Picking up the right CMS is the most vital decision when you are starting a web development process. Because it lets you plan your app requirements and its solutions. In the way, you get the idea about your proposed app design, features, and performance. Therefore, opting for the best PHP CMS is the most important part of your app development cycle. And hence requires appropriate knowledge to choose the best one.
While today we have many open source CMS available in the market. The choice depends upon our app requirements. Whether you want to build a simple dynamic website or a fully functional eCommerce store. There are multiple types of CMSs available in the market which could lessen your workload. As not every developer wants to write orthodox HTML and CSS to build web pages.
These PHP CMS platforms help to reduce the conventional workload of developers. The dynamic web apps which go up to a thousand pages with time are easier to develop with CMS platforms. As it streamlines the jobs involved in development in smart ways.
Therefore, we will be looking down at some of the best PHP CMSs for developers and their related pros and cons. So that you can get a better idea of which one to choose for your next project. So let’s dive down below and review the top 5 PHP CMSs in the market.
By far, WordPress holds the repute of the world’s most used open-source CMS for web development. You can create a whole lot of applications on any PHP hosting using WordPress and it is pretty advanced too. Whether you need a simple blog or an eCommerce store, WordPress has all solutions for you. It has the largest market share of around 75 million active websites on the internet.
WordPress is an open-source platform and allows thousands of developers from around the world to contribute to its improvement. That is why the platform has evolved so rapidly over the years. It has become the ultimate choice for all sorts of web applications. The platform has given inception to many pioneering ideas in the development field. It has the biggest stock of optional plugins, themes, and widgets. Which could be easily customized for any desired results.
Moreover, to enhance the website’s search engine rankings, WordPress also comprises built-in SEO tools. This is why its recommendation is pretty high and developers love using it. When it comes to building websites with optimized SEO, WP always comes first!
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- WordPress has the CMS market share of dominating 76.4%
- WordPress is available in 68+ languages
- Has 1.48 Billion Plugin Downloads
- WordPress powers several official government websites all over the world including the US
- User-friendly platform
- Biggest plugin/theme repository
- Highly secured platform
- Built-in SEO mechanism
- Updates on WordPress themes and plugins come often
- Bit vulnerable to hackers because of being open-source
- Needs knowledge for customization
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Made especially for just eCommerce applications, Magento is the most popular choice for developing advanced online stores. Many leading brand names including Ford, Nike, Foxconnect and many others uses Magento for their online operations. These brands rely heavily on Magento because of its optimized and enhanced eCommerce features. The major advantage of using Magento is that it gives ease to design customized eCommerce applications. You can develop web apps with enormous shopping features to let your online customers enjoy ingenious shopping experience.
Magento is also known for its flawless security features. The platform is strengthened with the hashing algorithms to secure password management and has several other features to protect applications from malicious attacks. Moreover, Magento has a wide community of developers who regularly contributes to different patches and updates on the platform. The release of Magento 2 has brought a lot of advancements in the platform and has made it an ultimate option for building a large online retail store.
- Over 250K online stores are using Magento worldwide
- Magento community counts around 800,000+ members till to date
- Magento certified developers come from more than 70+ countries
- Leading world brands including Ford, Olympus, Nike, and others chooses Magento
- The platform is rich in features which helps developing modernized eCommerce stores
- Magento is highly user-friendly and easy to work with
- It has a wide community of users who regularly contributes to platform extension and plugins
- The platform is highly scalable and is built to support scalability of large scale apps
- When it comes to its enterprise and premium versions, the platform is a bit expensive
- Magento has a bit slower loading time as compared to other platforms
- It only supports dedicated hosting
- Product support is quite expensive
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Drupal is a free open source CMS written in PHP and is rated as one of the best platforms for eCommerce stores. It was first developed as a student community solution but later evolved as a full-fledge open source PHP CMS. Drupal provides developers ease to develop highly optimized online stores with perfection. Because the platform engrosses with enrich features of modern app development and that is why is preferred by most of the developers.
As WordPress uses plugins, Drupal offers modules to perform customized functionalities on websites. Moreover, the platform comes with a wide range of features and other options that make it one of the top PHP CMSs in the market for application development. Many major organizations in the world including NBC, Harvard University, Tesla, Princess Cruises, MTV UK, and others use Drupal for their web operations. The platform is also supported by a wide range of communities which is continuously growing at a rapid pace all over the world.
- Drupal is made up of nearly 1 million users
- Drupal core is available in more than 90 languages
- The number of US Govt. websites use Drupal
- Acquia invested $500K to speed up the migration of Drupal 7 modules to Drupal 8
- Around 1,121,049 sites are currently running on Drupal
- The platform is highly extensible
- Regular updates and patches make the security of the platform better
- Drupal is a tailored platform for eCommerce portals
- Preferred best CMS for high traffic websites
- Since Drupal is a developer-friendly platform, it is quite difficult for normal users to understand the technicalities of the platform
- The platform is not recommended for blogs/publications
- Custom installation of programs and modules is quite difficult
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Joomla is another PHP-based CMS known vastly for building a blog and portfolio websites. Though its comparison with WordPress is not quite fair the platform offers adequate features to build a top-class blog and dynamic websites. The platform facilitates major databases including MySQL, MS-SQL, and PostgreSQL, providing developers an option to easily integrate their sites on preferred database systems. It is a powerful platform that allows developers to create custom websites with advanced functionalities.
The CMS allows you to easily integrate your website with Joomla web hosting within just one click. Further, building mobile-ready responsive websites is quite easy with the platform. It also offers thousands of extensions and designs which you could use preferably in your web apps and can enhance its functionalities. That is why the platform ranks in the top 5 most used CMSs in the world and is used by leading brands including eBay, Barnes & Noble, IKEA, and many others.
- Around 6.6% of the global websites use Joomla
- Has active sites around 2,009,717
- Ranks in the top 3 list of CMSs that provides free themes and plugins
- The platform is available in 64+ languages
- Easy to understand user interface
- Provides great customization to front-end
- The platform is pretty secure with regular updates
- Perfect for building blogs and dynamic web applications
- The platform is less SEO-friendly compared to others
- The platform is pretty complex when it comes to incorporating custom designs without development experience
- Has only a few modules available in the marketplace
- Unless modifying the code, some plugins have compatibility issues.
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Opencart provides a complete eCommerce solution and allows you to launch your online store with great functionalities. It is an open-source platform and is also written in PHP that allows millions of developers to contribute to the updates of the platform. Like WordPress, Opencart is also very easy to use & its interface is quite friendly for the new users. The platform comprises with unlimited categories of products and is multilingual, which means you can easily set up your store using the platform focusing on any niche. In a nutshell, Opencart provides you all functionalities of an advanced online store you need.
- Opencart comprises over 20 payment methods
- The platform has enormous 12,325 extensions available
- Has around 794,234 websites running globally
- The platform has a staggering total of 95,336 members registered on its forum
- The platform is quite easy to set up and use
- Tons of free themes available
- Has thousands of extensions and modules available
- Provides great functionality to make sites multilingual
- Customization needs bit technical experience
- The platform is not SEO-friendly
- Becomes slow when web traffic increases quickly
- Lacks an event system which makes users unable to program tasks from the modules
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If you are working with lots of content, ExpressionEngine can be your best choice. ExpressionEngine offers some great features which you can utilize in creating content over the web. The flexible architecture provides you the best environment to extend the CMS functionalities with custom scripts.
The content will go into the database and show it in real-time to every user. ExpressionEngine generates pages with database content and formats the design for every visiting user. No matter what markup you have set up for design, the CMS will show the same on every device. The dynamic approach empowers the user to reuse the component on the websites. Learn how you can easily install ExpressionEngine.
- Custom edit forms are available. You can navigate and fill them out easily
- Offers an easy templating system. There is no need to inject PHP code. You just have to add HTML to HTML files and CSS to CSS files
- Provides built-in SEO component for content
- Neither you create type validation rules on forms, nor you can edit the form display to change the look and feel
- Drag and drop option is not available
- Less 3rd party add-ons and plugins
Laravel framework powers the PyroCMS. Pyro is an intuitive abstracted CMS that was first written in the CodeIgniter framework in 2012. After the release of version 3.x, PyroCMS uses the Laravel framework. The latest release of version 3.4.x was in the year 2018. Up till now, the PyroCMS continues to woo website owners, with good traction on GitHub as well with 2871 stars and 944 forks having good contributor’s list.
PyroCMS is modular and developers can easily mix and match components to fit the CMS within the project’s requirements.
- Fully customizable CMS for any requirements
- Fully integrable with 3rd party APIs and apps
- Easy setup and install with few commands
- Lack of documentation
- require a lot of work when trying to dive down into the file system
- No migration stream structure from local development.
OctoberCMS is also a Laravel based CMS and is in use by thousands of digital agencies and companies to build their websites. The CMS provides flexibility, simplicity, and modern design to create retina-ready apps and websites.
OctoberCMS is a self-hosted open-source CMS. You can also install it independently on your hosting servers. This CMS works fittingly well with 3rd party integrations and has got 700+ themes and plugins, with a large supportive community.
- Completely free to use and open source
- Can extend with development needs according to requirements
- A large number of themes and plugins are available.
- It’s a bit tricky for the end-user to work without developer
- The user base is less as compared to WordPress
Craft is a CMS based on the PHP language. Its market is relatively new and the community is quite small for now. Also, leveraging the right Craft CMS plugin can enhance the quality of your project and productivity. It is a new product in an already established market with big players like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc. It is a developer-centric platform, and not easy for the beginners to get started with.
Craft provides several features for users to design their preferred front-ends, but a major drawback is that it assumes users to write their HTML and CSS codes. The good part is that it provides a clean backend, where content editors can easily find their desired features and publish content frequently. With this ideal CMS, you can go for Craft CMS hosting. Also, learn how you can install Craft CMS on Cloudways in few steps.
- Over 370 plugins available
- One-click feature updates
- Approx. 50K live sites
- Commercial features
- Tailored to Developer
- More Functionalities
- Great Performance
- Higher Security
- Not for Beginners
- Fewer Plugins
- Not open-sourced
TYPO3 is a free and open-source CMS, written on PHP. It’s one of the most popular CMS. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, and OS/2. It is a great fit for a large corporation’s portal and eCommerce platform. It offers a large community for support and discussion.
TYPO3 is also highly flexible for users, as both the content and code are handled separately. It gives an extensive reach to the user as it is available in more than 50 languages and has a built-in localization system. You can easily install TYPO3 CMS on Cloudways, as it is supported on the platform and is installable within a few steps.
- CMS for enterprises
- Multiple functionalities
- Large Integration management
- Support for CRM and ERP
- Large Community
- Various functions and flexible
- Rights to manage at the enterprise level
- Implementation/configuration is difficult
- Non-expert training is not easily available
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It is a free and open-source CMS written in PHP. It was formerly known as TYPOlight. It is suitable for medium to large websites. Contao is user-friendly and has features like multi-lingual backend, intuitive, and a separate administrator layer. A theme manager is integrated into the CMS, which facilitates the users to manage themes with ease. With Contao, websites can be designed on the pre-designed modules. The pro themes are available with support on Contao websites for industry applications.
- CMS is user-friendly
- Multi-lingual backend
- Live update service
- Online Demo
- Extendable and high-performance system architecture
- Good security
- Everything is user-friendly
- Not a solution for Complex enterprise
- Small community
- Does not support multi-level workflow
Just like TYPO 3, Neos is also an open-source CMS with a developer-centric platform. Using the CMS, editors can create content as they wish, and developers can create dynamic designs as per their preferences. The platform also allows planning extensibility with its state-of-the-art back-end infrastructure.
It is a powerful CMS linked to the PHP framework Flow which is also quite advanced. In short, it is not a pure CMS but was primarily developed for extensibility and integration of the content.
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- Editor based on WYSIWYG
- Management tools for mobile
- SEO friendly
- Content can be edited and created easily
- No technical knowledge of PHP is required to work with Neos
- It has a broad friendly community
- Difficult to build small projects
- Difficult for newcomers
ProcessWire an open-source CMS and framework for PHP. It targets the need for designers, developers & clients, and provides them the power to be creative and effective in application development. The platform offers a powerful templating system and is characterized as a tool for blogging, content management system, and content management framework (CMF).
- Graphical Web installer
- API image manipulation functions
- Drag and drop functions
- Emphasis on security for core development
- Flexible, powerful and Simple
- Template engine agnostic
- Good community support
- Easy to understand and work with
- Easily customizable
- Configure your own testing suite and testing engine.
- Configure your own analytics and telemetry engine.
- Working with multiple people on the same site can be a little difficult.
- Only supports Apache and MySQL.
ButterCMS is gradually becoming an obvious choice for developers when we talk about headless or API-Oriented CMSs. ButterCMS is one of the early adopters of the headless approach of building blogs, marketing landing pages, eCommerce sites, and more. ButterCMS also provides SDKs for various languages, including PHP SDK, to help you get up and running. The CMS has a wide range of features that enables the developers to expand the horizons of development without worrying about the tech stacks. For same reasons, users seek for managed CMS hosting. The CMS allows you to focus on developing content or other business-related matters while it cares about the maintenance and scalability.
- Flexible Content Modeling
- Fast Content Updates
- Media Library
- Content CDN
- Multi-sites and Environments
- Works with every tech stack
- Zero Maintainance
- Saves Time (API-Oriented)
- Flexible, Scalable and Secure
- Professional Support
- Not Free to Use
- Limited Community Support
- Not ideal for complex web application development
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So above is the compilation of some of the best PHP CMS available in the market known for its rapid web development mechanisms. Whether you need a custom dynamic website or need an advanced online store, these CMSs provide you adequate solutions to build desired web applications. So if you still got any questions regarding this article or want to contribute further in the topic, feel free to comment below in the comments section.
Q: Why is WordPress still the best CMS after all this time?
A: WordPress is surely the best CMS out there that is extremely popular, easy-to-use, manage, and maintain. The readers also prefer the system due to the websites’ attractive design and increased functionality.
Q: Does Google favor WordPress Content?
A: WordPress blogs and CMSs are designed to be search engine friendly which makes it easy for GoogleBots to consume the content.
Q: What are the qualities of a good CMS?
A: A effective CMS allows for versatility and choices for delivering content in creative and creative ways. A CMS system should be flexible enough to allow your designers and developers to dictate your site’s look and feel, while allowing less skilled users to easily edit, manage, and create content.
Q: How does a headless CMS work?
A: A headless CMS provides a way to publish content or pages, but instead of having your content coupled with a particular output (like web page rendering), it provides your content as data over an API.
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Shahzeb is a Digital Marketer with a Software Engineering background, works as a Community Manager — PHP Community at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious and aims to learn & share information about PHP & Laravel Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]