Long time ago during the time when I started my career, using open source, licensed or hosted CMS was not the right choice, most web developers knew that client want to use custom made environment that fit exactly their needs, without extras, as well to be able to maintain particular website easily without even need of webmaster (drag and drop plus publish). At that time major part of web developers were building custom CMS mostly based on PHP or ASP, build over some of the most popular frameworks like CakePHP or Code Igniter.
In the last couple of years things have changed completely – now most web developers prefer to build client project based on most popular open source or license CMS respectively like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal or Expression Engine, Magento, etc. I can tell you exactly why – open source projects are becoming more and more popular, usually open source communities quickly adopt the latest technology and there are regular updates on the CMS core, plug-ins and of course quickly closing security issues. Maintaining and adding new code on custom CMS can turn to nightmare, first it is time consuming, adding new features can be very difficult and in most cases it turns into constant battle with hackers.
Here I will just list some of the most popular open source content management systems without recommending, this definitely depends on your personal preferences and project needs. However I will point some advantages and disadvantages of certain CMS.
Probably everybody have heard and used WordPress – one of the most popular blogging environments, until recently. Well, WordPress is not only blog platform, but very flexible and powerful CMS, well supported with regular core and plug-in updates. One of the main advantages of WordPress is that this particular CMS is very easy to use and maintain another advantage is low system requirements for web hosting. As it is very light, WordPress is also very SE-friendly. Quick tip – there are premium custom build templates for some business niche like real estate, automotive, Accommodation booking, user reviews, social networking, etc; which make it perfect choice. My personal opinion is that it lacks some flexibility which some complicated projects require. Read comprehensive WordPress review here.
If I can say Joomla is the all rounder CMS – offering the flexibility and power. Joomla is very different compared to other content management systems – build over main core and offering different types of components, modules and plug-ins which make is more flexible and easy to amend. One of the downsides of Joomla is that it requires at least VPS to run basic web project. Major part of components is free, but of course there are commercial components and modules. Since version 1.5 Joomla security issues seems to be in the past, Joomla community is growing rapidly and at the present moment seems to be the most powerful solution that every web developer can build a project suitable for any business niche. There are more than 200 government websites build over Joomla in the last couple of years. Latest version 2.5 offer great option and integrating blogging platform, forum community or social networking components have never been that easy.
Mostly knows as developer’s choice because its flexibility and slightly difficult learning curve. However Drupal community is very big and there are numerous plug-ins and themes which are free. Again you can build almost any kind of website project that is based on Drupal, similar to Joomla compatibility between different versions of Drupal can be a problem and migration is not that easy. About web hosting, slightly higher requirement than WordPress and much lower compared to Joomla. Check Drupal 7 Review here.
All these environments offer broad common usage, easy installation, constant and regular update and well supported by hosting platforms. To develop website based on Joomla, Drupal or WordPress even doesn’t require web development skills. All 3 systems also offer large variety of templates and template frameworks which make web design even easier. My tip for you – build your new website on some of those CMS and don’t waste time and money on building custom one, this will save you a lot of headaches.