A content management system (abbreviation: CMS) is a software for creating and managing content on websites and other media formats. In the content management system, there is a distinction between layout and actual editorial content which may include text, images and multimedia documents.
Content management systems provide a graphical user interface that allows users to create and edit entire websites. Programming knowledge is not usually required for CMS. Content management systems can either be installed locally on your own server or run on a provider’s server. Almost always, the user can assign different access and user rights via the CMS and thus regulate access to different areas.
Features of a content management system
Many content management systems have a similar structure and differ only slightly in terms of their features. In this way, individual content modules can usually be defined and flexibly arranged against a selected background. An HTML editor often provides further design options. In addition, many systems can be expanded by a large number of modules, add-ons or components, which also increases the scope of features.
Areas of application of content management systems
A content management system can be divided into three areas of application: the editorial system, the content repository and the publishing system. Content can be managed in the editorial system and stored in the content repository. The publishing system of the CMS enables publication of the content.
The most popular content management system providers
The most widely used CMS in Germany is WordPress. The software TYPO3, Joomla, Drupal and Contao are also popular and we’ll introduce them briefly here.
WordPress is a free CMS that accounts for more than 40% of all websites on the internet. WordPress is used by both individuals and businesses. Any type of website can be created with this free, open-source software. WordPress is written in the script language PHP and uses a MySQL or MariaDB database.
Joomla is a free CMS that evolved from the open source program Mambo. The software is primarily used to create websites with dynamic content. Joomla makes it easy for beginners to design professional websites. It is written in the script language PHP and requires a MySQL database.
Drupal is an open source CMS with a modular structure. There are seven core modules but these are usually not sufficient for running a professional website. This is where the numerous extension options come into play, most of which are provided by the community. Drupal is written in PHP. The databases MySQL and MariaDB are recommended.
Contao is a free CMS that is regarded in user circles as a “leaner alternative” to TYPO, Drupal and others. The hierarchical page structure allows uncomplicated management and editing of different pages. Contao is powerful and flexible – suitable for medium to large web projects. The software is written in the script language PHP, MySQL is used as database.
FAQ: More questions about content management systems
What content management systems are there?
There is a long list of content management systems. The best-known open source CMS programs include WordPress, TYPO3, Joomla, Drupal and Contao.
What is the difference between a CMS and a CCMS?
A CMS (content management system) offers multiple users with different access levels the possibility to manage content between which there is no relevant connection. With CCMS (component content management system), content is related to each other and managed on a higher level. This means that as much content as possible can be reused without having to duplicate it.
What must a good content management system be able to do?
A good CMS offers the possibility to create, edit and publish web content without having to rewrite the code. The software should meet current security standards and provide access to workflow and authorisation management. A responsive design ensures the correct display of the website on different end devices. It also makes sense to have web reporting integrated into the CMS.
What is the purpose of a content management system?
A content management system (CMS) is used to manage the digital content of a website – without the knowledge of a programmer. Several users can work on the content at the same time via the graphical user interface in the backend.
What advantages does a content management system offer?
A content management system has many advantages, first and foremost the easy maintenance of the website: After only a short training period, users can update texts or exchange images. Another advantage of the CMS is that it can be used from several workstations. The software can be expanded by various modules, add-ons or components with little effort. The separation of content and layout in the CMS is also practical.
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