40 Excellent Websites Showcasing Expression Engine

ExpressionEngine by EllisLab is a powerful, flexible content management system (CMS) that many designers (and their clients) love.

Various modules exist to allow EE to be used for a number of different purposes, such as membership sites, ecommerce, blogs, wikis, and much more.

Many of the most popular modules come with the personal ($99.95) and commercial ($249.95) licenses, and additional modules are available.

The sites featured here show the flexibility of Expression Engine in their varying design and purpose.

EE allows designers to have the freedom to create layouts without restrictions, which helps to it to be a productive CMS for so many different purposes, check it out.


1. The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary


2. HelpSpot



3. Bene



4. Tripping Words

Tripping Words


5. Newism



6. Fritz Quadrata

Fritz Quadrata


7. 5pieces



8. Hambo Development

Hambo Development


9. Render



10. Devot:ee



11. 31Three



12. Kent & Fraser

Kent & Fraser


13. Show & Tell Consignment Sale

Show & Tell Consignment Sale


14. EllisLab



15. Duoh!



16. Veerle’s Blog

Veerle's Blog


17. Think. Do. Create.

Think. Do. Create.


18. FortySeven Media

FortySeven Media


19. Glue



20. The ApMa Project

The ApMa Project


21. New City

New City


22. Pure Grips

Pure Grips


23 Craft Profiles

Craft Profiles


24. Ghostown Studios

Ghostown Studios


25. Tufts Alumni

Tufts Alumni


26. Hoaxland



27. Sam Houston Project

Sam Houston Project


28. Cable Wakeboard

Cable Wakeboard


29. Jason Julien

Jason Julien


30. Story Pixel

Story Pixel


31. Lealea Design

Lealea Design


32. Sarah Longnecker

Sarah Longnecker


33. Indiqo Media

Indiqo Media


34. Jupiter



35. The Biggest Apple

The Biggest Apple


36. Edgepoint Church

Edgepoint Church


37. Designchuchi



38. Daniel Howells

Daniel Howells


39. Gist Creative

Gist Creative


40. Wild Wings Safaris

Wild Wings Safaris

This article was written exclusively for WDD by Steven Snell, who runs a blog design gallery, Blog Design Heroes.

Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement/sponsored post for Expression Engine.

Have you used EE in your websites? How does it compare to other CMS?

  • http://www.rickwhittington.com Rick Whittington

    We also designed/developed the Greater Richmond Partnership web site (http://www.grpva.com) on Expression Engine. IMHO, it’s a good example of Expression Engine’s flexibility in “real world” business applications — see the Custom Report Builder for example. Great article!

    • http://vandelaydesign.com Steven Snell

      I like that site. Thanks for the addition.

  • http://www.tostarafire.com Dan

    Great framework, too bad they aren’t free.

  • http://www.designfollow.com/ designfollow

    great collections/

    thank you.

  • http://www.theembassyofdesign.com Ryan Le Roux

    What are the benefits of going with something like this where you have to pay over something that’s open source?

    • http://vandelaydesign.com Steven Snell

      There are some benefits in terms of support and security in general when you are comparing a CMS that you’re paying for to one that is open source.

      • jean

        Please do not talk about what you don’t know.

        Do you have any studies to share proving that “security in general” is better on closed source software ? IE/FF maybe ? Lol.

        Just because bugs are hidden, doesn’t mean they do not exist.

      • http://jeremyricketts.com Jeremy Ricketts

        Sorry- that is to say, I agree with what Steven Snell said.

  • http://www.thatdeadpixel.com Mike

    Thanks for the list! I’ll check all these sites out, EE is my favorite CMS right now. My blog is using it.

  • http://hambodevelopment.com Hambo

    Thanks for featuring our website guys, much appreciated!

    One more for your list is that well known site – http://alistapart.com

    • http://www.covicstudio.com David Coe

      Good spot! I never realised!

  • http://aext.net Lam Nguyen

    Great showcase! You put a lot of excellent minimalist designs here!

  • http://indiqo.eu Maximilian Bartel

    Great list in my opinion – thanks for including my site into it as well, it’s most appreciated!

    Expression Engine is an incredible CMS by the way – I usually enjoy the flexibility and amount of control it offers while working with it.

  • http://javierparra.com.mx Javier

    Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement/sponsored post for Expression Engine.

    It certainly feels like one

    • http://vandelaydesign.com Steven Snell

      I’m sorry that it seems that way to you. There are plenty of blog posts that showcase sites using open source CMSs like WordPress and Drupal, so it’s a shame that to do the same for ExpressionEngine is different.

  • http://designinformer.com Design Informer

    I’ve heard lots of things (good things) about Expression Engine but I have yet to try it. These are definitely some great examples of its use. I’m gonna have to go ahead and dive into it one of these days.

    For now, I’ll be sticking with WordPress. Great round-up, beautiful designs.

    • http://x96design.com/ Alex

      Though now with the release of WP 3.0 with Custom menus and post types, WP is becoming a real rival to CMS’s like EE…

  • http://http//www.trippingwords.com Josh

    Thanks for the feature. ExpressionEngine is really a versatile CMS, but I guess you have to pay for quality too. One of the great things abt EE is the EE tag system, which basically allows you maximum flexibility.

    • http://www.tostarafire.com Dan

      Quality is good.. but you don’t have to pay for it.. there are several free cms out there that do a wonderful job with tons of add-ons. I used EE at my previous job, they are a great framework to use, but not exceptional for the prices they ask.

      • http://baneydesign.com Adam

        I used to say the exact same thing. Why do I want to pay for a CMS when there are so many free ones available? I used WP for the last 2 years, but after learning EE in the last month, I have switched. The saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”

  • http://espresso-online.info theamoeba

    Very nice showcase of sites using EE. Will you be showcasing sites using other CMSs? Such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or Symphony?

  • http://www.aledesign.it aledesign.it

    Nice list, my preferite is Fritz Quadrata, even Veerle’s Blog and Pure Grips knew them already. Thanks for the sharing.

  • http://stephenwilsondesign.com Stephen Wilson

    Excellent showcase… Just sat drinking my morning coffee and now feel full of inspiration!

  • http://www.moraywebsolutions.com MorayWeb

    I am a recent convert to ExpressionEngine and am really enjoying it so far. It’s by far the most flexible CMS I think I have used to date allowing for a very natural design process and a straight forward development process. We are pushing our first commercial site built on EE2 through the mill just now, and should be launching it by the end of January – with any luck it too might be included in a list like this in the future!

    Great collection of EE sites, and some useful inspiration – thank you.

  • http://www.empfehlenswert-wien.at wien

    nice collection, thanks for this post

  • http://www.doublejdesign.co.uk/ Jack

    Great! Impressive contents here. Thanks a lot for these.

  • pesho

    Thanks ,really it’s amazing

  • http://www.gregoryhughdavidson.com Gregory Davidson

    Great showcase of work… I was privelaged to work with the designer who designed The Sanctuary site. One of the most talented and gifted designers I have personally ever known. Check out more of his work at: http://www.elliottmunoz.com

  • http://www.rovettidesign.com Steve

    Interesting; what would be helpful in the post would be even a quick bullet list of pros/cons, comparisons to WordPress or other CMS frameworks. Nice sites, no doubt, but WordPress really has me captured right now. I’d be impressed if EE offered more flexibility and ease of use for clients (the price is what kills it for me, I think).

    I guess now I have to check out EE.

  • http://www.sgdoeschwitz.de BigM75

    cool collection of sites the works are very good nice article

  • http://www.jordanwalker.net/index.php Jordan Walker

    I really enjoy using CodeIgniter, interest to see what Expression Engine is like with version 2.

  • http://eetemplates.com Marcus Neto

    Really nicely done. There are quite a few new ones here that I was not aware were using ExpressionEngine. Nice to see the community growing. EERulz! ;-)

  • http://www.underworldmagazines.com julio

    really nicely done here!

  • Ed

    EE user here, to those people who wonder why it is worth paying for EE then my take as a convert from MODx is that EE is flexible, stable, well documented and has excellent support, it also has an excellent security track record. On any paying job it takes much less time in EE than in any ‘free’ solution.

    To those people who think WordPress is a CMS then you really do not have a clue. Go away and play with your brochure sites and blogs and be sure to take good backups so you can rebuild your site the next time it is hacked.

  • http://www.brianlitzinger.com Brian

    I’m going to have to plug this one: http://philipshd.com/

    I’ve seen the Publish/Edit screen underneath this site, and it has over 30+ custom fields and several matrices per entry… it’s a _really_ data intensive site.

    • Micke


  • http://digitalevangelist.net Steven Grant

    EE may cost per licence but it’s a solid platform – you get what you pay for IMO.

  • http://bitmanic.com Ray Brown

    To all of those who think that having to pay for EE is a bad thing: you will one day realize that it’s okay to pay for things. I remember what it felt like to be in your shoes. However, after having build a dozen or so sites in EE (and paying for it each and every time), I can honestly say that it’s worth every penny.

    And besides, if you can’t scrape up enough cash for the software, then you’re not charging enough for your services. If you’re just not into the whole ‘price tag’ thing, there’s a free version as well. Give it a shot. It’s flippin’ awesome.

  • http://fortysevenmedia.com Jonathan Longnecker

    Thanks for the mentions guys! FortySeven Media is honored :)

  • http://shawnhooghkirk.com Shawn Hooghkirk

    I agree with Steve, a bullet point list of pro / cons of WordPress and EE would be nice.

    Thanks you for the post.

  • http://shawnhooghkirk.com Shawn Hooghkirk

    *Thank you for the post.

    Minus the s. ha.

  • http://www.vellara.com Nicholas LeBlanc

    I am an avid CodeIgniter fan, and just love how its set up and works. ExpressionEngine 2.0 is great in the fact that it is powered by CodeIgniter. I have not played around with ExpressionEngine too much, but from what I have it looks great. This showcase is great as well. Gives you a better feel for what ExpressionEngine is actually capable of!

  • http://www.gradualism.co.uk Emily H

    Being a serious advocate for the ExpressionEngine platform I shouldn’t knock any promotion that it gets, so thanks to Steven Snell for putting this together. However, showcasing websites built on EE is like showing what can be done with HTML/CSS. There are NO limitations set on you by templates like with other CMS systems (Drupal/Wordpress). It is the same reason that the new Woo Themes for EE doesn’t seem to make sense, as Ryan Masuaga said on Twitter earlier http://twitter.com/masuga/status/7751849285

    What is more interesting is the complex way sites can be architected using ExpressionEngine. The possibilities are endless thanks to the huge amount of available 1st party and 3rd party plugins. I don’t think this choice of sites particularly highlights what you can do with the EE ‘framework’ (as someone called it above), but again to try to showcase this would be like saying ‘look at all the different ways website content can be organised’.

    @Ryan La Roux @Steve There are many, many reasons which justify the license fee, the support forums (EE employees are there to help you, so you aren’t just relying on community) is a good starting point. I won’t go into these here as I think this has been covered many places before like in my brief comment here http://eeinsider.com/blog/ee-2.0-licensing/#comment-8196 ). You should also look on the EE forums both for the Site Introductions thread
    and Pre-Sales questions if you want to know more about what makes it different.

    • http://vandelaydesign.com Steven Snell

      You have a valid point, but remember that the majority of people who see the post are not EE users like yourself. So while it may not be surprising to you that there are no design limitations with EE, it may be a big surprise to other readers who have never used EE and they may be inspired by seeing what has been done with it by other designers.

  • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore

    ExpressionEngine is my CMS of choice. It’s by far the most flexible system I’ve ever used (and I’ve used around 10). I really don’t want to turn this into another free vs. not free discussion because there are tons already out there. But for me, I’m glad ExpressionEngine isn’t free. The fact that it isn’t free allows for superior support for their product because they have paid support staff. There are definitely other reasons, but for me that’s the biggie.

    I always found it interesting that people continue to pull the “not free” card when it comes to ExpressionEngine. EllisLab has developed a superior product, so why should they not be compensated for it? People have no problem giving Apple tons of money for a superior laptop, and these same people have no problem charging for the services they offer. Why not just give away your design/development services for free? For what ExpressionEngine can do, the price is very fairly priced. It should probably be higher and the people that know and love EE would gladly pay the extra because they know what it can do. Too many people try EE for a few days and give up because they are not experts after that time. It does take time to learn, but once you learn, you really see what it’s capable of.

    I’ll leave it at that. The discussion could go on forever. In the end, choose what’s right for you. A lot of great examples of ExpressionEngine sites in this article. Congrats to everyone mentioned.

    Oh, and it’s ExpressionEngine (no space) not Expression Engine. :)

    • Rob Menditza

      I appreciate what the EE does but requiring the average web developer to fork over $300 for every site they build is asking a lot. Especially considering that most web developers are already forced to work with limited resources.

      Proprietary frameworks are not synonymous with the web and as such usually fall out of favour. I think the trick for EE to figure out is how to build a profit model that doesn’t tax the developer.

      WP 3 is upon us and with it will come some fantastically powerful addons (like Elastic Theme Editor) that transform WP’s limited theming capabilities into something more more akin to EE. Will this change make WP better than EE? I doubt it. But it will come close.

  • Narcelio

    great article, thanks

  • http://www.web4half.com Jane…***I LOVE WEBDESIGN***

    Amazing post !…Excellent website designs!

    Thanks for sharing! ;)

  • http://www.dbxgraphics.com/blog RamoN

    Nice collection indeed.

    http://www.jasonsantamaria.com should have been in the list too imo ;-)

  • tonynibbles
  • Marc

    Looking for more EE sites?

    Nice post though…

  • Jason

    I’m curious to know how it compares to Squarespace? I’ve built my last 8 or 9 client’s sites using their platform exclusively. I’ve found their CMS to be quite incredible to work with from a design perspective, and my clients love the ease at which they can update their own content. They even offer an iPhone application so you can update on the go.

    If anyone can tell me how EE differs from Squarespace, good or bad, I’d love to hear about it.

  • http://www.rendercreative.com Adam Dorsey

    Thanks for the post. Render is happy.

  • http://www.joviawebstudio.com Ryan Battles

    Great list of designs that implement EE. Someday I’d like to see a collection of sites that use EE, and along with a thumbnail, perhaps a bulleted list of some of the features that the site employs so that we can say “Wow, I didn’t know EE could do that.” However, it’s nice to see these sites, and we can certainly visit them and check out their features.

  • http://hypertransitory.com John G

    Very nice collection of sites. Some of them are quite impressive.

    I used to use pMachine way back in the day and built 4 or five sites with it. When EE came out I played around with it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for it.

    At the time they had serious issues with generating a decent site map for Google, where solutions such as Joomla and Drupal had really simple plugins. I just couldn’t see paying for something where such a basic feature was treated as a workaround.

    In fairness, that was several years ago so I’m sure they have that sorted by now. I moved onto Joomla and never looked back. I forgot all about EE until this post. They seem to be doing well, even as a commercial venture.

    I don’t see anything listed that couldn’t be done with Joomla or Drupal (WP I’m not so sure), but this post does show the versatility of EE. Good job, guys.

  • http://www.bluecamroo.com Drew

    Great collection of websites, but do they really demonstrate what EE is all about?

    Couldn’t the majority of CMS applications out there duplicate these as it is only HTML/CSS rendering?

    Nonetheless, a great collection for gather design ideas.


  • http://www.tostarafire.com Dan

    Another thing that I don’t get it.. a design is a design and it has nothing to do with the engine behind, but with the designer. Any of this websites could have been done without any engine at all. It would be more useful to show how they were developed and how EE helped them to do achieve their goals.

    • Ivan

      I agree with Drew and Dan – When you’re showcasing designs, it doesn’t really matter what CMS you’re using. Also, you can integrate pretty much any design into any cms. So these design types aren’t exclusive to EE.

    • http://vandelaydesign.com Steven Snell

      I agree with you that it would be useful to show how some sample sites are making use of EE. However, in this post I was simply trying to show that there are some beautiful sites that are using EE.

  • http://www.bradfordsherrill.com Brad Sherrill

    Express Engine is a great CMS!

    • http://www.uipatterns.net UI Patterns

      It’s Expression Engine.

      • Dion Snoeijen

        No, it’s ExpressionEngine.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk James

    I’ve not used EE before in any of my projects, mainly because it isn’t open source. When there is so many open source CMS systems it’s hard to experiment with one that isn’t.

    I would like to try it out one day, but for now I feel you can mostly do similar things with any of the available open source options, such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress.

    If anyone has any reason why ExpersionEngine is better over these opensource versions, I’d like to know?

    • Zod Yaki Farfel

      “Mainly because it isn’t open source.”

      EE is an open source PHP application. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many add-ons for it. Let’s not conflate “open source” with “free as in beer”.

      That said, EE Core is free for personal and nonprofit use. This free version has everything you need to learn it and to run sophisticated sites. Still, I paid for the full license years ago and continue to renew for the inexpensive support.

      A member of the EE staff helped me un-gack my site very early on a Sunday morning, and her patience and expertise was worth far more than my $20 annual support fee.

      EE is a battleship for the price of a canoe. You do not need to add extra-cost stuff in order to build enterprise sites. Its energetic developers and staff never fail to amaze and delight me.

  • http://webunder.com.au/ Cem Meric

    Nice compilation, but I’d rather see the quality based on their EE structure not designers visual skill.

    Not that I don’t like the design of Seed Magazine http://seedmagazine.com/ but I think that would be a better example of what you could achieve with Expression Engine and there is also http://webunder.com.au/ :)

    Overall, thank you for promoting Expression Engine.

  • http://bybjorn.com bjorn

    Great list of excellent sites. EE ftw! :-D

  • http://www.ikandy.co.ug/ Perry

    I’ve been thinkin of using EE myself, thanks for the post guys.
    Well done!!!

  • http://www.vivrocks.com VIVROCKS

    Great list, going o dig EE more n more. it looks very promising.

  • Gerry

    EE is for profesionals building professional sites for professional companies. Whilst open source products are very good any company worth its salt will not skimp on investing in the right tools for the job and thats the gap that EE is filling.

  • http://ntechnologies.co.cc/blog Nikunj Tamboli

    Great Compilation Really an inspiration.

  • http://kovshenin.com Konstantin

    Nice list. Seems like Expression Engine is not as bad as I thought it was, nevertheless I’m still sticking with WordPress ;)

    ~ K.

  • http://www.glue.be Koen Phlips

    Thanks for mentioning our websites. We truly love ExpressionEngine!

  • http://www.labfoo.com LabFoo

    I’ve developed on probably a dozen CMS platform and IMO Gerry is dead on. It’s not that the free CMS’s out there aren’t good – they are – but from my experience of using EE it simply screams “let’s step this up a few notches”. That’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s limitations but what CMS doesn’t? The saving grace to me is how extendable it is, not how many plug-ins it has. Plug-ins are nice but you’re still restricted by what the developer of the plug-in thought would be best for you. It’s stupid easy to make it do what you want, even if you’re just a novice developer.

    To be fair, I think it has a moderate learning curve and you’ve got to hit that ‘Aha!’ moment in knowing how it all comes together, which can be frustrating, but once you’re over that hump it’s easy sailing. Worth every penny.

    Oh and excellent list! :)

  • http://www,rovettidesign.com Steve

    What’s truly awesome about these posts is the fact that even if the article is lacking in details, the community as a whole gives relatively honest and decent commentary when it comes to features and benefits. I truly feel like EE may be worth my time to check out, and it’s mainly because of the myriad responses that tout its ease of use and functionality. I’m psyched! Thanks to all….


    There are a few people making comments regarding the “free card”, etc.
    I deal with a wide variety of clients, some with very limited budgets. The reason why free is important in many cases is because in fact I (we) DO charge what we should for our time, and the extra licensing fees (even a few hundred dollars) could be the deal breaker. It’s a tough situation, but it’s very true, especially now in the ass-dragging downturn. Explaining the added benefits of the extra cash spent can’t make the money appear in my client’s hands. To not understand this about the design business is to have a very narrow view.

    I will never adopt the practice of shitcanning a client because of their budget (except in extreme circumstances)… rather, I think outside of the box and find a way to support them as best I can for the money that they can spend.

    (cue rousing and energetic National Anthem)

    I’m not reducing my billable rate – I’m just working hard for my clients so that they’re supported, and can spend more money with me in the future.

  • http://www.alejandroperazzo.com Alvaro Hernandorena

    since i heard of joomla for example i did some how reject it, i didn’t like it, it was all already made, for me as a designer i prefer to design my own websites.

  • http://www.microdesign.nl/ Webdesign

    Never really worked with it. but damn those are some nice designed websites!!

  • http://christinalutters.com Christina

    I’ve started working with EE and am growing to love it… but does anyone know of good resources to LEARN how to shape EE into all these fab sites?

  • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore


    The way I look at it is again with ExpressionEngine’s great support. If you decide to go with one of the free options available, you take the chance of running into an issue and then having to rely on the community around you to get it fixed. That could either work for or against you. If the problem isn’t fixed quickly, then your free product all of a sudden costs you more than free. With EE, I know without doubt, if problem comes up, there’s dedicated support to fix it for me. That, and a great community of professionals who are always willing to lend a hand.

    For me, the license fee is a small price to pay for a product that I know is going to work how you want it to work in most situations and support has my back if it doesn’t. I can’t speak for everyone that uses EE obviously, but this discussion comes up quite a bit and a lot of developers simply roll the CMS cost into the quote. No need to have a separate line for the CMS cost. It’s a part of the total package, so just factor it in. I’m of the feeling that if a client is on such a tight budget that they cannot possibly afford another couple hundred dollars, that may be a red flag anyway.

  • http://www.rovettidesign.com Steve


    I agree with what you’re saying, and that extra bit of insight into EE is appreciated. Totally cool…

    Wrapping up the price into the job or having it as a separate line item doesn’t change the price… and sometimes, yes, clients are not able to spend the extra cash. I work in an area where even a few hundred dollars for some clients can be a problem, even when I explain the features and benefits.

    It’s kooky, I know… and the red flag does go up… my problem is I do want these clients to have an opportunity to grow their business, so WordPress does fit the bill quite often. Thanks for the comment, man.

    • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore


      Good deal. Hope I did not offend you in any way, because that definitely was not my intention.

      You obviously know your business and clienta better than I, so by all means go with what works for you and your business model. :) WordPress is a great product which is evident by all that use it. I’ve actually never used WordPress because once I found EE, I feel in love and didn’t look elsewhere.

      While EE 2.0 is in Beta, 1.6.x is still available. Although going forward in 2.0, the free “Core” version of EE will no longer be an option, it is an option in 1.6.x. http://expressionengine.com/overview/pricing/ I’ve built a few sites on “Core” with no issues. You just don’t get the membership functionality and a couple other features. Download it and give it a run, you might like it and if your client is a non-commercial project, Core would work just fine; although you wouldn’t have the dedicated EE support at your disposal.

      Feel free to contact me with any questions if you do decide to try it out. All the best.

  • http://www.biggestapple.net Kirk

    For those asking about price, biggestapple.net was built on the free core version of EE.

  • http://www.w3wall.com neer

    this CMS have good portfolio, but it’s not free.. but i like this,

  • One Time EE User

    Expression Engine is a fine tool for small, relatively simple sited (like those show here), but when you try and force it to do things it isn’t designed for (like be part of an enterprise wide web strategy), I’ve found you run into trouble.

    For one, there is no single supplier that is responsible for all of its functionality. Ellis Labs does a good job of supporting the core product, but for all of the functionality that it ends up needing to have added on to take if from it’s core behavior as a blogging tool to an actual structured web content management system, you have to look outside their offerings. This means that that core piece of functionality (like being able to directly relate one piece of content to another across weblogs) that you need may be written by someone who really doesn’t owe you anything (especially if its provided for free), and can abandon it to version entropy at any time.

    This might be fine if you’re a freelancer doing a cost effective site for Mom and Pop’s hand Crafted Origami Crane Co (for which it’s a good solution), it doesn’t fly when you’re dealing with more demanding clients.

    It’s important for the EE community to keep this in mind when it beats its chest like this.

  • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore

    @One Time EE User

    You realize that you can actually relate one weblog to another with EE’s core functionality, right? No need for any addons to accomplish that. While addons do make your life much easier in some situations, they are not always needed. EE is capable of much more than you’re saying. If an inexperienced user is reading your comment, they will be led to believe that EE is nothing more than a blogging tool, which just isn’t the case.

    Here are some sites powered by EE that are just a little more than a blog:


  • One Time EE User

    Yes, its possible to relate one post to another, once. And only one. But if you want to relate it to multiple pieces, then it’s a whole other matter.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, none of those sites have really deep architectures, or varied content types and behaviors.

    Take a look at all their URL structures.

    They only go three levels:
    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/conan_burns_nbcs_millions_in_revenge_20100121/ (hilarious, btw)

    If you want to get deeper than that, it’s time to go 3rd party.

    Expression Engine is indeed more than a blogging tool, and, as I said, for sites with simple architectures, is a good platform at a great price, but people need to remember that it IS no SiteCore, Ektron, RedDot, Vignette, CommonSpot, etc…

    • http://www.wide-eyed.org allgood2

      Late to the conversation, but I’m going to have to disagree with @One Time EE User. You can do one to one and one to many relationships. You can’t do many to many relationships without using a third party add-on or writing some custom code. But then again that’s another flexibility with EE. You can add your custom code directly in a template, parse it before other content or after other content.

      I agree it’s not suitable for every job, but no CMS is. There are plenty of enterprise level applications that EE can work for, and the depth can be fairly deep; but EE fills that void between basic CMS and enterprise level CMSs. ExpressionEngine isn’t SiteCore, Ektron, RedDot, Vignette, or CommonSpot, but most users/businesses don’t need those tools, and even if they do, frequently can’t afford them. You’re jumping from a low price system: under $300 for commercial use; under $150 for non-commercial use; to enterprise systems that cost upwards of $1,000. In fact, unless pricing has changed, I’m not certain you can get any of the systems you’ve mentioned for under $3,000 and I know a few colleges who have paid over $10k for Vignette and SiteCore. Wildly different beast.

      I use ExpressionEngine to develop sites for nonprofit, government, and education institutions and the price tag is very affordable, and the time and money saved on custom development more than makes up for the upfront expense.

      You can’t really tell how complicated or impressive the backend is from the front. A good front end, should look simple and easy, and really shouldn’t go more than three levels deep. Five is my cutoff, and I still shoot for three. If I can’t get it to 3 or 5 levels at the front; then I personally feel, I’ve gone done a bad design path, and start re-visioning the front end and its relationship to the backend again, until I can.

      I’ve done sites with one data channel and sites with more than 50. One client has a system (a single system, all in EE) that houses a hotline center, training and events, outreach center, publications, calendars, advocacy, and more. A few users see everything, and most staff see just the projects they work on.

      You can go pretty deep, and while EE does have limits, I find that I frequently hit my creative limits before I hit ExpressionEngines.

  • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore

    @One Time EE User

    I was simply replying to your comment that EE was only a blogging tool at it’s core (which you did write). I hardly think the President of the United States’ website is a “mom and pop” operation which you suggested EE was geared toward.

    Can you give me an example of site with deep URL structure? I have zero experience with any of the CMS’s you listed, but had a look at SiteCore and Ektron and all of the sites I was able to find that were developed with those two, weren’t any more complicated than the majority of EE sites. I didn’t have any luck finding sites developed using the others.

  • http://www.pixmac.com Cathy Mason

    Awesome list! Great comments here too!
    I am going to check out EE!

  • http://storypixel.com Sam Wilson

    Thanks for the include. EE is great even if EllisLab is a bit secretive and slow with their deadlines.

  • Gordon Mendeszoon

    EE is template based with html code in it. I cannot imagine that a client would be happy if you confront them with any html or xhtml if they have to make changes in their websites.

    So i don’t see that this would be easy to use for any client who has less to zero knowledge of what is said above.

  • http://www.logogala.com Deron Sizemore


    EE does use templates with HTML and EE tags mixed in, but once a site is built (if done correctly) there shouldn’t be a need for a client to ever open any templates or dig into the HTML.

  • http://gistcreate.com Jon Livingston

    Thanks for including Gist Create to the mix. We love ExpressionEngine would highly recommend any developer who is looking for a content management system to check them out. There’s a little learning curve but the system is very flexible and well worth the money.

  • http://cssclassic.com cssclassic

    Nice posting, well done

  • http://www.erage.nl Webdesign Roosendaal

    Nice list! To be honest, I’m still hoping EE one day becomes open-source. They could always make us pay for the add-ons separately.

  • http://www.gostomski.co.uk Damian Jakusz-Gostomski

    Another one to add to the list which I was involved in is http://www.magnet.co.uk/

    It’s great to see lists like these which showcase the flexibility of EE

  • http://www.simplethemes.com Casey

    Here’s another good looking EE powered site

  • http://www.covicstudio.com David Coe

    Another thumbs up for ExpressionEngine from Me. What’s really appealing is there really are no limits. And with the addons available the software keeps improving. I do believe it’s a tad expensive however I pay everytime. Here’s another site using the CMS: http://www.sewmag.co.uk

  • http://www.bene.be Bene

    Thanks for including the Bene website. I’m using ExpressionEngine now for a few years and every day, i’m more convinced I made the right choice by choosing this CMS.

  • http://www.maxdoro.nl Ray

    Another good list of very good designs! Good list for inspiration!

  • http://www.kaplang.com Michelle

    We were looking at using EE for our blog before we settled for WP, it did look really good but I have always worked with WP and decided to stick with what I already know.

  • http://www.stylischwohnen.de/ Wandtattoo

    Very nice design. Best regards MJ

  • http://feedgrids.com Dimi

    We also use Expression Engine and Code Igniter to run http://feedgrids.com

    I love the amazing level of freedom I get with EE. Allows me to be the designer I want to be with no restrictions, while allowing the developers to implement my styles in no time! Great stuff, highly recommended!

  • http://www.snel-geld-lenen.info/ geld lenen

    Wow, thats a nice list. Didn’t know that Glue also using EE. I love EE becasuse it’s so flexible.. Also I recommend the Structure module…

  • http://www.santhos.nl/website_laten_maken.html website laten maken

    I never worked EE, but no doubt these sites look great! Although I think a CMS should never limit design possibilities. That’s not an argument for me to be a good CMS.

  • http://www.auto-accessoires.be/online-autoverzekering-afsluiten autoverzekering afsluiten

    Indeed, these sites look fabulous.. cms rules!

  • http://laleydeatraccionelsecreto.cl/ diego-el secreto

    i need some of this templates…I’ll take a few, ty

  • http://www.vansschoenen.net/ vans schoenen

    Their should be more tuts about EE..would love to learn more about this CMS allthough it’s not free..

  • http://www.webdesigntelford1.co.uk Web design Telford

    Great design = Sarah Longnecker

    We have never worked with Expression Engine, but will have a look into it now.

    Cheers :)

  • http://www.qdigitalstudio.com Susan Snipes

    Thanks for this post about inspiring designs done with ExpressionEngine. I would love to see more “round-ups” or articles about EE. It’s a fantastic system.

  • http://www.benstokesmarketing.co.uk Web design Shrewsbury

    HelpSpot & Ghost town studios defiantly show off the Expression Engine . . . we may look into this for future developments :)

    Cheers guys

  • Sam

    Has anyone done or seen any sites using EE in higher education? Our IT department does not think EE is powerful enough to run a higher ed site so looking for examples.

  • http://www.bene.be bene

    @Sam i know a higher education website made in EE for the Academy of Royal Arts here in Ghent, Belgium. A friend of mine made this site a few years ago http://www.kask.be