Any website will need a content management system (CMS) it’s integral to the smooth running and operation of your website after all. However, choosing a CMS can be quite tricky because these days you have quite a lot of options to consider.

More choice is always a good thing but when it comes to choosing a CMS you must choose the best option for your needs. The main purpose of a CMS is to help you design, create, and edit the information on your website.

But they can do much more than just that. The CMS you use will also impact the appearance of your website and even the features you have access to as well. So, there is a lot to think about when it comes to deciding what CMS you should use. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the different types of CMSs available.

The Different Types of CMS

CMSs comes in three main types although there are some other variants. Open source, proprietary and Software as a Service systems are the main three options you will have to choose from when setting up a website. Let’s take a closer look at all three of them in more detail.

Open Source


This is the most common type of CMS so the majority of websites will be using a kind of open-source software. Some of the more common types of open source CMS include WordPress, Joomla, and specialist e-commerce options like Magento and PrestaShop.

With so many different options knowing which open source CMS to choose might be a little difficult as there can be some big difference between what each offers. WordPress, for example, is one of the most common CMS platforms with over 60% of the total market share.

So, it is certainly very popular thanks to its simplicity and ease of use. WordPress is also one of the cheaper alternatives when it comes to open-source CMSs. Joomla is second place to WordPress and while it isn’t as popular it offers greater flexibility and a more in-depth and advanced user management system.

Sticking to either WordPress or Joomla is advised when it comes to choosing an open-source CMS as they offer the most diverse range of services and features when it comes to building a website. With an open-source CMS you won’t need to worry about a license, contract or upgrade costs but fully harnessing the capabilities of the system will often take professional assistance.

For example, while you might find a lot of prebuilt themes for WordPress and Joomla websites if you want a unique and more creative site using a professional web designer will often be required. You might also need to use a professional web designer or developer to assist with technical issues and offer support.


A proprietary CMS is similar to an open-source system in many respects but there are some important differences. A proprietary CMS is built and managed by a company and you can use it by paying for a license or opting for a subscription-based model of payment instead. Depending on the payment structure you choose or what the manufacturer makes available you might also have to pay for additional updates and support as well. Some common proprietary based CMSs include Microsoft SharePoint, Kentico and e-commerce options like Shopify.

Proprietary CMSs are designed to offer you everything you need to get your website set up straight away. There is generally less work involved when it comes to implementing features and designing the site but this means they are usually less flexible and versatile.

While there is room for customisation with proprietary based CMSs it can be an expensive and difficult endeavour which is why most people opt for open source systems instead. So, while it does have its own individual benefits open source is often the preferred option.

Software as a Service CMS

Software as a service commonly abbreviated as SaaS is a cloud-based CMS and it also offers web hosting and technical support as well all from the same supplier. So, while you can take care of three important aspects of getting your website designed and online a SaaS is more complex than just getting a CMS.

Depending on the type of CMS available through the SaaS you might have very limited options when it comes to customising/ designing your website as well. Although a cloud-based CMS does certainly come with some benefits as well.

For one they are generally going to be cheaper at first and you won’t have to worry about maintenance or upgrades. You will also be able to access your CMS more easily from wherever you are as well.

So, when you get right down to it what CMS should you use? Well there is arguments to be made for all three types but I would say that for the vast majority of people opting for open source is going to be the best choice. It is simpler but offers more freedom which is what the majority of people will want from a CMS.

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