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Four Features You Should Know about the Top Five CMSs

By Daniel Threlfall February 11, 2013 Articles and Editorials  Comments

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How well do you know your CMS? Here's an inside peek at the top five open-source CMSs. You're probably going to discover some things you never knew about the CMS you use on a daily basis. If you are in the process of selecting a CMS, this brief guide may help you decide.

What are the most popular CMSs?

In this article, we're going to explore the following five open-source systems.

  • WordPress - "Web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog"
  • Joomla! - "The CMS trusted by millions for their websites"
  • Drupal - "A free software package that allows you to easily organize, manage and publish your content, with an endless variety of customization"
  • TYPO3 - "The enterprise open source CMS"
  • DotNetNuke - "The leading open source ASP.NET CMS, content management system and.NET web application development framework"

We're going to ask four basic questions about each CMS:

  • How much does it cost? We'll uncover average setup costs and suggest a monthly maintenance cost.
  • How long has it been around?
  • How popular is it?
  • What companies use it? You may be surprised at the big-name sites that use these popular CMSs. Note that many large organizations (e.g., CNN) use multiple platforms for various sites. For this reason, some organizations may appear several times.

WordPress

How much does it cost?  

As well as being the most popular, WordPress is also the least expensive. Perhaps the two go hand in hand.

  • Setup:  On average, a professionally designed site will cost from $1,000 to $15,000.
  • Ongoing monthly:  $250

How long has it been around? 

WordPress was released in May of 2003, and has been developing and growing ever since. It's now in version 3.5.

How popular is it?

WordPress owns 53% of the market share. According to TechCrunch's 2011 report, WordPress powers 22% of the world's new active websites, and has 62% of the top million websites using a CMS. During 2011, there were over 100,000 new WordPress sites created daily.

What sites are built with it? 

The lineup is impressive. From techy blogs to huge news agencies, WordPress definitely has some heavy hitters.

  • TED
  • NBC Sports
  • UPS
  • TechCrunch
  • CNN
  • CBS Radio
  • Mashable
  • Forbes
  • Reuters
  • eBay
  • Sony
  • GM

Joomla!

How much does it cost?  

  • Setup:  From design to launch, a Joomla! site edges a bit higher than WordPress. The range is around $2,400 - $20,000. The cost increase over Wordpress is probably due to the fact that WordPress is seen as easier to use.
  • Ongoing monthly:  $500

How long has it been around? 

Launch date was September 16, 2005. Joomla is now in its 3rd iteration.

How popular is it?

Joomla claims 9% of the open-source CMS market. They've counted over 35 million downloads of the software. 2.7% of the largest 1 million websites are Joomla.

What companies use it?  

  • NASA
  • Warner Brothers Records
  • The New York Observer
  • Fast Company
  • Popular Science
  • Amnesty International
  • SonyBMG
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Ikea
  • Forbes
  • Harvard University
  • LA Weekly
  • eBay
  • Pizza Hut
  • General Electric

Drupal

How much does it cost?  

Drupal has the highest startup costs of any other platform.

  • Setup - $5,000 - $50,000
  • Ongoing monthly - $1,000 - $2,000

How long has it been around? 

Drupal came onto the scene in 2001, an early comer to the CMS world. It was the first majorly popular CMS to use PHP as its platform. It started out as a message board project by Dries Buytaert, the Belgian entrepreneur (and genius). When it became apparent that Drupal could do more than messages, it went open source. The rest is history. Drupal is now in version 7.

How popular is it?

Drupal claims 6% of the CMS market. It's no WordPress, but there are plenty of sites built with Drupal. EngineIndustries thinks that there are over 7 million

What sites are built with it? 

  • WhiteHouse.gov
  • U.S.A. Department of Commerce
  • Data.gov.uk
  • Commerce.gov
  • MIT University
  • Harvard University
  • Duke University
  • World Bank
  • Reuters Labs
  • BBC
  • ABC
  • BarackObama.com
  • Jabber
  • The Onion

TYPO3

How much does it cost?  

  • Setup - $4,000 - 40,000
  • Ongoing monthly - $800 - 1,500

How long has it been around? 

TYPO3 is the oldest of the CMSs. It was released in 1998 by Dutch Developer Kasper Skårhøj. This was back in the day when "CMS" wasn't even a term.

How popular is it?

The Typo3 package has been downloaded over 5.8 million times, but Sourceforget.net claims that the mirror download sites could boost that number by a million or so. Typo3.org estimates that there are half a million sites built with Typo3. The estimated TYPO3 market share is around 2%

What companies use it? 

  • Cisco
  • HP
  • Epson
  • Unicef
  • Philips
  • The Economist
  • Bayer
  • Lindt
  • Ford
  • Lufthsana
  • Brita
  • Air France
  • Unesco

DotNetNuke

How much does it cost?  

  • Setup - $2,500 - 30,000
  • Ongoing monthly $1,500

How long has it been around? 

DotNetNuke was born on Christmas Eve in 2002. DotNetNuke has a close relationship with Microsoft. It runs on Windows .NET platform, rather than PHP.

How popular is it?

Its been downloaded over 7 million times, and DotNetNuke claims to back over 700,000 websites worldwide. It is the #1 WCMS for Microsoft.

What companies use it?

  • Creative Commons
  • Aegis Mobile
  • Kiwanis
  • Cash Flow Depot
  • Chrysler
  • Delphi
  • Kia
  • Hilton
  • Bose
  • Motorola
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Little Ceasars

We are grateful to Dot Com Infoway (DCI) for the cost data used in this article.

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Daniel Threlfall

Daniel Threlfall Author

By Daniel Threlfall - Since it's hard to make a living drinking coffee, I instead write about tech. And I drink coffee. I'm concentrated in web design, good CMSs, SEO, bad CMSs, social media. And I drink a lot of coffee. No cream, no sugar. You can find Daniel on Google+, and Twitter.

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