Alternative to WordPress: 5 Great CMS You Might Not Have Heard of Before

WordPress may be the most popular CMS (content management system) in the web; it is definitely not the only one around. There are many other CMS that are equally powerful as WordPress. Here are five alternatives for you.

Microweber is one of the newest kids in the block. What makes it unique is its full drag-and-drop design and real-time creating/editing of content. It also comes with a shopping cart built in so you can easily set up your blogshop without any coding.

microweber-site

You can register a Microweber account and start your own blog in a sub-domain of microweber.com (like what WordPress.com does) or download the package and install it on your own server.

What I like

  1. Integrated shopping cart – It only supports Paypal at the moment, but that doesn’t make it less functional. It allows you to focus on selling and to not waste time configuring the payment gateway.
  2. Real time writing/editing – If you are always wondering what your blog post will look like in the site while you are writing it in the backend, then this real-time feature will definitely be useful to you.
  3. Drag-and-drop – Other than the design, you can make use of its drag-and-drop feature to arrange your images and photo gallery. You can also drag and drop blocks of paragraphs from one to another. Changing the layout of individual pages is also as simple as dragging and dropping.

What I don’t like

  1. Limited design choice – While the drag-and-drop is one of the highlighted features in Microweber, it also means that your design is bounded by what is offered. It is good for simple site layout but won’t work well for a complicated design.
  2. Limited modules – Being a new player, it doesn’t come with many modules that you can install.

Concrete5 is surprisingly easy to use. The first time you log in, it will show a popup of the get started guide. You can choose whether you are an editor, app developer, or business user and read the relevant guide.

concrete5-login-guide

Like Microweber, Concrete5 also comes with a drag-and-drop feature and real-time writing/editing capability. What makes it better is its organized menu and uncluttered looks. You won’t feel like you have a lot of things to select from each time. It also has a Dashboard that is full of configuration options, well organized in sections.

concrete5-dashboard

Concrete5 comes with versioning control so you can easily revert back to the previous design. Additionally, it also comes with a cache system to improve the site performance.

What I like

  1. Well organized layout and simple to use interface – it is very easy to use Concrete5. You can get started even without any coding skill or technical knowledge.
  2. Full page caching – This is part of the CMS, so you can easily turn it on and make your site run faster
  3. Versioning – Every change you make to the site is saved and versioned. You can easily revert to an older version.
  4. Community themes and addons – You can link your site to the Concrete5 community and auto install themes and addons directly from the Community page.

What I don’t like

  1. Default theme sucks – The default theme sucks. You will definitely want to switch to a better looking theme.
  2. Theme layout doesn’t apply to whole site – While the basic design is the same for every page, you will have to customize the layout and structure of each page.

Silverstripe focuses heavily on content management and creation – that is why it has a very simple interface in its backend. It’s so simple that it is not comparable to many of the CMS out there.

silverstripe-backend

While it doesn’t come with real time editing, you can see a live preview of your content while you are creating/editing it.

silverstripe-content-editing

Unlike most CMS that come with a blog component, the default installation of Silverstripe only allows you to create static pages. You will have to obtain other features through addons.

What I like

  • Easy content management – The interface for content management is simply the best among all the CMS mentioned here.

What I don’t like

  • Installing themes and addons is difficult – While you may think that installing a new theme or addon is easy, it is not. Most of the time I have to go through loops, editing config files, and reading documentation before I can get the addon to work.

If you are looking for a lighter and faster version of WordPress, Habari is the one for you. Like WordPress, Habari is also a blog-focused CMS, and it comes with support for themes and plugins. One big difference between Habari and WordPress is that Habari is very lightweight and loads blazingly fast.

habari-admin

What I like

  1. Fast loading speed
  2. Clean and simple interface
  3. Easily extensible by themes and plugins
  4. Support multisites like WordPress
  5. Little learning curve

What I don’t like

  • The default theme sucks

If you love the Textile markup langauge, then you are going to love Textpattern. Unlike most CMS that come with a WYSIWYG text editor, Textpattern uses textile for creating and editing content.

textpattern-textile-markup

For WordPress, you can only have one blog. For Textpattern, you can create different sections and each section is considered a blog by itself. When you write articles, you simply assign them to different sections.

Working with Textpattern requires you to edit a lot of config files and work with XML, HTML tags etc. This may seem complicated at the beginning, but after using it for a while, you will understand why Textpattern is so flexible and extensible. With a simple change of the code you can tweak it to do plenty of stuff, including modifying the theme, change article structure etc.

What I like

  1. Flexible and extensible
  2. Lightweight (less than 1MB in size)
  3. Can easily create/modify themes
  4. Supports themes and plugins

What I don’t like

  • Steep learning curve at the beginning, especially if you are not familiar with Textile

When it comes to publishing content online, WordPress is not the only CMS around. If you are willing to look around, there are tons of open source CMS that you can use for free. The above list should give you a start if you are looking for an alternative to WordPress.

Image credit: The word Content by BigStockPhoto

13 comments

  1. WordPress used to be a blogging software. I’d have been more satisfied about this article, if there were more Blogging platforms.

    • WordPress, till today, is still a blogging software. Microweber, habari and
      textpattern are blogging software as well.

      • I am agreed with Damien!
        Lets stop thinking only for WP as a CMS which is a great blogging platform. But they are just a Blogging platform only, and they are not CMS for websites. I don’t know why everyone belies that they are a CMS at all? Probably why the have a developers who need to integrate it to his customers, because the developers are promote it before to their customers.

        I don’t know but only thing I know is that WP is a Blog platform (and it best of the World!) but the Internet need more of Blogging’s platforms like WP!

        This case I can say that I like MW because looks to me like the real alternative!
        At the end I can say – nice article, I will love to comment on this site again!

  2. There should be like a convention where all cmses follow a certain guideline like some sort of generalized interconnected framework, based on their specializations (blog, shopping cart, intranet, and many others). It’ll be easier then to switch between them and that’ll make things a lot easier for all of us, users and developers alike !

    • Most open source projects don’t follow a convention and the reason why open
      source projects thrive is because developers wanted create their own stuff,
      rather than conform to a particular standard. This goes the same for CMS.
      It is good to have support for switching from one to another, but it is not
      compulsory.

  3. Should one of the cons for MicroWeber be that you have to pay them for hosting, you can’t host it on your own server!!? :(

    -Jamie M.

      • Sweet, thanks for the link. I was just going through the features and it had a “get started” button. The first step was to change your name servers over to their server or buy a new domain name and host it with them for $19/mo!!? lol.

        Thanks again, glad to know I can run it on my own server. I’ll give it a go on my Seagate GoFlex Home and if it’s not powerful enough I’ll try it on a “real” machine.

        http://ywax.us

        -Jamie M.

  4. WE have recently launched yet another d&d CMS. You can have a look at it on http://xepan.org.

    Till date its in beta but we have used it on more then 500+ sites… Sugessions and comments are welcome ..

  5. I’ve used the new WordPress look but when you’re looking for an enterprise content management system I don’t think WordPress is what comes to mind .In past we were looking for one platform for our users to manage their web projects from, something along the lines of a CMS and portal. We found Centralpoint by Oxcyon. At first we had our doubts because we thought the software was for the healthcare industry. Security was one of our biggest concerns but we knew if Centralpoint was used in the healthcare field that it would have a way to create roles and permission securely. Centralpoint made the transfer of data easy. It was nothing like the base model of other systems. It included things like taxonomy, rights management, Data Warehousing, Single Sign On, and Email Broadcasting. We found that Centralpoint was the right alternative for us.

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