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New Poll: What is your favorite CMS?

Published by Chris Coyier

There is a new poll in the sidebar folks. This one is about Content Management Systems (CMS). There was a pretty good comment thread going a little while ago which sparked the idea for this poll.

I've always been a WordPress guy, and now with the ability to easily create different page templates for different page styles, I feel like it really has evolved into a "real" CMS instead of just a blogging platform. However, I am extremely curious and interested in other CMSs and what they have to offer. To me, it seems like Drupal or Joomla would be a smarter route to take if you were creating a site that was segmented into different major areas, each with kind of a life of it's own. For example, DZone has sub-sites like Javalobby and Eclipse Zone. Each of these have different leaders, different RSS feeds, different looks... I think that would be hard to do with WordPress, much easier with Drupal. Am I right?

Cast your vote in the sidebar and let's see which CMS reins supreme favorite amongst CSS-Tricks readers. Remember you can view and participate in past polls on the Polls page.


  1. Biofobico

    Textpattern!! It’s an amazing cms.

  2. The best CMS is the one that u custom make that matches your own needs so u dont have extra code, and functions that u don’t use.

    But from the one’s off the list i have chosen for WP, because its a proven platform, big community and allot of high quality plugins available.

  3. cushy cms is extremely easy, but wordpress is more expendable. haven’t used any of the others.

  4. So far I feel fine with Worpress, although I’d like to create my own page type (apart from pages and posts).

  5. MODx! Im so disappointed that you didn’t provide that option. :-p

    Joomla, Drupal and WP takes way to long time to customize – I just want to get into writing my xhtml and css right away, dont wanna mess around what php functions I want too apply and so forth.

    I’ve been looking for a CMS for about one year and couldn’t really get my head around the dinosaurs, until someone showed me MODx. I wanted a simple, clutterfree system, where I didn’t have to delete alot of functions, before I came to the fun part.

    Sorry for my over eager for MODx, stuff like this tend to turn into a religion.

  6. What about Typo3? At first too difficult, so you can »try & cry,« but later you »discover the world«…

  7. xpix

    Modx for me :)

  8. WordPress FTW man. I did whatever i wanted with WP so… for now, is the best for me. I’ve tried Expression Engine and TextPattern and is not too intuitive (if you compare with WP, ofcourse).

  9. I’m missing TYPO3 in your list. Regrettably it is often overlooked since it’s main breeding grounds are found outside the english speaking countries…. :-)

  10. For MS – hands down:

  11. its not a quite cms but in that list, wordpress is the best choice to me.

  12. If you’re looking for an open-source ColdFusion based CMS, we’ve just release ours called Sava CMS

    As for the CMS’s that are actually included on the list, I find that I can get a lot out of WordPress. And I don’t know why some people seem to think that theming WordPress is difficult! If you know CSS, then you can customize WP themes. I’m sure that the same is true for most of the CMS’s on the list.

  13. The question was: What is your favorite CMS?

    I would hardly call WordPress a Content Management System.

    I would say that neither WP nor MT have come close to the functionality, robustness, sheer customizability and power of EE.

    TXP, WP & MT will always be a ‘bloggers’ choice (mostly due to their simple Get Up And Blog abilities), whereas EE will be used best as a Content Management System. Aside from a blog, it can contain media, unlimited custom fields, any URL structure, user/member management, etc.

    Security, Multi Site Management, Templating System, EE Support, etc.

    It all comes down to WHAT you want (I’m not talking about EE Core version, but the paid personal license one).

  14. I’ve found that WordPress offers the best combination of built-in features, extensibility, and customizability. There’s also a huge community that is constantly adding plugins and widgets. It’s not a true CMS, but it does the trick for smaller sites.

  15. I’ve always been wary about using a hosted CMS like Cushy. Just in case the site goes down or they go out of business and you’re stuck rebuilding

  16. I was guessing a few folks would chime in to say that WordPress isn’t a real CMS. I would argue that now that you can very easily make unique page templates beyond the basic “page” and “single”, it really is a CMS. Perhaps not quite as expandable as far as structure as some of the others. But since you can manage any number of pages with any number of templates, that is a true CMS to me.

    Also thanks to the people chiming in with other examples. I of course couldn’t include every single CMS in the world on the poll, but I’ll be mentioning each of them in the follow up post so keep them coming =)

    @Tim Wright: True, hosted CMS are a little scary that way, especially when you use the free plan and they have no particular accountability to you. However in CushyCMS’s case, all you do is add classes to regular markup, so if they went out of business the only thing that would happen is you’d be left with the last update you made. Could be a lot worse…

  17. I would have said WordPress until I started using Cushy CMS. I can design the site for my client and then throw in CushyCMS for my clients to edit parts of the site without losing my head over horrible coding. I’ve also found that some of my clients are not fond of WordPress as I am.

    @Tim: I have purchased the pro account with CushyCMS just in case it does go out of business or go down. That was my original thought after testing it out. I still have not found that perfect CMS just yet.

  18. Martin

    Well, I like the BIGACE Web CMS ( a lot. Its easy and fits all my customers requirements.

    I don’t think WordPress is a CMS and it also shouldn’t try to be one, because these (Blogs & CMS) are just two different playgrounds…

  19. Not many votes for Drupal yet I see, so let me stick up for it!

    I like using it for building sites which are sub dividable into sections and also use it for building communities around a certain subject. It can be tricky to start with and I’m still on a learning curve with it myself but I’m enjoying it.

    WordPress is used for blogs and I’ve used it when creating and maintaining several different blogs of varying sizes and feel it is the best blogging platform available. I haven’t investigated using it as a fully blown CMS yet but it seems to get good reviews so will maybe try it on a small project soon.

  20. WordPress
    Expression Engine

    3. Drupal

    The rest … don’t give a damn.

  21. Ivan Nikolic

    I’m a WordPress guy, maybe it’s overzealous to say that everything can be done by using WordPress, but that’s just my opinion after using it for various projects and actually experiencing how easy it is configurable.
    But, yes, Joomla is pure CMS so I think it’s better solution in some cases, although, I haven’t used it…

  22. I have used WP, Joomla & Silverstripe several times.

    I think Joomla is very powerful but complicated to use, howmuch you are experienced in it, you can sometimes get lost within the menus & logic. And most of 3rd party modules & components have problems. Does not still have a slick photo gallery application for it.

    Silverstripe – very nice, I use it when I code all the website and use it as a db manager. Usability & navigation is very good.

    Wodpress – Simplicity & power, easy & complicated, just depends how you want to use it. Great plugin support. Definitely my choice.

  23. @Biofobico i wouldn’t really say textpattern is a CMS – it has it’s uses, primarily but not exclusively as a blogging platform, but not really for content managed sites.

    mod-x for me – a bitch to get head round at first but once there it has more than enough oomph for most requirements and open source to boot!

  24. chuck

    +1 for MODx here. You have as many admin fields as you want, they can be anything from checkboxes, select lists, wywisyg text boxes, file upload button. And you can do really cool things with them like create a drop-down list of all the files in a directory or all the registered users.

    THEN you can choose how you want to output the selection, and use small php modifiers if you want (striped rows, parse with textile, shorten to 5 words with ellipsis). It takes time to learn but is oh so well worth it.

    And the forums are great!

  25. I vote for TYPOlight (
    Open source and very powerfull CMS. And great templates system.

  26. Urs

    Where ist Typo3???
    One of the most used Open-Source CMS in Europe!!!

  27. Greg

    Hi Chris,

    did something happen to the rss feed? My reader says it doesn’t exist anymore.

  28. Expression Engine, hands down. It is much more flexible than WordPress, especially when setting up for clients.

    I still use WordPress, but my favorite is definitely Expression Engine now.

    Looking forward to EE2 coming out this summer. Should be pretty sweet.

  29. I would agree with Chris that wordpress is a simple CMS; I do like its backend a lot too. I picked Joomla though because that’s what I use for my job. It’s architecture can be a little scary at first, but from a developer’s standpoint, you can do some pretty powerful things with it, although I would also argue that it’s too much for smaller sites. I’ve never had to develop a site template (someone else does that), but I do know attaching a custom style sheet is a snap for when I need to style my components a special way.

  30. Shane

    MODx for me. It is the only one I found that has the flexibility and no nonsense approach that make working a breeze. I can’t believe that you left it off the list.

  31. robonoob


    I’ve seen the power of it from the websites made by others. EXTREMELY flexible and powerful. I am still learning how to tap the power of it.

    I’ve tried Joomla, and I reached the limit of it easily. Well, I want to have a CMS which can handle complex user-defined content structures, simple workflow, simple access control, and simple automation (via whatever means). And I simply find that there is not much CMS can meet my needs.

    So far, I can’t see what I can’t do it drupal.

    I may have narrowed vision. So please tell me if there are alternatives.

  32. I feel like it really has evolved into a “real” CMS instead of just a blogging platform.

    I found the purpose of using CMS is to reduce the need of coding: the lighter a CMS, meaning more flexibilities and opportunities to demonstrate your skill. By moving backward to a ‘real’ CMS, you are limit yourself in a box of predefined features that encourages you to ‘develop’ (rather than program) inside the square.

    I’ve worked with Joomla!, CMS Made Simple and WordPress and tweaked a Drupal website. I first fall in love with Joomla! because it’s simply amazing to be able to create a website by click of buttons in administrator panel. Then I thirst for control, that’s when I move to CMSMS, which allow you to define more stuff in your way. But because CMSMS lacked of ‘beautify code’ and has more overhead then WordPress, I made my switch to WordPress 3 months ago.

    If you want to find the right CMS for you, you are best move around and trying out different flavors and eventually you will find your right taste.

  33. Radiant CMS is my new favorite. There’s a PHP port of it called Frog for those that don’t want to run Ruby.

    IMHO the real test of a CMS is how easy it is to take a custom data model and expose it to the web using the CMS publishing engine. With even Joomla or Drupal, I found this to be a pain because the CMS system assumed or required more than I liked. Radiant is so dead simple, it’s easy to twist it to do what you need.

    Anyway, that’s my plug.

  34. KDR

    I’ve never liked any type of CMS…
    i’ve always preferred to create everything myself and maintain it myself..

  35. Daniel

    TYPOlight for smaller projects, TYPO3 three for big, multi languae (corporate) web sites with lots of conent and different user groups.

  36. hannes

    TYPO3 for the big, txp for the smaller sites.

  37. In my opinion there is no better CMS or what so ever. Just what you are used to is better for you. I am using Joomla because there are much extensions, plugins and modules but I want to test out other CMSs like Drupal, wordpress, typo etc. to.

  38. It all depends on what you’re after. There’s probably a specific CMS for everything; if you want a CMS that focuses on security, you’ve got it. If you want one for multi-language publishing, no problem! If you’re just after a small CMS, there’s tons of light-weight ones out there.

    Personally I’ve worked most with WordPress and some on Joomla, but I’ve always wanted to learn Drupal. Too bad I don’t have the time for it right now…

    My vote goes to WordPress, but if you throw this poll up again later, maybe I’ll vote differently.

  39. Zikula

    Zikula, formerly PostNuke gets my vote for CMS. It is secure, fully templateable, modular, scalable, has a granular-permission scheme.

    Furthermore it more than a CMS, it is Web Application Framework. It is developer friendly with a tool set that allows speed of development.

    Sorry Chris, I just don’t see WP as a true CMS. Maybe an advanced-blogger. WP is pretty cool, though. I recommend it to people for sure.

    Disclosure: I work on the Zikula support team. Work = give time for free and an occasional ‘thank-you’. ;-) .

    Thanks for your time, Chris. I enjoy your site!

    David Pahl

  40. Neil Powers – all the way. Easy, fast and simple.

  41. WordPress, no doubt

  42. John Kusak

    Broad question I must say. It really depends on your needs. Joomla is good informational sites, WordPress for blogs, Instant Update for small sites, Drupal for communities, Php nuke for blah blah blah and the list goes on.

  43. ping

    Typo3, it is enterprise solution with its own fullfeatured framework API.

  44. Welllll….after 12 years working in the field I have to say that the ability to do what one wants to do, rather than what the system can do is most important.
    I make a living doing this as a web develper and naturally it was vital that the cms imposed no limitations. And that it was the best available.

    After 5 years of intense investigation and hundreds of hours later, I found 2 that imposed no limitations.
    MovableType and ExpressionEngine.

    Now after 3 years on a full time basis, 5 with MT, I find EE is not only the most configurable platform with no limitations imposed by the core being wrapped arounf the temmplate system, but also having unlimited potential.

  45. Definately Drupal. It is well-designed under the hood, powerful, highly customizable, performant and flexible. It requires some time to get it right with D, but it’s worth it.

  46. WordPress! It’s so powerful and customizable.

  47. Juan

    Any one have try CMS Made Simple.. I thing it is pretty good and easy!

  48. Kist

    Never liked CMS made simple. I don’t know how is the new version, but old ones sucked. For simple CMS solution I always use Instant Update.

  49. Alan

    MODx is great. It is really easy to customize and script.

  50. ee stands above the rest in my opinion due to it’s blend power, flexibility, and ease of use. i know i’m just scratching the surface of what this CMS can do, but it still amazes me what i’m able to accomplish while using using it.

  51. EllisGL
    Permalink to comment#

    ModX is my favorite.

  52. After trying many of the CMS’s listed myself over the last 5 years or so, I have to say that hands down, ExpressionEngine is the best I’ve ever used. It just gets better every day.

  53. I think Joomla is very powerful but complicated to use, howmuch you are experienced in it, you can sometimes get lost within the menus & logic. And most of 3rd party modules & components have problems. Does not still have a slick photo gallery application for it.
    I would agree with you here, Joomla (like Drupal) can be hard to set up. Thats probably why there are “instant site” services spring up like simplweb and bitnami.

  54. Permalink to comment#

    Frog CMS =the best. Its the PHP version of Radiant CMS which is so easy to manage and navigate that it puts all other cms’ to shame. The admin interface is so simple and easy to use that I can have my clients use it.

    My site runs Chyrp though because I prefer tumblelogs over regular blogs.

  55. I am for TYPO3 i like it!

  56. Permalink to comment#

    I use textpattern baby!

  57. Drupal for small-medium sites that want multiple users/authors and plenty of features. Huge community of developers and users.
    Joomla if it’s just one user to edit their site, because it lacks permission capability for various groups of editors. Only like 15 developers really contribute anything.
    Wordpress is great for Blogs from the get-go.
    ExpressionEngine is OK for clients who need salespeople to tell them what they need, and paid support.
    Static XHTML/CSS with a little PHP. Sometimes a CMS is overkill for that little website…

  58. Jackson5
    Permalink to comment#
  59. Have been around most all of the CMS on your list; some for actual production sites, others just for test/demo and fun! Although most CMS suits a specific pursose/niche, I always get back to both WordPress and Joomla!, however Joomla! is my favorite CMS. Here’s why:

    Vibrant community: I always have someone to ask in case of problems and theres always someone working on new enhancements. And you don’t have to wait 10 days for an answer in the support forums!
    Extentions: there’s a huge amount of extensions available – some commercial but most are free (GPL) – to make your CMS suit your specific purpose. Everything is easily installed.
    Modifikation: easy to modify both core (although seldom nessesary), templates and extentions if you need.
    Flexibility: You can run all kinds of websites – from basic/simplistic to large content sites although Joomla! has some shortcomings on the blog functionality.
    Userfriendly: Joomla is by far the most userfriendly CMS (beats WP with ease) and comes with excellent documentation/help files.

    I agree with others readers that [TYPO3][3] is missing in your list. It’s too large to be listed as “other”. I’m not using TYPO3, mainly because of a too small and (therefore) non-vibrant community. However it seems fine for small to medium size websites and is easily modified.

    If you are looking for a small, nice and flexible open source CMS then I can recommend phpwcms by Oliver Georgi. Not a large commulity, not many extensions, and not any new versions coming up every two months, but definitely worth a try if you need to run a smaller basic site!

  60. My Others vote is actually for Zikula. See the comments David made, I second that.
    It’s great.

  61. MaxUp
    Permalink to comment#

    Experession Engine – the best! It’s really flexibly. You can create all what u want.
    p.s. and now all EE people wait for EE2.0 – it must be something (Philosophy EE and new core on CodeIgniter)!

  62. Permalink to comment#

    What, no Blogger?!

  63. Bob
    Permalink to comment#

    Drupal for blogs and community sites, CMS Made Simple for customers sites. CMSMS is brilliant and also very easy to handle for customers, even those without much knowledge how to use a CMS.

  64. fedji
    Permalink to comment#

    I am going to second Instant Update before any other small simple management systems.

  65. After reading this list I must chime in. We have been faithful users of WordPress since our site launched. But with growth came bloat and it is bogging down our site. Now we have been hacked twice this week due to a vulnerability that hasnt been patched yet. I must say that I am looking at EE as though it were the Apple version of the PC WordPress. With the FREE tag comes vulnerabilities. EE doesnt seem as prone to problems because their is a price tag. Plus I am looking for something that is similar to WordPress in usability. No offense but after several attempts to Joomla, mambo, Typo, Drupal is that you shouldnt have to be a rocket scientist to use the system. My thoughts specifically on Joomla are that a designer needs to help them figure out flow and function before they release another version of the same old non-user friendly back-end.

  66. No offense but after several attempts to Joomla, mambo, Typo, Drupal is that you shouldnt have to be a rocket scientist to use the system

    Maybe this is the answer for Joomla?

  67. lossy
    Permalink to comment#

    Well, for me no doubt, it’s ModX. The free CMS for designers!

  68. MODx all the way. I cant go back to before I discovered MODx. This CMS is not bloated like Drupal, it does not generate tables like Joomla and it does not need hacking to turn it from a blog into a CMS, it just works very well. If you have not tried it yet then do.

  69. Kirsten
    Permalink to comment#

    I have to say that Instant Update does everything I need to satisfy my clients.

  70. Aaron
    Permalink to comment#

    Wow I have to second instant update cms. Just installed and still amazed.

  71. Permalink to comment#

    WordPress is great if you want/need a plug and play CMS. Especially for a fairly simple blog setup.

    MODx is what I use on most of my sites. It rocks and is fully customizable. You can make your site as simple or complicated as you like.

  72. Permalink to comment#

    sorry but in this day and age any CMS that produces tables is unaccep-table (see what I did there :-)

    WP isn’t a CMS, it’s a blogging tool with add ons and it really depends on your level of competence whether you should be coding or pressing buttons to develop your websites… I’ve had to pick up the pieces numerous times where a so called webdeveloper has sold a client on a WP hack and then got in over their heads.

    yes Drupal and Joomla etc are easy up to a point, but when your clients ask the dreaded ‘can it just’ question and you have a week of core hacking in front of you, do you really want to base your business on that??

    If you understand the importance of separation of style and content, then why not go one stage further and separate your code as well so after using most of the competition MODX is the one for me :-) the new MODX Revolution is going to be awesome, but to all the haters, carry on using whatever blogging system you like and we’ll pick up the clients when you can’t make it do what you want…

  73. LMAO 2x LMAO 4x LMAO 8x … true that amigo!

    I can’t stand arguing with someone about the validity of WP as a CMS. It just ‘irks’ me to near-death.

    It is a fine blogging platform. And it must jump through hoops to do whatever you or your client wants it to do … but no … EEK

    I am content doing what I do with ExpressionEngine.

  74. OggMedia
    Permalink to comment#

    Been using Instant Update for years. No argument, so far easiest cms for my clients.

  75. alex_donovan
    Permalink to comment#

    I think someone already mentioned the Instant Update CMS.

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