There are millions of web pages on the Internet; in each case, the type of content, its appearance, its use and its internal management differ. Some (usually the older ones), created with ‘dry stick’ HTML, but most use some kind of web content manager, also known as CMS for its acronym in English (content management system),
These CMS differ from each other due to their ease of use, the type of website for which they are designed, their price and whether or not they are self-installing (that is, if we can host them on a hosting of our choice). For the following list we have selected only free and self-installing CMS:
Wix’s controversial campaign against WordPress
The King of CMS: WordPress is the most used content manager on the Internet (around 30% of the websites that use some type of CMS). It is free, open source and extremely versatile: it is used for personal blogs, for corporate portals, for forums, for online stores, etc, etc.
What’s more, its learning curve is very smooth: allows you to quickly start with a basic website and, from there, add functions and customize features.
His huge community of users and developers offers, today, 3900 themes or templates to customize its appearance, and more than 56000 plugins (added functions); and we are only talking about free themes and plugins.
Many webmasters criticize that WordPress has become a heavier and heavier CMS over the years, mainly for two reasons:
For pretend to be a CMS-for-everything (originally focused on blogging).
To add in the basic installation the controversial Gutenberg, a content layout maker by blocks highly valued by other users (it allows you to do graphic ‘tricks’ in a few seconds).
WordPress.org must be differentiated, the downloadable CMS that we can install on our own web server, from WordPress.com, the official service that facilitates the creation of WordPress websites with limited functionalities and hosted on a third-party server.
Like WordPress, Drupal is a versatile and open source content manager. The community of developers formed around it, and that provides users with themes and plugins (called ‘modules’), is not negligible either.
Its basic installation and customization process is practically as simple as that of WordPress, but from there your learning curve is greater.
The great advantage of Drupal is that it is a manager lighter than WordPressIn addition to having a reputation for taking safety (very advanced in aspects such as user permissions). Also is more flexible in aspects such as the types of content and the taxonomy system.
All that, together with his better support for multilingual sites (built in as standard, not dependent on plugins) can make it a better option for certain large projects that do not fit typical blog or corporate website models.
Magento Open Source
Magento is one of the two most used content managers for electronic stores on the Internet together with Shopify (well, and together with WooComerce, which is not a CMS but a popular plugin for WordPress).
Magento Open Source is the open source version of Magento Commerce, a paid CMS owned by Adobe. More limited than the latter, it also has plugins and themes to expand its functionality.
It allows you to create very complete online stores, but not an option for small projects or inexperienced webmasters. In that case, Shopify (paid) or the combination of WordPress + WooComerce (free) will be much better alternatives.
In recent years it has started to become fashionable a new category of super-light CMS, capable of even dispensing with the use of databases, the ‘Flat-File CMS’. Within this we will find several proposals, such as Kirby, Jekyll, Craft, Pico, Bolt (which we already talked about here) … but if we have to stay with one, we choose to highlight Grav.
Once installed, Grav allows you to publish content simply by hosting Markdown text files in a folder: there you will specify the URL of the publication, its format and date, and its text and links. This simplicity does not mean that it does not have hundreds of plugins and themes, and even with ‘skeletons’ (packs of the previous conformed according to the use that we want to give the web).
Definitely, a simple and lightweight CMS, highly recommended especially for less complex projects and that they do not host a large number of articles (the entire site cache is regenerated after each new publication).
If you are looking to create a website with wiki format, there are also open source CMS for that. An option for this would be to use the same manager that Wikipedia uses (called Mediawiki), but another much easier to manage (and also lighter) is Tiddlywiki.
What kind of websites can we create with this format? Well, FAQs (question and answer collections), web e-books, index cards. It can even be useful to create a website in blog format, as its official website shows.
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