some of the biggest, mostly widely used and respected extensions for Joomla.

    Lastly, the inference in your comment ending “considering the top dollar training offered for the system” is that the core Joomla team have a commercial interest in offering training for Joomla. This is totally untrue and a perverse statement and phraseology used by you. The core Joomla team are staunchly open source and have consistently made moves to marginalise pure commercial interest and peripheral involvement of commercial third-party developers. If you have any doubt about this then I suggest you should research their recent moves relating to trade-mark and web sites with Joomla in their name: in brief, to continue using the Joomla name in a web site’s URL a site must demonstrate a completely non-commercial offering to the Joomla community. This last to be verified by the core Joomla team.

    To close, as I said earlier, your article has some initial merit but displays bias and, in my opinion, latterly perhaps an undisclosed personal agenda against Joomla?

    • qwan

      Totally agree with you.
      This author is falsely accusing Joomla of being commercial. He has forgotten to mention that Drupal has released a commercially supported version of Drupal called acquai which has an enterprise support plan which costs $8,000 Annually.
      Now I know why whenever you search for drupal all you get is articles on how good it is. You have entire videos just talking for hours and hours of why you should go for drupal but you rarely see a drupal tutorial.
      As with joomla you just search you tube and you will find tons of tutorials and how to do things with joomla and that is why it is one of the most popular cms.
      Yes I do agree that joomla has its drawbacks which the author has refused to talk about, he just sums it up subjectively and emotionally by calling joomla evil.
      This looks more like a drupal review trying to act as an “honest” guide to choosing the right cms. Suprised that Magento is mentioned here.
      Suprised that typo, zope and plone are not mentioned here either.

      All the reliability in this article came crashing down when you talked about linux. You simply dont have an understanding. It is so contradictory cause drupal could be called the linux of CMS’s when it comes to installing and configuring, No designer can even dread to design a template for this without attending one of their conferences. Forget totally about setting up features.
      Yes drupal is definately the most userfriendly to the client, but it has been deliberately made difficult so that drupal earn money. They have created a kind of “closed community” which can be called elitist and they want the only elite programmers to be able to deliver a drupal site.
      Which is totally against the spirit of opensource.

    • Triskelion

      I agree 100% … there are other cms and blog systems than joomla, but any thing in their own place. Joomla is great for what it is made, and, even if the making of templates (an usual complain) is a bit hard, there are a lot of more advantages that make joomla a great cms. I started doing joomla templates with no backgroun in coding or css (just a bit og html) and it was hard, but not impossible, i still have several issues with css but i believe that ather people, with better knowledge will find those problems minimal. And the users dont have to think in it, they just have to know that the contents can be made with an interface that is (after installing jce) justa as easi as word … thats all!. Im sorry for the author of the article, but yes, i believe too that he is biased.

    • Pablo

      You are so right, mate!

      People doesn’t understand yet that when you need a four page website, you can pick one of those “Top five” listed above… But when you need a powerful site, with several applications like shopping cart, real managed forums, a complete user registration system, and other, all at the same time! you just can not use some simple CMS just because “it’s friendly”…

      To the author, If you are talking to people that it is happy to grab any CMS, use any default template (or may be, just download one or two for free, and have the same design of several people around the web), and use only the crappy editor that comes by default, and use (if available) the 3 or 4 fields form that comes with those CMS, then yes… amateurs can use the Top 5.

    • Shaunyk

      Spot on matey. Joomla isn’t actually my favourite but it is very good. This article screams bias so much I actually had a quick check to see if the recommended ones had banner tags on them!

      Well said, sir.

    • Taylor

      When the author specifically says, “Joomla is evil,” I’m not sure how that can be seen as undisclosed. That’s kind of an obvious “personal agenda against Joomla” right there.

      That said, you’re gonna have people that love it and people that hate it. That’s just how it goes. And sometimes each of those people will write articles. And include opinion. C’est la vie.

  • Aram

    I have been using Silverstripe for around 6months now and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s the only CMS I have come across that really doesn’t get in your way and the Sapphire MVC framework it’s built around makes building sites a really enjoyable experience. Definitely recommended.

  • alex

    you don’t know typo3? – ah. what a pitty, thats the very best CMS ever.

    best regards – alex

  • Tobias Jost

    Great Article… I also advice everyone to avoid Joomla…

    But I think you made a typo ;)

    “Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running *Windows*. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.”

    Nevertheless a great writeup!

  • Trey

    I read this particular statement and almost fell out of my chair:

    Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.

    But then I read this, and now I forgive you:

    Whether you are a big company or small group of freelancers, it is imperative that whoever the Mac guy is among you, sign off on anything that the IT guy presents.


  • Wormsley

    Linux and Unix power the majority of the Internet, most of the CMS on the Internet and even the core of Mac OS X. There are very good Linux graphical interfaces available with features that have been copied by Mac and Windows. Plus there are easy to install versions of Linux and Unix.
    I would not consider iWeb to be a CMS. It is more like dreamweaver and frontpage and not made for content collaboration by customers.
    I would not consider PHP a web “tool” – just a language and it was not the first server-side scripting language.
    I would not consider Joomla to be evil and I would not recommend and CMS that is not version 1 unless you are a good programmer. I would also say that WordPress is good but actually not that simple to customize for non-blog situations. You did not mention ease of installation and hosting of CMS which is a big issue. For example Ruby on Rails needs more hosting horsepower.

  • saltcod

    I second the Joomla sentiment – 100x.

    We wrestled with Joomla for months before switching to Drupal, and we can’t believe the switch. I admit that Drupal is very very good and is tough competition for anyone, but it underlies the fact that Joomla is really clunky, poorly designed [infrastructure], and is terribly frustrating!

    An example? Sure.

    I remember needing the functionality of a Joomla module. I downloaded it, it broke my site, and I couldn’t get anyone to help me out.

    After rebuilding the entire site again (right from a fresh install), I tried a different module that did basically the same thing. This time, I paid 75Euros for the product – which never installed properly. After numerous emails to the company, I got no response, and days later that module broke my site. Go Joomla!

    Basically, if you want a blog, forums, a static site, an information site, or almost any other site, Drupal is your friend. I’ve used [and really like] WordPress, Expression Engine, Plone, and very many other big names, and Drupal blows them all out of the water in terms of ease of use and functionality. WordPress looks WAY better, but the Drupal team is in the middle of redesigning their standard theme. So look out!

    hope this has helped!

    • kayloe


      Firstly, you can’t blame Joomla for the lack of support provided by third-party extension developers – that’s a very crude and inflammatory claim. Secondly, if a Joomla extension ‘broke your site’, I’m sure it would have been an easy matter to restore the site had you been using version control. Additionally, I fail to understand how an extension broke a site, other than a case where your template was sporting poorly-formed code and the extension interrupted the flow. Thirdly, if you are installing an extension and you don’t know what has happened – seek advice from someone who can help. Don’t lay blame on a piece of software simply because you don’t have the required level of knowledge to trouble-shoot an issue. That’s like blaming a car manufacturer for having an accident on the freeway when you didn’t indicate before changing lanes!

      And last of all – designers shouldn’t set up and administer software (unless they do some research first). Simple as that.

    • Triskelion

      Im not a programmer, i dont are even a designer, im an advertiser that are entering the world of web design. Thats for first … and i use joomla!. As a non programmer i tried (and continue doing so) lots of plugins, even on my poorly made templates. And no one of the plugins broke mi site. Yes, some of them dont work, so i just uninstalled and all ok. Sometimes i had to deal with the mysql database and eliminate their entries, but after all the site was ok. Please, can you say what plugin was it?.

    • Shree

      I totally agree with @kayloe and that car example is best way to illustrate the issue.

      There are some extensions even in drupal which may cause problem if you dont install is properly. If in the initial time when you were experimenting with drupal and tried to install such extensions and broke the site, will you blame drupal also?

      Most of the extensions in Joomla are safe and trouble-free. Moreover, there is a great community behind it to help u in every way possible. You should have got to the depth of the issue and tried to solve the problem instead of wasting the time cursing the application.

  • fullytilt

    if nobody knew Linux we would have no CMS no web no Mac
    Everything is supposed to be so easy so nobody has to learn and lift a finger
    Really customizing any CMS for a customer is not so simple – I think you should learn 1 or 2 CMS and a couple Ajax libraries, PHP itself and Ruby if you need it for one of your CMS choices

  • Kumail.H.T

    You obviously dont know what you are talking about when you say linux is a pain, Infact I can tell that you not used linux for more than a week. You are giving users the wrong picture without even knowing what the real picture is.

    I use linux as my primary OS with no other OS installed and I can proudly say that I LOVE IT.

  • Brqopa

    cushy cms is a commercial HOSTED thing- if you can’t even host a CMS it should not be in same category as joomla drupal etc..
    A CMS without a database? Probably not robust
    Mageno?? Have you used it? It’s a shopping cart/checkout system – not a CMS at all – unless you mean just for shopping part of a website

  • Brqopa

    drupal vs. Joomla ?
    Neither one is easy to use
    Both are complex
    You should be a programmer to use one effectively or you have help

    • aravind

      you cannot compare Drupal with Joomla..
      yes, drupal is little complex, but powerful..

      I am not a programmer, still I develop Drupal websites.
      The Drupal community is so strong and active that you will not even have to write a single line code by yourself to create an online networking or an e-commerce site!
      All you gotta do is to spend some time on learning the basics..

  • Richh

    I agree that Joomla is a big, ugly, hard-to-use CMS. That’s my opinion as a web designer who had to built templates for it for a while, and as a content user for it – it’s just plain confusing in every respect. Drupal’s not far behind – it’s just not intuitive for either side of the user experience, client or designer. WordPress is where my loyalties lie at the moment, but some of the others you’ve listed look pretty interesting si I might check a few out.

  • Alex

    We’ve been looking into cms bites which looks like a more flexible hosted cms solution than cushy. Still in beta/invite though :(

  • waferboard

    Your rant against joomla is so vicious, I can’t help but feel you had a bad experience. Readers should do more research than just reading this one article.

    You seem to have a bias towards simple CMS systems that require no programming knowledge. That’s fine for one-person design shops or do-it-yourselfers, but the trade off is less flexibility and a tendency for sites that all look the same. I’m sure we all can immediately notice the WordPress sites, for example, or Drupal sites where the developer hasn’t bothered modifying the defaults, sometimes even leaving the drupal favicon.

    There are a lot of CMS systems out there. Some are for experts, some for developers, and some for people who don’t have the time or inclination to ‘open the hood’. Why not focus your attention on types of users and what sort of CMS would be good for that application?

  • JP Dela Torre

    I’m a long time user of WordPress but after looking at FrogCMS… I am sold. Very lean and developer friendly CMS (flexible).

    Switch from WordPress to FrogCMS

    Suitable for a small and simple 5-page website to a complex website with blogs and gallery…

  • Alison

    I never liked Joomla prior to using it. Now that I am forced to use it by my employer, I dislike it even more. I think it’s just too big and bogs everything down. There are more steps needed to do something that is supposed to be simple. That’s basically what it does… makes the simple complicated. I massively dislike it.

    Haven’t tried Drupal, but I’ve used wordpress extensively as a CMS and it is a breeze to use and understand.

    • Richard Feraro

      I agree on this one. I’ve used a lot of CMS and did a fair share of designing and programming with them to achieve what the client needs. I realized that the client really doesn’t care on the *WOW* factors like how many support they can get from the developer community or how high the numbers are or if its opensource or not. In the end, it all boils down if they can use it WITHOUT YOU (the programmer/designer) once you transferred the product to them.

  • Timothy

    I write my own content management systems. I don’t understand using these out-of-the-box solutions that bring along so much clutterware. Sure, it’s convenient to throw something written by someone else into your site. But when it starts acting up or you want certain modifications its a pain in the ass to go through cryptic code just to get something to work how you want. And, no matter how hard you try, you will always be aware of the CMS you are using (I mean that as you log in to edit a post you are confronted by the CMS).

    I make my own. I started by fooling around and making one for a personal blog. I then made a better one for a professional blog and then sold the same code to a friend. I now make custom CMSs for clients. It’s tough to begin with, but pays off. Pays off well. If you know what you are doing, do it yourself. If you don’t, then maybe my advice doesn’t work well in your case.

  • Johnb

    What i currently need is a “non-blog” type of site. Don’t necessarily need comments or community features. Just regular web pages.

    I have spent a lot of time learning 3 CMS systems. First was WordPress. Great at blogs, but it lacks in complex static pages.

    So i learned Drupal. Much better with static pages, + it does basic blogs, forums, polls, etc. It has an amazing number of features.

    I was set with Drupal until i saw a video tutorial on MODx from So i spent time learning it. Wow, it’s easily the best of the 3 in terms of static pages. If you need just regular web pages, no matter how complex the layout, MODx is great. And if i’m bringing over an existing .html site, MODx can retain the exact file names, even though the content is pulled form a database. For example, if i currently have mypage.html, MODx can still call the page mypage.html. I don’t think Drupal or WP can do that.

    • Losa

      Well it shows that you never used realy drupal (it has option clean url it means that shows node/… as page.html, joomla also Search Engine Friendly URLs and you can chose to display .html or not

      I seee here are lot of new bies that talking nonsence.
      An for joomla i have about 40 sites that my clients use with ease i choose right extension plugin or module and that is it.
      Drupal also . It is most important to find who will adress you what you need . if you are experimenting … o boy do it but you should learn something prior that.

      Dont talk about something if you dont know what it is about

      I see there are joomla haters mostly here


  • DKumar M.

    Big Disappointment that you hating Joomla. Right now I using Joomla, WordPress, Drupal & Magento on my different networks and i’m simple agree with you on WordPress, Drupal & Magento points but i totally disagree with you on Joomla point.

    It might be possible that one’s experience would had been bad with one software that not mean that one should advice others to avoid using it.
    Joomla is great in every seance.

    Also I’m agree with Brqopa that Magento is e-commerce software, which is quite different from a typical Content Management Systems.

    and If we talking about Linux then I dont want to comment about it all as Kumail.H.T already said it all… I start using Linux in my high schools and then i never used windows for any need. Linux and Windows differ in philosophy, cost, ease of use, versatility, and stability. so you cant just say that Linux is a pain. I don’t want to paint a picture for you but you need to re-paint your picture for others.

    I’m not intending to rude but you have a great blog and many readers like your writing style like me.

    Enough Said !!! Anyway Thanks for the Post with some nice reviews.

  • Dave

    Bullshit about Joomla! The point is: if you dont want to mess with a complex CMS…dont touch it! Since Version 1.5 Joomla turned really powerful…the ability to have full control about output, the most powerful (free) extensions available for a CMS and the ability to make it really easy to use (as a customer) is the reason i take joomla for almost every job.

    But…nobody is able to use it “out of the box” without any knowledge of HTML, CSS and the Joomla system itself…when you used it a couple of times its the most powerful one in the “middle”-Class of CMS…

  • niceoutput

    All of you must try modX the most promising CMS. I used to play with joomla, but now i prefer modX, beautiful AJAX integration, and endless coding flexibility.

    don’t forget, modX it’s the next big THING

  • Ani

    Someone has commented that this article is biased and I agree. While I appreciate the intent of the author, I must say that this article does not serve the intended purpose. Someone who disses Linux and an immensely powerful platform like Joomla must get a fresh perspective before setting out to advise the world. Look, the fact is that most CMS are not for lay users. If your great grandmother is going to build or maintain a website, a CMS is not what she needs. If you are going to use a CMS, you need to be prepared for some hard work and research. I have built dozens of sites using Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and many more systems and I must say WordPress is the best in its category and Joomla in its own. The “perfect” CMS is a matter of personal opinion and comfort. If a particular system works for you, then that’s all that matters.

  • mustardstache

    I’ve been using joomla for about a year now and I’m a big fan. It has successfully met the needs of multiple clients. My favorite feature has been user management. I do have to admit though, I was just complaining this morning about how lately it seems that every extension I need is commercial.

  • Taylor

    LOVED your comment about Joomla! It is absolutely the worst piece of software I have ever used. The UI is not intuitive by any means, which negates the whole point in having a CMS – your users need to be able to USE IT!

    Its almost impossible to design or code for (compared to Drupal and WordPress) and none of the standard features make any sense.

    You need to sell T-shirts that say “avoid joomla” so we can spread the word.

    Great post!

  • Warren

    I’ve used numerous different CMS in the search for something that would work for me. I prefer to make my own templates from scratch. Drupal was painful to build my own templates, Joomla (and Mambo) was impossible to style, PHP-Nuke and all the variants were a nightmare…. I found that I kept coming back to WordPress. While it’s not a “CMS” it contained all the features I was looking for and was extremely easy to style.

  • Yiannis

    Joomla is a wonderful advanced CMS. As with all the professional tools you need to spend some hours reading how to use it.

    You say:
    >>>”The only way to get the functionality you would ever really need beyond basic content management is to pay large sums of money for commercial modules. The community is huge in the worst possible way. There are a million modules for one problem and it is near impossible to find the right one.”

    1. You do not have to pay large sums of money for commercial modules to get the functionality you would ever really need beyond basic content management. Most of the modules a developer will need are free.
    SEO > sH404sEF
    e-Commerce > Virtuemart
    Localization > Joomfish

    How many of the above CMSs support localization without having to deploy multiple sites for every language?

    2. The community is huge in the worst possible way. Untruth. The community is wonderful and in the forums you can get help when you need it.

    3. Yes there are many modules for one problem and it is nice to have more than one solution for a specific problem. It is easy to find the best because the modules are rated.

    >>>”The interface is deplorable. None of the methods of content management make any sense, and it is obviously not meant to be user friendly considering the top dollar training offered for the system. If there were ever a CMS to avoid, this would be it.”

    Yes, the interface is not very user friendly but the developer can install a free module that makes the administration very user friendly. Also you can edit the web site from the front page.

    >>>”That’s the end of the list. If you know to avoid Joomla! you’ll know how to avoid anything else that might hinder your experience creating and managing a website. Whew! There! Joomla!”

    I have to say that Joomla is a CMS you have to try, especially if you want some advanced features. Also joomla has won many awards like this:

    • Taylor

      “As with all the professional tools you need to spend some hours reading how to use it.”

      This is exactly the point! Your users (regular Joes and Janes) shouldn’t have to! WordPress requires about 5 minutes of explanation and anyone can use it. Not “hours.”

    • Trav

      “Yes, the interface is not very user friendly but the developer can install a free module that makes the administration very user friendly.”

      Care to elaborate?

  • CMS Solutions

    Well I can see many people are advocating Joomla !! It may be easy for you to manage content over joomla by now but for new guys its always difficult.

    As a designer I was not comfortable with the design controls joomla offered for each page. To get a layout done one had to go thought so many pages and do edits.

    To be frank I committed Mistake #2 for going with Joomla. My fellow copywriter was all excited about putting down his articles and for that I had to sit and understand joomla for over a month. Everything that we wanted had to be thought w.r.t joomla’s ability. Finally I left all my hope on joomla and developed a small app specifically designed for our requirements.

    Until now we could just manage the diversity of content layout needs, but now we wanted a new CMS. So I started my research on Designer Friendly CMS.

    My research has almost come to an end and probably going for SilverStripe for its flexible coding and designer friendly.

    My personal runner ups are

    + Greate looks and easy of managing Content
    + Edit live
    + Change layout live and publish
    – Hosted service
    – Not openSource
    – Not sure about extending capabilities.


    + Live edits
    + OpenSource
    + Customizable
    – Licence issue


    + User Friendly
    + ASP.NET
    – License issue.


    + OpenSource
    + Licensing
    + User friendly
    + Code less do more
    + More dynamic I should say
    – Theme changing needs rewriting code
    – We are still testing but I think it will pass

    5. Dupal

    + Lightweight
    + Themes are easy to build
    – Not as flexible as I wanted

    6. Expression Engine
    + Good community
    + User Friendly
    -OPenSource ?

    Siddharth Menon

  • Aaron Magon

    Great to see the write-up!

    We strive to produce an easy-to-use, fluid CMS here in small New Zealand. I’m glad there’s a growing community of people interested in the SilverStripe CMS. We’re always aiming to better ourselves and our product!

    If you haven’t yet tried our CMS, please click through to our website and try it for yourself.

    Aaron M
    Account Manager

  • Esben Thomsen

    “Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves. Similarly, picking a CMS based on a following is an extremely bad idea.”

    – so why are you using it? I mean you run apache to run wordpress! I mean Im not sure you really know what you are talking about, why rant on a OS when this is about CMS? Why even write about CMS based on MySQL, if Linux is such a pain?

    What makes Joomla evil? Yes its big and bulky but for some purposes or users – its the right choice – it depends on your demands.

    Its not a 100% bad article, you got some points, but statements like that just makes me wanna delete from my newsfetcher.

  • aravind

    wow… I’m already a Drupal guy..

    and yeah.. I love the frog.. :)

    thanks for the great post!

  • Leon Palmer

    I would strongly agree not to let an “IT” person choose your CMS. The same goes for a “design” person or a “marketing” person. Get yourself a WEB person. Any organization that still believes that Web expertise is an automatic extension of any of the first three or a simple process of adding one of each to a Web team will never realize the maximum potential the Web has to offer. The Web is now a unique and discipline on its own. Read

    Also consider one of the many other FREE Content Management Systems that work right out of the box and have quite a bit of WEB thought behind them.

    For example:

    and for something completely different:

    • Leon Palmer

      Correction: that should be “unique discipline”

  • amahony

    Its a pity that i don’t see textpattern in this list :

    • ArdianZzZ

      yeah! WTF, im using Textpattern and i love it!

  • ronhawker

    You might also look at Sitefinity from Telerik. I good CMS that has an base which if you are part of that system, which we are, allows you to work directly in Visual Studio and modify and write your own controls and modules. Best for experienced programers that don’t want to write systems themselves but implement and add to. Great support and very technically advanced. AND they have a free version that’s perfect for community sites but the main system is Enterprise oriented.

  • brandon

    Avoid Joomla? Use Drupal? Have you ever even TRIED to make a template for them? I would say avoid Drupal like the plague and give Joomla a try, but definitely avoid Drupal.

    Also, please do a follow up article after reading these comments. Lots of people list awesome CMS like Plone and Textpattern.

  • teh 1337 haxorz

    Linux? Why on would anyone *ever* subject themselves to more stability, better security, the absence of viruses and spyware, free software, open formats, better support and the opportunity, at their discretion, to learn? Heavens to Betsy!

  • RCheesley

    An interesting article which I found very useful until I got to the end. Your statements relating to Joomla! give personal opinions which do not appear to be backed by any substantiative “evidence” or analysis. I had to consider whether the sole purpose of your article was actually to give Joomla! a bit of a bashing, rather than to provide potential readers with a balanced overview of Content Management Systems to allow them to make an informed decision on which ones to try.

    Have you actually tried 1.5.x or are you basing your experience on 1.0.x (in which case I completely agree, it was clunky, irritating and not particularly user friendly).

    As others have commented, sure it can be a challenge finding particular extensions to achieve your requirements – particularly when you are new to the CMS – but did you think to ask on the (extremely popular and well supported) forums, or to ask in other support facilities such as the IRC chat room? Did you search the Joomla Extensions Directory which is laid out in categories to aid identification of extensions to meet your needs?

    Numerous times when I was getting started, a simple post or message on the forums/chat room detailing what I wanted to accomplish was greeted with support from a whole range of people, from developers to other designers and users of Joomla!. 9 times out of 10 I’d find what I wanted, the other 1 time I would have to do a bit more digging myself or refine what I was actually asking.

    As to the comments about paying for extensions, do you expect to get everything for free? One particular component I know for a fact cost in excess of £2500 to create, do you expect the people who came up with it to give it away for free? Personally, paying £20 (for example) for a license is simply factored into the cost of creating the website and a fee which I willingly pay.

    Personally I came to Joomla! having tried other CMS’, and initially it was something of a steep learning curve, however I have not yet come across any site I couldn’t build using Joomla! – from downloadable videos purchased through a shop to interactive galleries, community portals and so forth. I couldn’t have accomplished this without the support of the community which you dismiss as “huge in the worst possible way”.

    It does disappoint me that such a useful and interesting article ends in such a negative sense, particualarly as people may be genuinely wishing to find out more about Content Management Systems and because of your review, would not consider an extremely powerful and flexible system which might well meet their needs.

    It is a shame that you did not bother to take the time to actually critically appraise the pro’s and con’s and instead decided to launch your own personal attack on the system without any actual basis for said complaints.

    As a side note, there are several community events going on at the moment which seek to involve newcomers, developers, the core team and other interested parties ( for the next UK JoomlaDay – they’re happening across the world) – not many other CMS’ offer this kind of community involvement and encouragement in my experience, and this is something to be praised (in my opinion).

    Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now, I don’t usually comment but this article made me feel compelled to do so!


    • Ian Wright

      Ive just seen this comment after posting my comment below at number 73, and i think you have hit the nail on the head there Ruth, well done.

  • flughund

    MODX, modx, MODX!

    I tried:
    – Joomla, its ugly and not userfriendly and there ist too much bad code
    – WordPress – not really a CMS
    – Expression Engine, not bad, too expensive
    – Typo3, powerful but ugly backend, good for huge projects

    And the best and most flexible of all is MODx. And the preview (SVN) of the next Version ‘Revolution’ is stunning. Dont be afraid of the not so nuce looking Just dowload and try it!

  • Alexei Zimakov

    Amateurs… serious web professionals use Alfresco!

  • YouFriendlyNeighborhood

    Great to see you are so balanced in your opinions.

    “Never, ever, ever allow an IT guy to choose your Content Management System. It is a rare breed that understands both code and a friendly user interface.”

    “Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.”

    There, there. Just because you don’t understand it, honey, doesn’t mean others can’t. Don’t feel bad though. You can always fall back on your outstanding social skills, and stylish, yet blandly styled computer gear :)

    I don’t know who you are. To be honest, I know I’m really wasting my time even commenting. I just can’t believe that you actually think you’re expert enough to give advice to others, while holding such idiotic views like:

    “it is imperative that whoever the Mac guy is among you, sign off on anything that the IT guy presents”

    I totally agree though, that if you are going ask an IT gal do work for you, you should come up with hard requirements. Don’t waste her valuable time. That said, I’d be surprised if you could formulate enough coherent thought between posting to twitter on your new iPhone, though. Worth a shot though.

    Great post though, except for the content. Too bad a CMS can’t help you with that.

  • Kenny

    Hey people, basically don’t rely on this article alone to judge which is the best CMS. This article is..yeah pretty biased. Joomla is a great CMS. What he said here about Joomla seems like it was done deliberately to create an interesting cause a little controversy etc etc.

  • mkjones

    WordPress = Yes.

    Drupal = Oh god no.

    Joomla = Truly evil.

  • Shawner

    You should check out Smallbox CMS. It’s a proprietary SaaS solution but it also integrates the back end with the front end similar to Concrete5. It’s a great product that powers a great many sustainable-oriented sites such as and CaGDC.

  • Ric Raftis

    An interesting article overall, but a few comments couldn’t be resisted.

    First of all so many people seem to agonize over the use of WordPress vs Joomla or something else. They need to realize that the two have totally different applications. WordPress is a blogging platform and a damn good one too, but it is not appropriate for writing an entire web site. This is where Joomla and the other CMSs come into their own and that is their purpose.

    It would seem that you have either had a bad experience with Joomla from your comments or you haven’t given it a fair go. It is an excellent CMS and as you say there are a myriad of extensions to deal with particular issues. Yes, some of these are commercial, but many are free. You can always get recommendations as to the best ones by posting for people’s opinions on the Forum.

    Whilst there may well be many extensions to “cure” particular requirements, what’s so different about that compared with normal software? How many photo editors are out there for example?

    I write all my sites in Joomla now, particularly since the advent of 1.5. Yes, I am a developer, but I have had no problems with clients wanting to edit their own content. They have picked it up quickly.

    As a cautionary note, I would also add that running with a CMS “in early development” can be fraught with danger. There is no assurance it will get of the ground and no assurances that they will deliver on their promises. I think “vaporware” is an appropriate term here.


    Ric (@RicRaftis on Twitter)

    • Karen Kefauver

      wow this was super helpful. thank you for writing. I will follow you on Twitter.

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  • Teo

    I really enjoyed your article and your list of CMS was very helpfull. I was actually looking for something like Concrete5 for a client.

    Thanks Alot!

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  • Ian Wright

    OK I have read you reviews and to be honest find them total rubbish. Before you start thinking im a newbie, my latest website (Made in Joomla by the way) was featured in Vogue, so yes im pretty good at it. You can see links to it form my website link in my portfolio.

    Any CMS should be able to build a business website, not a blog or some other rubbish site, if your a webdesigner, it needs to do what ever you ask of it, not some parts and then cobble other bits on.

    The biggest hurdle a CMS has is integrating the member systems, so when you sign up once to one part, you are actually signed up through the entire site to all other parts. Yes we could make a great site with

    Word press for the articles/page, PHPBB 3 for the forum, then Magento for a shopping system, never mind a support ticket system etc.

    But you will have to sign up for each part individually and you will never be able to tie them all up. So as an admin you won’t know if username paul222 is the same person in the shop as paul222 is in the forum as they are not related.

    For example (ive never used Frog or concrete 5 so i have ignored them for the moment)

    Word press – it has
    – no community system
    – no ecommerce system
    – no forums
    – no paid membership system

    So basically unless you want a blog, it is useless.

    Drupal is amazing as a community system, but has an extremely poor ecommerce, so that rules that out as 99% of most modern website want to use some form of ecommerce however small. You say Drupal allows direct editing on the page, well so does Joomla, but you obviously didn’t check that bit in this in-depth study of yours.

    Well this is basically an amazing ecommerce, but it is just an ecommerce system and nothing else. So if you want to add articles, a blog, a forum, a chat room, in fact anything at all but a blog, then it won’t work.

    Your right about Silver Stripe, it has full potential, but only if it moves fast enough to keep up with Drupal and Joomla.

    Well once again it has very little extras such as ecommerce (well actually no ecommerce at all), forums, or extras., so no good to any business.

    Joomla, well here we go –
    It has For FREE, like none of the others you tried
    – Ecommerce (VirtueMart)
    – Forum (Fire Board)
    – Blog (built in)
    – Article system (built in)
    – Contact forms (built in)
    – Advanced search systems (built in)
    – Synchronised members across everything in the site (Built in)
    – Stats system (Built in)
    – Ability to turn off bits in the admin you don’t need (which the reviewer here obviously hasn’t found yet Built in)

    I have never not found the ability to find something that I need for a site. Tell you what you find me another CMS with all them functions, as I haven’t found one yet.

    • Fletch

      Well presented, Ian.

      Try ocPortal for all the ‘built in’ modules you want. And it has many more …..

  • john

    never let an IT guy pick a CMS? strange comment. I thought the IT guys built them. Maybe they all had graphic designers do all the presentation. again, strange, and yes, offensive. I had you marked on delicious. I’ll probably remove that. But hey, I’m just one of those “IT guys” so you may safely disregard this. keyboard warrior rant off.

  • Great

    Great post, thanks again :)

  • Swampash

    Great article, and it closely matches my own impressions. I personally would have rated WordPress as the #1 existing CMS over Drupal just for sheer ease of use, but Drupal definitely has the edge in extensibility. Part of me is sad to see the omission of Movable Type because it was the only game in town for so long, but it has definitely been left in the dust by WordPress as far as plugins, themes and styles, and community support go.

    And your comment that “Joomla is evil”? Congratulations for not resorting to profanity. I can’t mention #$%^&* Joomla without swearing. It really is horrible.

  • Richard Testani

    I’m surprised no one mentioned ModX in these sorts of lists. It’s by far the easiest to use, a fantastic user interface and completely customizable. In fact it’s geared just as much toward the designer as it is to the developer (PHP). Its in late beta but pretty solid, it only lacks a real good support system which for some may be a deal breaker. But the more who use the better that will become.

    I do not work for them but I use it on just about all of my projects.

  • Hamish

    I’ve been using SilverStripe a while and have not looked back.

    WordPress… it’s great for blogs, but it isn’t so wonderful as a CMS. The way the content is posted is very much in an article/tag/date structure. It simply isn’t as easy to use when creating a sitetree or structure.

    It’s also horrible to theme, but that goes for Drupal too =D

  • Deron Sizemore

    I found this article to be pretty far off base. I’ve used a number of content management systems and have yet to find a better one than ExpressionEngine. Maybe I found the article off base because I love EE; maybe it was because it was in face way off?

    Re: Not letting an IT guy choose your CMS. I just love how the heading reads “IT Guy” but in what follows the heading, it becomes a Windows vs. Mac thing. How’s that? If you’re an “IT” guy, you’re automatically using Windows and if you’re using Windows you’re capable if choosing a CMS? I’m an “IT Guy” and am pretty sure I’m capable of choosing a CMS wisely.

    Re: Going with the little guy. You’re basically suggesting the “little guy” in picking some promising CMS’s to list. It’s true, they are promising but they are the little guy.

    Other thoughts: I just feel like a little more thought and research could have been put into this article. There’s a lot more CMS’s out there like TextPattern and ExpressionEngine that should be listed in any CMS article, but they aren’t. I know, I know, ExpressionEngine isn’t FREE right? Well, technically they do have a free version but I would gladly pay twice the amount for EE than the other 15 CMS’s I’ve used that are garbage.

  • Andrew Eddie

    Couple of questions.

    “The only way to get the functionality you would ever really need beyond basic content management is to pay large sums of money for commercial modules.”

    How much are you paying, and is it any cheaper on other systems to do the equivalent work?

    “The community is huge in the worst possible way.”

    What are those ways and how do your favourite three communities compare?

    “There are a million modules for one problem and it is near impossible to find the right one.”

    The official extension directory lists less than 5,000 of all extensions types (modules are just one). How does this compare to the range of free or commercial addons for your favourite three.

    “The interface is deplorable. None of the methods of content management make any sense, and it is obviously not meant to be user friendly considering the top dollar training offered for the system.”

    Who is offering the training and how does it compare to the other software reviewed in the article? You can pay a little or a lot for iWeb training (not really comparable to Joomla).

    Points 5 and 4: agree wholeheartedly

    Point 3: In defense, the little guy might disappear overnight (but then so can the big guys – fall through to point 4 – do your homework). Size is a function of what you need out of the CMS.

    Point 2: Generally reasonable although I would say “bigger is, well, just bigger”. Apple is also a “big fish” (and yes, I use a Mac). iWeb is not a little guy.

    Point 1: Agree. Pick what suits you.

    Not sure if that tar Joomla with an “evil” brush.

  • Amy Stephen

    I think Chris Szabo nailed it in the “Top 5 Drawbacks of Joomla!”

    He, too, spoke to the over-abundance of extensions available. Worth a read.

  • Amy Stephen

    I forgot, Chris even addressed your point about the Mac guy. Brilliant!

  • Billee D.

    I’m sorry, but choosing the right CMS is never this cut and dry. You have to approach each project differently and expect that the client will eventually want to do something other than what their current CMS is capable of doing. Ease-of-use, setup time, and community play a large part as well.

    Saying that one CMS is better for all applications is really kind of draconian. Constraint is the mother of design.

    Magento is also *not* a CMS, per se, but is a full-featured ecommerce package with CMS capabilities.

    Just my 2px…

  • Professional

    I really liked your article. I have the same feeling towards Joomla. Although it is a mature CMS it is developed in a way that makes it hard to deploy and use. I like that Joomla can be extended but finding a right extension can be a nightmare – and it always takes to much time to check if the extension fits your needs.

    I like content management systems that:

    1. are easy to deploy,
    2. clearly separate each phase of web page development (so if you an editor you don’t need to see the part of cms responsible for template design, etc.)
    3. are easy and intuitive to use – i don’t have time to explain how cms works to all editors that use it – with over 50 web sites deployed it is impossible to do.

    The CMS I really liked is +CMS (webcast demo:

    I guess finding the prefect cms is very hard as there are thousands of systems out there. At least we can pick out the ones that help us to do our work. Joomla certainly failed to do so in my job.

  • Sarah

    I’m completely in love with WordPress. Yes, I know it is a blog software, but I’ve used it for all my small-business clients who need simple content management. It’s so easy for non-tech people to understand, especially when they want something they can start working with immediately.

    I too have been frustrated in an attempt to use Joomla, but I’ve assumed that that was because it didn’t fit my needs, which goes back to mistake #4. You really have to do your research in how the CMS will be used, what features are required, who will be maintaining content, what kind of tech support is required, etc. etc. There are so many options out there. An “evil” CMS or “just” a blog software might work great for one client, while being horrid for another.

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  • tsimpo

    I don’t believe someone can say that wordpress or drupal is more user friendly than Joomla!

  • gaSón

    Very nice article
    Best Tip: Avoid Joomla
    I totally agree, it´s work from satan

  • Roweena

    I’ve just installed and started using Silver Stripe on recommendations from above and so far it seems really great. Interface is easy to get around and my clients will be able to use it easily I hope!
    I tried out Joomla and the admin interface is just not intuitive enough if you need to hand it over to clients to run.

  • hammerfar

    Always interesting to follow these kinds of versus debates. As I started with WordPerfect 20 years ago, nothing beat that! … and similar with CMSs – whatever you started with or currently use, will for some time be your preference.

    But then again, many new and interesting suggestions – surely will try them out. Always a good idea to broaden the horisont :-D

  • Qf

    Hmmm… This article is a touch biased, to say the least. With a title like ‘How to choose the right CMS’ you would have expected a well thought out, researched article about the factors that should affect your choice. Instead we get a rant about the author’s personal preferences in the field of web publishing systems (Let’s be honest, there are systems there that are not a CMS, i.e WordPress & Magento) and operating systems.

    Every CMS has pros and cons, Joomla has many more of both than most other CMSs. Users who are ‘web savvy’ to a basic level can be taught to use a well put together Joomla site in less than a day. And for developing it, why would you work with someone who does not know it? Would you work with a mac developer to create a piece of software for Windows, or OS2?

    I’ve had a client recently who had had a very poor experience with Drupal, their site was put together by someone who didn’t know Drupal properly, and therefore the final product was poor.

    Mistake #5 is farcical. What is the point in having a tech guy how would understand the limitations of any available system if you’re not going to listen to his recommendations? What has using a mac got to do with know what a good UI is? There are plenty of mac users who, apart from using a mac (agreed, it’s the best OS UI around at the moment) wouldn’t know a good UI design if it jumped up and slapped them round the face! ;)

    Please, please, please, WDD, can we have some more objective articles with useful information, or at least proper titles. This should have been called, “One Man’s view on CMS selection”. It would still have been an interesting read, but we wouldn’t have read it with the expectation of a quality and informative article.

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  • Dee

    I wouldn’t say wordpress is the be all and end all, but its a pretty good place to start and can be flexible over a wide variety of uses.

    Nothing is lost…….. except for time wasted on Joomla!.

    Magento is also a promising piece of software, takes a little bit to get used to. can be tricky to install on the server, but very good and hopefully will only get better.

  • Ryan

    Stilverstripe on the right server ROCKS. I use it for all of our clients now, and everyone seems to love it.

  • Designaholic

    Joomla – pure evil??? I completely disagree and personally I love building sites with Joomla. Aside from being an excellent CMS, it is incredibly flexible and highly scaleable.

    Additionally, Joomla is extremely easy to create templates for, very accessible, and not difficult to learn how to use. It takes me 1-2 hrs max to train a client to use the Joomla admin.

    Sure, at first any new system, especially a CMS, is going to be unfamiliar and take a certain amount of time to get to grips with, but once you understand the core funcionality — designing bespoke websites using Joomla actually becomes an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

    I respect Web Designer Depot, but calling Joomla “pure evil” is just plain ridiculous and frankly misleading, especially as it is open source and has such a great development community behind.

    The content of some of the more positive comments regarding Joomla on this page reinforces my views.

    @Ian Wright: I completely agree with your comments, and especially about Magento — how can this be classed as CMS when it is primarily an e-commerce platform, which doesn’t even have a built-in WYSIWYG editor for the CMS functionality!

  • Derek Dole

    I must agree with Georg, your list of promising CMS looks promising :)

    But the list of top 5 CMS consist of incomparable products (at least if you compare the functionality it brings). Still I’m missing CMS I use – Kentico CMS, which solves the IT Geeks (Moss and Roy) vs. Ordinary people (Jen) thing, since it provides two development models – one for guys who never ever wrote a hello world and the other for senior developers (both combined as you whish). Also the functionality covers not only CMS, but E-commerce and Social Networking stuff as well.

    • JimS

      I would like to second! Kentico CMS published v5 right now, good support, regular fixes (they even plant trees for every bug). You can just drag’n’drop modules or write your own extensions in .NET. Very nice default templates available. Although it’s commercial there also is a free version.

  • Raul

    While Joomla has it’s weaknesses every other CMS does too. The fact is that Drupal (top of your list) and Joomla(bottom of your list) are among the most popular open source content management systems.

    Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Joomla and Drupal is the only way people will select the right CMS for their needs. We at want to further this debate. We are conducting a survey of experienced Drupal and Joomla users.

    Our goal is to quantify the tradeoffs involved in selecting a CMS. The survey will also let us incorporate the opinions of Joomla and Drupal users. We think this will make our analysis more concrete and convincing. If you are experienced with either Joomla or Drupal, please take our survey at:

    If you would like to know more about the purpose of the survey please read our blog post at:

  • Brad Parnell

    We use and love LightCMS ( it’s very easy to use and install.

  • Adam

    I have to agree with many of the posts above. While it’s great to see some new and up coming CMS’s, I am afraid that your criteria for ranking and citing some of these examples seems flawed.

    I find it hard to really list wordpress and joomla in the same realm. While I think wordpress, it’s still a blog and pales in comparison to the flexibility and diversity that Joomla has. The same is true with Magento, it’s hard to list that in the same category as wordpress.

    I really think this article should be re-written to better reflect each of these cms’s capabilities and compare them to one another.

  • joe

    From a practical perspective as a communications person trying to achieve a simple goal of a web site, I have to say that Joomla has some serious issues. We use Joomla and I cannot believe how user-unfriendly it is for the non-technical degreed person. First, why is it so difficult to search the content in Joomla? This is completely mystifying. My predecessors produced lots of content and it is very difficult to find it on Joomla. There is no search function, no simple interface to show the organization of the information, etc. When I’ve identified an “Item ID” number simply by going through our web site, it is then a big game to figure out where the hell it is within the CMS itself. The Joomla help file is useless, written to explain how to install Joomla, but not enough on using it. It was obviously not designed for the layperson to use. I bought a Joomla help book online and that is equally useless. Very simple actions are shrouded in mystery. We often revise the site with hit-or-miss trial-by-error actions. It’s completely frustrating. The only reason we don’t switch is because of some directive from a long-departed tech person that has somehow been etched into stone….

  • Sam

    Another vote for Textpattern! Admin isn’t “beautiful” out of the box – but easily modified and branded. Super usable and intuitive CMS.

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  • Sean

    I have to agree with Deron (#79)

    I know, I know, ExpressionEngine isn’t FREE right? Well, technically they do have a free version but I would gladly pay twice the amount for EE than the other 15 CMS’s I’ve used that are garbage.

    I’ve used Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Dragonfly and non of them can compare to EE in terms of ease of use and flexibility.

  • Geoserv

    Great list there, I haven’t heard of some of them.

    I agree about Joomla, it’s too heavy and I haven’t used it in forever.

  • Amy

    In my opinion there is no greater cms then ocportal and I dear you to prove me wrong.

  • Nathan

    Really useful article.

    I prefer WordPress. It’s really flexible and I use it for setting up everything from blogs to small business websites. I like it a lot, plus the community of free and helpful plug-ins is what really makes it a winner for me.

    It was so interesting to see how many people dislike Joomla. I’ve tried to get into it several times and just couldn’t. It’s cluttered, confusing, and just downright messy. Bleh.

    I was really excited about Magento when it was in beta last year. I tested the early builds and it looked promising, but wasn’t ready for primetime. I’m curious to see how much it’s improved now that it’s a stable build.

    A lot of interesting CMS pieces on here that I haven’t heard of. I’ll have to check them out.

    Great article, once again. Very informative.

  • Jason


    I am the author of this article. First allow me to congratulate anyone who has made it through the whole article and all of the comments to reach this point.

    Now I would like to address as many of the comments that were made as possible.

    1. My apologies to ANYONE I have offended in my remarks on Joomla! and Linux/Windows.

    2. My reasons for bashing on Joomla! are because of my own personal experiences. I have worked with many CMS systems over several years, and the ones I listed are those that have appealed to me as a designer who has been forced to learn programming. During that time I have developed the “superhuman-ability” to use Joomla! well enough to build a site, but would never, ever, EVER suggest a non-programmer to attempt to use it… ever.

    3. The reason for not listing a number of other CMS, such as TYPO3, Movable Type, etc… is because of my personal opinion and experience with the systems, and I would suggest to anyone reading this that they follow the advice in the beginning of my article, and do some research on these CMS as well.

    4. To all those listing Expression Engine, my apologies. This article was meant to be focused on Open Source CMS.

    5. For those upset about me listing Magento, my purpose was just to bring it to light for those who might be looking for it. Although it focuses on e-commerce, a CMS is a CMS, and for those few who have been looking for it, it was worth the mention.

    6. My reason for listing WordPress as a CMS is the amazing strides it has made in becoming a fully fledged system. To address specifically comment #73, WordPress has grown to include:

    – Ecommerce (WP e-commerce)
    – Contact forms (several plugins)
    – Blog (what it was built for)
    – Article system (also what it was built for)
    – Advanced search systems (built in)
    – Synchronised members (Member-Wing plug)
    – Stats system (Built in)
    – Ability to turn off bits in the admin you don’t need (Built in)
    – Full fledged Social networking (Buddypress)
    – And more…

    What’s more important is that all of these plugins are easily installed and managed. You get a great looking website and one of the easiest admin interface available on the internet.

    I am right now seriously suggesting WordPress to any beginning or experienced developer as a full fledged CMS.

    7. For those of you supporting Joomla!, again I am sorry if I upset you with my opinions. It must be pointed out though that most of you who commented in favor of Joomla! have programming experience or knowledge extraordinary to designers whom I was speaking to.

    8. To everyone else who left comments, thanks for your thoughts and including those CMS you enjoy and use. I’m sure they will be helpful to people who read the article. Good luck to all of you designers in picking the right CMS for you.

    • Karen Kefauver

      Jason your article is fantastic and the comments it generated are so helpful as well.

  • The Black Adder

    “it is imperative that whoever the Mac guy is among you, sign off on anything that the IT guy presents.”

    Come on! Anyone who calls themselves a “mac guy” or a “PC guy” or whatever is the worst sort of geek – the consumer geek.

    Get a real user to look at it. Not some computer fanboy

  • Content Management System

    But LightCMS is not free. Since it being a hosted service I think I will not have much control over everything. But yes I agree its purly for someone who has limited team support.

    • Kathy H

      Great point. I’m a freelance designer with NO team support, and signing on to a free system without guaranteed, timely technical support makes me nervous. Thanks for articulating this for me.

  • janbo


  • Phil

    Well I am no designer or programmer but I found Joomla dead simple. I had a site up in no time flat and now spend my spare time coaching others in setting up and enhancing sites. I have been able to modify things as required and have been able to find extensions and plug-ins that suit my needs. I have even made my own templates!

    Sure, it sometimes takes some study, but that’s part of learning any new system. It suits my purposes and gives me flexibility into the future.

    I think its also unfair to blame Joomla (as some have) for problems with extensions. Anyone who tries out a new plug-in on a live site is a fool.

    Go Joomla!

  • Gene R.

    1. hosted CMS not good for everyone
    2. yes this article makes a debate (with lots angry comments) but No, it not helpful and it author seems beginner just learning
    3. sorry, just my opinion, but not too good article
    4. every CMS require some learning, each has different API and GUI operations
    5. maybe better if pure designers use hosted CMS offerings and leave the other CMS to ones with programming experience PHP or RubyRails
    6. best solution = designers design site and programmer implement the design (and IT people at company stay out of way, they just use Exchange and not usually experienced with internet, just their own internal system and they fear changes)

  • Amy Stephen

    Jason –

    I love Drupal and WordPress, too. I completely agree that WordPress is suitable for low-end CMS needs. I’ve been playing with BuddyPress which is a ridiculously easy to deploy social networking tool. Drupal undeniably rocks, is incredibly flexible, and has the geekiest, enthusiastic community one could hope for.

    I wonder if you have worked with Joomla! 1.5, or if your experience was limited to the older version? I recommend trying the Joomla! “Quick Start” guide

    Using this material, it takes less than four hours to create a Web site for a fictitious landscaping company. The training material was put together by two high school students as part of the Google Highly Open Participation contest.

    I am almost certain you will find Joomla! 1.5 very easy to work with for non geeks.

    Joomla! 1.5 has been refactored from it’s Mambo beginnings and now has a very modern, powerful application architecture that is fun to work with for developers, but most users never see the creamy inside of Joomla!’s chocolate cookie. Just us geeks.

    No news is bad news, right? Thanks for spotlighting free software. It’s so cool to see what results when lots of people pour their hearts and talent into bringing good stuff to the world.

    Amy :)

  • J. Carloff

    “7. For those of you supporting Joomla!, again I am sorry if I upset you with my opinions. It must be pointed out though that most of you who commented in favor of Joomla! have programming experience or knowledge extraordinary to designers whom I was speaking to.”

    Sorry, but I have NO programming experience and am using daily Joomla! with great pleasure and ease since a few years.

    You are free to express your own feelings, but writing “Joomla is evil” is grotesque and encouraging hate. I thought we had enough of it on this planet.

    I use both WordPress and Joomla!, have just installed Drupal to test it. You can have a Cadillac, a Fiat AND a BMW, no ?

  • Jonathan Lackey @zuno

    Good attempt at a comparison article, but this is a tough topic to cover.

    I’ve built sites in Drupal, Magento and Joomla. I am a creative who happens to be doing all of our development out of the sheer need to make our sites look and work the way they need to. I have the ideas, the looks and know what functionality needs to go into making sites that work as needed for the end user.

    I’m doing sites with pretty complex functionality that require a significant amount of very technical development. Most of the time a pre-built module, component or extension just won’t cut it.

    Of all the sites I built in Drupal I had to spend hours and hours searching for answers only to find complex and limited solutions.

    Joomla! on the other hand is quite the opposite. Most of the Joomla! core team is extremely active in the community and are some of the most helpful and knowledgable people on the planet. If I post questions at any time of the day or night I usually get a reply within minutes or hours. It may come from Sam or Andrew down under, Johan or Wilco across the pond or Anthony, Amy, Louis, Rob or Joe right in my backyard.

    So the main point of my comment is this—You get what you put into Open Source. Joomla! is such a great framework because of the people behind it and all of it’s contributing community members.

    If you are building websites for a living or even on the side and are expecting an Open Source CMS to do it all for you you’re up for a painful wake up call. You have to invest in learning how a system (and the web in general) works. If you’re not up for that investment then I suggest you stick to building blog sites with WordPress.

    In regards to letting a Designer have the final sign off on a CMS that is an egotistical comment that can only be made by a designer. There needs to be equal input from both sides—creative and technical. Being a creative I’ve seen and been a part (large part) of projects that were directed solely by the creative side. I could go into a long rant here about designers not having technical knowledge and developers throwing design out the window but I’ll save that for another time.

  • Alan Valek

    Nice, I’m going to check these out. It’s going to be sooo nice when websites will be easier for designers to build. Remember Photoshop 3 & 4 how hard it was to do simple tasks like a drop shadow?….Look at it now. The programmers will fight this maybe, but there will be a push forward internally within the software companies to make software that writes correct code and you won’t have to worry about, just design it—it WILL happen. Think how much programming that’s gone / going on in the background when you use Photoshop—this web stuff is waay to complex and I know I’m not alone on this. People would much rather design the page & get it up than have to worry about “why on a Windows Xp running IE 6 is my logo not lining up with the edge of my header”…lame.

  • RCheesley

    Just to add in comment to Jason, I had absolutely no programming experience whatsoever … none, nada, nowt. Nowdays I certainly wouldn’t class myself as a programmer although I have picked up the **basics** of html, css, and a bit of php along the way. Definitely not enough to code my own work yet though!

    I certainly don’t have any extraordinary skills …. unless you count the ability to use google, forums, chat, and contacts that I have gained via twitter and other mediums, to find answers to any questions that spring up.

    Nice of you to assume that I had some kind of superhuman skills, but a questioning mind and knowing where to get answers was all it took (and a bit of patience here and there if the answer wasn’t staring me in the face!)


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  • Joao Carvalhinho

    payed=>ExpressionEngine… top of the notch support
    Free=>CMS Made Simple… might not be excelent for “editors” mut the {smarty} tag system beats anything for costumization… you can do advanced PHP programing creating php blocks and (re)using it’s {smarty} tag whenever you want!

    They both are similar on this concept… EEngine lacks some more Wysiwyg support… coldn’t get tinymce to work due to UTF-8 / latin/iso conflicts…

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  • mp

    Another vote for EE. If you don’t put it as number 1 or 2 you’re CRAZY!!! The rest of the stuff out there is junk! Trust me, I’ve tried them all. Best templating engine to date. Great

  • Joe

    DotNetNuke sucks terribly. I’m surprised that this is not on your list of CMS software not to use. In my previous job, I was stuck in DNN hell, and thank God I am free!

    WordPress is by far the best CMS in my opinion, and is the most free and open you will find, in addition to the thousands of freely available themes, plugins, etc. Why anybody would prefer it over anything else is beyond my comprehension.

    I recommend it to any and all clients who want a professional website which is easy to maintain.

    WordPress is looked at as a blogging platform, but it can be used very effectively as a CMS. It is also very SEO friendly. DotNetNuke is the exact opposite. The URLS it generates are simply absurd.

  • Richard Pearce

    I’m sad that you have obviously had a negative experience with Joomla. I too hated Joomla when I first saw it but once you understand it, everything makes perfect sense. The supplied documentation isn’t bad but yes there are training courses available to help you get up to speed more quickly. They are not all “top dollar training” as you put it. I provide an online video course for only $10 and my customers simply love using Joomla.

  • Xtence

    I like this, Joomla is evil, i use to go and try it but when the layout was still in béta, i was hacked by some sovjet gang, beside for the common business-site its way to big, i guess this must be the favorite of many IT guys, because no-one beside them can work on that thing properly.

    I recommend WordPress, it’s so easy for everyone, who can send a mail can update his/hers site running on WordPress.

    Maybe i’ll try some of the others, great post!

  • cccmien

    I have a question to all happy Joomla lovers. Maybe you can help me out. What do you do when the structure of your content needs more levels than just ‘sections’ and ‘categories’????
    How do you explain to a client that you can create menu levels as deep as you want, but your content can only have 2 levels.
    I think the major flaw of Joomla is the separation between document structure (sections and categories) and the menu structure. Trying to make those two structures work well together has driven me mad. It just doesn’t make sense.
    I must be missing something, but a CMS that only allows 2 levels of content structure is not worthy of being called a CMS.

    • Jonathon

      I just found this article and was browsing the comments when I found this one. cccmien, you are sorely mistaken. While this is a somewhat new development, there are many, many FREE solutions for content construction within Joomla!. Though it is not built in, it can easily match that of Drupal or WordPress. Flexicontent, Sobi2, Jseblod. That’s just a few. There’s a few new developments out there like K2 as well. These all allow for custom fields, content types, nested categories and some of them even allow multiple category selection.

      Like many have said throughout this debate, get your facts straight before you make such a bold claim.

  • Austin Web Design

    I think WordPress is great if you went to start up and go, but the documentation is just a mess. If you want to develop things custom instead of using prefab themes and plugins it’s not easy.

    I’ve had much better luck just searching Google for what I need than trying to find it in their documentation. I’m glad people who use WordPress like to blog about it; otherwise I’d be lost.

  • Andrew Eddie


    Like Amy, I’m wondering what version you had experiences with. At any rate, feel free to mail me with your grievances. Part of the process of developing good software is working out why people are “connecting” with it. We can’t always help everyone and ultimately the choice of CMS sometimes comes down to “I just don’t like the stupid thing”, but hey, if we can learn something and improve it can benefit millions of people around the world.

    Andrew Eddie
    Joomla Development Coordinator

  • Kyle Bailey

    Experience is everything. If you are only exposed to a handful of free or nearly free tools and have no direct experience designing and developing for higher end CMS systems then how can you make any objective observations?

    Our team at E-Cubed has designed and developed several hundred sites in the last decade, 90% of which use some form of CMS system. Most of our project budgets over the last 3 years are in the $40,000 – $75,000 arena.

    Each level of offering has its pros and cons. I’ve have yet to see a client who has a serious project budget (>$25,000) and who is fully knowledgeable in the variety of available CMS solutions in the marketplace choose an OpenSource offering.

    I have never had a client move from a traditional commercial CMS platform such as Ektron, Sitecore, etc. to a SaaS or Open Source ‘competitor’.

    Each level of CMS appeals to a certain level of buyer for a certain purpose. If you have a single user with a 20 page site then your needs are significantly different than if you have 20 users, 5,000+ pages and do $10,000,000 in online sales and support.

    The articles named solutions may be the ‘Right’ fit for sites with limited users, non-critical content, small budgets and users with lower expectations.

    Users that need a bullet proof, scalable, mission-critical system that can seamlessly link with a myriad of other critical systems may not find these such a right fit.

    Just my $.02

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  • Skipp

    What a worthless post!

    You titled your article “How to choose the right CMS” and yet you say…

    “Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves”

    Uummm, maybe it’s because Linux is right for what they want to do, they choose it because it’s right for them. You clearly have no idea about Linux or are just brainwashed by the WinMac crowd. And no I don’t use Linux because it’s not right for the jobs I want to do.

    You say “Joomla is Evil”

    Umm…. maybe some people find it work just about right for the things they want or need to achieve

    I could go on….

    By all means an article on choosing the right CMS is great, but going on to show your biases helps no-one

    Very disappointed to see such a load of rubbish on a blog that normally a very good read!

  • dopster

    wow. CMS really is a hot topic for web people.

    Drupal and wordpress is simply the way to go. lots of resources and online support. i have to give props too to modx, its also simple to use, and fairly extendable.

    cheers! great post.

  • lamantin

    Frog CMS.. ouch.. just take a look to the demo site ( ).. full of erromessages like:

    in the main page (!) :
    Fatal error: Call to a member function children() on a non-object in /home/opencms/public_html/demo/frog/frog/app/frontend/classes/Page.php(192) : eval()’d code on line 2

    and many more in the admin like:
    Warning: Division by zero in /home/opencms/public_html/demo/frog/frog/plugins/comment/views/index.php on line 35

    I’ve chekecked the code, and only I can say beware of Frog CMS!!

    If someone say frog cms is great than I1m not suprised he said Joomla! is evil..

  • Ian Wright

    In 3hrs, we just built a website from Joomla for an artist,
    (She is adding in content in her own time, but we got the main site structure in place)

    It has everything Orla needed and she is not a computer programmer at all. In fact she struggles very much with word, never mind HTML, CSS or heavens forbid PHP.

    I set up a simple skeleton structure for her, all she needs to do is add a page, and choose which category it will be included in and it will add it to the list of other pages.

    She is thrilled with it and it also has the potential in the future to increase features as her demand for what it needs to do increases..

    She cant believe it is sooooo easy…so maybe you people who are pro-web designers commenting here, should really try it and see what potential it has…as i think you will be suprised at how simple it is.

  • Flavio Copes

    > Joomla is evil.

    In my experience those attacking Joomla are those people that didn’t spend enough time getting used to it – people angry with it because they don’t know how to use it to do a specific thing.

    The learning curve is not one of the easiest around, but you can’t really compare e.g. WordPress vs Joomla! WordPress is simple to use because it’s TOO simple.

    > The only way to get the functionality you would ever really need beyond basic content management is to pay large sums of money for commercial modules.

    Do you really think that? You can spend weeks reviewing open source extensions.

    > The community is huge in the worst possible way.


    > There are a million modules for one problem and it is near impossible to find the right one.

    Just take the time it takes to find the tool that suits your needs. 99% it already exists, just find it.

    > The interface is deplorable. None of the methods of content management make any sense, and it is obviously not meant to be user friendly considering the top dollar training offered for the system.

    By who?

    > That’s the end of the list.


  • DT

    CMS Made Simple

  • Amy Stephen

    @cccmien – Agreed! That is valid analysis. Nested categories are one of several major improvements, along with ACL, core comments, slated for Joomla! 1.6.

  • rick

    This isn’t my field, but I’m curious where CommonSpot fits in. The place where I work has been fiddling with CommonSpot for two+ years and it’s still not ready for prime time.

  • Ariel

    Muy buena información, nunca he utilizado joomla… pero un amigo me comenta que es una buena herramienta, yo no me opinaré, cada uno sabe lo que necesita.

    Bye, very good

  • damonky

    Overall an enlightening post. Some CMS that I havent used yet but will now try. I frequently develop in wordpress, Joomla, and in frameworks such as cakePHP and Codeigniter. I ‘ve also worked as a web designer and occasionally do illustration so I understand the admin interface can seem overwhelminly complex / busy.

    The power of Joomla really comes in when you client wants more than just a simple website or blog. There are soo many components, modules and plugins – which are normally free that you can use as a base or as-is. This saves weeks even months off our production time and therefore our clients money. Within a few days I can normally have a shop or community sites barebones complete and ready for them to see.

    Because its open source theres a strong development and design community around it there are always people who have solved your problems, or components you can adjust to fit your needs.

    When we create a site we also take the time to train the user to use there site, with a guide to every aspect of its workings. Any CMS can be confusing – It depends on the experience of the end user.

    All being siad Joomla is a great tool for particular jobs and is far from evil – but it does take some investment of time to make use of its full potential.

  • Walter

    Thanks to all for the comments so far.

    This article, as well as many of the articles on this blog, is an ‘opinion’ article. The author states his views, same as a movie critic expresses his/her views on a movie. This is not meant to be an ‘objective’ review, as there’s no such thing. All views are personal views, and some people will agree and others will disagree. For this reason, comments are open to anyone who wishes to express their opinion.

    So, for those that do not agree with these views, please understand that these are the author’s views and that it’s ok to have different opinions, and it’s ok to disagree with each other.

    I feel the exchange of views and opinions is a healthy way to share the knowledge of everyone visiting, so please continue sharing your experiences.



  • evan


    I sometimes think using an open source CMS is meant only for personal use because it’s free; otherwise, if you’re not an expert in that product, then you’re required to hire a company or individuals who can support you!

    In my opinion, “open source” means you’re required as the admin to have at least some basic knowledge of the product so it can be installed by you, maintained by you, upgraded by you, patched by you, etc.

    At the end of the day, sure, you want to be the person who does become the expert, but that kind of knowledge doesn’t come over night and sometimes you need that extra reassurance that you can count on someone to physically call if you need that support.
    That’s one of the reasons why our office doesn’t use open source products, because we need that phone number.

    My office doesn’t give me the time to read message boards or wait for a response from a message post or god forbid constantly require me to *bump* my question over and over so someone can help me for free. We use a product called SiteExecutive so we can quickly get the support needed immediately if support is required and at the same get cutting edge modules like blogging, dynamic/living content, RSS, advanced forms, password protected pages, searching, etc.

    Anyhow, your article offered a lot of great tips for new users interested in a free CMS to try out! If I could give a suggestion it would be to write your next article on a content management systems focused on a list of paid products and include SiteExecutive in your review. They really have their act together.

    – Evan


  • Jesse

    Nice post :-) I love FrogCMS above all so far, it’s amazing to customize and light weight.

  • webdepeloper

    I’m a veteran, I once created my own CMS, but now settled using several different open source CMS, including Joomla. Each of them has their own strength (and weakness).

    With that said, to be truly objective, I must agree with most, if not *all*, disappointments regarding Joomla complained here! Well said and very true indeed!

    Joomla owes its broad users a functional CMS that get the jobs (managing contents) done.
    At this time Joomla have only a very famous & big name, but doesn’t satisfy even basic CMS requirements.

    These all might be proven to be invaluable inputs to Joomla’s developers.

    My highest praise to the next famous CMS: Drupal (full CMS features, very flexible content types & organization, scalability) & WordPress (simplicity, theme & plugin flexibility, easy to deploy, full blog features).

    One of them, sooner or later, will be replacing Joomla on the top spot, ..should Joomla doesn’t improve.

  • Uniqu3

    First of all, thank you for this Post, it had some nice statements and some bad :-)
    But i have to disagree to almost everything written here (post and comments) but following:
    Always remember to research a CMS before investing time in it. Never forget that the main purpose of a CMS is to make creating and editing content simple and easy. Never sacrifice the user experience for functionality. Remember these things and it will drastically improve your experience with Content Management Systems.

    There is no perfect CMS, everyone has its likes and dislikes, as every CMS has its own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right CMS, first you have to think about what project you are at, what is needed and what not.
    So Joomla is nice if you are making a medium to large site, but then again for what do i need such a big system if i only want to have a 5 page site?
    Wordpress, is not really CMS, but yes you can use it as a CMS to, but is it suitable for a large Project? I dont think so.
    Its the same with the Statement about Windows/Linux users, you should use what you need and what you are comfortable with.
    I am Windows user and from time to time also Linux user and no im not a Geek, i started in Computer/Webdesign business by learning all myself, so i use what i have to use and if 95% of my Customers are using Windows, then i dont know why i should use any other OS just to be a Part of some so called “MAC Guy” Community.
    With Windows my Customers feel comfortable with me and i can explane things in their language :-)

    So to come to the point, i have used or tryed many of CMS systems stated above and as already mentioned every systems has its own advantages and disadvantages, but if you want to feel comfortable with any of these you will have to spend some time with it and learn how to use it, no matter who you are a designer, programmer or just a simple user.

    Everything we do in life we have to learn first and at the end we either like it or dislike it.

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  • Rene Kriest /

    Kudos for the honest words regarding Joomla. I totally agree. To me the user interface is a farce. Joomla lacks style and design as well as usability.

    I am kinda impressed about Drupal and even Typo3. It seemed as WordPress would take them by storm. I never thought that Drupal would make a comeback – such an impressive comback.

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  • Buzzlair

    he is right when he says, avoid joomla! the backend is so complex.

  • Rui Alão

    I used and continue to use Joomla and sometimes it is the only one that deals with all my requirements related to media and data layout customization.

    Saying it is evil reminds me that some people used to say that photography was evil, because they didn’t understand it. This seems to be the case. You call something evil when you don’t quite understand how it works. Or maybe the author had a bad experience with it, but it doesn’t seem fair to disecourage people to use it… and certainly it is not evil!

    It wouldn’t be one of the most used in the world if it were a bad piece of code. I’d put Joomla in one of the 3 best CMSs still today. I personaly like WordPress better for small sites and Joomla for big and complicated ones. Well, maybe I’m evil too… who knows?


    Rui Alão

  • Sjors Pals

    “Drupal is easily the most functional open source CMS available today.”

    Ehm, i do work for many years with Umbraco, i am pretty sure that everything which is possible in Drupal, is also possible in Umbraco, and the good thing is that it is build in C# .

  • Nivanka

    I have been working with SilverStripe, Drupal, and WordPress and Joomla for two years.
    SilverStripe is my pet CMS, and web development framework. Most of the time I try to use SilverStripe for my clients. In SilverStripe what I see it the maintainability is really high. When I do a project the client will never call me asking for this and that update. This makes me to stick with SilverStripe.

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  • orez – anordesign

    Not free but best suited CMS ever for me and my company has been expression engine.

    It’s simple to use, it’s a designers CMS, and the modules , extensions and plug-ins are really of a great value! Lot’s of them free, some of them u need to pay… but they’re worth the money if u need some.

    And a great personal support u get!

    From the free CMS I agree with drupal :)

  • Moser

    Okay, take a step back there to #141…

    You remember when people said photography was evil? you must be OLD!

  • myows

    been going through this article and comments with great interest as I need to choose a CMS for the blog and forum on our soon to be launched online copyright protection app

    The result ? seems like we will go for wordpress or EE…

  • Tbone

    Concrete5 is badass

  • Nivanka

    What I think about expression engine is that it should replace Joomla here on this post. It is much more hard than Joomla :). I am working on a really large project with Expression Engine. I dont find any good features there. My points are these,

    – It is not MVC.
    – Content Management is not good.
    – Editors are not good at all (the lowest type, writing HTML in a TextArea).
    – Coding new modules is really hard.

    I am really fed up with it.

    • Justin Long

      Personally I use ExpressionEngine and it is by far my favorite CMS that I have used. There is a learning curve that can be kinda steep when you are first starting out but the support community is great and have been able to answer every question that I have ever had. It is not open source but they do have a free version that has almost all of the functionality of the paid versions. Since I have switched to ExpressionEngine I have cut my development time down substantially and has been the best move for my business. With the new version coming out soon (but not soon enough) it will integrate with the PHP framework CodeIgnitor which will help with the creation of modules, extensions, and plugins quickly. I also love the ability to assign user levels and allow them restricted access to the control panel no longer do I have to worry about my client thinking he has to add his post to the template, because it wont even be an option for him. But the best thing for me is that it is built to have friendly urls, no more crap.

      As it is not possible for a single CMS to scratch the itch of every user while still being lightweight and user friendly we will continue to have debates like this one around the web. I put my vote in for EE.

      PS. Nivanka. You can adjust the field type so that there is no HTML to be put in text areas. I set almost all of my clients up so that they need not put even a single html tag when they publish something new. What functionality are you trying to create that you need a module? Why not an extension or a plugin.

  • Justin Long

    Personally I use ExpressionEngine and it is by far my favorite CMS that I have used. There is a learning curve that can be kinda steep when you are first starting out but the support community is great and have been able to answer every question that I have ever had. It is not open source but they do have a free version that has almost all of the functionality of the paid versions. Since I have switched to ExpressionEngine I have cut my development time down substantially and has been the best move for my business. With the new version coming out soon (but not soon enough) it will integrate with the PHP framework CodeIgnitor which will help with the creation of modules, extensions, and plugins quickly. I also love the ability to assign user levels and allow them restricted access to the control panel no longer do I have to worry about my client thinking he has to add his post to the template, because it wont even be an option for him. But the best thing for me is that it is built to have friendly urls, no more crap.
    As it is not possible for a single CMS to scratch the itch of every user while still being lightweight and user friendly we will continue to have debates like this one around the web. I put my vote in for EE.
    PS. Nivanka. You can adjust the field type so that there is no HTML to be put in text areas. I set almost all of my clients up so that they need not put even a single html tag when they publish something new. What functionality are you trying to create that you need a module? Why not an extension or a plugin.

    • Phil Leitch

      I have to agree with Justin. In a previous life at a larger sized web development company I spent countless hours installing and using any CMS I could find, ultimately deciding that Expression Engine was the way to go.

      It’s too bad that many times when articles like this are written they only include open-source options. $249 is nothing when you realize how much time and frustration you save yourself by not using Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress/fill-in-the-blank.

      Do you know HTML/CSS? Well then you can build an Expression Engine template. There is nothing to really learn about EE other than trying to unlearn all the crap you’ve had to ingrain into your brain because you’ve used all these other crap CMS solutions that each require you to figure out their bizarre templating systems.

      It’s a pity these types of discussions always get into “mine is better than yours” and most of these people won’t even bother to look at anything other than what they’ve spent their time defending. In my case I can say that I fell in love with EE after wading through all the other crap out there. Used to love WordPress but using EE once made that love affair end rather quickly.

  • neryo

    hi! you forgot exponent cms.. it’s very easy to use, essential, open source and free.. it’s backend less, all administrator things you can do only with frontend, editing content, uploading images..etc for me it’s user friendly and very nice approach to content managment.. try it!

  • Matteo

    I use frogcms , and i like very much it’s raw structure . It’s very simple and not a mess like other famouse ones .

    Every aspect of FrogCMS is simple :
    – MVC , really simple to put hands on
    – Extendable , no HiperPhping to add a new feature
    – Lightwight , in few MBs you’ve your dynamic content
    – a NonMonster community , but the right number of people

    in few words , a great CMS

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  • webthese

    Great tutorial. We can add to this list Xoops, LightCMS, Typo3, Modx and more. I used Joomla, Xoops, Drupal and Modx on my local server and my websites (of course on subdirectory) I preferred to Drupal. Because Drupal is powerful and free Cms. I used Joomla to and i agree with you; Joomla is Evil! :) when i install Joomla i’m dizzying :)

  • jer

    As a few people have mentioned, this post is complete conjecture, as are most of the comments. This falls into the category of spin material. I think most of the problems could be fixed if a better titled was chosen for this article (one that was more clear that these were opinions of largely one person), and if you managed to find a better balance between positives and negatives. You may think Joomla is evil, then give us examples rather than just making huge generalizations. You may love Frog, but give us more details about what is difficult about it. An unbalanced article like this has clearly caused many visitors to just feel attacked or proud. I can also say (being in the middle of the debate between Drupal and Joomla) that some members of the communities are already a little hostile to each other, which was obviously not considered when writing this article.

    Overall this writing should have undergone some serious revisions before being posted. Perhaps it can still be salvaged, but I’d hate for new-comers to the CMS world to find this and only read this. I have nothing against the selections, just the lack of a balanced presentation. I don’t care if you recommend A or don’t recommend B, but give something a little more credible in your explanations.

    I’m pretty disappointed in this post sneaking into a normally better written site. The editors are slacking or just aren’t concerned enough with the integrity of the articles.

    Of course nobody will probably read this now that I’m #153, but its worth noting to the writer.

    • Walter

      Even at #153, we still read your comments Jer. :)

      The beauty of a blog is that you do not have to agree with the author’s points and you can express your own opinion. Your comments can be as valuable if not more to someone than the actual content of the post.

      Remember blogs by nature are usually about personal opinions and even though the post may not have suited your perception of a balance presentation, you can certainly voice your point of view and let the world decide what’s best.

      I personally always read the post and the comments and then make up my mind about any given subject.

      The power of the people like you commenting is essential to provide readers with a broader aspect of any given subject, and they do give a lot of insight and depth that may be missing from one single perspective in the main article.

      That being said, I do stand by what the article presents and that’s why I approved this for publishing, yet I also approve of your comments and I don’t see a contradiction.

  • Henrique Martins

    I agree with your article and some of the comments above.
    Joomla is horrible, it’s difficult to install, difficult to maintain, the modules and language packs always crash the site… The customizing price is higher than building a new and professional system that realy works.
    I think that one CMS that weights 200MB and has more tham 1000 files sucks.
    I always build custom CMS for my costumers, with a few files and librarys. My CMS installs just copying the files through FTP, make 2 or 3 config settings and is ready to run, apply or change a Theme template, or invest in designing a custom one and that’s it. The system always fit to costumer expectations because it’s designed for their needs :)

  • mark

    I have used Joomla for years (since the Mambo days) and it has shown it’s age.
    The initial code base is sloppy and even now it has no granular access control, a critical problem if you need that functionality.

    Security is a BIG issue, and frankly, the code is not trustworthy.
    On the plus side, a huge amount of extensions WITH an interface you can use to actually FIND them with. Granted, much is abandonware and poorly written, but the community is huge (in a good way).

    regarding the guy who said
    ” Lastly, the inference in your comment ending “considering the top dollar training offered for the system” is that the core Joomla team have a commercial interest in offering training for Joomla. This is totally untrue and a perverse statement and phraseology used by you. The core Joomla team are staunchly open source and have consistently made moves to marginalise pure commercial interest and peripheral involvement of commercial third-party developers. If you have any doubt about this then I suggest you should research their recent moves relating to trade-mark and web sites with Joomla in their name: in brief, to continue using the Joomla name in a web site’s URL a site must demonstrate a completely non-commercial offering to the Joomla community. This last to be verified by the core Joomla team.”

    Well, that guy is an idiot: Thats where Opensource really makes it’s money, since the code is open and anybody can copy it -AND sell it!. Obviously, you cant copy and sell a hands on training session (unless you get permission to record it)

    specifically regarding this comment “and have consistently made moves to marginalise pure commercial interest and peripheral involvement of commercial third-party developers”
    Well, that sounds not only like BULLSHIT but also contrary to what GPL is all about. Shrug.

    In conclusion, I wouldnt recommend Joomla, but it’s certainly not the worst you can go with

    • Andrew Eddie


      Would you care pointing to the lines of code you *don’t* find trustworthy?

  • Margarita Choco

    //* Side Note*//
    There was an earlier comment (#120) about having ‘deeper’ levels in website outlines, and Joomla ..well.. can ‘only have 2’.

    Another Section
    Another Category of Another Section
    .. so on? So you want your users to get lost on your website? lmao.

    This is one of the reasons why I like Joomla. The usability standards are good. It doesn’t let Joomla (end-user) designers get nasty with a really deep site outline.
    //* End Side Note*//

    I like Joomla because of the way it evolves and how the Joomla community makes it work while making it secure. The flexibility of having to edit the CSS is really, really nice.

    BTW, I’m a Fine Arts Major, but I like Joomla (and proud of it!).

    (This article is biased IMHO.)

  • WIlliam

    CMS in a weekend they said…

    Well thank you so much for this post! I read an article roughly 6 to 7 months ago that said Joomla was a CMS that can be done in a weekend. Well its Feb 5, 2009. And I still haven’t mastered Joomla. Hell, I have stopped working on my other sites because of the difficult nature of Joomla. I have spent money on books, templates and online tutorials (thanks and still I’m not satisfied with the final product.

    So, I will now be looking into Frog CMS and Drupal.

    I’m sorry I didn’t see this post sooner. But glad that you were here for me to find.


  • cccmien

    @Margarita Choco (#156)

    About the ‘more-than-2-levels’ issue.

    I’ll give a simple example of a real life problem I faced. I had a website for a travel agency, and they wanted to structure their destinations in following way : destinations -> diving destinations -> country (eg. Egypt) -> city (eg. Dahab) -> detailed info (prices, more info, etc.).
    Every level had it’s own pages. Some destinations had even more or less sublevels (regions etc.).

    This is just a very simple example of structuring content in more than 2 levels deep.
    Well with Joomla I just couldn’t fit this in. I tried it in all kind of ways, but it just was a big mess and it became impossible for my client to understand where to add content and how to link this to the menu’s.

    In the end I switched to another CMS (I will not call its name again), and I could set this structure up in no time.

    Another drawback of joomla is the overload of features. Just take a look at the list of options on the right-hand-side in the admin interface. You can hardly call that dummy-user-friendly… And most of these features are a nightmare to style (via CSS). Hell I think most of these features are (almost) never used. At least not in the Joomla sites I have seen.

    Anybody here thinks that Joomla templates are easy to create? Well have you ever tried? Really tried? Not just altering an existing template, but really create a whole new structure that doesn’t resemble the default Joomla way of working? Do you think that those positions and stuff are flexible? Then why do we need books to understand all this? I’m sure that anything is possible, but the learning curve is steep.
    What other CMS’ses I just needed to read a short tutorial, or even could figure it out without any help.

    Why does Joomla create pieces of HTML that I can not easely change how I want it? Like the TABLE tag mess for all kind of parts (pagination etc.). Yes I can go change the core or I can override by copying and changing parts of the core. But is that developer-friendly? With any other CMS I used until now, I never had to go change core files to get the HTML output I wanted.

    And don’t get me started about the Joomla extensions. Even that has been made difficult. Why have modules and plugins? Sure there will be some (historical) reason, but I don’t care really. It’s just confusing. Besides that, I have tried a whole bunch of them, and most are very crappy to say the least.

    With Joomla you can surely set up a site in 1 weekend. Even in 1 hour. But that can be done with (almost) any modern CMS. But once you want something other than the defaults, you’re going for a whole other kind of timing.

    There is one big advantage of having mastered Joomla… switching to any other CMS will only make your happier ;-)

  • Designaholic

    @cccmien (#158)

    Anyone who can write valid XHTML/CSS can build Joomla websites…easily.

    Regarding your comments here…

    “Yes I can go change the core or I can override by copying and changing parts of the core. But is that developer-friendly? With any other CMS I used until now, I never had to go change core files to get the HTML output I wanted.”

    There is never any need to touch core files. As you have correctly noted, you can use overrides to prevent touching your core files, but you don’t need to worry about any of that as Joomla comes bundled with a template called ‘Beez’ which essentially outputs everything exactly how you would want it already, i.e, pagination using etc.

    ‘Beez’ is a good starting point for developing a new template, saving you time. All you do (in the template’s index.php file) is chop-out the whole to code and use your own XHTML/CSS, then add in some simple one line PHP tags to include the core content component, and any modules you need.

    When learning to build WordPress sites, you naturally use ‘Kubrick’ to help you learn how the system works. using ‘Beez’ is no different and makes it easy to learn how to put together a nice accessible template, which essentially only needs 2 files modifying before being ready-to-roll (the index.php and the templateDetails.xml).

    “Do you think that those positions and stuff are flexible?”

    Yes, incredibly flexible. Here’s an example:


    At the end of the day, Joomla is a framework which if you spend a little time learning, can be shaped in loads of different ways, quickly and efficiently.

    Sometimes a CMS like WordPress just doesn’t fit the bill for certain types of clients who may need a wider spectrum for scalability, including scope for custom applications requiring an MVC framework.

    It’s all about choosing the right CMS for the client and thankfully there is a great range of open source systems to choose from, including Joomla.

    Something I have noticed recently is the lack of creative design community support for Joomla, i.e, you can find tons of articles/tutorials on WordPress, but next to nothing on Joomla.

    This is something I plan to contribute to in the near future, offering tutorials and tips to help other creative web designers harness some of the useful capabilities Joomla offers as a CMS.

  • Designaholic

    Code missing form above post ^

    …is chop-out the whole to

    “Yes, incredibly flexible. Here’s an example:”

  • Amy Stephen

    cccmien –

    I think you have a solid understanding of Joomla!’s weaknesses. Joomla! 1.6 is in the works. The following points relate to your comments:

    – The Framework will soon be distributed on it’s own – so – those who want to craft their own CMS or CRM or Blog or LS can have at it, without the bloat of the CMS.

    – In 1.6, the Polls Component is gone. Web links have a Module that will make it more functional.

    – Semantically correct xHTML – table structures are gone (except where it makes sense). Currently, there are three sets of code to choose from – and the community is collaborating on how to merge improvements and where to add FOAF Microformats.

    – Multi-layer Categories are in 1.6. Be gone, the Section-Category-Article constraint!

    – 4,500 extensions is a bunch and a little bit more. There are indeed extensions out there that are not high quality. And, there are some that are top notch. And so it goes in communities. The more involved you get, the better able you can identity what works for you and what does not. If nothing else, one must recognize such a high level of contribution says something good about how developers feel about Joomla!

    One weakness most of us complain about that you did not mention is the limited ACL. Today, Andrew Eddie announced with Revision 11602 that ACL improvements are in core 1.6 (more work before it’s done, of course).

    Completely *disagree* with you on the difficulty with template development. Time and time, again, people list this as an area of strength for Joomla! and I agree.

    To be honest, I don’t have any qualms about the specific analysis cccmien is raising and I challenge him to critique 1.6 when it comes available. His comments are specific – mostly fact based (w a bit of passion for emphasis, but that’s cool), and I am really proud of the Joomla! community since each of the issues he has identified are addressed in 1.6.

    It’s pretty tough to fix “evil.” Evil is a broad sweeping generalization with emotional overtones and probably not a good adjective for software. So, I’m just going to assume that what the writer intended to say “Joomla! is badass.” To which I would reply, wait until you see Joomla! 1.6.

    Amy :)

  • cccmien

    @Amy Stephen (#161)

    Sounds like this 1.6 version fixes the biggest issues I had with Joomla. I will surely give it a try when it’s released.

    As far as my “passion for emphasis” is concerned, English is not my native language so that might cause some unintended strange emphasis here and there :-)

    Anyway personally I would never use the word “evil” for Joomla. The developers put a lot of effort in it, just for us to use is it for free (or not use it anymore in my case). Given the enthousiastic and huge community around it, there must be some good stuff in there that, clearly, I missed.

  • Andrew Eddie

    Regarding the “2 levels deep” topic. Something that people don’t realise in Joomla is that the “navigation” and the “categorisation” is separated and cumulative. The “navigation” is an unlimited depth tree. The categories (for “content”) is limited to 2 levels deep (this will change in 1.6). But here’s the kicker. The categories system “adds” to the navigation system. So your path, as far as the visitor is concerned, can be any number of levels deeps because the category paths come “after” the navigation.

    This is just a matter of understanding the system you are working with. No pain, no gain. I personally have a dislike for the Drupal UI, but this is more out of ignorance (and I like the “Joomla-way” – but I’m biased because I help write the software). It’s not that Drupal is bad software (honestly, it’s CCK kicks butt and I’ve, cough, borrow some of their ideas from time to time to put into Joomla) – it’s the fact that I’ve failed to invest the time to learn the nuances of the system.

  • Adrian

    wow how long of you been in the business….are you even?

    Saying Joomla is evil has got to be the dumbest thing Ive ever heard. The things Ive done with it would blow your mind.

    And wordpress is worse imo, unless you want just a blog then its kickass. If you want a FULL CMS you don’t want to use wordpress……

  • WIlliam

    Ok everyone I am back to say that Silverstripe rocks! Joomla really helps you learn and understand CMS. Because it has a huge learning curve and you want to learn it so bad the things you do pick up allows you to appreciate other CMS platforms.

    So for that thank you Joomla. I still have others site and I will wait to see v1.6. But for now I my creative juices following. Oh and WordPress dashboard is something to be reckoned with I think! It just makes sense. No guess work – Uuuuuum!?! What do I do now. Just Oh! Ok! NexT!


  • Cam

    WHEW! A lot of Joomla haters out here. I used to use Joomla and switch to WOrdpres for a lot of the same reasons you stated. However, I have read favorable reviews of 1.5, so I don’t think you can completely right it off. Next for me is Drupal before I hope on the joomla train again.

    good post! love the discussions..

  • Wassim

    Hey Jason,

    Your article is somehow informative, but it terribly lacks professionalism. Two examples:

    1/ Your statement about Linux is really inappropriate, you don’t know Linux that’s for sure. It’s like arguing that if someone dreams of being a great web designer he must HAVE and LEARN Adobe CS. It’s been five years that I use Linux and only Linux for my web design and development projects, I use it as a Mac user uses his Mac or a Windows user uses his PC, you don’t have to be a geek to use Linux; that was in the late 90s. Get an update about that please.

    2/ Your statement about Joomla! Although I’m a Drupal fan, but saying that Joomla! is evil really touched my feelings, the feelings of a member of an open source project. I’m now sure that you never contributed to any of the open source projects that let you make money just talking about them, you definitely don’t know what is a community work. The Joomla! community deserves respect, they have a unique and good vision on what a CMS should be. None of the open source CMS’s are perfect, and the fact that they all are free and open source gives us all the precious gift of CHOICE. That precious gift is the result of a devoted hard work from the community, and the community deserves RESPECT. Some respect Jason.

  • Ahmer Sultan

    Its a very informative research, thanks for your contribution. I am new to the CMS, world but really really fascinated by it. I have experienced good progress with Drupal and wordpress, so would give positives to those two. Now will check out the rest of the league. Again, good job.

  • Arda

    I had lot of experience (real life projects) with many CMS applications (joomla, dotnetnuke, drupal etc). I also used blog software as a cms (wp and expression engine) many times.

    Every project has its own needs. The platform choice is depending on the needs, time and budget.

    It’s impossible to judge an application after a few look around, unless you have experience in a live project. It’s similar to judging a girl as ‘she is a horrible wife’, just after going out with her to drink a coffee.

    I used Joomla on several projects. It’s possible to say that Joomla has disadvantages like,

    – No custom content types and custom fields
    – Not easy to design templates
    – Limited frontend support

    But Joomla also has a lot of advantages like very nice commercial support, and multilingual content etc. Even wordpress does not have such a high quality commerical support. (especially about templates). If anyone want to see it, just take a look at Joomlart’s web site (a template provider) and see what it’s possible to have with spending a few dollars.

    Using blog software as a CMS, is painful. I had lot of bad experiences with WordPress.

    The only exception was, Expression Engine. It provides you 10 times more flexibility than wordpress, if you will use it as a CMS. I had only one project, and I can say that I falled in love.

    Joomla is not an evil. It was my lifesaver a lot of times. Every software is evil, if you make wrong choices.

    Dotnetnuke is very painful. If you need to use something built on .net, better to choose a commercial alternative like Sitefinity. (they charge nothing for personal edition)

    Finally, all of the solutions mentioned here are good alternatives for small to medium sites. But enterprise level web sites need commercially supported solutions. (like Stellent, Ektron etc.)

    By the way, it’s very strange that TYPO3 is not mentioned in the article. I think it’s the only one which is a real alternative to commercial CMS applications.

  • Arda

    Also, Sava CMS is a nice new alternative if you have Coldfusion knowledge..

  • Michael

    Thanks so much for this – really helped me point out what I needed and what I didn’t need in a CMS. I’ve been really impressed with silverstripe. Great short(ish) article.

  • Shade

    I’ve got to disagree with you in regards to both DRUPAL and JOOMLA.

    I’ve used joomla and drupal both fairly extensively (which is why i now primarily use envotu ( However in regards to your statements, this is what i’ve found:

    You are correct when you say there are hundreds of modules to do the same thing (and it’s hard to find one that fits what you need).

    You are correct when you say that alot of the components and modules for joomla cost money. They are commercial (enhancements), and let’s be honest, why shouldn’t the developers of them get a couple bucks from their hard work developing them in the first place. I’ve paid for several components and modules for joomla in order to get it working how i wanted. If i wanted the same functionality but had to code it myself it would cost me much more than i paid (in time of course).

    I disagree when you say their interface is difficult to use. I find joomla to have one of the most intuitive interfaces. I can have a site completed in joomla brief my clients on it quickly and send them on their way and not have to worry about anything. They understand it just fine, it’s not a complicated setup at all.

    I also disagree in regards to drupal when you say it’s easy and simple to use. Drupal is one of the most complicated systems out there. It’s not NEARLY as easy to create CSS templates for drupal as it is for joomla.

    The modules and different types of content types in drupal are also very confusing and hard to use (particularly for clients). I’ve found that not only do drupal sites cost ME more to build, more man hours ect., but they also cost the client much more as well. I have a much higher frustration rate from clients that are on drupal sites than ANY other cms out there.

    Drupal is much more powerful than joomla though, that’s 100% accurate. However like previously mentioned i try not to use either of them when i can. Instead i use envotu.

    Envotu is not open source it’s commercial, but it includes hosting and all that jazz with it. It’s the easiest system EVER to use by a long shot, for both designers/developers and for clients. It includes more functionallity out of the box that is actually USEFUL, and it’s just an overall amazing system.


    Very provocative words and great self-marketing. Now forever destined to come up at the top the the google results for Joomla and evil to anyone who’s trying to dig up dirt.

    As with anything good you’ll find lovers and haters so Joomla is no different. One thing I know for certain… is that there’s no perfect answer. In fact if you think about it, they’re all evil. From the designer’s point of view, here’s why:

    WordPress: Evil because it takes longer then Joomla to set up all but the simplest sites. You gotta hard code menus and sidebars after the first one. With Joomla, you have WAY more flexibility with the module system. More design flexibility, more powerful extensions, easier than WordPress. Doesn’t even compare. And it’s downright Satanic because it’s ecommerce solutions don’t come close to Virtuemart (Joomla extension) even though it’s stated here that WP has ecommerce… But it’s beautiful for blogs and simple sites of all kinds.

    Drupal: Evil because even your clients tell you so. Taxonomy what? Was that a node on my spleen? Where? Then it’s downright satanic because it’s so hard template and customize unless you’re a Grandmaster PHP Wizard. But Beautiful because out of these big 3, it’s by far the best system if you REALLY know what you’re doing (and don’t have low budget clients that can’t afford the extra time taken).

    Joomla: Evil because there’s so much junk left over from the mambo days and before paying your dues you’ll have to…well you’ve got to pay dues. It’s satanic for it’s horrid url system, ugly nested table code, dumb looking components not updated from 10 years ago, and last but not least… the mindset that important core features are best left to the 3rd party community to make their own mini-kingdoms (resulting in incompatibly issues).

    Did I say they have a mindset? Well it’s not up for discussion…and as you noticed they’re here to defend it. But there is a beautiful, and that is things seem to moving in the right direction albeit rather slowly. But even now, almost all of the above can be solved just fine, once you learn the system.

    Most of the so-called evil of any CMS can be solved if you spend some time to learn it. They all have a place. Joomla is definitely not evil, and I think this is a silly post by someone who was willing to pontificate before they really knew what they were talking about. As a designer way before a coder, I would say Joomla is by far my favorite CMS and my clients love it too. And as a Joomla fan (but no fan boy) I hope they become more inspired to listen to graphic designers, who’s taste is needed to keep Joomla moving in the right direction.

  • Cosmin

    Thanks for sharing, I think WordPress is the best for small-medium sized sites.

    Although I am about to use it for a community site with the help of some cool plugins :)

    As for Joomla, I couldn’t agree more; although you wrote it in a “Don’t you ever use it” fashion, and I believe that people’s choice should not be influenced by call to action from your side – it’s enough to present the ups and downs :)

  • Pavlow Vinelli

    I never used joomla but i can say easily drupal is the best CMS system. WordPress is not exact CMS system but it is so powerful blogging system.


    I think that joomla is not evil at all. From 1.5 version developing templates and managing pages is very simple and intuitive.

    Obviously we had spent time to learn it, but i think it’s normal…

    Our clients are satisfied by using this CMS.

  • Bagus A.W a.k.a AnakNakalKelasBawah

    could someone listing for e-commerce applications here??

  • Rainer Bendig

    I personally like a windows based cms system, like the so called zeta producer ( who says that a cms must always be webbased? On a webbased cms you need to train your employees to use it, on a standard windows application you don’t need a specialiced training.

  • Honeycut

    I’ve deployed Joomla for Government, Private Companies, Non Profits, Universities, as Intranets, Extranets, of large and small scale.

    I have very rarely had to pay for an add-on component because I couldn’t find a suitable free add-on.

    For the record, I am also a huge fan of Drupal but in recent years have had only one instance where it was more suitable for a project.

    Your dismissal of Joomla was ill-considered and poorly researched.

    I’ve now unsubscribed from your feed. I’m sure you won’t miss me.

  • Ced

    Your Joomla: Fails, Reason:

    You.Add.Items.Item(“Hai Joomla Iz Evul”)

    Fatal Error: You Failed miserably

    To show you WHY you failed…
    I’ve ran a search on “Free joomla modules” (since you say you have to pay for all of em)
    Here’s what came up:
    Results 1 – 10 of circa 6.030.000 for free joomla modules (0,13 seconds)
    I’ll make it easier for you (since you don’t seem capable of googling something)

    A very satisfied Joomla User

  • W3bD3v

    I’ve used most of these CMS packages before deciding on the one I would use as my main script for building client sites on.

    There is no question that Joomla is the most powerful one out of the bunch. You could not be more wrong about this one.
    You don’t know how to use it would be my guess. Thats why you gave the over simplified CMS scripts a higher recommendation. Don’t mistake your lack of knowledge for problems with Joomla.
    Check the forums and add-ons for each. Joomla dominates the other packages in available resources from users.
    In a professional environment, Joomla is the clear winner.

  • Deva

    i usually don’t write the comment, but this time i stopped because of ” joomla! is evil”, this is first time i heard that slogan, i used to hear “open source matters” …. just kidding

    i am developing websites with joomla last 3 years and almost used to it, love it,

    little background:

    3 years before i wanted to learn about cms, blog etc. i knew wordpress was most used, joomla was just born, drupal was there… here is what i found

    1. wordpress : i tried at least for some week with some luck i understood it little

    2. drupal : impossible for me to learn understand, i tried at least some week no luck

    3. Joomla!: the moment i touched it i understood how it works, first website i made with it, took me a while to finish, after 3 years i can develop my own templates, i can make a website less than 2-3 weeks

    if i were you i will not do that kind of comments on any cms… may be this is your strategie to make your self talk and bring more traffic … ;-)

    just an advice
    when you have a website and you are on net saying something like that can make joomla lovers angry may be you will get hacked! why taking that kind of risk?

  • Amy Stephen

    Deva – Now, now, now, dear! hehe! I know you meant that tongue in cheek. Seriously, though, I cannot imagine anyone who invests time creating and making available free software wanting to harm someone’s Web site because of differing opinion. Our time is far better spent improving and using our software. Joomla! can be improved – and we are improving it! Once we start thinking it’s as good as it gets, then we would be in trouble.

    It has been pretty cool seeing people respond to this post – hearing the critiques and raves – learning about other projects. As you have said, it’s good to try different environments. We learn and think differently – it should come as very little surprise to anyone that we like different CMS’s. Look at the choices our free software communities of volunteers have offered the world – it speaks very highly of our combined efforts.

    • Uri G

      Amy hi,

      I followed your responses here and I like your balanced and positive tone. I also noticed that you have a high profile position within the Joomla community. So hopefully you could help.

      I commissioned a web development company to develop my site. They used Joomla 1.5.9 and CSS. The site has a major problem when viewed in IE6. The site template as well as the content appear “broken” or split. Unfortunately, I have not insisted that they fix the problem before paid them in full. And now “I am stuck”. I have looked at the Joomla site and noticed that this is a common problem, experienced by many developers.

      My question to you is: How do I find an expert Joomla Developer that can look at the code and give me an assessment of what it would take to fix. . (The site is not published, but I have screen shots and the FTP files).

      Many thanks in advance.

  • Ivan

    Joomla evil? Wodpress and Magento a CMS? – mate you better stick to talking about designs and not about CMSs, because it’s clear you don’t have too much experience with it.

    I’m a web developer and I’ve had the opportunity of working with most of these – all of them serve their own purpose. Try to be impartial when writing this type of articles. It’s clear you hate Joomla and saying what you said only makes you seem like an ignorant on the subject.

  • CMS Hosting

    As a hosting provider specialized in cms hosting we can say for our clients the 2 most used CMS systems are Drupal and Joomla. This is for europe.

  • Skelly

    Wow.. great story, but the “Joomla is evil” comment was harsh. I’ve never used Joomla but have often heard of it’s difficult “configurability”.

    Impentation is huge when selecting and CMS and sometimes there is something you want to do, but it takes a little time to figure out how do configure it with the provided admin interface. I think that the layout/output should be 100% customizable, but it seems some CMS’s make this task complex. Often flexibility leads to complexity.

    Some other CMS priorities for me:

    – publishing content to RSS
    – custom fields (beyond the standard Title, Date, Author, etc..)
    – approval / workflow
    – categorization / hierarchy
    – extended funtionality (Web forms, user management, forums, polls, etc..)

    Thanks for the insight.

  • nomorota

    Well, I remember all those discussions in video compositing theme. There are fans of Combustion, Shake, AfterEffects, Fusion etc. There are pros and cons, some have better UI, some do roto better. But what really matters? I think this is architecture of the software. How flexible it is, how can it adopt to meet the needs of enviroment (web in this case). Everything in this field is work in progress. Web changes. Consider years to come.

    For the statements of the author, hm, I do not understand people being proud of having biased point of view. Fancy skin but missing merit.

  • B. Friddy

    I’ve tried many different CMS systems in the past but prefer overall WordPress for blogging (mind you, it can be hacked to perform other tasks – CMS type) and MODx which is by far the most logical system available.

    The use of chunks (HTML) snippets (PHP) modules, etc etc make it a powerful and flexible system.

    Seriously, take a look at in regards to the tutorial, you’ll be impressed!

  • Martin

    This is about as much fun as the as the QUark vs. INdesign debate. A bunch of IT geeks feuding over software that ultimately does not work well.

    KUDOS to this writer – FINALLY! THE TRUTH!

    I *WISH* I had read this 2 months ago, before wasting a fistful of cash on a Joomla developer and this NIGHTMARE of a software package. It is such a scam: use the free until you find it doesn’t work, then shell out for more components.

    This has cost me in so much time, aggravation and frustration I cannot tell you. If everyone at Joomla are such geniuses, have they ever heard of standardising the nomenclature, at the very least, so schmo’s like me could work with it?

    It makes me so angry that people defend something that should be a tool and serve the needs of the user, not the other way around. I would gladly pay for things that work. Some of us have small business that depend on us being out making deals, sales and creating new opportunities and jobs – not dillying around with crap software, and developers who are learning as they go.

    The author is correct: AVOID Joomla at (literally) all costs.

  • Jason

    Hi again,

    Wow, the comments just keep coming. It seems that a lot of people have gotten angry over my “Joomla! is evil” comment. Although I find it strange that many Joomla! supporters are saying I obviously have no experience with the system just because it failed to meet my expectations.

    I could go into detail about my thoughts on the poor structure and UI of Joomla! but just like anything anyone writes, this is my own opinion. It’s just that I’m not sugarcoating any of my thoughts in an attempt to appease supporters of Joomla!. There are good qualities to Joomla!, and the system obviously can be implemented well, as shown by the abundance of sites built with it. This is NOT enough for me. I cannot with the my knowledge, having used even the most recent versions of Joomla!, suggest it to anyone who wishes to design websites with ease.

    Many of the people who have commented disagree however, and for that reason I suggest that anyone who is doubting my opinions, as is only natural, to go and work with the system for a while. It can be installed fairly easily, and if it works for you then great, if not you were warned. Either way, feel free to come back and post your thoughts for other readers.

  • Ian Wright

    Martin you have been ripped off by a cheep developer, probably from abroad and now your miffed as you didn’t pay full costs. that’s not Joomla’s fault, thats you not researching properly into if the developer can handle what they say they can!!

    I charge between £40 and £50 per hours and I’m fully booked until the middle of may, i mainly in Joomla, but have used many other CMS systems. But many stupid one man bands pay £5ph on scriptlance or joomlancers and then complain when it all falls apart.

    Jason you say
    “There are good qualities to Joomla!, and the system obviously can be implemented well”
    well that’s correct so why don’t you say those good qualities in your review? That’s whats annoyed people, a review shows the good and the bad, you haven’t, you have just vented your anger from an obvious bad experience and slagged off a system which is used hugely across the globe. You may have pushed somebody away from using a very extensive system into using a blog system which doesn’t work as a business tool.

    For gods sake your copy advices people to use a blog admin system like word press over the top of a commercial ecommerce, blog, forum, gallery, chat, article system.

    If your building a website for anybody, then you are trying to build a business tool that’s expandable and able to cope with the future needs of the business. The difference between a true developer and a pretend one (somebody who learnt dreamweaver and is now a professional web designer) is that a developer will look at the work as providing a true business asset, not something that they can throw together in a few days and run away from with no after sales support or backup.

    About 50% of my time is spent with the client working out exactly what they do and don’t need, so i don’t make a site which is too complex and over made, or miss elements out that could draw in revenue or exposure.

    A website for a business is not a toy, in many cases it could be the difference between trading and job losses, so even if the setting up (which is done by the developer not the end user) is a little more complex, then so be it, if the results are what they need.


    • Martin

      No, I didn’t ‘get ripped off from an overseas developer’. You are sadly mistaken. Don’t try to change the situation around to defend this useless software. I’ve had the same exact story from a developer in Edinburgh, 2 in London, and Glasgow.

      Oh and also: for the rates you are quoting and my needs, I could get a custom-coded site, which, sadly, I did not do.

      I’ve been in the media business over 20 years. The scam: the developer sits back spending incredible amounts of time ‘determining needs’. We used to call that ‘Information Architecture’ and the plans used to get done in a day or two, for small businesses. Your rates are ridiculous. Sorry.

      This is not unlike the used car business…you come in, get screwed then spend large amounts of money maintaining the darn thing.

      It is little more than a scam. These products, expescially Joomla, are not ready for the applied consumer market. If they were, this discussion would not exist in such black and white terms.

      Want to knw why companies are going out left and right and the economy is in the toilet? One reason is that no one listened to the end user.

  • Coder

    It’s a really great idea to bash the most popular cms with the largest community and the operating system with the most zealous userbase to attract some attention. :)

    Regarding joomla, after configuring all the categories and sections in the administration panel for the client, the clients can just login as editors in the frontend and add new articles or edit existing ones without ever seeing the complex administrator interface. There is an edit icon near each article that can be clicked to edit it – what can be simpler?

  • Photowebmax

    Interesting article and some great responses…

    When I came to the point of moving beyond the static sites only kiddy pool I set out to pick a CMS framework. There are literally scores of these systems. I found that some of the “lite” systems were too light, with not enough modules, not enough people pushing the design envelope, and not enough users in the community forums.

    The big systems like Drupal or WordPress had just to the opposite: too much of everything. I found the forums not that great for new users as well.

    In the end I chose MODx. Very, very flexible, with a great layout and a great forum community. You also get to see the MODx document tree which shows all your pages, their parents and children etc. I find is easy to design a static test page, get it running and the CSS figured out and then use that to create your MODx template. Its a great CMS for a designer…

  • Shane Sponagle

    Interesting article. However, you lost me when you included WP and Magento in the CMS section and omitted some true CMS like MODx, TYPO and CMSMadeSimple. WP can be used as a CMS but it is not a CMS, and Magento is clearly eCommerce. And if you are including iWeb then why not DreamWeaver? I agree on the Joomla issues, but it is not all evil. I know many extremely competent developers who support Joomla and they have happy clients. I would avoid it personally, but as a developer I understand why it sucks, to the end user if it works it is golden. As a designer I would avoid Joomla since you will not have total control over the look (at least not without much effort). But you need to be fair, Joomla (and Mambo) made popular the Open Source CMS way back before all the others mentioned (maybe with the exception of Drupal) were even ideas, so that they would have an outdated resource library is not unheard of.

    Since you are not limiting the scope of the article to open source (free) then why not include commercial CMS like Expression Engine.

    Personally I use MODx, it fills all my requirements and goes way beyond my expectations.

    Anyway, the points on choosing the right CMS are good. :)

  • Tim

    Great article.. thanks

  • RobinTh

    Your article is very helpful.
    Thank you for spread your thought.


  • Tim

    Well I just read through all the article and wanted to post a little more.

    Joomla is evil.. I probably spent about 15-20 hour wrestling with it and asked my self why?
    Usally I download a CMS and it is fun to play with and learn, Not Joomla just a confusing layout and Bulky… 3000 files or something.. Like a Giant Winnebago full of boxes of junk..

    I really love WordPress and Drupal but WordPress is not really a CMS and Drupal is hard for a client to use maintain so I am looking around at some others.

    Thank for the good read it has given me some idea, I thnk I will try out Silverstrip and Frog and see how they are.


    Come on…. To the guy who spend 15-20 hours with Joomla. If you want easy, use iWeb just like the author suggests. But if you need your website to do more (which I thought was the purpose of learning a CMS), systems like Joomla will always be there for you. There’s no free lunch. The program is big and may have a steeper learning curve than iWeb or WordPress becuase it does more.

    Want to learn to use the big tools? Then be prepared to invest some time. And why not invest the time? Don’t you want to offer more to your customers or clients? Are you the type that also figures dropping out of school is a great idea because it’s too much work?

    It’s the author’s right to use the evil word even though he admits tens of thousands of successful websites have been created, just as it’s my right to scream fire in a crowded theater. I can do it, but if there’s no fire I’m not going to be very well received am I? I think it’s important to try and remember many people’s hard work, volunteer time and even livelihoods are being hurt (clients like Martin have already ran screaming) by stuff like this.

    Coming from someone who’s used a good number of these tools, Joomla works fine, just as do most of the other systems as long as they meet your needs. Only a few systems have the community and advanced extensions that Joomla has. Will you have to dig a little at first? Yes, but after a little digging you’ll find. Nuff said.

    • Martin

      I’ve run screaming because for the amount of content I have the work I have done to date and the money I’ve had to spend does not event begin to justify the wondeful ‘Joomla’ output.

      No one is asking or expecting a ‘free lunch’. What I am expecting, forgive me, is that if you are indeed correct, the Joomla Geniuses and developers need to either beef up their manuals and support, instructions and GUI capabilities, or stop respresenting it as an alternative to simple, easy to use solutions. I would never in my right mind sit down and try to ‘dig in’ to Oracle. I’d hire someone. And as EVIL as Oracle is (ever tried licensing it?) they have the goods, the developers *must be certified* if they come from the manufacturer or are recommended, and there are checks and balances – not a bunch of sit-at-home and learn people who cannot deliver the product.

      Sad to say, but I think this economy is going to sort some of this out anyway. The computer is a tool nothing more, nothing less. It either does what it is programmed supposedly, to do, or it doesn’t. Joomla doesn’t.


        Hi Martin,

        As someone else pointed out, your troubles have nothing to do with Joomla. Without knowing the details, I can’t say for sure but you will find the problem is either your developer’s inexperience/incompetence/lack of professionalism or perhaps it has been your expectations for what was possible at a certain budget.

        Joomla’s output is totally customizable through template overrides. Not only can it easily be standards complaint, but clean upgrades are possible w/the custom output. Extensions sometimes have some pretty nasty output out of the box, but an experienced Joomla developer knows either how to fix it, or choose a better extension.

        As for manuals and support… I agree and in fact have tried to significantly help them with this, but they were _ _ _ holes about it. That said, a good developer should provide documentation and training. Documentation is currently a weak spot but no one (at least a Joomla core developer) ever claimed Joomla was “Easy”. I haven’t a clue where you heard that. As I said in my comment, if you need the functionality, there’s no free lunch. An excellent website takes a lot of work and care no matter which tools are used.

        Joomla doesn’t “have to” do anything. It would be nice if they were more open to advice from people with different skill sets (this is why they’re having a problem with contributions), but as it stands, they’re already delivering an amazing tool for absolutely free. People like you should appreciate this more. Because of Joomla, your costs as a client have been DRASTICALLY reduced than they would have been a few years ago.

        Bottom line is a lot of cheap developers who do mediocre work are creating the false impression that web design/development comes cheap. A good developer can make a great site with Joomla as evidenced by thousands of successful very well done websites.

      • Martin

        Stop defending the defeseless. You are correct: load of cheap developers. The good ones are overpriced. Joomla is evil, and I will spend every available opportunity to set that record straight. You can explain explain all you want – I’ve seen the same tired arguments over Oracle, Unix v. Linux, Php v. Asp. It’s all the same crap.

        I don’t need a lesson in getting what I pay for, I need people who spend their time working and delivering, instead of blogging to defend software.


        I have no idea what planet you’re from. CMS are complicated systems. To learn ANY of them requires an investment. So it’s completely in my interest (and am sure others) to defend a perfectly good software from false harm to its reputation. If clients get the idea that Joomla is evil, be it true or false, they won’t want to hire me. Not to hard a concept to grasp I expect…

        Now if the criticism were true, I for one would be the first to defend it. As mentioned before, I am fan boy to none and will use whatever works best (and I do use other apps besides Joomla). But what is painfully obvious to anyone with half a brain who’s actually spent time with Joomla, that this article is nonsense. Simply put, in 2009, there isn’t a way to do what Joomla does in the same way as a once click espresso maker. Once it happens though, I’ll be using it… believe me.

        Frankly your right only in that there’s nothing I can do about people like yourself who choose to eat troll food. But hopefully my comments will be taken in stride by others.


      • Martin

        No, dimwit, this article is not nonsense. I’ve seen you championing the same tired arguments on other web forums. It is spot on. You can develop any product you like, but for it to be successful, it must be USABLE.

        Joomla is not useable, and in your silly, subjective posts, have proven this writers points 100% – Never, EVER, let a Tech Geek choose your CMS software.

        Thank you for proving how overpriced, arrogant developers who make snap judgements about what ‘investements’ client are making to use the products that are represented erroneously as usable. Joomla is a toy for Unix geeks with too much time on their hands – not for anyone who want s to ficus on their business rather than clunky modules and a back-n-forth with smart-arsed developers who look down the nose at you for asking that they get close to delivering the level of the fees they charge.

        Joomla doesn’t work up to the claims of the hoards of promoters like you. It may one day, but not today.

      • Andrew Eddie

        Martin, your own arguments are completely indefensible. You can’t justify that there are too many cheap developers yet not be willing to pay for good ones. What do you call overpriced? Where are your facts and figures to back up such nebulous claims? I really don’t think you have any idea about what software actually costs. The ICT (Information, COmmunictations, Technology) industry in Queensland employs 70,000 jobs with a turnover of AUD30billion. Of that, the Open Source sector is around AUD140million and continuing to grow each year. Whether you like it or not, it costs money to run websites and that includes factoring in the value of your own time (and don’t be so cheap to think that your own time costs nothing – work it out by multiply your paid hourly rate by 3.0 to 3.3 – that’s an established business principle by the way, I’m not making that up). A reasonably detailed website including a reasonable support relationship with your client will cost you about $10K if you want everything done for you. Sure, you can go to Bangalore and get cheaper labour, but you have to spend an **enormous** amount of time documenting exactly (and I mean exactly) what you want. The total cost of ownership is generally higher the less you pay (ok, there is an optimum curve for the statisticians out there).

        It also doesn’t follow that Joomla is unusable if it has hoards of supporters (to the tune of 10,000,000 web sites or so). You don’t like it – we get that (hey, I don’t like parts of Joomla – but I guess the difference is I get behind it to try and fix it). But the more you comment like this, the more comic your credibility becomes. It’s not going to be taken seriously by any SMB or SME and these are the people that create employment.


        Boy this is humorous. Martin are you same guy who just posted on the Smashing Magazine article? What are you trying to punish us or something? I’m not sure how you can be so angry at a… at a content management system (you didn’t pay for)… but honestly, it’s your load to carry.

        Even someone with such reduced intellectual capacities as myself is more objective about passing judgment to people I’ve met at a blog posting. It seems like you’re pretty touchy. Bring up some Peter Tosh or something and relax dude!

        p.s. it’s not a plutocracy yet. Most people actually do place value on our artists, technicians and hard workers. And lets face it, entrepreneurs and tech geeks have a symbiotic relationship. If you value us as your partner, we’ll be happy to help you reap the rewards. But view us as a commodity to abuse then don’t expect much in return. Doesn’t matter what tools are used. It’s always the thoughtful work with human input that attracts customers and sells your products or services. This requires a lot of skill and time, and therefore an investment. It’s time consuming work and hardly anyone (perhaps aside from a few big studios) is getting rich from building websites!

        There isn’t a system I’ve found that is both highly usable and has the functionality of Joomla. Lots of good efforts like WordPress or Silverstripe (tried recently, very slick). But nothing else I’ve found has the quality of extensions that Joomla has. And plenty of sites without the clunky modules…you must not have looked very hard.

  • Jim Connolly

    After over a year of using Joomla, I came to that conclusion last week. I’ve spent many a late night searching and then attempting to get components working to nail what the client wanted. Something would always not work, I was beginning to feel cursed by Joomla. I can program PHP well, and it was difficult trying to make Joomla fit what we wanted. I am happy to read this, and can’t wait to try these other CMS options. Thanks!

  • Rahel Bailie

    Be clear that the article refers to the Web CMS area only. For the more complex tasks of managing content components, you need a CCMS (component content management system). That hasn’t been addressed here at all. That’s fine, but for those who don’t know the difference, it’s important to make that distinction.

  • Brandon Hansen

    I love that SilverStripe is built on a framework, which is available to developers. Although not free (for commercial use), expression engine is a great CMS. It has powered some really great sites, and it is built on top of the code ignitor framework.

    From a developers standpoint, one thing that is important is the flexibility and consistency of the code. The CMS can be the most powerful out there, but if the underlying core is not solid and flexible the CMS will inevitably be unstable and a poor choice.

    In terms of core architecture I would rank the CMS’s like this (arguing that WordPress is, in fact, a CMS, as it does effectively manage content, limited as it might be)-

    1. Expression Engine
    2. SilverStripe
    3. WordPress
    4. Sava (a ColdFusion open-source CMS)
    5. Drupal
    6. Joomla

    While Joomla might be ok for the client, it often will create a nightmare for the website developer (finding plugins, fighting xss, etc), so in the end it is important to find something that has a solid architecture and is friendly for the developer as well as the client.

  • Freshwebservices

    Finding the right CMS depends upon a whole host of factors, from requirements through to technical competence of the content editors. There is no one-size fits all and everybody’s mileage will vary when using the same CMS.

    However, I would never – repeat never – recommend Magento as a CMS. As an ecommerce platform it’s brilliant but it doesn’t even have the beginnings of a proper, standalone CMS. To suggest otherwise, as this article does, shows a limited understanding of Magento and CMS in general.

    Drupal is great but setting up a Drupal site is beyond the technically limited user. If you’re on a shared server with limited rights to control things such as php.ini etc, then it can be impossible to even install. If you have register_globals turned on, Drupal won’t install, for example.

    Drupal also has a 1001 extensions or modules. is not the easiest place to find the right module either and for the beginner it’s really hard to know what module is right for the job in hand. But then that’s one reason why people pay professionals to do their website – the knowledge and experience.

    Designing for Drupal is not easy – period!

    Joomla is easier to install in my opinion – it is less picky about the register_globals for example, but will suggest that you turn it off – and feels like its more geared towards the low-middle hosting spectrum and the less technically able user.

    Joomla’s limited content hierarchy is actually a boon in some cases. Deep navigation hierarchies do not always lend themselves to ease of use and content findability. I like the fact that Joomla means I have to keep my site navigation shallow and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt my Google rankings either.

    Joomla’s lack of ACL is frustrating but is on the road map. If you’ve not tried Joomla recently, you ought to give Joomla 1.5 a try – its much improved on 1.0.

    I’ve also used modX – a client asked me to look after her modX site because its UI was too confusing for her. It took me sometime to get around it. Yes its powerful, but its not for the non technical user. This was a classic case of mismatch.

    Radiant – I’m a Rails fanboy but try to get Rails hosting for a reasonable price! Also, way beyond the average user.

    Don’t let your designer choose your CMS and don’t let anyone in your sales team buy a CMS either – all suckered in by the eye candy! I heard of a sales team that recently bought a bespoke CMS from a design agency, only for the developer to later discover it can’t handle image uploads!

    Selecting a CMS is a technical requirement – you need something that will fit on your platform, can interoperate with other systems if required. You also need to think about present (& future) information architectures – can the CMS accommodate them? Can it handle all the Web2.0 stuff? Don’t expect your designer to know this and don’t trust them if they say they do!

    Finally, you think Joomla is difficult – wait ’til someone asks you to build a website using LiveLink WCM or Sharepoint! Then come back and lets us know about clunky interfaces, finding the right component, etc, etc!

  • Dan

    If you want fair, detailed rather than scattershot reviews of different WCM/CMS systems, do some googling, or pick through CMS Report.

    A relatively recent goodie:

    The document mentioned there is a partial aid to people new to Drupal, WordPress or Joomla where the biggest hurdle and frustration is figuring out how to do X, Y, and Z. “Do I need a module for that? Which one is best? What do you mean it depends?”

    Other commenters are right that Magento is not a CMS, and neither is WordPress. Drupal and Joomla are not really CMSes either, especially compared to WP or Concrete5 which do content–and only content–really well. Drupal and Joomla are more like application frameworks that can be built out and extended to do things way beyond content management. With Joomla you can do a lot more fast, and without being a programmer, with a much more gradual learning curve compared to Drupal.

    When it comes to content, Drupal is strong (and deeply complex) because it has a very expansive concept of content and modules are very well integrated with each other and the core. If you don’t need that, however, then Drupal is likely to seem needlessly, overly complex. Wrong tool for the job in that case.

    For Joomla, content means page code stored in the database tables used by the core content component. If that’s good enough for you and the main thing you want to do is tie in phpBB3, phpList or an integrated newsletter, a slick events or gig calendar, etc. using a hot template that doesn’t look like a blog — you can do all this in a very short time at little or no cost with Joomla.

  • Dan

    I suppose that was a little confusing on WP. I meant WP is a blog that has gotten very big (possibly too big and heavy in WPmu), but it is still fundamentally a blog.

    Blogs manage content very well. In fact, WP manages content much better than Joomla and is in many ways easier to operate (for content management) than Drupal of Joomla. So WP has a claim to being a CMS on that basis.

    But if you want to try to build a community site on WP or just integrate a forum, get ready for pain. Access control and permissions on WP are terribly limited.

    Joomla has a claim at being a CMS because its content component gives it the functionality to create and manage content. Most people who use Joomla are more interested in other components, not so much com_content. A lot of those components are basically standalone applications tied into Joomla’s core framework.

    There are a lot of workarounds for com_content’s limitations, but sometimes it is not the right tool for the job. Or else you need to add the right tool to Joomla.

    It’s interesting that the gaps in Joomla’s content managing powers have not been a major focus for third-party developers, but now there is suddenly a big contribution that makes an explicit reference to Drupal as “CCK for Joomla” —

    That suggests some positive cross-fertilization between very different software lumped together under the “CMS” category by people who are probably taking the time to understand how these very different tools work.

    • Ian Wright

      “That suggests some positive cross-fertilization between very different software lumped together under the “CMS” category by people who are probably taking the time to understand how these very different tools work.”

      Actually considering how much harping on has happened here, i haven’t seen any Professional” programmers who have slated Joomla but supported Drupal, note that most of the programmers that work on work on Joomla also work on Drupal. This is because the systems are both very much different in what they are set out to do.

      But both projects are very friendly and work together, this blog is a waste of my time and everybody else who reads it, as it is biased with inaccurate rubbish.

      If people would wake up and realise that many CMS systems are built for different purposes, they would understand that it is almost impossible to compare them against each other. And shows that this blog is a bit of text written by somebody with very little knowledge about the field they have written about.

      For example Word Press isn’t even a CMS!!!!

  • Dreitausend

    It’s the first time I read something bad about Joomla! I use it for several years now and with the new Version 1.5 it even got way better. Wondering why Typo3 is not listed – it’s most famous CMS I know but way to complex for smaller sites (that why I use Joomla!). WordPress is not a CMS – it’s a blog. I also use that too and like it very much – but as a blog. [from Germany]

  • Dan

    I popped back in to reply to a new comment I got by email, but it’s not here now…???

    The author said: “Actually considering how much harping on has happened here, i haven’t seen any Professional” programmers who have slated Joomla but supported Drupal, note that most of the programmers that work on work on Joomla also work on Drupal. This is because the systems are both very much different in what they are set out to do.

    But both projects are very friendly and work together….”

    Joomla’s kind note of congratulations to Drupal 6 was also referenced:

    I just wanted to ask, has anyone built an integrated (single sign-on) Joomla and Drupal site? And documented the process? Please post if you have, or email me.

    • Ian Wright

      Hi Dan that was me who posted that message, I’m not sure what happened to the post, maybe the owner of this thread hasn’t authorised it as it is closer to the truth than his blog is.

      Can you define “Single sign on”?

      As i don’t understand 100% what you mean by that.

      Do you mean a joint joomla and Drupal site that work from the same user database?


      • Dan

        Aha, it was probably a nested reply like this one–I didn’t see the link.

        What I meant about integrating Joomla and Drupal is what you were refering to earlier about how hard it is to bridge a forum (and other things) to WordPress. Actually I think more is possible with WP than you may realize, but you are mainly right–I have seen only messes especially relative to upgrade breakages with WordPress sites that try to bridge in additional applications.

        Integration with other applications is not always a piece of cake with Joomla either, and a strong native forum component for Joomla 1.5 is lacking, so I wouldn’t toot that horn too loudly. Fortunately some new variants of Fireboard are about to pop out, and Fireboard is better than the rather ho-hum Drupal forum.

        jFusion is really coming along as an integrating tool for Joomla–works now with phpBB3. That is what I’m wondering about relative to Drupal. Could you make it so that a user logs in to Joomla and this also logs them in to a separate Drupal installation on the same server? Or you could do it in the opposite direction.

        In theory, why not? Maybe jFusion could do it–I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

      • Dan

        PS–There are integration projects for Joomla-Magento and Joomla-Alfresco. I think one exists for Drupal-Magento also. Again, cooperation and complementarity. You don’t have to choose the same application for every job, or just one application.

  • Amy Stephen

    The friendship between Drupal and Joomla! goes both ways. Anyone who seriously contributes to a free software project respects others who are also so engaged. Personally, I have many friends from the Drupal community and nothing but respect for their work.

  • dan

    If you are happy with a off the shlef solution then there are so many you would have trouble waving a stick at them all. And they can be good… some even CSS driven…

    Bu the problem for me is they will only ever do a percentage of what you want. yeah you can modify most of them now being open source and all, but then you run into bugs in THERE system is just easier to make your own, especially if you have a very specific requirement.

  • dub

    I am one that despises Jommla as well. I work for a University and an organization “was” using it. It was hacked on three different occasions. Joomla has some serious security flaws. Anyway just my opinion. The thing about opinions are everyone has one. LOL

    • Andrew Eddie


      There are only a few cases were people are unlucky enough to get hacked before they have a chance to patch their site. A great number of hacks are the result of site admins not updating the Joomla sources when new versions come out, because they have faulty third party extensions that they just blindly use. It’s easy to blame Joomla but mostly the hacks could have been avoided. The recent Paris Hilton attack was a good example of Joomla being picked on because it was “in the news”, but the flaw was actually another piece of PHP software the the site admins had failed to upgrade to the most recent version (er, oh yeah, Joomla wasn’t even on the server, imagine that).

      Regardless, I guarantee it is impossible for you to name *any* CMS that does not contain unknown flaws this very second. Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and all the other little guys all have unlocked gems in them – that’s life. An easy example. I just opened up Frog CMS (that the author of this post recommends) source. Took me 3 files to find a possible path disclosure that could be seen under some circumstances (one line of code could prevent that – one that’s been around since 2002 – code was a pleasure to look at though … very, very clean, good work guys, although I’d use mysql_real_escape_string for data sanitisation myself and wrap that in a helper class to be more portable, take a look at Joomla’s JRequest class …).

      Bottom line is you are using flawed software right now, even to read this post. You’ve really got to do better than “Joomla is full of holes”. If it is, show me one.

  • Valics Lehel

    We use our own CMS, also available as Open Source, see, Company Website Builder.

  • Kris

    I’ve been using MODx ( exclusively for years. It’s extremely powerful and flexible. It takes a bit of a learning curve as the designer/programmer to learn it at first, but once you get it, it’s so powerful…it’s helped me grow my business quite a lot.

  • Andrea

    good discussion.
    i write from Italy.
    but…. but… all mega-developer inside? no base-users?

    and for customers who do not speak English?
    WORLD….all people does not speak English !!! (i’m one of this, for sure)

    Joomla is multi-language with very good community and many components.

    other? (drupal, modx,ecc.ecc.)


  • Jeff Cochran

    “A Content Management System (CMS) is a Web application that uses a database (usually MySQL) or other methods to create, edit, and store HTML content in a manageable way.”

    This description entirely explains why this blog post misses the boat. A CMS need not be a web application, doesn’t need to use a database and would work with far more content than HTML pages. In fact, HTML and Content are not even in the same category. HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is a markup (presentation) device for content, which exists outside of presentation.

    Your “Common Mistakes” and “What to look for” points are quite simplistic and certainly wouldn’t apply beyond a personal choice. In fact, the only valid point is the mistake of not doing research. You present your choices of the best solutions, but no case for any of them, which is really poor research.

    There are never any “Best” or “Worst” options in choosing any application or solution. Best and worst only exist in the relationship of the organization’s needs, goals and resources. Best and worst can only be best and worst for a specific situation. Which is why appropriate research, with the involvement of the appropriate parties, is the only way to decide on the proper content management solution.

  • Tony Bianco

    I would disagree with you that Joomla is not flexible. Joomla 1.5 is the easiest of all the Content Management Systems to template out. Plus it’s built on an MVC based framework that makes component development a breeze. When all you need to do to is simply add a tag to define a module position I think that is incredibly simple.

    Yes there are a ton of modules solving the same problem and you’ll see the same thing with WordPress or even Drupal.

    Drupal is a huge pain in the ass to template and there isn’t a clear separation of code and templates like there is with Joomla 1.5.

  • Jennifer H

    I could easily apply just about everything said about Joomla to Drupal. Both of those systems are bloated, dated, and overly cumbersome.

    The only people I know currently designing sites in Joomla and/or Drupal are people who either: 1.)paid a ton on education for those systems; 2.)are forced by clients/employers to use the systems; and/or 3.)are creatures of habit who are not comfortable exploring new systems.

    The reality is this: newer and better systems are going to continue to come out practically every day. The key to finding an ideal system is finding one that is object-relational and modular in its core design, has a strong developer community, is forward-thinking in its functionality, and allows users to conveniently do the things they need to do. If you’re using a CMS that is rigid or has even a whiff of stale air about it, do yourself and your clients a favor – move on to another system NOW.

  • Uri G

    I am looking for an advisor to help me select a CMS and a website developer.

    The advisor should have experience with popular CMS’s such as Joomla, Drupal, Word Press, Sliver Stripe, and MODx. He/she should also have extensive development experience.

    My website will have extensive survey capabilities, ability to generate charts and graphs from the survey results, download the survey responses to Excel, a database of survey questions and responses, a Blog, FTP capabilities, RSS feeds, and more.

    Please respond if you are able and willing to help.

  • Carl

    You have to ask yourself if the Author dissed Joomla! just to get such a massive response, if so = laim.

    Joomla is as difficult as YOU make it. It can also be as simple. Its a real beauty for plug and play but it falls down when you want to come out of the box. How can the developers, whom I know personally, ever know every single way someone would use their plug ins or core system.

    For me Joomla is a great start and a fantastic finish. Start off you can buy or download a template for free, customise it a little, plugin the relevant tools and your off. Its that simple.

    If your an experienced coder you can get under the hood and the MVC framework that Joomla uses gives you complete control. With the evolution up to 1.5 Joomla did a massive step forward and will continue to.

  • Ibn Saeed

    Excellent advice. I followed the same lines on choosing a CMS and I have chosen Typolight (

    It is very fast and it has been nominated at the Most promising CMS award at Packt a couple of times

  • Ibn Saeed

    One more thing, I hate Joomla, I used to use it when it was Mambo.

  • MarcoBarbosa

    Haha what a flaming post. Great self-marketing on the ” avoid Joomla ” indeed.
    I recognize some Joomla flaws though, and in that (content for example) Drupal kicks ass.

    One thing though, the one who is going to say wich CMS is best is not you is your client.

    And so far it’s like only Joomla exists and nothing else. I have clients that like to browse the Joomla Extension Directory (the one you complained) and install the extensions themselves.

    And what about templating, Joomla feels to be years ahead!
    I can make something in a few hours, I even do some changes in front of clients!
    Drupal is too complicated for that. Show me at least 5 pretty templates for Drupal and you will convice me the opposite.

    And I mean good downloadable ones, so we don’t depend much on the webbdesigner/developer argument, since a good developer can do anything in any CMS.

    Again, every CMS has it’s benefits and before doing your project you should do a study case to see which one will fit your needs better.

    To conclude, check this out:
    Scroll down and check the table.

    There you will get a good idea of each CMS ups and downs.

  • SplitFive

    Great article! And Great Comments. It cleared lots of confusion.


  • gordon

    You: Oh Steve Jobs your shrivelled knob tastes so good oh mmm etc.

    I’ve seen the crap iWeb churns out. It’s like everything Apple makes – it might look nice but it’s expensive (here I mean resource heavy). At least you have presented other options, but saying iWeb will be the best choice for everyone is laughable

  • Diego

    Cool… Concrete5 looks innovative… I will check it.

  • Contorra

    I’m a Drupal guy, so thanks for #1 :) But you missed TYPO3, Plone (although its with Python and Zope), CMSMadeSimple.
    As for Magento, it seems quite good for e-shops but hey, there’s Ubercart ^^
    Radiant also looks good but where will you find ROR developers? ;)
    And Joomla! is not THAT evil, I think.

  • Contorra

    hey its always 5+5 in ur captcha, do something about it :)

  • Alex

    I haven’t used many of the CMS above because I’m a really busy guy, but I tell you this. The whole idea about CMS is the user being able to change an image and update content, everything else is a job for the web designer, web master, sys admin, etc. If the user can do it is great but 95% of them don’t have an idea.
    About the joomla comment, I respect it but you are wrong. I’ve used some CMS’s and so far joomla is the most powerful.
    1. If you don’t know how to create a template, you can buy one and they are customizable
    2. You have thousands of plug-ins, and modules to do the unthinkable for FREE
    3. There are tutorials everywhere about joomla
    4. And the most important, SUPPORT. You have people from all over the world to give you an answer. Every time I had a problem I go to the forum, post it and I get an answer right away.
    People, any of the CMS’s are perfect, and all of them have to be improved in some way, in fact I use them according to the necessity of the client. Other than that, good article, now I know of the existence of other CMS to try.

  • Raul

    Results from Drupal v. Joomla Survey Available

    We have completed a survey of professional developers about the strengths and weaknesses of Joomla and Drupal. We received about 200 responses.

    We hope survey will add some needed objectivity and refocus the debate on which CMS is most appropriate for particular problems rather than which CMS is “the best.” The survey covers a variety of topics including ease of use, extensibility, the quality of documentation, and more. The data collected from the Drupal vs Joomla survey is intended to help people determine which CMS is best for their project.

    The survey results are available in a couple different formats. For more information view our blog post anouncing the results of the Drupal vs. Joomla Survey.

  • Thomas McLeod

    My partner and I have recently released a new content management system…I would love for people to test it out/review it/ break it/ really do anything with it. Feel free to email me about it!



    • Robin S

      I love Pagelime. It has a file manager so that you don’t have to explain FTP and file paths to your clients. It also has great image editing built in. These are things that a lot of people have issues with, so it’s nice to have it handled right there in the CMS.

  • Oblikovanje

    Folks, try to use Surreal CMS It the simplest CMS ever. It turns your HTML designed page into CMS with just one little modification in HTML code.

  • Kathy H

    I agree with Oblikovanje: SurrealCMS is wonderful. I was the 12th commenter on this post, and have discovered SurrealCMS since then. It allows you to load your stylesheet so that users can keep the page looking good, and allows users to upload photos. I’m transferring my clients from Cushy to Surreal.

  • lida diyet zayıflama r10seoogle

    Thanks to a good explanation ..

  • Kiat Lim

    Comparing Surreal to Cushy, Surreal is much better without limiting the features of a free user, so with the 3 free websites you can do much more within Surreal.

  • Gimlimare

    For me Frog is lightweight CMS champ. I just hope that it will be developed into heavier divison.

  • lordkarl

    i’ve been using several CMS – nothing compares to JOOMLA!

    it has tons of components, modules, plugins and templates.

    so flexible and powerful.

    its just a matter knowing it better.. and your good to go!

    i totally disagree with your opinion, sorry..


    but a good start for exchanging experiences with CMS!

    … matter what, i’m with JOOMLA!

  • Martin


    read your article, and must say that your review of joomla is a bit week. joomla has changed alot since your article and commercial or not, what you pay for is support on setting up and getting updates.
    why not pay if you are not a developer?!?!

  • David

    I think a lot of people have things completely upside down. Your biggest mistake is in looking at it strictly from YOUR, the coder/designer, side of the argument. In the end it is the user/client who will be forced to swallow the garbage they’ve been promised would answer their problems. Just because you can code your way out of a box means absolutely ZERO to the poor schmuck who has to wade through non-existent documentation and pencil-necked retorts on so called “help” forums in order to fight with their “solution”.

    Whatever platform you settle on it absolutely has to be drop dead drool proof simple! Nobody has the time to diddle around when real work has to be done. They want something that works and it has to damn well work right NOW! I’ve had the pleasure and pain of being seduced by Joomla but if it were not for hosts that provided automated installs of this bright and shining lie I would tell others to stay the hell away. The back end is simply a mess. It reminds me of the joke of where you’re told a camel is a horse designed by committee. WordPress? That has improved a lot but I wouldn’t call it a CMS, not yet at least, but it too in the past has had quite a fair amount of problems yet they appear to have stronger hands leading development.

    In the end, as I’ve said earlier, all the fitful shouting about which is best, and the orgy of comments about this or that CMS, is quite meaningless. Find your end users and sit them down at the screens THEY will have to work with and if they can’t figure it out quickly then move on to the next until it flows for THEM…. narrow it down to the one that meets THEIR needs first and yours second and don’t waste any more time being cute or “creative”. It’s as simple as that.

    • cosmicblend

      Well put, selection of any CMS option for a client should come after thorough systems analysis and field testing. The CMS used should always compliment the business process and the websites visitors needs.

      Posts like these are great for constructive conversation, it’s sad though when they become a chest pounding fanboy CMS slugout. That being said I am a Drupal fan because I can build client focused content types. I also have a very keen interest in learning more about symphony-cms, it looks to have great possibilities.


    “Whatever platform you settle on it absolutely has to be drop dead drool proof simple!”

    So what in your mind is so simple… WordPress? Concrete5? Anything? I’ve personally never seen what you’re talking about, but would love to be clued in if you know the holy grail.

    Hardly anyone disagrees that easy to use isn’t highly desirable. The thing is, like everything humanity does…. there’s an evolution that needs to take place before we get there. What I want to know is when is life going to get drop dead drool proof simple dang it? Which developer/blogger(s) we blame for that???

    Drool proof is great, but not when simplicity sacrifices the functionality you need. In those cases, as in when we become doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. (there’s no software I know about that will pass the bar for me), we invest in learning in order to achieve our goals. Is it really expected that we shouldn’t have to learn anymore in order to meet our needs?

    “I think a lot of people have things completely upside down. Your biggest mistake is in looking at it strictly from YOUR, the coder/designer, side of the argument.”

    But have you also considered that time is money when you build or have someone build your site? Most clients, among other concerns, are concerned about budget. WordPress (for example) may be fairly simple to operate out of the box, but it can take much longer to develop anything design or functionality wise beyond a basic blogging site. It can be done, but simply is not the most efficient system to use if you don’t want a blog looking/acting type of site or if you need more complex features. This is what makes Joomla great in my book. The flexible module system for creating different looks and menus on different pages, and the 3rd party extensions which can’t be beat in open source.

    Basically as mentioned many times by many people, most of Joomla’s perceived shortcomings are based on lack of knowledge. A simple trick or an extension solves almost every problem I encounter. Not that it can’t get better… but I just find it to be the best balance of functionality vs. ease of use for me AND my clients. I think there’s a good reason why close to 1% of the whole internet is on Joomla (I think Al Gore said that). But you get to choose what’s best for you…

    “the orgy of comments about this or that CMS, is quite meaningless.”

    That’s a pretty bold statement to state that the passions, reputations, and livelihoods of so many people are meaningless. Frankly this kind of negativity reminds me of the health care debate and people like Sarah Palin yammering about “death panels”. A few people with a lack of understanding (but with a loud voice) spread their views, and pretty soon “monkey say, monkey do”.

  • Kevin

    What I can see in your assessment is a lazy web designer! Anyone who would call Joomla anything but the most powerful and capable CMS is someone who wants it done for them.

    The problem with anyone complaining about one system over the other (referring to the top of the line CMS) is they have NO idea or underlying education in what makes the CMS run in the first place.

    To anyone who criticizes Joomla I say this. Go back to school and learn html, CSS and basic PHP and stop trying to find a CMS that holds your hand to do everything for you because you are either uneducated or to lazy to get in and work the code. I have over 400 clients using it and have only had 2 that were unable to get it.

    If it was easy to create websites then everyone on this list would be out of a job! To anyone who reads this persons sob story. If you believe his crap, then you may as well tie your hands behind your back and get a web host that offers a website tool to use.

    To any retard that would say Joomla does not render good code. You have absolutly no understanding of the CMS and it is just as well you go with some lame CMS like Frog or Concrete5. LOL the two worse CMS’s on the web!

    I agree that Joomla has its issues but to blame the CMS for some of the crap code that is created to install into it. Really shows your ignorance and total lack of education.

    Who ever owns this site, validate it! Because it SUCKS!

  • Contorra

    when Joomla beats Drupal, let me know ;)

  • Ian Wright

    The problem with this thread, and what made me lose all respect for this author in every way, is that he is trying to compare things that are not “like for like” and then arguing the point.

    Drupal is an amazing piece of software, and many of the developers of Joomla are also developers at Drupal. but Drupal and Joomla are both set out to do different things.

    This “review” has compared, wordpress with drupal and Joomla as well as many others. Its a bit like comparing a motorbike a car and a van, they all have wheel an engine and can carry people, but in different ways.

    Joomla is extremely powerful and can do some wonderful things, but the reason people struggle with it, is because it has so much you can do, the management is a little cluttered. But what the author here and other people have not seen is that most of these can be turned off (Unpublished), so they don’t show in the administration system. So all they see is what they need.

    Also regarding the code it produces, depends on how you have it setup as kevin quite rightly pionts out. The entire Joomla and VirtueMart system produces what ever code the templates you add creates. If you wanted you could literally have a blank HTML page with just the output from the content you add into the edit box as raw html. Joomla allows you to add sub templates, so every part of it, is completely customizable.

    The templates you get as default are not meant to be used for every project you use it for, they just show the features it has included so you can then create your own.

    I hope this helps

  • Kevin

    I doubt that will ever happen. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against other CMS’s, in fact I design for and use many of them. My issue here is those who form an opinion when they have limited knowledge and ability!

    To say a CMS that is as popular as Joomla is crap and “Evil” is total ignorance. What is evil is the many extensions that have been developed that are crap and have no business being apart of it.

    I would think that the Joomla team would be as scrupulous about trash extensions as they are about keeping everyone within the boundaries of the GPL licence. Then I could without any reservation say anyone who thinks Joomla sucks is truly a newbie developer or just plain lazy!

    That said Drupal rocks as does many of the other CMS’s available. Limited as they may be, they fit a niche that makes them a great tool. Just as Joomla fills a niche only it is capable of filling many niches where Drupal and most others cannot unless you can code for them yourself. Great if you can but time limits what needs to be done and Joomla has a community that surpasses every other CMS that is available…

  • Ben Borges

    Sorry but it looks like you have been taping this post only to bash on joomla, have you had any bad luck with it ? i mean even total strangers (my experience) get along with joomla after a few explanations. the way you speak about it made me close your window ! you should do the same.

    • Kevin

      Ben, Who are you referring to? This would be one area where even the Joomla core rules over word press. As a blog program you would think it would be able to do something as simple as [comments] Especially since it is a reply to a comment…

  • Amy Stephen

    Anyone want to talk about US Health Care Reform?

  • dpk

    Did someone say health care reform?

    In the Joomla community, man oppresses man with the contemporary torture device, the user interface. With Drupal and WordPress, the reverse is true.


    Hmm… the ONE thing I can say about this site is that they allow a little off topic bantering, something (in the right measure) always good for the soul. This is very much UNLIKE, cough… the “righteous” Joomla forums. Ah em…

    Of course, our bantering is the exact reason this article was created. We all know that…

  • Amy Stephen

    I don’t think WordPress’s interface oppresses or is oppressed. It’s just a bit more limited in function but it feels good, like a comfy chair.

    • dpk

      yeah, up until the point where you want to reorder a bunch of pages and start longing for block/module placement control like in drupal or joomla without a bunch of template hacking.


        Yes, you said it. From a designer or template creating perspective, that’s one of the biggest areas that never seems to get talked about much in these discussions. It’s not that anything can’t be done in WP, it’s not that it can’t do a magazine layout… it’s that why would you want to spend all the extra time to make it happen? You almost might as well just design the whole thing Dreamweaver.

        You can instantly tell a WordPress site on the vast majority of them. There’s a reason… it’s not at all easy to break from the mold. Great tool for an easy solution for that type of site though. It’s no surprise it’s so embraced by designers in magazines and sites like this over Joomla. It’s so clean, Mac like, warm and fuzzy, etc. I agree with you on at least that Amy! Well, for me I guess I feel like I belong more in the band of Joomla misfits… a bumpy and imperfect ride, but gets you where you want to go.

      • Amy Stephen

        We are a band of misfits and it’s not an easy ride. My apologies for contributing to anyone’s sadness and frustrations. Not always easy to do things the right way. (Not an excuse.)

        If you are looking for perfect people, do *not* choose Joomla!.

        If you want an easy-to-use system that gets better all the time and you can accept people for who they are, warts and all, Joomla! is worth a look.


        Actually it’s not so bad, if you stretch out and watch mostly from a distance… Tried to get more involved with Joomla, but frankly it feels like an old boys club (with a couple of girls). Maybe getting better, we’ll see… but I’m absolutely not going to spend a bunch of valuable time in a direction that doesn’t make sense (not just to me but many, many others). The forum is not open to new or suggestions to modify existing plans if you aren’t apart of the club. Joomla has put a lot of lipstick on the reaching out to the community thing, but I’ve yet to see it really get the results and participation it would like. I wonder why? Well… I guess we’ll see what the future holds. If it changes for the better, I for one might feel like trying to pitch in again.


        Just to clarify…and not to discourage the 5-6 people who might read this… I mean in a direction that I’m capable to help in. Since I’m not a PHP coder, that would be areas like documentation. On the coding side of things, Joomla seems like it’s going in a pretty good direction.

        IMO for open source to be sustainable, it needs to figure out a way to bring together varying skill sets, empower them in the decision process, and allow some democracy/voting in the general community. Top down to a degree keeps the focus, but too much misses out on other perspectives (like from the people who actually use the system as end users or designers who build websites every day).

      • Amy Stephen

        Do you know of a community that does things the way you believe is right? If so, join them, Jason, and become a part of their success. What ends up making communities sustainable is volunteers giving of their time and skill. It’s a pretty simple model.

        Regardless of whether one helps out at Joomla!, or WordPress, or Drupal, knowing your efforts helped someone, or gave you a chance to learn technology with expert opinion at your side, or introduced you to new lifelong friends, those are some of the things that motivate people to contribute.

        I hope you understand, but, with that comment, I am now done. You no doubt suffer from the same challenges of limited time and unlimited ideas for how to spend that time. I do hope you find a community that fits right for you. And, I’m glad to have talked with you, again.

        Take care,
        Amy :)


        Hey Amy, funny… but I have no big beef with you, Joomla or really anyone I can think of (at the moment anyway!). You’re right, I have a lot on my plate. About to head out the door to a gig at a bar right now!

        Not sure why you get confrontational so easily. I’m just stating my view and you’re stating yours. We both have the right to our opinion. Actually, I agree with much of what you say a lot of the time. However… the one thing I don’t like about having a conversation with you… is you always seem to talk down from a position of authority. I don’t see Joomla or open source as Amy Stevens. I see it as many people.

        I respect and admire a lot of the views you’ve expressed, but to be honest, I don’t really appreciate it when you discount mine as you have several times before. It seems to me that you take even constructive critism of Joomla too much to heart. And I must say, I don’t like it when you kind of dramatically try to close the door to our conversation with a “final word of wisdom”… as if I’ve been wasting your time. Hey if you don’t have the time, then why write in first place.

        I say what’s on my mind, but I’m a very light hearted person who’d much rather make friends then enemies. You can be a friend any time you like… all you have to do is stop acting like a teenager who has to have their way.


      • Amy Stephen

        There wasn’t a single word in my response to you that was *remotely* confrontational. I have absolutely no idea how it could possibly be taken in that light. Have a great time at your gig!

      • Amy Stephen

        I have to admit. There is nothing easier than Joomla! for Templating.

  • Amy Stephen

    Check out Joomla! and Drupal nighties if you want to see where things are heading in the next release.

    Joomla! 1.6 nightly

    Drupal 7 nightly

    Aside from being a big Joomla! and Drupal fan, I think you can’t beat WordPress for blogging. It’s the world champion of blogging, bar *known* and future plans for pulling together WP and WPMU and BuddyPress will turn heads.

    Silverstripe is certainly worth a look. Everytime I look at that software, I am more and more impressed. I think they are still a year or two from seriously competing with Joomla! and Drupal but rapidly heading in good directions. In terms of slick interface, they have Joomla! and Drupal beat. In terms of extensibility, still work to do, I think.

    It is unclear to me how Concrete 5 made this list. Seriously. Confused.

  • Justin

    Became a wordpress addict, after using Joomla, and stopped with Joomla complete when 1.5 came out. It was ok, but i do agree that there are too many buggy modules, with insufficient community suppport.

    WordPress’s code is just way way more simpler, looking forward to more CMS functionality in the future, but i do realise wordpress is primarily a blogging platform.

  • Marcell

    Yes wordpress by far is the best cms. Joomla is just a waste of time. Great post!

  • Robbert

    Comment 250 will win a major prize right?
    Cause I’m (at least originally) an IT guys ánd a Joomla fan.
    I’d better hit the shelters for a while ;)

  • Keith

    I just learned that US Navy weather folks are moving to as open source CMS (Plone). Granted, Plone didn’t make the list of recommended CMS, but it has made a few of the comments. You can’t see it from the root level of the Navy site, but drill down to the Atlantic hurricane tracker and you can see it in the URI:
    Old non-plone version:

  • Kyle Ledbetter

    One really cool feature about Joomla! is that the administrator site can be themed as well. We’ve actually just released a free admin template that totally changes the experience:

    It seems the default Joomla! admin comes under fire in many blog posts and comments, but I don’t know if the authors or commenters even know that it has this functionality and versatility.

  • Carol

    I endorse all people citing MODx here. Great CMS both for programmers, designers and content updaters, it really should be on that list.

    The post points out some good tips, although some of your comments are a little biased towards Apple or against Joomla. Not that I hate Apple or love Joomla (I really didn’t like the latter when I tried it, some years ago), but this kind of partiality makes your posts feel much less reliable. Just something for you to think about.

  • lossy

    I like WordPress for blogging and love MODx for everything else.

    With the upcoming MODx Revolution, i’ll probably just stick with MODx even for blogging.
    I really love the fact that all templates never meddle html and php.

    I’ll lose the high number of available plugins made for Worpress, but will also gain a lot more control over my designs.

    No hacks needed, no php in html, SEO out of the box, with the huge documentations and tutorials coming along with the next version, MODx Revolution’s gonna be the next big thing.

  • JoomlaBlogger

    I wrote a blog post answering the claims about Joomla :)

  • JoomlaBlogger

    I wrote a blog post answering the claims about Joomla ;)

  • lossy

    I’ve read your post and… it’s not convincing at all!

    It’s just like someone ranting about WordPress being just a blog tool, and wordpressBlogger saying that it is not because they are hacks to sheat with it.

    Get the facts, Joomla is still on top, and is great in some ways, but is also lacking many things in many ways.

    And no, Joomla is not flexible.

  • Waddy

    Wow! brilliant! fantastic article AND (very very importantly!!) comments, i’ve read all 250 odd comments and excellent! so much feedback, choices, areas for me to investigate!

    Okay backing it up, i’m looking to implement a CMS system (now bearing in mind my area of expertise is more requirments engineering RUP, DSDM etc..) but I clear understand the need for my client to have CMS. with 40+ webpages it is impossible for all changes to be handled by IT rather than operational day-to-day staff so my requirements are:

    1. CMS deals with static HTML (40+ pages)
    2. 10+ users
    3. Open source? (would be nice…!! but not essential)
    4. CMS must be compatible with existing CSS/HTML/JS templates (although the JS should not really effect it)
    5. CMS will be used by ‘business users’ there fore must be USER friendly

    I am not one to recommend or not so it would be interesting to hear from the more CMS experinced folk here what the would choose or at least investigate for the above requirements.

    I look forward to it.


      Hi Waddy, from what you say it sounds like none of these CMS really will match your expectations exactly. It’s going to be a bit of work if you want to be able to add a CMS to a static site, although there are a few options if a very simple solution is good enough. Adobe Contribute is the traditional approach, but you need Dreamweaver to set up the “editable” regions. There are some new options like Cushy CMS where all you have to do is add some CSS classes where you want your users to be able to edit. Even though it may be easy to set up, I really couldn’t recommend any of these options for a larger site.

      All of the “full-blown” CMSs work in a similar way. They are database driven, meaning the content is separate from the presentation/template. You can transform a static template into a CMS, but you’ll have to replace all of the content, navigation, etc. with template tags, change a lot of CSS, and repopulate the CMS with the content. If you opt for this, I’d say go with either Joomla, Drupal, or perhaps Modx or Silverstripe (the latter seem very promising, but don’t yet have anything close to the community and extensions of the former). WordPress can be adapted, but it isn’t really the easiest choice for a business site. If you don’t mind commercial… Expression Engine gets a lot of rave reviews. So as you can see, there’s hardly clear choice! I’d suggest trying a couple and seeing what you think.

  • Waddy – Excellent points, so I need to highlight when I meant static pages, all the pages are CSS coded, granted this will take development time andr resources of which I am prepared to give. What i’ve sort of gathered is this list:


    from the discussion and your comments, engine’s such Joomla are very contraversial and in terms of requirements far exceed what we require, I believe your hinting that drupal may also be ‘too heavy’

    I would like to avoid any CMS which is infantile stage or has not a clear line of future development and support, there are others i’ve noted from the thread so to speak and you’ve mentioned them


    although I was looking for open-source CMS, expression engine as you quite rightly point out has been raved about, so from that I will indeed have to do some further analysis and downloaded a few demos/trials.


      I’m still not exactly sure what you mean by static, but like I said… there are basically two categories of CMS. A few that can be rigged into your static pages like Cushy CMS and Surreal. These are usually very simple and hosted by a 3rd party for a fee. Most of not all of the CMSs mentioned in the article are in the second category. But none of them (to my knowledge) will work with directly with your static pages. You should be able to use your existing CSS, but will have to either it to match the markup of your CMS… and/or change the output of the CMS markup (like tags, class and ID names) to match your CSS.

      As far as which to use or not use, as you can see from this thread.. it can be highly personal! I couldn’t tell you which is best for you, because there are way too many pros and cons for each of them and it really depends on the details of your project. Keep in mind that complex to learn and complex for the end user are two separate things. Joomla I see as being end user friendly but can be a bit complex to learn to build a site at first. Drupal can be tricky for both (although you can create your own admin templates). WP may actually be a good choice. It’s easier on both counts but a bit hard to get out of the typical “blog site” thing. Have you seen this link where you can demo each CMS:

      As far as Joomla being controversial, sure but what isn’t? They all have their pros and cons. I’ve worked with or at least tried a lot of these (and have been designing websites since 1996) and in my opinion Joomla is one of the best all around choices of the bunch. The author of this blog set a negative tone that was basically a rant with (mostly) arguably inaccurate facts. Sure if you have harsh words to say about something it’s going to encourage the same. Have you ever checked out the headline to comment connection on the drudge report?

  • lossy

    As a matter of fact, MODx CMS can let you use your own markup, with your own CSS.

    Absolutely nothing to change, no specific CMS CSS or rules, no PHP in the template.

    You would also be able to re-use your static content easily, and it would be presented to you with a hierarchical tree which let you know in one second the structure of your website.

    It may not be the best CMS, but it would be adapted to your needs.


      That’s really cool, I didn’t know that. Modx has been on my list to check out one of these days. The only thing is it really doesn’t have many addons if you need a forum, shopping cart, ecommerce or what not. But I’ve lost customers who wanted to add content management to their existing site, but didn’t want to redesign or spend a lot of money. Modx sounds like it might make that situation a lot easier.

  • Beetbe

    Awesome article. We like working with drupal. It’s really a great CMS ever

  • Cananito

    I’ve only used WordPress, and it works great, and I think it has the best community around it.

  • Waddy

    Some very interesting points made there, so my clients website has underwent a massive overall (Front-end redesign) with a lot of money spent, so if i’m making sense i believe some CMS change the front-end ‘look’ so it’s almost as if the CMS we require is not ‘seen’ at the client’s customer end if that at all makes sense?

    I had a very quick look at Cushy and it allows cushycms class to be added to webpages, good if you have few pages but not practical on enterprise level.

    Modx I will look at closely, i think it has a lot of when we may need.
    regarding your point on php.opensource yes I have looked at the directory, very interesting i’m not it matches our needs.

  • Another IT Guy

    Heh, came across this because it is wrongly categorised in google, but thought i’d look anyway.
    Can now say this website and certainly the author of this pathetic piece doesn’t deserve to appear in the first 50 search results after the stupendously badly thought-through tripe about Linux and Joomla, Especially in this day and age!

    Guess what missy? Linux runs your life. It’s the information super highway, it’s the big muscle that powers the iron on which your precious Internet is built so that simpletons like you can communicate with the rest of the world.
    The same Linux that brings you your visitors, serves you your search results to your browser, keeps your phones and tv stations running, and so many more things right up to your very own home. Ridiculous you say? what’s that router you have there running then? and that iPod? doesn’t say on the outside does it? but it’s in there, you bet.

    Then there’s the comment about the IT guy. Well, clearly you didn’t ask for his advice, seeing how easy it was for you to confuse WordPress for a CMS when it is just a blog engine. Let’s not forget the tacky shopping cart Magento and iWeb, a desktop web publishing program that doesn’t even cover the basics of what a CMS is.

    If you wanted to write an article about ‘How To Choose The Right CMS’ then your first assignment would have been reading up on what ‘Content Management’ actually means and entails, after which you should have researched the available online directories where CMS systems are neatly alphabetized just for folk like you, actually try some and THEN come back with a well founded article worth reading.

    Congrats on creating several pages of nonsense laced with meaningless pictures though.

  • ArtfulRoger

    Joomla is perhaps the worst ever created. This man is spot on- all those would-be defenders are either caffeine junkys or trying to save their ridiculous consulting fees. The mob doth protest too much.

    I’ve wasted so much time and effort and resources with my small company on Joomla. All I see here are people a:) blaming the client for being ignorant or b:) saying I’m not spending enough money on a developer. BULL.

    It may be ok in about, say, 10 years when at least one version and a base of 10 compnents are ready for a real Beta launch. Until then, AVOID AVOID AVOID.

    • Ian Wright

      I have spent the past 4yrs developing a Google Base component/plugin system to do one specific job, each time i release it, it needs to work on hundreds of different hosting setups, with different PHP types, different operating systems, not forgetting the browsers it needs to run through, with and without javascript turned on etc etc.

      The combination it needs to work on goes into the thousands.

      Producing a CMS (for free) for the masses is extremely complex and time consuming. I am about to launch Version 5 of my component now, which is built up through over 200+ releases.

      Now imagine that on an entire system the size of Joomla with thousands of files.

      I’m not sure why people cant get to grips with it???

      To add an Article (Web Page), you click “Add Article” on the admin home page…
      Complex ain’t it!

      If you want it in a blog, you set a category up called Blog and make a menu link to it called “My Blog” (or what ever you want)… I’m sure your still with me so far.

      Then the article you created up there, has a drop down box within it called Categories, where you can choose which category to put the article in. If it appears in the Blog category, it will be in the “My Blog” on your site.

      It really is that simple!!!

      The problem is, people want it simple, so they make simple CMS systems, then they complain it doesn’t do enough or they need more control, so we make it a bit more in depth for the people who want more functionality, then people complain “Its too hard to use!!!”.

      There are 2 main ecom shop systems built for it, a simple one (digistore) and a full on complex one (Virtuemart).

      If you want a simple one, don’t choose the complex one!

      How on earth can web designers cover everything our clients want with 10 components??? Even the 1000’s in the well organised and categorised extensions directory is not enough, which is why i started developing my own, so i can give my clients exactly what they want and give to others that need the same solution.

      If you don’t like it, recommend an alternative or make your own CMS and then see how easy it is.

      But don’t forget to give it away for free like Joomla after all those years of hard work, days and nights (and very late nights) looking at code, so ungrateful web designers can go onto a blog and complain its too hard to learn.


  • lossy

    Wow, the last 2 comments are full of hate.

    Take it easy people, we’re talking about tools, everyone can pick what they love.
    And if you don’t like the website, just go away to a “better” place with elites like you.


  • Ian Wright

    Your right Lossy
    But i don’t really agree, as i wasn’t angry about the talking about “tools”, I was replying to personal opinion on the work produced by hundreds or even thousands of people in thier own time… mostly for free.

    That’s why i said at the end of my reply to Artfullroger’s comment, if you don’t like it, suggest an alternative or make your own.

    I love constructive criticism
    “The reason why i don’t like it is because the colours clash too much, it would be great if they were red and green rather than blue and yellow as people with colour blindness will see it better”

    That kind of thing gives evolution and progression a chance, they give thier reasons, and what they see as a solution, not just venting anger at people charging too much to develop websites as they are too lazy/stupid to read a manual or watch tutorial videos by people like “DemoWolf” where you can watch them for free.

    It actually sounds like he has chosen a bad developer who has used Joomla and either hasn’t implemented it correctly or didn’t train him how to use it right. And is now pissed that he has paid money for a site he cant or doesn’t want to use.

    That’s a problem with his developer, not the tools.

  • April

    I’ve tried out a few CMSs in my day and I have always wondered how Joomla ever got so popular. I had to take over a SilverStream site and although it seemed good at first, in the end it was a nightmare as soon as the client started to ask for anything more than plain text pages.

    I have been using a lesser known CMS called E107 for several years now. I came across it because a friend had a site that used it, and almost from day one I found it user-friendly. It meets all your requirements – it’s not very big but it has all the necessary modules. It’s not small and has an enthusiastic community most of whom support open source and are happy to share and help. It’s just a bit geeky, but that means they have thought of things like SEO and metatags and all the things that a good website needs. It has the friendliest user-interface I know and my clients love it. I have clients with no technical background who happily do quite complex things with no training. Really, try E107.

  • iTravelHD

    I started reading “Top 5 Content Management Systems”
    “1. Drupal”
    ok, Drupal is good. powerfull. too much work for me but it can be at first place.
    My personal Nr 1 is Drupal or Joomla.
    than I read
    “2. WordPress” – wait, is this even CMS
    3-4-5 never heard of them
    and finaly AVOID JOOMLA, now I see why Joomla isn’t Nr 1 or 2
    somebody just has something against it.
    I use it and it’s easy to use, community answered to all my stupid questions even if most of them are probably in the FAQ section or the manual.
    So for me if you want to make good site with litle work and get support use Joomla. If you are ready to spend more time on your site and want to have more admin powers then probably try Drupal

  • Ian Wright

    Hi April, your right E107 was a great CMS, i used to use it before i found Joomla. But i do confess that i havent tried or used E107 since then so its been a long time.

    I should spend an afternoon trying them all out, as things must have changed since the last time i used many CMS systems.

    The best for functionality and SEO i found was TradingEye, which is a commercial CMS and Ecom system, but outstanding. It has been the winner of huge amounts of awards and been featured in many publications such as Times Online.

    Very impressive and best thing for me is they are local to me, 8 miles away in Newcastle, England :).

    So if i want support i can jump in my car and ask them for help and they will sort it!!!

    Open source is free, but support is always the problem, commercial is a little outlay, but you get 100% support by telephone or email (or over a pint)!

    And no I’m not affiliated with them in any way, so not trying to push them for any commercial reasons. In fact they are a webdesign company in my local area, so are my direct competition… i just cant deny the quality of thier CMS.

    • Christina Lannen

      I can’t really agree that TradingEye is a great CMS for ecommerce. I was really excited at first. It was so easy to add items to the menu, e.g., Information, but then the an ugly problem arose. Associating the menu item with a page.

      Even when using an absolute path it would throw 404’s.

      It has a bit more growing and polishing to do. I did love the back end interface.

  • lossy

    “I use it and it’s easy to use, community answered to all my stupid questions even if most of them are probably in the FAQ section or the manual.

    So for me if you want to make good site with litle work and get support use Joomla. If you are ready to spend more time on your site and want to have more admin powers then probably try Drupal”

    Life is not binary.

    Because you haven’t heard of other solutions does not mean that they are not better ones.

    Joomla is just like you said “doing a site with little work” – The important words are “little work”. Not to mention the templating system of Joomla who is quite ugly comparing to most recent CMS’s.

    Point & click systems are for point & click users.

    The only point where you’re right, is by saying that WordPress is not a CMS. He can just emulate them with a lot of core hacks.

    Peoples tend to say that’s because it is flexible. But flexible means doing what i want without modifying the core…

  • Chad

    I have not read every post here BUT I have been using CMS made simple and It seems to run great and talking about SIMPLE! Not affiliated but I do love it.

  • Tamsin

    I totally agree with your post. CMS can be problematic particularily for seo purposes. I have used a variety of CMS when providing seo services and there is only one that I would recommend as being very well thought out, in both design and functionalality. The company that have created and provide this system are

  • Web design UK

    I do not agree with your view on Joomla. I understand that Joomla can appear techy to the non programmer. However at the same time, I think if you are a programmer or technically sound then nothing can beat Joomla. If you see it purely as a CMS platform then I agree WordPress or other simple, light weight and easy to use software is perfect. However if you are looking to develop a web application the Joomla is the best. In the last 4 years I have used Joomla to design many bespoke web applications including some financial applications that involve complex coding in the background. Joomla is very powerful. It is more like a web application framework than merely a CMS platform.

    As far light weight use out of the box and usability is concerned, joomla 1.5 is a big improvement.

  • Peter

    – Joomla = evil
    I tested it over and over again… but always ended with headache
    to complicated, try to explain this to a Client??!!

    – Drupal = nice but very hard to install and to use!

    – CMS made Simple
    My current CMS, easy to install, simple admin interface….

    – to me most future CMS = WordPress
    Look so many templates, easy to install, google friendly…
    Lots if very nice plugins.. Testing it now.

    – FROG… I ‘ll give it a look

  • Jonathan

    I must admit, I rarely comment on posts, but this needs to be said.

    Let me start by saying that my team is a combination of web designers (on a mac) and developers (using windows). We’re used every CMS out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. That being said, we’re not newbies and I think we can clear up the air a little to save the Joomla! name. Given that less than 5% of the so called “web design” community actually know how to design websites, this should be helpful to any professionals looking for good answers…..

    FIRST OFF, It’s not built for the average user – It’s not for the Do-It-Yourselfer!. And we find that most of the complaints we see about Joomla! being “Evil” are from those who really never had anyone show them how to properly install, set-up, and deploy the system.

    If you want to have a good experience there’s 4 easy steps:

    1. Need it to look sharp and be search engine friendly? – Use

    2. Need that ugly admin interface to go away? – Use Joomla Praise’s “Admin Praise”

    3. Need more control over the WYSYWG Editor? – Use JCE

    4. Need to find out how to really use the system? – Get a professional!

    BONUS: Pay for good, solid hosting. If you go cheap and don’t get a Joomla! Hosting company you’ll never be happy. We recommend: Dream Host and/or SiteGround. They have no real support (they get slammed for not having phone numbers), but if you’re a pro, that shouldn’t scare you! I’ve never had to call them.

    True, Joomla! isn’t easy. But to get the same type of functionality that Joomla! provides you’d have to actually learn XHTML, PHP, Java, MooToolls, CSS, MySQL, and throw in some database knowledge for good measure. To produce a similar system could cost between $10K and $50K.

    I agree with 99% of this article, but that Joomla! slam seemed to be from someone either un-informed or maybe it’s just a personal issue? Whatever the case, it took us about 50 Joomla! Deployments to get it down to a science. And just when we got really good – We switched over to our own system… Go figure! Anyways, thanks for the post and I hope this helps.

    • Peter

      50 joomla installs, to get it down to a Science ???
      what about 1 install by using “CMS made Simple” ? or Frog…

  • Herton SEOmeu

    I learned more about cms today with this post than ever before.
    No wonder you have such a great page rank, you deliver value!
    Thank you.

  • Open Source Scripts

    I am not either a fan of Joomla (I’ve yet to see a CMS that satisfies 100% me as a developer or the client), but that “AVOID JOOMLA” somehow it makes me feel that this post is not a honest one – probably, trying to promote other scripts for any reason? Anyway, I would like also to recommend two exceptional scripts built in PHP: Elxis CMS and phpWcms.

    BTW, the post is very informative and education on how to choose a cms. Thank you.

  • Peter

    Recently I tested WordPress!

    I must say this CMS does it All!
    – lots of templates
    – lots of plug-in’s and some very nice Ajax supported like :
    * nextgen gallery (great must have photo gallery) easy and fun to use!

    * cform plug in (make your contact Form, fast and easy to use)

    – great community
    – easy use of tags together with Cloud tag’s plug in

    I have tested lots of CMS’s but WordPress is my favorite now!

    And Sorry to say but Frog is not even close!

  • Joomla Fan

    Joomla is not evil in fact I use it with free components/modules/plugins to achieve a very professional web site. I don’t deny that the other CMSs you list are good its just what you are saying about Joomla is a complete work of fiction.

    • lossy

      Joomla is actually exactly just what you talk about in your comment, a CMS to do website that “look like” professional website.

      But to do so, you have to think exclusively the joomla way and say good bye to html good practice and flexibility of a good php framework.

      This is not limiting, this is time consuming!

      Unless you’ve have a very good knowledge of the Joomla cumbersome coding conventions, or are simply a point & click user, this is definitively not a good CMS for custom look & feel, flexibility and good practice nowadays.

      And that conclusion is not related to the vast list of plugins available.

  • CarlS

    “Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.”

    You sir, are an idiot.
    You don’t much about “Linux” at all, do you? Linux isn’t an operating system. It’s just the “heart” of the operating system. So in reality, no one actual uses the Linux kernel by itself, just like no one uses the Windows kernel by itself either.

    Have you heard about Ubuntu? Ubuntu is an operating system using the Linux kernel which is soo easy that my whole family runs it on their computers. My family consists of, me, my parents, grandmother (not lying), sister and brother. They all have no problem using Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu is easier to install, update, install programs (What’s easier then going to the desktop, typing the name of the program and a install button?) and use then both Windows and Mac OS X.

    Next time you bash something without any actual facts, please think, and then jump off a bridge. Thanks.

  • ndowens

    I am sorry, but I don’t like that you said “Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.” You make it sound like Linux is like a virus or something. Only way to know if you like something is to try it, so don’t down Linux !

  • Henning


    I tried wordpress, textpattern, typo3 …

    But I’ve fallen in love with joomla 1.5

    Every output-aspect can be designed as you want it to.
    That J! is relying on tables is a really old story …
    Today you can have it all based on divs/spans
    The template-structure is so easy to understand.

    Of course the section/category-thing is stupid … but easy to understand.

  • Website Design

    I completely agree about Joomla, the user interface is horrible. WordPress is much more simple and intuitive.

  • Maik

    Mistake 5 is my favourite!!!
    Totally agree with it – unfortunately customers tend to believe in the Tekkie-Guys :-( i guess its why they don´t understand them ;-)

    IMHO Joomla has the only CMS-backend that a customer can manage. WordPress GUI is getting better…

    • lossy

      “IMHO Joomla has the only CMS-backend that a customer can manage. WordPress GUI is getting better…”

      Well that’s your opinion for sure, but that is not humble at all…

      • Maik

        speaking of my clients only ;-)
        Often people don´t know what a browser is! But those want an editable company website!!!

      • lossendae

        From my experience, clients tend to prefer the CMS that are proposed to them.

        Depending on the speech quality of the IT guy, they will eventually love one or another.

        I’ve actually made Joomla appear has a big messy CMS in front of Drupal while it’s the other way around actually.

        WordPress has a nice & beautiful GUI, perfect for blog or news oriented content, but it’s not designed to be used a CMS. Other tools do it better (and faster than hacking everywhere)

  • Aristo

    “Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.”

    ¿Inflict that kind of pain? Haven´t you heard about Ubuntu or Fedora, Kde 4.3, Compiz? those are a short example, those times where you had to be an software freak to use linux are past… What about Windows, that could be a perfect example for that kind of observation (Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good), millions of people use Windows and that’s really painful all that malware, virus, BSOD, drivers, crappy UI.

    I do understand that many people thinks “oh i’m going to be a web designer, i need a mac”, overpriced hardware with style, hell yeah that isn’t pain, pay twice the price to say “Hi i’m a mac”

  • The A Crew

    If you want to let clients take the wheel, do NOT use Joomla. Please, Joomla is like SO 4 years go! So many other superior CMS’s have evolved!

  • Alis

    Me most future CMS: WordPress
    Look so many templates, easy to install, google friendly… SEO
    Lots if very many nice plugins.

  • Amy Stephen

    I wonder how many select a CMS based on the Web site Template. That’s as valid as the depth of analysis in this “discussion.”


    Carry on!

  • matt

    For people using wordpress as a cms, the most useful plugins I have found are flutter to create custom write panels, adminimize to get rid of parts of the admin interface you don’t need, and front end editor for cool ajax editing of your site from the front end.

  • TheServant

    Good article. I have been trying very hard to bend Joomla! to my will and reduce it’s bulky- ness, and control the backend more automatically, but I have decided if I can’t do *everything* I want, I doubt my customers are going to do *anything* they want.

    I have no doubt that it can be mastered (I have to a point), but ultimately, it’s too bulky for what I want, so for now it goes back in the box and into cyberspace while I look for another.

    Also, the saying, “you get what you pay for” is no longer applicable. 100% Open Source all the way!

  • iklan internet

    what a great lesson that i’ve got. many thanks for you bos.

  • tobias

    Thanks for the article. You definetley know what you are talking about. Thanks for summarizing lots of things which I had in my head butter never came to put in order and structure like this.
    good job

  • Hammer

    Have you ever tried Konductor? It looks really promising – especially for Designers who use Dreamweaver.

  • Web Designer Dubai

    Really surprised by seeing your comments about Joomla. Word Press is just a child infornt of joomla. Though its very user friendly, but donot meet many of todays’ complex portal requirement.

    There are thousands of extensions to joomla. and most of them are free. Even if some are paid, they are worth to it. You can’t get a hotel reservation CMS for just 100$. Can you? Though Joomla it is possible.

    While implementing ofcourse, it is not for beginners.

    I have implemented over 20 websites in joomla and found it really great.

  • Christina Lannen

    I dislike Joomla intensely and have to agree to stay away from it. Too many things can just break it. I have better things to do than try and fix a site that shouldn’t have broken in the first place.

    I tried Drupal…yuck! And agree about the nodes and taxonomy.

    I love WordPress. I find it very easy to create custom themes for. Plus, upgrading is a snap. What’s not to love about it?! You are notified in the Admin when an upgrade is available, and the same for plug-ins.

  • revive

    WOW.. I THOUGHT this was a great review until I saw how biased you are against Joomla, which is not more difficult to use or extend than Drupal (I know, it’s hotly debated).. I would have sent this to many folks needing direction on CMS chosices, but your obvious bias – let alone lack of knowledge of what Joomla can do – would degrade our reputation.

    I hope you see fit to ‘update’ this post, to be either ‘your idea on how to choose a CMS’ or base it on facts and user feedback. Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc are all great CMS systems, DEPENDING upon what you are doing with them.. each has it’s strength and weaknesses. It is articles like this that people seek to find an honest comparison of those strengths and weaknesses rather than uneducated opinion.


  • Blogspot templates

    Blogger may be a great stable cms

  • web tasarım

    hosted CMS not good for everyone

  • lossy

    Well, don’t be so surprised, joomla can be good if you don’t need to personalize your website but once your out of the joomla box for a custom application and more when you want to use a lot of CSS’s magics, it’s clearly not the right tool.

    It’s a good point & click CMS, but it shows its limit when we look at the flexibility of the tool.

    As you’ve said, just choose the right tool for your work, but don’t blame others because they feel that joomla is somewhat cumbersome and heavy.

    • revive

      Obviously you either have little experience with Joomla and/or little knowledge of how to extend it properly. We have developer many custom applications for Joomla, as well as offered VERY easy to use admin interfaces for everything from blogging, article publishing, product presentation, downloads, reviews, and more.. it simply comes down to how you think about it.

      Yes, each project definitely deserves the right tool for the work, but if you think Joomla is ‘somewhat cumbersome and heavy’, then jump into Drupal ;) That being said, this thread reminds me of the myriad of folks that tout WordPress as the end all CMS solution – don’t get me wrong, it’s an EXCELLENT blog platform. But, when you experienced with only one tool.. people tend to try to use it for everything. When all you know how to use is a hammer,. every problem starts to look like a nail.

      That being said, Joomla is NOT the end all solution for CMSs and the ones listed above are great examples and should be taken into consideration when assessing a particular projects needs. It’s just a constant source of amusement to see people who ‘should be educated about these things’, make blanket comments like ANY CMS is evil, don’t ever us it.. etc.

  • Storm

    I completely agree about Joomla, I find customising it for my needs far more hassle than its worth. If its hard for me, I hate to think about the clients out there trying to get their heads around it.

    I prefer to make my own content management systems, i understand my code better than the cryptic nature some of the more bulky systems are coded in and I can customise my own systems to fit the needs of each website in half the time it takes to finesse an out of the box solution into what I need

  • Jäson

    I’m sorry, but if you don’t jump on to Joomla 1.6, your missing out. Joomla 1.6 will workout many of those things people used to hate (I included), and if you learn write your own extensions, which will be simple and well documented in Joomla 1.6, you can do anything you want. Joomla is the content management system for web developers who want to be able to hand over something to their client without having to teach them too much (ahheeemm… Drupal). Drupal is an excellent system if you don’t plan on passing the site off- all other cases, Joomla is your man.

  • Logo Design

    The info about joomla is really an eye opener. Can you also please post some detail about FCKEditor. I am using it in small projects and its sometimes causing problem as a rich text editor.

    any info on it would really be great.

  • Alex Sirota

    300+ comments later and not one mention of the MovableType/TypePad combination? Wow, someone is missing the boat from SixApart on responding here, but that maybe because they are servicing so many functional, operational blogs and websites. The direct competitor is WordPress, and there are a few very important differences that I’d like to point out for any professional consultant who deploys these systems for their clients.

    There is something about blogging platforms that has struck a chord for people used to implementing and using CMS systems from the late 90s. In those hey days of the dot com bubble, companies built overly complex systems with functionality that only 10% of the population could use. The basic functionality of editing and publishing content was poorly implemented along with everything else, but there were hundreds of features.

    In more modern system, designers figured out the top features (maybe 10-20 features) that 80% of the world really uses and refined those so that they are easy to use and implement. The other 20% they left for plugins and widget providers and literally for other companies to take care of (ecommerce is one example).

    A CMS does not need anything for selling products or keeping inventory. That’s the job for an ecommerce package. Integration between the 2 should be seamless and that’s where I see systems like MovableType/TypePad going: seamless integration with best of breed solutions for getting the job done. Modern tools are good at one thing rather than be average at 10 things. And integration between different tools with RESTful APIs make it possible to cobble together some amazing solutions for clients.

    Instead of looking at the CMS space as 1 solution to get the job done, I like to look at the space now as the right solution for the right problem.

    If you, like me, implement websites for small businesses there are 3 main things that they are worried about:

    1. Looking great online
    2. Making the website EASY to administer, even for an administrative assistant who does a million things PLUS editing the website
    3. Having great support

    Ease of installation, maintenance of the software, plugin availability matters very little to your clients. All those things matter to people who IMPLEMENT CMSs but not to their clients. And that is what I keep in mind when choosing a system.

    Having used MovableType since 2002 I recognized that technologically it may not be the best platform choice (Typical LAMP with P for Perl!). But since SixApart launched TypePad and continues to provide a solid, supported and easy to use service I can’t say enough about recommending this platform for any business. Having implemented this solution for several businesses I can easily say that it fits all the 3 items above, and it is super cost effective.

    If you actually implement websites for clients have a look at TypePad or install your own MovableType — you won’t be disappointed.

  • Ahsan

    I really like your blog, it really clears mine confusion about the CMS. But one thing you should not do is the way you tell about the joomla!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If any one of you tell me about the DOTNETNUKE and its cros and pros, i will be very thankful to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Trish

    I may kick myself for saying this later, but I actually like using Plone. I’ve used it for about three years for work, and while there was a learning curve at first, I’ve found there’s a hell of a lot you can do with just CSS. The clients we teach to use Plone (for adding/managing content) generally start with slim to no web experience (sometimes even computer experience…) but get around just fine using Plone.

    I should note, however, that I’m fortunate to not run the set-up and administration. We have a great sysadmin guy who takes care of all that. =)

  • eysha

    i got a bit upset when you said joomla is evil..then, i read your explanation in one of the comments..and i thought “oh, that was it”…
    your post is nice and informative,,yet you have to note that this is your personal take..writing your own experiences and suggestions…
    beginners might not be able to try out new things, which could have been helpful to them…
    good luck on your future articles..

  • Flv Player

    in my point of view.. Joomla is a wonderful CMS which is getting famous by every passing day. Building a website through Joomla involves less time. Within the shortest span of time, we can build a wonderful website with excellent content management system.

  • pceasies

    I agree with the whole Joomla argument. I’ve been developing a site using it, which I’ll probably switch to something else, and I spent hours figuring out why the search was routing through all these php pages and filters. It also is very bloated and slow. There is a lot of code in Joomla that could just be deleted.

  • shantee

    I have to defend Joomla because of the many great website i owe to that cms and the time i saved with it…Joomla is great, and when you get to know it you can do whatever you want ! and that’s not true you can find great component for free (k2, phoca gallery etc..)

  • Scott

    Hi guys,

    I’m very new to WordPress, but am impressed by the plugins. However, slightly off-topic, but I’ve created a CMS that contains a few of these features either as standard, or as a plugin.

    An online demo and a free, downloadable version will be available very soon and can be seen at I’d be interested to know how it compares for anyone who is familiar with wordpress.


  • matt goatley

    A lot of really interesting arguments on this page.

    Bottom line i think is you have to follow the advice in the article! Research which cms suits your needs.

    Joomla, typo3, magento, wordpress, silver thingy… I have used a lot of different cms systems…

    download and install some different cms types (make a short list after your investigation into which one suits your needs)

    Have a play try out your ideas and look at the code!! if your going to be customizing your cms find something compact (if your a beginner)

    GET a CSS editor for quick template alterations and quick roll out on ideas.

    Truth is you have to get your hands dirty a little bit!! if your planning a custom site.

    If your just after a blog change the images a round on an existing template.

    The cms system you choose i guess is personal preference.. Everyone likes to think they have made the best choice.

  • Tramadol

    Thanks for a great post!!!
    Great article. It cleared lots of confusion.

  • Flash CMS

    First of all thank you for the useful tips, Jason! I agree with most of them. But let me add one more thing.
    Any content management system should also provide SEO options for easy search engine optimization. And now CMSs that provide deep linking, 301 reditects, google analytics integration and other important features have more advantages over simple website control panel.

    As for CMSs mentioned in the post, I love Drupal. I’ve chosen exactly this CMS when I had to create a website urgently and had no time to read the documentation. Drupal is mostly intuitive.

  • cms

    I personally love WordPress and Joomla because of its simplicity and easy admin panel. Thanks for sharing other top CMS too.

  • Christina Lannen

    I just finished moving and upgrading a Joomla 1.0 to 1.5 site with someone else and it reminded me of why I dislike Joomla. Templating completely changed, no free upgrades on plugins/components, I could go on.

    Give me WordPress with it’s 1-click upgrade and the same with plug-ins. I’ve used several paid WordPress plug-ins and they have free upgrades.

  • Chotrul Web Design

    Quite funny reading your advice on Joomla … exactly my own feeling – as CMS it sucks, and trying to do SEO on a Joomla site is a nightmare! But then again, it is on Drupal too!

    Suggestions for picking a CMS? If you care about search rankings, research very carefully indeed which one you choose, because the differences in how friendly they are to the search engines is absolutely massive.

  • Jillk

    Joomla and Drupal are both fine as CMS’s – only if you are understand PHP and configuring servers. WordPress is a bit easier, but I prefer Konductor for sites that just need to manage simple content.

  • Mike

    I just wanted to pimp Expression Engine! Very powerful and easy to get started for people that don’t know PHP.

  • Freelance Web Designer

    I’m Web Designing Company owner designed 100s of websites in joomla. Joomla is basically made for programmers who design site for their clients. Their are many themes plugins available in a earth so you will use them for your needs. But I’m 90% agree with your post instead of Joomla Review. As you haven’t used Joomla Much Before i haven’t used Drupal. So i’m going to getting start with drupal may be it will help us to create clients website more easily! then joomla.

    Other Wise Great Post…… Thanks

  • stargatesg1

    I am supprised that didn’t make it

  • Zequez

    I made my CMS by myself ^^

  • Kyle Racki

    I love ExpressionEngine, and I know it’s not technically ‘open-source’ in the sense you mean (one time license fee, but still built off of LAMP model), but it is still the best money spent for complete ease of use, robust functionality, first and third party support, stability – the list goes on. I don’t work for EllisLabs, I just love their product.

    For those saying it’s too expensive, give me a break – $250? If your client is paying you to build the site, just build in the cost for the CMS! It will save you hours of custom coding.

    @Joao Carvalhinho An EE thirdparty developer has created Wygwam CK Editor – awesome WYSIWYG support for ExpressionEngine.

  • Carlos

    I disagree with Joomla badly treated without giving specific reasons. It’s like flying a 747 jumbo jet or a small plane. Everything for what was done. I managed Joomla for years and I find it accurate and powerful, yet so simple if you want. WordPress is a good choice for sites manageable, but if it is an encyclopedia of 8 volumes with 45 chapters each, and 100 articles, chapters, video, etc, use drupal or joomla. No one spoke of Adobe Contribute software that converts any static site (HTML) in a fairly easy CMS.

  • Carlos In this site all CMS, demos and downloads.

  • it´s me

    there´s another great CMS which should be mentioned in your list: TYPOlight ( ;-)

  • http://noneed burak

    I wonder if the author had joined any of joomla forum !!! every day tons of people are helping each other for free!

    Huge Community is something GREAT because you can find all level of help any time,

    for an example; i am a developer and i can meet with developers from all around the world 24 hours a day, can author tell me if it is possible for a small community which has just 50-100 developers…

    You are a funny guy…

    • lossy

      Well, you should step out of your Joomla world and see what’s in the world even for “small community” who are often welcoming and technical for some younger powerful projects than your favorite CMS.

      I’m thinking about MODx or Silverstripe Forums for example.

      No to mention the fact that the code that they use is cleaner, lighter and faster than Joomla’s mess (legacy).

      • Amy Stephen

        MODx and Sliverstripe are both definitely doing some very cool stuff.

        Joomla! 1.5 is is a refactored architecture from Joomla! 1.1 (and Mambo before it.) If you get a chance, download it and check out the object-oriented code base that has been crafted into good design methods, including the MVC for components. Joomla! 1.6 is cleaner, still since backward compatability to 1.1 can be dropped. Getting away from PHP 4 will also help clean up that code.

        I definitely recommend anyone who is a fan boy of one particular CMS to check out some of the other work these various communities are doing. Pretty spectacular stuff coming out of free software. And, as a hint, the learning from open source software extends *between* our communities. If you aren’t looking around, you aren’t learning all you can. Both MODx and Silverstripe are worth exploring.

  • il_cezinho

    Nice post. My site was make with joomla and I didn´t know about some CMS. thanks

  • Neri

    I am afraid you are quite mistaken about Joomla. You do not need to spend large amounts of money for great functionality. In fact, Joomla has a vast community of 3rd party developers that offer extensions for free and reasonably priced which include, a few free cck’s, document managers, and form generators to help build any type of website. Joomla training can be found for free online…,, and just to name a few. For resonably priced monthly training is a pretty good resource. Joomla is a pretty well documented cms and more than that a large community of developers, designers, and users always working to make things better.

  • Taimur Aziz

    I used Joomla since it was mambo and I built more than 60 websites using it .. All I can say is that Joomla is a great and easy to learn/modify/template CMS. Joomla 1.5 came with great improvements. I found the “Template override” feature is the best improvement. Recently JoomlaWorks released an amazing extension for Joomla (K2) which is a Content Construction Kit .. By using Joomla 1.5 + K2 I think your creativity is the limit.

  • Jenny

    Thanks for the overview. It’s nice to find some simple alternatives. I’m testing out FrogCMS now.

    It seems like people have some strong feelings about Joomla. I think it’s important to keep in mind the scope of the project. There’s no reason a small site would need to be implemented in Joomla. Drupal and Joomla are more appropriate for larger sites.

  • Steve

    Good point Jenny. The size of the site is 95% of the choice. For huge sites Joomla and Drupal are usually worth the effort since they usually have the budget (both time and $) and the plug-in requirements. For sites that just want to manage content, I am starting to use Konductor – no server setup and works with Dreamweaver. For in between I use WordPress, but I hate having to design in WordPress (as well as Drupal & Joomla). Great comments everyone!

  • Josh

    Joomla is actually currently (10/14/10) number 1 CMS out there.

    I’m just saying…

  • MOOF

    OK lets few things sorted out here. Your choice of Drupal as no.1 is a fairly safe bet and inline with my opinion and probably most peoples. WORDPRESS IS NOT A CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM unless your content happens to be a blog post or a page. WordPress has become bloated and stuff breaks when you update it. Trying to get wordpress to be anything other than what it was designed to be (blog pulishing platform) is a waste of time that makes you own ‘Linux’ statement laughable, wordpress doesnt even have a decent working cart!

    Joomla does have some issues which everyone knows about like bloated code, crap control on permissions but both have been adressed in Joomla 1.6 which is in late alpha already. Joomla is a good choice for small businesses, although you are very correct about the abundance of crap plugins and people who expect payment for them.

    Drupal is the only CMS that encompasess every senario so even though it has a learning curve that is way steeper than most it saves time in the long run.

    NOTE: the drupal 7 alpha is worth checking out if you want to see how things should be done and will be in the future.

    • Richard

      I agree..
      Wordpress was not intended to be a CMS – just blog publishing.

      Using it as a CMS means twisting it to act like a CMS.

  • afino

    I like to use WordPress CMS. It is nice-looking and simple one

  • Neil Lancia

    I agree with your thoughts on Joomla completely….I wish I’d seen this post a year ago!

    Dissatisfied with the other choices on the market (including the ones on this post), my company decided to invent our own CMS. Most folks don’t know that we’re responsible for inventing iContact because we’d gotten by as a custom web design firm for years. Our CMS, called Eden Platform, is specifically designed for SMBs and includes built in SEO suggestions to help novice users get the most out of their content. Now we’re entirely focused on providing the best CMS experience of our target market.

  • Car Transporter | Igor

    How can you say joomla is evil, I started out with joomla and it can out pretty good. It was simple enough to use and i didn’t have to spend any money to learn it. Good thing for youtube, it has all the tutorials you will ever need to learn joomla

  • Becky

    I’m really surprised about the massive hate about Joomla. It does have a learning curve, but I love it for complex sites. All you need to know about Joomla is there are 4 main parts.. components, modules, plugins and content. Not that hard. I have done a zillion sites in Joomla and have had to pay for maybe 2 components (each under 50 bucks).

    I’m not sure why you consider Magento as a CMS since it is an e-commerce system. It has a steep learning curve, is almost impossible to skin, needs very specific system requirements, is a pain to install, full of bloat and is a resource hog. If only there was an alternative to Zen Cart!

    WordPress is my favorite as a CMS, but Frog looks really interesting.

  • scruffyloather

    apparently there are two types of people –
    1) designers and people who call themselves ‘developers’ but really know very little
    2) web developers
    and what you can take out of this whole ruckus is that if you are not a proficient developer then stay away from trying to develop with joomla. you will get confused and end up hating the whole system and maybe even writing vitrioloc blogs about it.

    joomla is a complex system compared to many other cookie cutter type setups (well, not that complex, i mean it hate to see you guys try java=magnolia) and if you dont know php then be careful.

    perhaps some of the fault is with the way joomla is marketed i must admit. it used to be a simple system now if you dont know php you prob wont be able to do much with it.

    oh an lols about the linux comment.

  • jeprie

    This site focus on design for web. Not 100% programming and all those code. So, as a designer i follow walter’s quote. “Joomla is evil”. Joomla can be used for a great site with complex usability. Buat a design is focus on simplicity and user experience. So, i guess is not working for most web designer.

    • scruffyloather

      I dont understand why it even matters for designers? i mean you guys are just in charge of making templates right? it shouldn’t even matter if joomla itself is difficult, its not like you need to get the site running

      • lossy

        Good designer’s know how to code a clean html template relatively easily.
        Good developpers know how to “work” with designers. Devs who think that “they don’t understand designers, because thay don’t make the site running” have a real problem IMO.

        Joomla just complicate things for designers, most of the the time thay just give to devs a mockup of the site and let the developper “try” to make joomla bind to the design as much as possible.

        The result is rarely as great as it should have been because devs are NOT designers.

        A good tool let the designer do the design and the developpers do the logic behind it without them having to try each others specialities.

        But i can see with your comment that user experience and effective collaboration with a team is not important in your eyes.

        A website is not just for coders. Try to understand the job of other if you want them to understand yours.

  • Neil Lancia

    What about the end users…the folks who maintain the site once the designers and developers are finished.

    IMHO, this is the most important audience to consider when evaluating an CMS. If the end users don’t like using the CMS you’ve selected CMS, why would they come back to you for other projects?

  • Term papers

    Excellent job of breaking this down. I wholeheartedly agree with your post.

  • Poonit Patel

    Very nice researched article……..Very good post on CMS ever.
    Thank you very much for sharing.

  • CMS Web Designs

    Personally I find wordpress is easier to use out of the box and ongoing. Joomla is great for larger or ecommerce sites but is over-complicated for the majority of people. IMO

  • scruffyloather

    The comment/slight on Linux is revealing and relevant: He/she doesnt understand why people would want to suffer Linux. But as any happy Linux user will tell you – its complexity returns you more power once you understand it. It’s the same with Joomla.

    The thing with Joomla is it’s becomming more of a framework than a CMS and the time it takes to master it could be more wisely invested inOr since a full-blown web framework like Merb/Grails/Django. Or if youre stuck on php – cakephp etc.

  • Collins

    Which of these works with .net?

    And which – if any – has the best accessibility (Section 508) features?

    Thanks ~

  • Web Development

    awesome article

  • daddydesign

    would you choose drupal over wordpress?

  • Marco G.

    People that choose wordpress as #1 are definitely making blog sites. They lack the needed skill to make complex functionality, probably web enthusiasts or web designers which find dreamweaver or frontpage mandatory before going to a CMS.

    Joomla! and Drupal are complex CMS and you need a bit of PHP, HTML and javascript knowledge to get things going. Add some useful tutorials and you’re set. If you’re not into this and if your idea of a CMS is drag&drop or look-a-like sites, or if you avoid tutorials, then learning is not your thing and you should avoid using professional CMS’s.

    In the end it all depends on what you want to do and … The sites you show as example are quite simple … so no, not all of us are bloggers. When those “simple” CMS’s start having more development requests to add functionality, you’ll see your beloved “friendlyness” going down the drain. That’s a trade off most programmers know beforehand. Heck, am I talking to a programmer ? Most probably not.

  • akshay

    >> Just because many people are using a CMS, does not make it good. Take for example the huge amount of people who insist on running Linux. I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.

    WHAT F*CK SENSE DOES THIS MAKE? this author has just lost it on extensibility and purpose, which is the most required feature in any cms!

  • Talbert McMullin

    I’m running two different sites that work together. As a photographer, my needs are different from most. In 2004 I was new at this and used MS Front Page to build my original website. It worked…usually. A couple of years ago when MS quit supporting FP, I tried something different: WordPress. Yeah, I know, WP was originally designed for bloggers, but it’s turned out to be very functional with the right template and plugins. When you have 20k+ photos, both film and digital, like me, loading one at a time can be a pain. I need to upload TONS of photos, but still have a place to write articles and do a short blog. So why not have two websites feeding each other? I did that recently and created a sub-website powered by none other than ZenPhoto. If you’re a photographer, it’s heaven. It’s an extremely focused CMS. Perfecto!

    I’m still working on the system. Eventually, my WP site will function as a “teaser” site with a link to the sub-web, where visitors may search through thousands of photos. It will take some time, but I do make money by taking pictures that are sold to publications.

  • Marco G.

    >>>I still have no idea why people wish to inflict that kind of pain on themselves.

    LOL ! That’s how you see it ? I know lack of knewledge can bring pain. But only for those with lack of knowledge … It’s like putting someone inside a Ferrari with their eyes blinded: it’s just a car and you can’t see the road.

    For the rest it’s pure and simple bliss !

    Now I know this review doesn’t worth it.

  • Talbert McMullin

    I’ve been running Linux on an old laptop for several years and I’ve grown to love the way it performs. When you are browsing the Net in Firefox, it’s hard to tell what you’re running, as it looks nearly identical on all platforms. Linux may be the desktop of the future….you never know!

  • Kimberly McCabe

    I have to agree with dabigcheeze’s comments above. It is rare for someone to migrate from a really good commercial cms like sitecore to an open source platform. As a marketer, one thing that worries me about open source CMS is the geek-friendly implementation. I was doing a contract in Paris for a top MBA school and the open source platform they were using went was practically unusable. The people who built it had left the organization…nobody knew how to upgrade it. So they decided to use EZpublish. I’ve read a fair amount of decent reviews in Europe on EZpublish. But when the developers came to my office to train me on the new CMS it was all I could do not to laugh hysterically. It was the worst integration of a new CMS I had ever seen. And for months…every time we needed to make an update we ended up calling the IT department. It was terrible. Now…what I do most of the time is work for a CMS consultant…so maybe I am a little biased. Anyway, if you are looking for a large scale CMS for your company-you are way better off going to a company that has done a myriad of different projects that is more experienced at selecting a CMS whether open source or commercial – than the combined forces of your IT department. Just that alone will save you time, money and headaches.

    • Collins

      Does anyone have suggestions for a CMS that can handle server-to-server content transfer? We need to load and approve content in QA, then upload it to Production.

      I’ve done this with Documentum Web Publisher, but it seems a lot of these smaller CMSes have a one-to-one ratio with the environment they’re in.

      We’d like to also find a CMS in which the content (HTML pages) are not dynamically generated by a database.

      Thanks ~

      • Neil Lancia

        You may want to try Hannon Hill’s Cascade Server….though it may be overkill for your needs.

  • Talbert McMullin

    You make a good point, Kimberly. Unfortunately, most commercial CMSs are financially out of reach for single users like me. At this, how could a one-man show like me benefit from a commercial CMS anyway? When my net profit tops a couple of million bucks, you are the first person I will call!

    • Neil Lancia

      Hey Talbert….our solution, Eden Platform, is a commercial CMS and it starts at only $10.00 per month. We have lots of entrepreneurs and small businesses using it because it is so robust yet affordable.

  • Aredee

    Wow..!! Great comments and discussion…

    But.. because I am newbie in CMS I need some help from you all guys and gurls..

    If i want to create a community website, to handle text, document, photo, video and discusson either in public or personal section… which CMS are the best? So far I heard ModX and Typo3… but what are you all suggest? this portal will have a lot of upload materials & news in main page…

    well… thanks in advance… :)

    p/s: still learning…

  • Phil (Blue Llama)

    Hmmm… was kinda enjoying the article until I came across the “Avoid Joomla” section. It seems like you must have had a bad experience with it! It’s vast array of extensions and community are one of it’s best features! Most extensions are also free and while there are a good load of cr*p ones it’s pretty easy to determine what these are. WordPress is definitely coming on leaps and bounds but it’s still aimed towards bloggers which isn’t great for a business website.

    Good article but a little harsh on poor Joomla I feel!

  • Lara

    I think that writing off of Joomla! is unfair and unfounded.

    If you had provided a little more insight before ‘slamming’ it then perhaps I would’ve read this, raised an eyebrow and moved on – but I honestly believe Joomla! has it’s place in CMS options.

    With regards to customisation and managability Joomla! is boundless. Granted that you can’t set it up in 5minutes but you can also achieve things that many of the other systems cannot – thanks largely to the community you mentioned.

    I have also found that the support base for Joomla! is emmense. That is something that keeps amazing me when building sites on Joomla!.

    You cannot honestly say ‘Avoid Joomla! Completely’ when writing an article on CMS. It’s like saying ‘Avoid Breathing’ when advising living life.

  • Dalar

    Very surprised at the Joomla! hate. For having developed sites using CMSes for years for numerous clients, Joomla has been nothing but great for extensibility, and ease of training clients in editing articles and adjusting their site.

    Drupal, on the other hand, is a nightmare in the administration end if you try to do anything besides editing articles. Unless you’re a huge geek — nothing wrong with that, but I’d never trust a client to edit their drupal site, I’ve received too many requests to fix Drupal sites utterly destroyed by clueless clients who had it recommended and setup ‘by a geeky friend’ who disappeared when it came to supporting said client. It’s great if you’re a software engineer running a website, great, in fact. You have all the knowledge you need to run that puppy. The guy without the degree or programming experience, though? Not so much. (Also – not having upgrade path from each version to the next.. wtf? I’m never going through that nightmare again.)

    WordPress I also have trouble recommending as a CMS. I’ve had to fix a couple sites with it because of unstable plugins killing the site. Great for blogging, and if you’re someone who can live with keeping the plugins to a minimum.

    Magento is awesome.

  • charlie chandra
  • Talbert McMullin

    Oh, come on, folks! No one “hates” Joomla. Those who do not like it or use it may be in my position. I am not a professional designer and I found Joomla to be clumsy. Sure it has capabilities, but I need something fast and easy to work with. The sooner I get my stuff online, the sooner I’m back out in the field….making money!

    As for WordPress, yep, it’s primarily for blogging, and best of all, it works. Pairing it up with Zenphoto has worked out quite well.

  • Henning

    may I point you to

    a very easy and powerfull joomla framework ….

  • Alex

    I never read an more uninformed blog article as this one. Nearly all the statements you made are not fully wrong but so misinformed, that it is a pain to read.
    iWeb is no CMS and will never be a CMS. I like Macs but NEVER EVER let “the Mac guy” decide anything in IT alone. You forgot many CMS – because you didn’t do research as you yourself told us. You didn’t disclose your disliking of Joomla, I too do not want to use ist, but because it doesn’t fit my needs.
    And why is commercial that bad?
    This article is not nearly as good as I am used to from this site….

  • yoomark

    I think the best CMS is Joomla………..

  • http://Imnottelling Mike

    Wow! Can we say biased? I’ve used both WordPress and Joomla extensively, I can tell you I hate WordPress. It is the definition of evil to me. Am I biased? Sure, but I’ve made my judgement based on using them both. Yes, some plugins are required for certain specialized uses in Joomla, but I find even more so with WordPress. The differance is, Joomla has far more flexibility in how and what things are displayed, and on a per page basis and the module system is far more advanced. No, the admin back end is not the most user friendly to a novice but it’s my experience that the novice client just wants me to edit their content anyway.

  • Ewel

    This seems to be a good article, but clearly it isn’t. Your calling Joomla! evil makes me think the rest of the article is probably as non-sensical as what you’ve written about Joomla. I know Joomla well and learned it easily from CMS knowledge level zero. I’ve been able to explain the administration to a non-techie in five minutes. Aside from a few individuals there is nothing evil about it. Thousands of free extensions are available. Perhaps you should follow the key value of open source: be transparent and disclose what specific bad experience you had with a third party developer that made you write in such a vengeful way. Joomla isn’t evil, this blog post is.

  • Farm Frenzy

    Drupal is best for bigger website with more content but it’s difficult to understand for non technical users. Joomla is really easy to install and it’s admin features are simple to understand. While WordPress is best for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purpose as it have many available widgets which can be installed later. Depending upon requirement for webmaster every every cms have it’s own features so select the one which best suits your needs.

  • Henning

    again would like the “avoid-joomla”-people to the gantry-framework.

    Free, easy to use, full of features:

    960 Grid System
    ( – 12 & 16 Column Support)

    Stunning Administrator interface

    Gantry provides a uniquely intuitive interface to control all aspects of the design
    XML driven and with overrides for unprecedented levels of customization
    Gantry is easy to configure, customize and extend

    Per menu-item level control over any configuration parameter
    Layouts, colors, features, etc can all be different for any menu item
    Preset any combination of configuration parameters, and save custom presets
    Creating custom presets allows you to easily save any combination of configuration settings for later use

    Built-in extensible AJAX communication layer
    Our powerful AJAX system allows dynamic functionality in features as well as opening up AJAX to 3rd party extensions

    RTL language support
    Gantry makes it easier than ever to develop Right-to-Left (RTL) based designs for languages such as Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi

    Built-in CSS and JS compression and combination
    Reduce the total number of requests for your site as well as adding compression for maximum page optimization

    Flexible grid layout system for unparalleled control over block sizes
    Control the sizes of your blocks with our simple grid layout controls
    Optimized codebase with speed, size, and reuse core tenets of the framework design
    Gantry is more than just unparalleled flexibility and control, it also provides a powerful basis to build professional quality designs.

    65 base module positions.
    To get you started right we’ve included plenty of modules, but adding even more is a trivial procedure

    38 possible layout combinations for mainbody and sidebars
    The mainbody and sidebars now have an unprecedented level of control. Gantry provides support for all kinds of layout options

    Source-ordered 4 column mainbody
    With up to 3 total sidebars, Gantry allows you to achieve highly complex mainbody layout scenarios

    Many built-in features such as font-sizer, Google Analytics, to-top smooth slider, IE6 warning message, etc.

    Easily add your own unique functionality with Gantry’s feature support
    Ability to force ‘blank’ module positions for even more advanced layout customization
    Create layouts with blank spaces or complex alignment requirements with this functionality

    Flexible parameter system with ability to set parameters via URL, Cookie, Session, Presets, etc.
    Any parameter can be configured via XML to be settable from a variety of mechanisms for complete customization

    Table-less HTML overrides with content overrides based on excellent GNU/GPLv2 overrides from YOOtheme

    Gantry designs provide modern table-less output for the best in SEO and usability

    Standard typography and Joomla core element styling

    Great typographical features right out of the box

    ini-based configuration storage for easy portability

    All configuration options are stored in simple text-based ini files

    Automatic per-browser-level CSS and JS control

    Advanced control of CSS and JS for any specific browser version allows browser bugs and issues to be isolated and patched with a minimum of fuss

  • Serena

    Joomla is great. And deplorable is what you’re saying about it. That just shows that you never tried it and you’re just hating because you do, that’s not a constructive criticism, for sure.

  • Roland

    Just thanking you for all the amazing content on the site, it’s specially helpful to people like me who are just starting out. I just started using WordPress and after working with Drupal and Joomla it’s by far more easy to get up and running.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Kevin M

      The problem with the web is that to many people with no prior knowledge will believe the first thing that they read.

      Your comment is a classic example of this. I agree with you but please do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for a fundamental understanding of the differences between the available tools. This is so far from “good work” it is not even funny!

      Just because a website looks good does not indicate that the author has a clue. This editors comments are based from someone who sets in a small room with absolutely no clue and even less ability. I read morons post like this all the time and it only shows their intelligence or rather lack there of!

      Do you see any author comments to anyone? That should tell you the whole story right there!

  • Veronique

    I had a client who came to me 3 years ago with an existing JoomLa site. This owner of a regional company with close to a hundred employees hired me to do his web site updates because neither he nor any of his employees could figure HOW TO USE THE JOOMLA ADMIN INTERFACE. This COMPLETELY NEGATES the purpose of having a content management system.

    Not only that but the template used tables for layout. The monstrosity obtains to this day. In fact, I have to go post the latest updates to it now. Internally it’s such a disordered system, it’s like having to periodically enter the mind of delusional paranoid. I do indeed hate it.


    • http://cual Mmed

      With three years Porbably have in your hands a very old and made into tables, in addition to the 1.0 system. The tables do not allow web semantic structure. I think that before (and hate) you should investigate. It’s like someone asked to do something in Photoshop and use it if I did not say that Photoshop is bad (and I hate it). You’re totally wrong. You must investigate as well as the author of this article.

    • Kevin M

      3 years ago Joomla was just becoming a CMS. Your claim is dated and your knowledge of Joomla! is as current as Dreamweaver 4.

      With the popularity of Joomla getting stronger anyone with your frame of mind better just stick to simple html websites.

      Closed minds are not the leaders and contributors of innovation. They are the voice of ignorance, which category you fit in is generally founded by your education, you willingness to learn and your ability to comprehend.

    • Marco

      Veronique, sorry to burst your bubble those close to a hundred employees are either incompetent or not ready for such task.

      In a nutshell, joomla admin is divided in 5 basic notions:

      1) components
      2) modules
      3) plugins
      4) templates
      5) articles

      Usually webdesigners have some difficulty understanding this notions. But hey, more complicated sites require webdevelopers, people that usually don’t give up until they understand how things works, which are different from webdesigners, freaks of the drag and drop enchilada and extremely fond of rich visual interfaces. Really … complex integration is not their thing. Nevertheless, any competent webdesigner after reading a damn tutorial can start playing around and understanding this basic joomla notions.

      But anyway, webdesigners can make cool and good looking wordpress sites. But most of them lack the expertise to produce rich, integrated and full of functionality portals or sites. But what about Joomla for those guys ? Hmmm, too complicated for those little minds …

      To each, its own …


    Or if he wanted a much bigger bang for his buck, he could have come to me (or a local trainer) for a few hours of training. It aint that hard! I mean seriously. If I in 4 hours can teach Joomla’s back end to a group of receptionists who couldn’t before hand do much more then log into email, I’m sure this employer’s workers could have easily been trained on Joomla.

    And it’s simple to update. It sounds like you must have missed the array of Joomla updater installers (2-3 clicks) on the Joomla extensions exchange…

    Lastly, that’s a really outdated argument about the templates using tables for layout. Joomla can easily have semantic output. Just use a better template! (or create one yourself) I’m sure WordPress and Drupal have to have some table based templates floating around out there too.

    I’m sorry to say but my guess is that YOU Veronique don’t know the Joomla interface, and therefore weren’t qualified to offer your assistance.

    Anyways, this dead horse has been beat into the next barnyard already. You can see that quite a large number of people… clients and professionals… completely disagree with this point of view.

    • kimberly

      I don’t think its necessary to make accusations or assumptions about someone’s level of expertise. There are plenty of people who do not like Joomla. There are also plenty of people who don’t like PCs! Personally, having used many different CMS I don’t think that it should take 4 hours to teach receptionists or anyone for that matter. Not for basics. I’m guessing that people who do not like Joomla have had a better experience with another CMS. There are indeed a great many CMS out there that have great functionality but have a interface that many people do not find intuitive. But let’s not make this personal. Whenever I see someone respond too harshly towards someone’s negative opinions toward Joomla, it makes me wonder if they work for Joomla or have other close ties. And of course vice versa, if someone’s opinions are too over the top toward Joomla for example – it makes me wonder if they work for a competitor.

      • Kevin M

        Work for Joomla? Hmmm, that answers much of my claim!

      • matt design london

        Hear hear… (at Kimberly) nothing to do with how you look wink wink..

        My challenge here is to you all.. what is needed is the shortest possible way to tell people which CMS to pick.

        Joomla – if you have a custom complex site in mind great, also good for small sites but isnt the simplest to use..

        WordPress – Great for blogs and news and keeping folk in the loop..

        drupal –

        I think you get the point truth is personal preference is key, if you dont like it dont use it. Keep It Simple Stupid the best things to use dont need a manual.!!

        Everyone is entitled to the say but slagging off a system or having a pop at someone for their point of view is wrong!!

        Point out the merits of one over the other, joomla isnt rubbish or hard to use for a trained / semi skilled web designer but probs a bit of an uphill battle for a newbie

        all of these systems are good and i am looking forward to seeing what wins in the long run. Gona turn into another “mac over pc thing i think”…

        Don’t bog yourself down with learning a cms become a jedi / master at semantics and use a good wysiwyg css editor like stylemaster or css edit.(lots of good ones out there) learn about building to good standards and practices and then apply that to a cms template!! which cms? dont really matter unless your good at general code and editing. IF being good at code / css is a problem stick to a simple cms that way you wont have to get your hands to dirty and you will get a rewarding experience

        Remember its not about being right its about helping people!


        Hi Kimberly, with all due respect I did not make an accusation. If you wanted to fair, you’d see that this person made several statements that have no truth to them, statements that anyone who has spent just a little time with Joomla knows to be false (or at least false in the last 2-3 years).

        So how long do you think learning the back end of a Content Management system should take? Wouldn’t it depend on what and how many things they need to manage? Actually if they only need to add or update normal articles, with Joomla we’re actually done in about 30 minutes to an hour or so. Of course if they want to be able to update menus and modules, moderate a forum, moderate comments, manage media, get some advice on how to effectively write articles, add attachments, copy and paste from external documents, manage a social network, etc. the time is going to add up no matter what system you use. I also teach WordPress (which many consider easy) and I can tell you depending on the requests, it can take as long or much longer than 4 hours. Especially if some of the content is hardcoded, as is the case with in a lot of WordPress sites (not so with Joomla).

        There are plenty of people who like the color orange but do not like the color yellow. Nothing wrong with having an opinion as long as you’re honest and don’t condemn someone else’s in such a strong way (or if you do, be prepared for an open minded debate). And sorry, but making strong statements that are both unresearched and false, (and not being able to back them up) doesn’t lend a lot of credibility.

        This could have actually been a good discussion, but unfortunately the author of this article didn’t wish for a discussion… they wanted a controversy. ;)

        I don’t work for Joomla by the way, all though I have contributed… as have many, many others because that’s how open source works. I just like it and think it deserves a ‘lil more credit than this!

  • Talbert McMullin

    Aw, come on folks! God made many different CMSs for a reason!

    • Kevin M

      First Joomla is a company and now God made them all? What is with you people? No wonder the captcha on this site is so simple!

  • Talbert

    Kevin, what on earth is wrong with you? Where is your sense of humor? You are taking this whole thing too damn seriously. Lighten up or you will worry yourself into such a frenzy that you will give yourself a heart attack!!!

    • Kevin M

      LOL, I am not taking any of this seriously. What gets me is those writing on this list that don’t have a clue and are!

      Thanks for keeping it light though, have a good one;)

  • permatec

    I don’t know why you hate joomla so much.But i like joomla so much as you hate.The cause is unexpected to select main module from huge amount of module.So will it ok,if you don’t found any module in drupal or wordpress ?I again say joomla is the best CMS

  • Roland

    I believe that every CMS has its own unique qualities and so doing it has setbacks as well, for example why would you use WordPress for eCommerce if you can use Magento? WordPress is a BLOG! and that’s what it should be used for! Joomla has more functionality when it comes to creating a corporate site with no functionality setbacks; I have seen some amazing thing done with Joomla. I personality use WordPress cause its does what I need it to do… Blog, and having worked with many free and commercial CMS systems I would only use WordPress, Drupal and Joomla depending what the site requirements are, it’s not about who has a longer (censored), it’s about what you’ll be using the CMS for in the front end… You can always train someone to use the back end, it they are willing to learn. If your template is set up the way it should be set up you’ll have no difficulty no matter what CMS you use!

  • Talbert McMullin

    Roland, I agree. I would add that the days of the typical static website are fading fast. It may also mean that the days of hiring someone to build and/or maintain your website either part-time, full-time, or on contract are also coming to an end.

    • matt design london

      Roland & Talbert
      Right on guys!! very well put.. For years now i have said website design (not high end custom coding) will bite the big one as many print designers and other designers have made the step over as things have gotten more simple. (no offence print people)…
      Personally i only got into web because the motion graphics market died a death a while back. I have learnt css i have learnt xhtml and php.. many years of pulling my hair out with different CMS systems taught me one thing DONT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET! you will end up paying the price! Get good at re-skinning pages and turning round custom layouts in general.. Dont stick to one cms to much as with all computer orientated things “here today gone tomorrow”. Even the mighty joomla could become something else…! or any other CMS for that matter so preach all you want fellas! Chop and change is the flavour with websites!! People who develop open source are constantly moving forward all it takes is one massive brain fart and we will all be running for new knowledge because we all fall foul to progress. Lets just hope woman don’t teach battery operated devices to earn money then we will all be doomed.

      Go look at how many out of date technology formats their are, Roland and Talbert know im sure, There is a thing called Continued Professional Practice! It’s important otherwise you become out of date very fast, who went on a course lately? hehe….

      • Kevin M

        The problem with your point of view is it makes you a jack of all trades and a master of none! Not a viable place to be in this ever changing market. To be a master at anything takes time and dedication as well as a little faith.

        To each their own but when I was looking for a viable solution I wanted one that was powerful enough to do everything I wanted it to do. Joomla is that and more and cannot be said by any other CMS. That power in itself is what drives the community and is the reason that Joomla is here to stay.

      • Talbert

        Technology has been both friend and enemy to me. In this day and age, technology can force us to become “jacks of all trades and masters of none”. For example, I started my career as a radio broadcaster. Satellites came along and suddenly stations were simulcasting from a single point and many local on-air personalities were out of work. Out of desperation, I went to the National Weather Service to run the NOAA Weather Radio system in my state. Couple of years later, guess what? I was replaced by a synthetic voice software application! Goodbye, job! And it went on and on. I eventually learned that change was the only constant and that I had best be one versatile person if I intended to make a living.

        Here’s another good one: Remember your old insurance agent? Tell him “Goodbye”. He is being replaced by the internet. Folks are rapidly moving to purchase insurance, annuities, and investments by internet websites. Goodbye, job! (Again)

        Guess what I do now? I work for a computer company (on contract, of course) out of my home! No bennies, no medical insurance, no paid vacation, no paid holidays. (Oh, and for less money.)

        Now, tell me why we must be masters of anything! The days of a single occupation for life and job security are going the way of the horse and buggy. Speaking of, auto manufacturers and related industries are fighting to maintain the survival of the internal combustion engine. When it goes, more jobs will be lost, as electric cars would requite much less maintenance. (More technology)

        Welcome to the 21st century—while we find out place amidst all the change

      • Christina

        I agree that we shouldn’t be the masters of just one thing or just serve one segment (specializing in a certain industry such as real estate).

        Many people when they make the move to where I live (small island in the Caribbean) completely reinvent themselves or work multiple part-time jobs. Some do it out of necessity and others just to do something different.

        You have to be flexible.

  • Ed – Web Designer

    Agreed – Joomla sucks now, and WP is king. Apparently some decent ecommerce modules are available for it too now.

  • Marco G.

    Of course joomla sucks in the eyes of a web designers. They need a simplistic system to perform their limited functionality work. That’s why WP is king for them.

    As joomla goes beyond the notion of what a blog is, its complexity baffles WebDes and their little minds. They simply can’t understand what to do with so many options and functionality. I once knew of of those fellas (webdes) that also said joomla sucks, but he simply didn’t understand what a plugin does or how to manage modules and positions. Ignorant conclusions have a relative importance. In my book it translates to none !

    And hey ! Thank god for decent ecommerce modules. But please, don’t push it more because things can become unsustainable, bigger and more complex. Just imagine if WP reaches the functionality level we can see in joomla ? Those poor minds wouldn’t cope with it and change back to something like “CMS from Scratch” …

  • Ian Wright

    Re: Ed Web developer
    “Agreed – Joomla sucks now, and WP is king. Apparently some decent ecommerce modules are available for it too now.”

    That kind of sums up this crap thread really, you are comenting on how poor a bit of script is as another is much better “apparently”. So you dont actually know, its just what you have heard by some bloke in the pub called Jeff, and he said hey mate that joomla is crap you know, but word press has some great eccomerce plugins.

    If your going to post something negative, research it first, that also goes for the writer of this review.

  • Iza

    Joomla is deep crap. I used it once as “end user” and I bugged every 10 seconds. Really, if your client doesn’t have the best internet connection, they will hate the site you’ve built for them sooooooo much!. If you want your client to be confused and you want them to loose time a lot. Go! Joomla Go!

  • Marco G.


    You bugged every 10 seconds ? Either a faulty install or a faulty brain.

    Anyway, listening to first impressions on complex systems can give you a mental diarrhea sometimes.

  • Paddy G.

    good article alot of good comments and have to agree joomla is something i did consider a while ago and i decided against it as it was quiet confusing and trying to show a client how to use it was tricky and so i ended up going for drupal instead.

  • thetoast

    I disagree with Mistake 5 Allowing an IT Guy to Pick the CMS, if it wasn’t for the IT guy ( choosing Drupal 4 years ago and employing me to learn Drupal I wouldn’t be in the position I am today earning a fat wage as a Drupal contractor, this is a personal reason why I disagree so feel free to disagree with my disagree, which would only mean one thing, you agree :)

  • Ann Neo

    I have been using Joomla from the past 3 years and so far it has been working quite well for me. Not a big fan of Drupal or WordPress. WordPress can surely be a good choice when it comes to start a blog. But when you talk about E-commerce websites i could not find any better option than Joomla yet.

  • landscaping Liverpool

    I love working with joomla, it’s very easy to install and use, also there are many shopping cart we can use with it.

  • matt design london

    joomla is only evil if you dont keep on top of it!! and be warned folks its prone to php injections and all sorts. Word press does quite well at lots of things.

    word press for small sites / joomla for bigger sites is the way i run it, but hay its not set in stone

    Matt :)

    • Kevin M

      Matt, any site that has dynamic content is subject to all kinds of bad things. One thing to remember with Joomla is it is not the CMS itself that is the problem. It is when you install crappy extensions that you get in trouble. Also running a dynamic site on a crappy server is even more prone to trouble. The ones that complain and say that Joomla is easy to hack needs to consider where they host and what they themselves have done to make it hackable. All of the bad extensions are listed on the Joomla website and should be avoided unless they have fixed their problem.


      I think it’s fair to say that Joomla is a pretty big target for hackers. I’ve only had one of my own sites hacked so far, but people have come to me several times w/hacked sites. That said, I have to agree some of what you both said. Keeping updates and backups is critical. Also since Joomla being the “scrappy but strong” CMS that it is and also that it is a very international software, there are a lot of people on the cheap running on substandard hosts. Bad hosting in the end was the culprit for the site of mine that was hacked. After all remedies, it kept getting hacked… several times in a row. But as soon as I moved away from cough… BLUEHOST… to a host that actually cares (BH policy is customer is always to blame no matter what. Their email to my client was that we violated terms of agreement for installing malware!), and applied the exact same remedies to the last clean backup, problem disappeared.

  • Ian Wright

    This is exactly right, Joomla only gets hacked into, if you don’t keep it updated, or if you have the permissions set wrong. But this is the same for any open source script, as hackers sit and try and hack into it for days, as soon the compromise is found they then share it amongst themselves and it is the job of the open source community to find a patch to fix it.

    We had one client recently using Joomla 1.0.4, which is about 50 versions out of date, and was the hacked into. We told him why, but he said he didn’t want to be updated to 1.5.X as he prefers the way 1.0.X works, so we refused the job.

    Also if a hacker gets in, there is a chance that they can then get hold of all sites using shell access on the server, even if it is not your reseller or VPS account. So it may not even be your sites that are the issue, it could well be another out of date site on the same server but with a different hosting account.

  • Jon Stimson

    We have developed our very own CMS specifically designed for our clients school websites. Our school websites can be updated and edited within a matter of minutes, without the need to learn coding and all of the techie stuff. Have a look at our website and tell us what you think!

  • Alt Web Design

    For me its Drupal is the best CMS.

  • Esher

    The writer of this particular article seems to have little to no technical or web design expertise. Shooting down well known, well used CMSes. Making comments about an operating system he/she clearly does not understand at all.

    While its true, finding the right CMS is a tough thing to deal with and the writer has a few valid points, their grasp on the concept is weak at best.

    Very disappointing and poorly researched article.

  • Lakeside Techies

    Very helpful article to choose the right CMS. The joomla feedback was a bit scary for me. I have not used it in any of my projects. But yes, wordpress is my first choice and i’ve tweeked frog CMS as well.

  • Ralph

    Very interesting article – if I had known all this about a year before, when I began to look for an easy-to-use CMS.

    I spent weeks with trying to understand Joomla – and I didn´t succeed. For example there was no real help how to install it on the server and make it work. A nightmare for a graphic / screen designer like me, who hates all this programming stuff. An absolute no-no for non-programmers.

    What a difference with WordPress! I could make it run within an hour or so, and it is so easy to customize! I´d say YES to all the points of your list.

    But I´ll have a look at the other systems – it´s never too late to change or to learn another technique…

  • Marco G.

    Thanks Ralph that’s a sincere and intelligent comment. That’s all I’m saying people, the best CMS is the one you can adapt to. And I believe designers feel much more comfortable with WP or Drupal than with Joomla. It makes sense.

    As for myself I use Joomla because I’m more a programmer than a designer and I need the extra power and extra complexity to do what I want and what is needed.

    I really hope some people could be more flexible when it comes to this issue, instead of calling names and “reasoning” about things they can’t understand. Namely, the author of this article …

    • Alma

      Thanks , im a designer and for what a programmer needs it’s awesome, but for what a designer needs when ur looking for something unique, not only clean and nice, could be hell.

  • ferrett

    Hi everybody
    I’m just starting all this CMS business
    I just discovered WIX a week ago and started working on it, it’s very easy and has nice layouts; BUT then I came accross a site saying how horrible they are etc… especially their support and biling (link
    Then I wonder isn’t there bad reviews on every CMS (il does look like it after reading this)

    I’m LOOKING FOR something in the same style easy to use with nice layouts WITHOUT HTML an FREE (I was wondering if any of these sites are actually free for a basic site or do u have to pay after a year or to put it online Or to have your own domain….)

    Thanks for your help experience and advices (+ stop arguing life is sweet :)

    PS : Can you ask to be paid to design that kind of site wich is allready half made and if you can what is the “normal amount” to pay?

  • ferrett

    PS link to the wix if you don’ t know it and want to have a look to give me your advice and discover new stuff (their are so many I don’t know what to do!)

    I started on wix and appearently you can’t get back the work you did and put it on another CMS is it the same for all of them?

  • Peter

    Great post. I am also interested in enterprise content management systems and read this article earlier

  • 16 design UK

    Joomla, pure evil? Yep. I’d agree from an end user perspective; unless we want our clients to have a buggy nightmare linking menus to pages and other unecessary activities negated by better CMS’s. It’s also plagued by plugins that don’t support the latest release, leaving affected clients wide-open to the hackers that love to annoy the open-source communities so much.

    Purely from a security perspective WordPress is little better – though even Matt Cutts had his own wordpress blog hacked. Surely he should know better? For this reason alone, I’d never choose an open-source CMS for a business if it relies on its website and online reputation for income.

    From an end-useability perspective wordpress is pretty good, but clients then have access to break too much stuff – you can’t lock it down.

    If you are a professional, then IMO you can’t rely on “freebies” to resell to your clients. You need something more robust, where you aren’t reliant on charity to make something better.

    It all depends on the client and their needs as to the “Best” or “Worst” CMS.

    Everyone has different requirements, but from our experience, our clients need:

    1. Ease of use
    2. Security
    3. Stability
    4. Support
    5. SEO-friendliness
    6. Scalability

    If it doesn’t tick those boxes, it’s not fit for the purpose.

  • Marco G.

    “If you are a professional, then IMO you can’t rely on “freebies” to resell to your clients. You need something more robust, where you aren’t reliant on charity to make something better.”

    Argumentum ad crumenam. Lol, got to love that fallacy …

    “Purely from a security perspective”

    Define “security” through a modular and complex system. “Site security” is an expression few people fully understand. A question about security: What is the importance of a web server configuration when comparing it to the programming language and DB choice you’ve implemented ? What’s more important: A well configured mod_security and mod_rewrite, isolated DB servers and strong WS access controls politics or a “secure” and paid CMS ?

    Btw, regarding customer requirements I fully agree with you. Nevertheless, concepts like security, stability and scalability rely on a synthetic judgment. Which means, no straightforward empirical analysis will ever tell you if you did things right.

  • Andrew H

    Inflammatory opinions (re: Joomla!) are fine for generating blog traffic, but they need to backed up with logical arguments or examples. Joomla! is suffering in reputation from the earlier Mambo/Joomla! Hybrid of version 1.0 – that’s not what Joomla! is today. Your average Joomla! web site will also tend to compare badly to Drupal – a system that tends to be used for larger size businesses and organizations, both in terms of clients and web developers. Of course Drupal sites look better – they require more initial knowledge and development, and more professional teams to create them. The same principle applies to the dead-simple WordPress blogging platform – limiting features can make an interface and application *easier* to use, as long as 90+% of your web sites are strictly blogs. Some of the statements in the article are testably false as well – for example, basic Magento add-ons are much more expensive than the many comparable free ones for Joomla! and WordPress.
    The premise of this article rates different CMS platforms by how much the author likes them, or how easy they *seem* to be to use. That’s nonsense. Organizations need to evaluate the right web platform for their organization based on the project requirements, flexibility, and feature options that they *individually* need. E.G. – WDD should be evaluating the “best” blog, feature, eCommerce, etc, platforms – just not whatever falls under the rubric of CMS. If the author doesn’t know that, than he or she shouldn’t bother with writing this kind of stuff, and WDD shouldn’t be publishing it.

  • Perry

    Our company switched to concrete5 almost two years ago, not long after it first went open source. Clients love it. As a developer, I love it. The low learning curve for clients and the quick development time and the ability to cleanly extend the functionality has brought us a lot of referrals and repeat business.

    I wholly agree with this article. The other CMS’s mentioned are doing a lot of cool things, but C5 takes the cake.

    oh, and Joomla is a Clusterf*** of impossible spaghetti code and conflicting UI theories.

  • Marco G.

    Got curious about concrete5 and checked out their page to find out more. I’ll definitely try it as it looks ok for a simple blog. But anyway, some extensions are a bit too expensive for its purpose. Like $55 for a calendar ? Come on…

    Anyway, some things I don’t like reading regarding a paid solution like the ecommerce component roadmap:

    “We’ve been working fast and furious to get this eCommerce engine out the door so you guys can start using it on real world projects.”

    Wait ! You pay $95 for something not ready for use on real world projects ?

    Sweet “complex but complete and free” virtuemart…

    Then the whole idea, “so we know full well that as this is used in the real world there’s going to be discoveries of missing features or neglected corners”, … $95 … but then you have to pay even more for stuff they call “extras”, which should be included in any standard ecommerce solution using the name “ecommerce” ?

    Their commercial approach to the CMS market is not convincing at all. Simply because you feel you’re paying more for less …

    Nevertheless it’s a good effort, and with the free extensions, stuff like blogs or simple sites can be achieved. I’ll keep an eye on it !

  • Shahaan

    This One looks very promising i tested has the ease cushy and flexibility like expression engine and more over no coding required.

    save any html/css you like and port it to couch with only two lines.
    take a look :)

  • Shahaan

    and it is free for personal and non commercial use

  • Marco G.


    Hey ! Thanks for the link ! That really seems a great cms. I’m baffled with its easiness. I’ll definitely try it for simple projects.

    … and btw: webdesigners, that’s the cms for you.

    Thanks again Shahaan !

  • Dave M

    What this article is missing is a discussion on the hosted, supported and turn-key CMS solutions. Lots of organizations are looking at Drupal, Joomla, WordPress…whatever, but they don’t want to have to find hosting, install and configure the software and add-ons, point their DNS, move their current website, etc. all by themselves.

    In these cases, there are a number of vendors out there that host content management systems and can help your organization do everything it takes to get their site up and running. Not only that, but they will support you throughout the lifetime of the website. Some of the most important considerations for any business, church, not-for-profit, club, association or other organization should be:

    “Who do I talk to if it stops working?”
    “Who will train my people?”
    “Who is keeping this software up to date?”
    “Who is optimizing the database?”
    “Who is managing security?”
    “Who is maintaining and tuning the network and servers?”

    A turnkey solution will do all this for you so you can focus on what on the C in CMS, content.

    TriplePixel offers turn-key, supported content management at and church content management at

  • Buttonbelly

    Huh, that silly sentence about Linux looks like a professional way of ruining a nice article. Or may it be the way to get more comments? In either case, most people will just ctrl+w at that point.

  • Buttonbelly

    I guess I was too harsh on that one. Really, the article is helpful and clear. It’s just that calling Linux a “painful experience” works similar to a screamer in a youtube video about Japanese rock gardens.

  • chris

    Most of the posters miss the point which is that the article was looking at CMS applications that can be easily used by non tech website owners, with no extra hassle.
    The last thing you want after completing your web design is to start receiving CMS support calls from frustrated clients, that are having trouble ‘getting this thing to work,’

  • Michael Kramer

    Thanks for the review! I agree with most your comments, including bashing Joomula.

    If anyone is looking for a hosted CMS that is SEO friendly, and many drag-and-drop features, you should checkout The site deploys in a few minutes, you select a starting layout and add your own CSS if desired. Very good for Web Designers. Excellent Support!

  • Mike

    Thanks for a great post! I wish you posted this many months ago when I spent wek after week, looking for the right CMS. In the end I picked Joomla, because of its popularity. But my decision was wrong! In the last 2-3 weeks I’ve wasted countless hours and days with Joomla! The Joomla support is awful! The Joomla code is also awful! For example, I made several attempts to Install Joomla, but it is not installing! Not even the newest 1.6 version! A configuration file is missing, for example! Thanks to you, Joomla developers! Then I found Joomla templates were and are NOT editable! You cannot even find the file where the editing could take place! Thanks to you, Joomla developers! A lot like the old-old, outdated “Navigator” browser, the Joomla code is bloated beyond belief! The massive Joomla community is NOT friendly, NOT helpful, and NO help at all! Joomla looks great mainly because of commercials like “more power under the hood!” – which is one of the MANY examples of false advertising by Joomla!

  • Marco G.

    Mike if you can’t even install Joomla! then you shouldn’t use it. Seriously, I love Joomla! because I do have the necessary skills, you hate it because you haven’t. People like yourself should use wordpress, drupal or any other no-brainer CMS.

    Btw … man I just edited a Joomla! template. It must be some kind of magic or something … oh ! and the configuration file … it’s created after you install Joomla! . Wait ! That’s weird … it should guess webserver, DB and all the rest before installing it huh ? Does it Mike ?

    Like I said: Don’t use it !

  • Daniel Maffioletti

    all cms make yours good work. but this post is much polemic

  • Cmorales

    Well, nice article but I think you have some (maybe purposely) explosive statements.

    I have been using Joomla for a year and I want to try a new CMS because I am not 100% satisfied with it, but I wouldn’t say it’s evil.

    I agree with some other comments that only programmer should use “promising” CMS, because that means they are in a sort of alpha version.

    And that sentence about Linux… For God sake, stop licking Steve Jobs’ ass, please! I have used Windows, I have worked a full year with Mac (and it’s way better than Windows) but I have been using Ubuntu Linux for a year and I love it. It’s not a pain in the ass, believe me. Actually, I wouldn’t use a Mac even if someone gave one to me for free.

    • Cmorales

      And by the way…iWeb a CMS? Come on!

  • Web design Shrewsbury

    Totally do not agree with this paragraph . . .

    Mistake 3: Going With the Little Guy
    Again, this is the same as #2, where in an attempt to recover from an unfortunate run in with a behemoth you pick an overly simplistic CMS. Always make sure to check that the CMS you are looking into does include extensions with the functionality you will need. Many times you may stumble upon a promising CMS, but do not invest in it until you have found that it offers what you need. Unfortunately some of the best CMS’s out there are still developing.

    All CMS’s are still developing – bit of a crazy thing if a CMS is not! Every developer of CMS has to adhere to future web standards and keep developing there CMS . . . and as for not to use a little guy – small business that is total nonsense, you will receive better customer service by far than a large company.


    Amazing that the comments keep rolling in even years later. Goes to show how much attention you can get by making polarizing statements.

    Pretty much everything has been said here, but as usual rarely does anyone change their mind once they have decided their mind has been made up. Those with open minds know that the bottom line is that there are choices. Not all choices work in every situation, or for every person, or for every mindset. But just because something doesn’t work for you (or so you’ve decided based on the time you were willing to put into it) doesn’t mean it is bad. Or it can be… but chances are likely that if MILLIONS of people are happy with something, maybe it actually might have a use, if not for you ;)

    Here is a compelling way to see it (at least for me ha ha): Why would you use a CMS in the first place? For two important reasons. Reason #1, as a content management system for clients to update their website in house. Reason #2, as a framework for quick development. Reason #2 includes but the core functionality as well as extensions/plugins and 3rd party templates/themes.

    Ok. Reason #1 can be provided fairly well by a large number of CMS. I actually don’t think Joomla is #1 in this category out of the box, but I think coupled with a CCK extension (Jseblod, K2, Zoo etc.) it can be quite user friendly and at least my clients are very happy with it when set up this way. IMO, the most “user friendly” CMS’s happen to have, for various reasons much smaller communities (ex. concrete 5, Silverstripe).

    This brings me to Reason #2. If you are a web designer/developer who focuses on SMBs, chances are you don’t have a $50,000 budget for a site so you will be looking for ways to cut design/dev time. So to help you are a quality core, extensions and themes. For their extremely wide variety of available extensions and web apps, it would be very hard to beat or even come close to Drupal, WP or Joomla. So if you have these kinds of needs (or if you don’t you should get with it, this is 2011!) and have narrowed it down to these 3 like me, it mainly comes down to which types of sites you build. Personally I can’t get into WordPress, although I do use it for simple blogs/sites. Am building one right now. Too limiting for the most part though. Drupal is complex but good, and more user friendly with ver. 7. It takes longer to build sites, but is most capable. All of them have their strengths, and you have to spend A LOT of time with ANY of them before you can fairly assess and figure out how to get the most use out of them. Cheers and happy designing…

  • Rankmars

    I am interested in the following area in your article: Avoid Joomla and Mistake 5: Allowing an IT Guy to Pick the CMS.

    A web developer or web designer should be able to handle some little issues that may arise from the development of a website with a CMS. At least 90% of the job for creating a website to meet your needs has been done for you by the so-called IT-Guys (= the programmers of CMSs, their extension developers etc.) – just for free. The fact is that Joomla is the most used Web CMS in the world today. I have used Joomla in many of my project from one single page to enterprise class implementation and my clients are satisfied with the functionalities, flexibility and its search engine friendliness of Joomla CMS.

    There are many content management systems out there and your question „Why should I use a CMS“ says it all. The reason while you need a CMS determine the functionalities you expect from it or your choice of CMS. Certainly every CMS has its advantages and disadvantages but your choice of FLOG over Joomla is a kind of closing your eyes from the reality or you haven’t really give Joomla a chance to prove you wrong. No CMS can do all things with only the core features – this also applys to Joomla – that is why extensions are built.

    I think some people have misunderstood the fundamental principle of open source projects that can translate to help each other build a system and have it free – not built your system and I have it free. Their job is not to give you what you need to exactly develop a website that perfectly suit your need. It is in your hand to know what you need to extend the core system provided to you freely. If you would like to add a special feature not available in the core system or in extension repository and for any reason you can’t code it yourself why not hire an expert (= IT-Guy) to do it for you. Isn’t that a fair deal?

    Great people are working day and night behind an open source CSM to provide to you the result of their hard works value thousands of Euro (€) free – please show respect to their works – they deserve it.

    • Rankmars

      Sorry I mean Frog CMS.

  • lossendae

    I think you did misunderstand something in the article.

    Don’t ever forget that the author place himself from the point of view of a designer.

    Joomla might be a good solution for IT guy and/or people who don’t know much about design (and the process behind it), but it’s a nightmare from the point of view of a designer.

    There are tools that are more friendly to both developpers and designers.

    • Rankmars

      What we need to understand a system no matter from what perspective we are viewing it and how difficult the system maybe are:

      well-written documentation for designers, developer publisher etc.
      a healthy and supportive community
      variety of free tutorials in different formats and presentations
      books and courses

      Joomla has all of these.

      Not all the system mentioned here can make it in the next 2 or 3 years because of the above listed factors. If developer of a CMS takes easy design development as his or her most top priority and litter other very important factors that makes the CMS solid like performance, functionality and handling, then is the life of that system at a stake.

      In fact this has more to do with your area of expertise and the type of websites you design. If you basically design blog websites – well there are many CMSs out there that can be added on the list of alternatives to Joomla in terms of easy design development.
      We build websites for others to use it. When talking about perspectives – the client or user perceptive has priority over yours.


    I am a web designer and not a programmer or IT guy. My job 100% is to see things from the point of view of the businesses I design sites for, and their audience. I take no sides other than that, bottom line for me. This includes considering the budget and time I bill them for. I will continually search for and use the best tools for the job, because if I don’t… I won’t keep getting work. Joomla is an a VERY GOOD tool for design. Can it be improved? Of course. You absolutely need to create a few sites in it to get a good feel for it. Many people run screaming, because they weren’t ready for this. For building sites, I don’t think Joomla is good in the hands of those who don’t have time to learn it. But for content managing, when set up correctly with the right extensions and care… it’s hard to beat.

    The author has demonstrated his lack of knowledge and seasoning and if Web Designer Depot were interested in being (uh ummm) fair and balanced, this opinion piece would never have seen the light of day. Unfortunately the uninformed attacks on Joomla, Linux and even IT people (I agree on some but not all of his points), has turned me very off to this blog. How can I take it seriously? I am sure judging from the comments that it has had the same effect on many others.

    • lossendae

      Your comment shows that you ARE taking side for Joomla.

      It’s been a long time that Joomla is known as an average tool for design.
      The fact there are many people using it with success does not mean that he is good for designers compared to other tools that are well known for their simplicity regarding the templating system only.

      There are tools where you don’t need as much time as Joomla to achieve what you want in no time.

      You ask us to learn Joomla, but maybe that you should look for the other tools too.
      Just to leverage your point of view.


        lossendae amigo, if you want the best “tool” for design, that would be your sketch pad and inspiration. You’re right about one thing. As web designers, we must have a good look at all the available tools. Just as I mentioned in my comments (I think some pretty good detail), I have done exactly this. In fact I’ve been doing it for over 14 years now… and have used many, many tools. I am not taking sides for anyone or proclaiming everyone should use something. Use whatever the heck you like… that’s it. Just don’t trash something else unless you know what you’re talking about.

        Joomla is the scrappy CMS that could… it doesn’t have the endorsement of the “elite” in the web world because #1, it’s too international. Can’t be looking at all of those foreign languages and stuff. Must mean its trailer trash. #2, it has more features, and yes a few quirks and therefore takes some getting used to. The nice thing those of us who spent the time are aware of is these quirks don’t slow us down once we know them. That’s why Joomla won the CMS showdown: Scroll down and compare the total time spent, and the custom coding required.

        If you’re still in 2003 and all you need to do is give your client a simple WYSIWYG editor for their articles, then use something super simple like Frog or Couch CMS or whatever… You’ll certainly get the job done faster then Joomla. Don’t think anyone is denying that.

      • Marco G.

        One thing I’ve noticed about most designers is that they often see things ONLY by its artistic perspective and try little to understand programmatic systems – like CMS – and it’s integration with web design as a whole. Means they always search for the most simplistic and easy way to transport their creation to a programmatic system. If they could paint a canvas and put it online in two clicks would be the greatest thing since the invention of sliced bread for them.

        It’s obvious this attitude has its face in some of the posts we can read here. The most “in your face” conclusion is they don’t want to spend some of their energy searching and learning outside their little world. At least they try not to. In comparison, people used to working with programmatic system have an attitude completely opposite.

        Joomla has drawbacks like any other system has. Some other systems, more simplistic, attract designers because they won’t spend that much time learning the inner works of such systems to do want they want to do. Result, most designers, by themselves, can’t produce things more complicated than blogs or simple sites. Which is what a simplistic CMS gives in return. Now a dev team composed by people with diverse specialties may overcome this issue. But that’s not the point.

        Regarding Joomla. I ask the designers: How many of you have read documentation regarding templating in joomla ? Do you know there’s software which helps you develop templates for joomla like artisteer or similar ?

        My academic background is programming. I’ve worked for more than 10 years as a programmer and during that time I became a sys admin and mastered web servers and all it goes within as well as communications and networking. My designer abilities also grew and I even achieve an academic degree on it. Means I can configure an apache or IIS webserver, I understand how communication works between client and server, I know a dozen of programming languages and I can use software like photoshop, inkscape or illustrator, premier or flash. Anything suiting my needs.

        Do you know what drives me ? Ingenuity, curiosity, innovation and most of all obstinateness to learn. As I see it most designers lack many of those. So yes, it’s all a question of attitude.


        Guess they do censor here… funny, I didn’t say anything I hadn’t already… I made a comment that Joomla is a very international community and I believe the reason Joomla is less accepted by the “elites” of web design is that there is prejudice (either consciously or unconsciously). Maybe the censors misunderstood? Whatever.

        The other reason is just as Marco puts it below (nicely put). Web designers want it push button simple. And when the crowd see a “Joomla is evil” post, well lets just say that makes it pretty easy to jump on the complaint bandwagon, even if they knew they didn’t dig very deeply! That’s why this article hurts a little. But honestly with all the demand for websites that do more, I don’t think the demand for their services will last much longer unless they decide to improve their skills… which will mean leaving their comfort zone. You do have to learn Joomla, including which extensions to use, not to use, etc. I think the templating system is good. Much better than WP or Drupal IMO. In WP, you have to hand code functions all of the time where in Joomla there is a GUI. Once you learn it in Joomla it’s very quick. Believe me, it’s not limiting. There isn’t a thing I don’t like to tweak.

        Not every tool is right for everyone as I (and so many others) keep saying. But if you have doubts about speed of design/development w/Joomla, google CMS Showdown and click the “competition” tab. Scroll down and compare time spent, and lines of custom code (link omitted because that’s my only other guess as to why my comment didn’t post). Notice that WP takes the most time and requires the most custom code by a wide margin. That’s because WP doesn’t have the core (or even extensions) to handle more then very simple sites/blogs. Of course you can do anything with it, but hopefully you have plenty of time on your hands.

        In my almost 15 years of design/web experience, I’ve been through a lot lol. I’m certainly not closed minded. I’ve already said that as it is, the Joomla core leaves a bit to be desired. But when you weigh in the 3rd party community, which anyone really should do, it is quite a good system. It certainly deserves much more than the evil moniker… That’s all boys and girls!

  • Kevin M

    This article has been pounded to death and as a Joomla guy myself I could care less what this authors limitations are. To say that Joomla is only average as stated by lossendae is proof that those who agree know absolutely nothing about it! Probably because they just want a free ride and something that takes no brain power to figure out. Every single CMS takes a certain amount of time to learn and I find lossendae’s comment to leverage the point of view a typical and ignorant statement! That kind of mentality is what leads to a developer being a Jack of all and a Master of NOTHING! I guess if you want to be a typical half assed developer (dare I say developer?) then by all means try to master even a handful of them. Then if you don’t want to master them then by all means muddle by and post on these boards when you don’t really know what you are talking about.

    The reason I chose Joomla is it can be anything I need it to be and that is something that cannot be said about any other one except Drupal. Where you need to be a true coder if you think you will make Drupal do the same thing and it is obvious from many of these posts here, this group wants something easy that they don’t have to know Jack to make themselves look good!

    I have worked with all of the CMS platforms and I don’t know where you found a CMS that is well known for its simplicity to work with the template but I would like to hear about it. Then prove that just because you don’t have to know anything to make it look good, that you can morph it into any type of site you need. Simply put using a CMS requires the use of php and that takes ALL the simplicity out of template design and is why so many people here don’t have a clue and want one that can do it for them so they look like a pro when in fact they are no more experienced than those they are building the site for.

    • Marco G.

      “dare I say developer?”

      I feel your questioning Kevin.

  • lossendae


    Joomla don”t have the best dashboard from a user perspective, is not the best tool for programming since it force you to change for him (as many CMS do) and don’t have the best templating system by far.

    Not all the points listed above are united in a “The CMS to dominate all the others”, but Silvertstripe, Expression Engine, Drupal and MOD are is better from a coder perspective, MODx and WordPress are way better from designers perspective, Wordperss has the best community ever, and Drupal, WordPress and Joomla (since they are the most popular CMS to this day) have the most 3rd party contribution to make all kind of websites.

    Now, the writer talk only from his perspective and he’s not annoucing anything new here, Joomla has simply not a designer friendly templating system.

    It does not mean that Joomla is bad, it’s just not the best.

    I have seen some beautiful websites made with Joomla, so it’s possible to achieve great works with it.

    But most of Joomla website looks like Joomla websites. Like a trademark.

    • Marco G.

      “But most of Joomla website looks like Joomla websites. Like a trademark.”

      Pure utter nonsense. That’s not even an argument.

      You lack the knowledge and then blame the system ? Come on …

      Templates (design layout) are completely independent from content and programmability on all CMS. All it takes is understanding and learning its structure. I can replicate the same exact design for joomla or any other CMS. So there goes your reasoning …

      It’s not about calling joomla, or any CMS for the mater, as being good or bad, the best or the worst. Calling it such is pure rhetorics and explains nothing, just a bunch of synthetic judgments without real analysis. Proper understanding, experience and the right attitude are the way to give you the exact answers and achieve control.

  • lossendae

    @Kevin M

    You assume too much.

    First, i am not a designer but a programmer.
    Second, i have worked with Joomla several times and with other tools as well. Not sure that you’ve done the same.

    What i note is that you only note the design comment on Joomla because he’s not the best kid in the place. I ‘ve not mentinned the php code behind it or all the cool 3rd party plugins that bring power to Joomla because that’s where it shines.

    Maybe that one day you’ll have the occasion to try the other CMS which have their forte too, and notice that some of them are really better on the design side.
    They’re younger for sure, but their templating systems are better whether you like it or not.

    Joomla work within blackboxes (Drupal do too) that you can override.
    I know several CMS that don’t impose any limitation whatsoever. You don’t have to know the tool to design for it.
    Even WordPress has a few blackboxes too and has definitively not the best templating system, and is a limited tool CMS/PHP wise.

    @Marco G.

    If design was a question of college degree, everybody would have known now.
    For designers, real talented designers, it’s about attitude, skills and using the right tool for the right job.
    For programmers too…

    I don’t understand why joomla supporters get so offended about a tool.
    And then come to explain that they have successful buisiness and a few college degrees, experiences, etc…

    We, the “others”, are not stupid, we know that Joomla is not that bad. And we’re not impressed by your life experiences and success here, in this context.
    Not because you’re retarded or whatever, but because it’s not the point!

  • lossendae

    “in Joomla there is a GUI”…

    You’re obviously not a designer.
    The fact that there is a GUI confirm that there are blackboxes in Joomla.

    @Marco G.

    “Pure utter nonsense. That’s not even an argument.”

    I just type Joomla look in Google and the website comes up with this link : Avoiding the joomla look
    And a nice catch phrase : Many templates out there can instantly be recognised as joomla.

    Putting that aside, most af the joomla look-alike website are not done by design senstive people. Exactly like a WP site with no good designer behind it: it will look like a WP blog.


    All joomla commenters whine because “you didn’t even try to understand how it works”.
    That’s the main point!!

    I can achieve pretty good design with Joomla, but I’ve to work the joomla way.

    There are other CMS with no such limitations.

    Is it really surprising ?

    • Marco G.

      “I just type Joomla look in Google and the website comes up with this link : Avoiding the joomla look
      And a nice catch phrase : Many templates out there can instantly be recognised as joomla.”

      That’s designers trend not CMS functionality. Some sites are recognized as “joomla sites” because designers don’t know where and how to change layouts inside modules or components. They usually change just the settings and don’t go deep into the code (which means people should learn its MVC) where all the critical files are (templates and css) and need to be change so it doesn’t look like “default” or “joomla like”.

      For instance, lets say you want to change how the search module looks like. All it takes is copying the folder mod_search inside “modules” to your template folder under “html/mod_search”. All files needed to be changed are there so you can arrange all html elements the way you want without messing with core files. But of course, you need to learn some MVC or read some tutorials teaching about the same exact thing. Even if you need to change layouts in components, just go inside components folder and change the files you want inside the component you want.

      But hell, learning the MVC, php or related is tiresome for some. Well, they should blame themselves then. It’s 2011 and someone calling itself a webdesigner should have some codding skills. They hate joomla because if it gets mostly used it means they will need to change habits and learn.

  • Henning

    … most wordpress sites look like worpress.
    … most typo3 sites like typo 3.

    that is really no argument.
    Joomla itself is more of a framework.
    Also there are some extra frameworks for Joomla that are adding great features for devs and designers like gantry:


      Exactly. Anything can be done with any of them. It’s up to your skills, and then how much time you have on your hands…. Can’t say I agree about the Joomla template frameworks though. I’ve used Gantry, T3 and Yootheme’s and I find them extremely bloaty for what you get. Perhaps good for certain people who would rather never touch code, even if it takes 5x longer to do it in a GUI.

  • lossendae


    but there is no default look for CMS like Silverstripe or MODx CMS for example. They’ve put the template engine on a different level than the other ( and of course they are more recent ).

    I didn’t say that Joomla was not a good framework. Just that the template engine is not on par with other tools :)

    “Just don’t trash something else unless you know what you’re talking about”

    I don’t trash anything here.
    FIY i’ve made a few websites with Joomla.
    And I’ve said many time that Joomla as other points where it shines, but the template engine’s not.

    Does it mean that Joomla sucks, i don’t think so.

  • Kareem

    I honestly don’t believe this…nearly 2 years later, people are still feeding the original troll habit of the author?

    Not even just the article, but many of the arguments made in the comments against Joomla! are weak and purely based on a bad personal experience AND/OR show existing bias to another system.

    It’s a free world people, choose what you like.

    I’m not a wordpress guy, but i recognise it’s value :D