Like Sisyphus’s incessant attempts to roll a rock to the top of a mountain, any search for “The Best CMS” is doomed.

The truth is there are thousands of content management systems on the market and each has their own strengths depending on the business purpose and use case. For example, let’s say you’re comparing HubSpot, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. After some research, you’ll find that HubSpot is better suited for enterprise-level sites, WordPress for blogs, Joomla for membership sites, and Drupal for high-traffic traffic sites that have lots of data.

These are just three examples of the many different types of sites that you may be looking to build on a CMS. In this post, we’ll explore a variety of CMS systems so that you can find one that suits your site’s needs and goals. Let’s take an in-depth look at the ease of use, customizability, and security of each below.

Learn More About HubSpot's CMS Software

1. HubSpot CMS

As the only combined CMS and CRM, HubSpot is designed to help businesses easily build and manage a website that's optimized for every device and every visitor.

Ease of Use

HubSpot is a powerful platform for users with little to no technical knowledge to build a custom site right out of the box. With HubSpot, you can manage, optimize, and track the performance of your content with the same platform you used to create it. 

HubSpot traffic reportSource

Since the CMS integrates HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and service tools, you can also capture leads, run A/B tests, create email campaigns, and track contact-level insights right in your dashboard.

11 Analytics Tools are available in the HubSpot CMS dashboard

Typically, the more out-of-the-box features a platform has, the steeper the learning curve. To help you ramp on this platform as quickly as possible, HubSpot includes pop-ups and tooltip suggestions to guide you step by step through creating pages, optimizing your content for search engines, adding live chat to your site, and more.

Customizability

Though HubSpot offers a wide range of out-of-the-box features, you still may want to integrate your favorite apps from your tech stack like Gmail, Facebook Ads, and Twitter. Integrating these tools means you can access all of your data in a central location. The HubSpot Marketplace has many integrations to apps that you already use and others that you may want to add to your toolkit.

To sort through all of these products, you can filter by price, category, and purpose. You can also view a live example and read customer reviews for each app to make sure you’re selecting the right app for your business needs.

Beyond that, you can also choose from over 7,000 free and paid templates in the Hubspot Asset Marketplace to change the appearance of your site. Each template is mobile optimized and natively supports drag-and-drop modules so you can easily add and arrange text blocks, images, CTAs, and more on your templates.

HubSpot Design manager

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Security

Another advantage of HubSpot’s app ecosystem is the additional layer of security it provides your site. Unlike open-source CMS platforms, HubSpot selectively partners with third-party vendors and apps that can integrate with existing portals. That means you don’t have to stay on top of plugin compatibility or maintenance to ensure your site is secure.

You also don’t have to worry about installing plugins like Duo to secure your site against threats. Instead, you can rely on HubSpot’s built-in security features — including a global CDN and Web Application Firewall — and dedicated security team to keep your site safe from DDoS attacks, hackers, and other anomalies.

2. WordPress

WordPress is an open-source CMS with thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes. Users at any skill level can leverage this ecosystem of resources to build all types of sites — from ecommerce stores to online magazines.

Ease of Use

WordPress is designed to be easy enough for beginners without coding knowledge. Its dashboard is intuitive so that every user can tweak the appearance of their site, install a plugin, change its permalink settings, add blog posts, and more.

Its new editing interface, Gutenberg, brings drag-and-drop functionality to the platform so that you can develop media-rich pages rather without relying on custom code or plugins.

Creating a page with an image background with the WordPress Gutenberg editor

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However, extending the functionality of your WordPress site in other ways — say, to display a list of random posts in the sidebar of your site — will require you to either install and configure a range of plugins or add code to your files. While that may not be a problem for developers, it will limits beginners' ability to build complex sites with advanced functionality.

Customizability

WordPress has one of the largest collections of plugins and themes available for download to customize the design and functionality of a site. There are over 50,000 plugins in the official directory and approximately 31,000 WordPress themes available for download or purchase from the official repository and third-party marketplaces.

Using these plugins and pre-designed theme templates, users with little to no technical knowledge can easily create fully-functional websites. However, you have to make sure these add-ons are compatible with your site and updated. If they aren’t, then they can pose a serious security risk.

Security

Every CMS is vulnerable to hackers and malicious users. Open-source CMS systems with outdated or unmaintained parts of their code are particularly vulnerable to attacks. In fact, 36.7% of infected WordPress sites in 2018 were running an outdated version of WordPress.

Outdated or incompatible plugins can also make sites built on open-source CMS systems more vulnerable to attacks. According to data from Wordfence, plugin vulnerabilities represented 55.9% of the known entry points for hackers.

That is why it is critical that site owners regularly update their software and plugins. Thankfully, WordPress has a built-in update system that lets you make these updates with a click of a button.

8 notifcations indicating plugin updates in WordPress dashboard

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However, some updates may not be compatible with all the extensions on your site. That is why software and plugin updates can require considerable administrative effort, especially on larger web projects.

3. Drupal

Drupal is a highly flexible CMS designed for developers or other users with coding skills to build complex sites that can handle large volumes of data and heavy traffic.

Ease of Use

Because Drupal was designed by developers for developers, you’ll need to have some understanding of PHP, HTML, and CSS to take advantage of all of Drupal’s power. You’ll also have to spend more time setting up and configuring your site than you would on WordPress, for example.

Customizability

With over 44,000 modules available in its directory and thousands of free themes in its theme repository, Drupal’s selection of add-ons and templates just falls short of WordPress’s impressive selection.

Drupal directory showing 44,702 modules are available for download

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However, unlike many WordPress plugins and themes, Drupal’s modules and themes are highly configurable. That means, if you have the required coding skills, you can use these resources to create a site that does exactly what you want.

Security

Drupal has the highest reputation for security among open-source CMS platforms. According to data from the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures system, Drupal has the least number of incidents to market-share ratio when compared to WordPress and Joomla.

To help keep the platform secure, Drupal has a group of 40 community members that deliver bug fix and security updates every month and bigger updates every year. However, since these updates aren’t automatic, site owners must remember to make them and adhere to other best practices.

When they do not, hackers and other malicious users can more easily attack these outdated or unmaintained areas of Drupal Code. For example, in 2018, a remote code execution vulnerability left at least a million Drupal sites at risk.

4. Joomla

Designed to be the middle ground in the open-source CMS marketplace, Joomla combines the versatility of Drupal with the user-friendliness of WordPress.

Ease of Use

Joomla has more out-of-the-box features than most open-source CMS systems. With its built-in functionality, you can manage hundreds of users, build pages in multiple languages, and create custom post types that use different templates or themes. You can also configure many of your site’s settings to modify your articles, banners, menus, media, redirects, and SEO settings.

However, you’ll have to do this on the backend of your site. That’s why Joomla has a steep learning curve for beginners. Users with some experience in web development, on the other hand, can use Joomla’s built-in flexibility to create more complex sites right out of the box.

Customizability

Despite Joomla’s robust built-in functionality, you’re not limited to the features that the platform provides. You can download any of the 7,800 extensions available in the official directory for additional functionality and control over your site.

The 7,800 extensions available in Joomla's directory broken into categories

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Like your settings, extensions will have to be installed via the backend. Both installing and managing them is more difficult on Joomla than WordPress. So if you think you'll need extra features on your site, then Joomla may not be the best choice.

Security

According to the CVE data comparing WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, Joomla has had the largest amount of found vulnerabilities since its launch in 2005. The majority of these vulnerabilities are flaws in its code, which allow attackers to inject shellcode that manipulates the system into granting them administrator privileges.

While Joomla’s 13-member security team does regularly release security patches, the platform’s lack of built-in functionality for scheduling automatic updates gives attackers more opportunities to target known vulnerabilities. According to a report by Sucuri, 87.5% of infected sites in 2018 were running an outdated version of the Joomla software.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform designed for online retailers to set up and manage an entire store.

Ease of Use

Shopify makes running an ecommerce store as simple as running a site on WordPress.com. Though you won’t have as much control over its appearance and functionality, you’ll get a range of features, security, and support to help you manage your site.

If you’re a first-time shop owner or just don’t have the time or resources to design every aspect of your site, this may be ideal. You can use Shopify’s built-in blogging tools, customer reviews, ready-to-go payment options for customers, abandoned cart recovery, and analytics on web traffic and products, among other features, to quickly get your store up and running. Shopify also handles software updates and other aspects of the day-to-day management of your site.

Customizability

In exchange for this simplicity, you’ll forgo some customization options. Most notably, because Shopify is a proprietary platform, you can’t modify its code.

You can however change the appearance and functionality of your site by selecting from over 70 themes and approximately 1,700 free and paid apps in Shopify’s official store. Many of the apps enable integrations between Shopify and other platforms like HubSpot to fill in any gaps you need to run your business.

Shopify and HubSpot integration lets users connect their site to  their CRM

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This selection is limited, particularly when compared to the CMS platforms discussed above which offer thousands of templates and add-ons.

Security

To sell online and accept payments from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover, your store needs to be PCI compliant. With Shopify, you don’t have to invest your time and money to obtain a Level 1 PCI certification. All Shopify stores using our platform are automatically PCI compliant by default.

Shopify will also manage security issues, manually back up your website, and ensure the software is up to date for you.

6. Magento

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that offers nearly unlimited possibilities for tech-savvy store owners.

Ease of Use

Like Drupal, Magento is a highly flexible platform that you can use to build a site that does exactly what you want. However, it will take time to understand and explore all of the platform’s out-of-the-box features and extensions — even if you have experience in web development.

Customizability

After exploring Magento’s built-in features, let’s say you want to add extra functionality to your site. You can head over to Magento’s Extensions Marketplace to install or integrate any of the 5,000 add-ons and apps available.

Whether you want to sync customer and order data to your HubSpot CRM or optimize your on-page SEO, you can easily extend your site’s functionality with Magento extensions.

8 of the 5,000 add-ons available in the Magento extension library

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Security

Magento regularly rolls out patches and security updates to address vulnerabilities exposed in its source code. You can use the free Security Scan tool to receive notifications right in your dashboard when these updates are released so that you can make them as quickly as possible.

However, patches and updates need to be manually installed and the process can be difficult. Site owners who don’t have the time or resources to patch their installations will leave their stores vulnerable to hackers — and research shows that many site owners do.

Based on Sucuri’s 2018 analysis of hacked websites, 83% of Magento websites were out of date at the point of infection. However, it is important to note that Magento’s overall infection rates dropped from 6.5% in 2017 to 4.6% in 2018.

7. PrestaShop

Similar to Joomla, PrestaShop is designed to be the middle ground in the ecommerce CMS marketplace, combining the power of Magento with the simplicity of Shopify.

Ease of Use

PrestaShop offers plenty of out-of-the-box features to build a large ecommerce store. You can customize messages for out-of-stock items, make your e-shop available in 65 languages, and configure coupons right in your dashboard.

With so much built-in functionality, the process for setting up a PrestaShop site is longer and more complicated than using a platform like Shopify. But you will be able to create a more complex site right out of the box.

Customizability

After configuring your basic settings, you may still want to add extra features to your store. In that case, you can head over to PrestaShop’s official marketplace, which offers over 3,700 modules and 3,400 themes. With so many add-ons available to change the appearance and functionality of your site, Prestashop can host large online stores that have an extensive product catalog.

Prestashop's marketplace contains thousands of modules and themes

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Security

As with any open-source CMS, the task of securing your PrestaShop store mostly falls on your shoulders. To protect your store, you can buy an SSL certificate, regularly update the software, and follow other best practices.

However, research indicates that, like Magento store owners, PrestaShop store owners fall behind on updates and other security protocols because they don’t have the time or resources. This leaves their stores vulnerable to attacks. According to Sucuri’s 2018 analysis of hacked websites, 97.2% of infected PrestaShop websites were using out of date software.

8. TYPO3

TYPO3 is an open-source CMS that’s designed for building enterprise-level sites.

Ease of Use

TYPO3 includes more than 9,000 features directly out of the box. Such robust functionality will enable you to create a complex multi-site installation — but it won’t be easy to install or set up. Even developers and advanced users will have to invest a lot of time and effort into studying the platform.

Customizability

Despite its incredible built-in functionality, TYPO3 is missing some standard features, like modules for embedding videos and adding image galleries to your site. To fill in these gaps, you can integrate with any of the 6,000 third-party tools and services available in the TYPO3 Extension Repository.

4 of the 6,000 third-party tools and services available in the TYPO3 Extension Repository
 

Security

To help keep your site secure, TYPO3 provides built-in security features, compliance tooling, and regular updates. The TYPO3 Security Team releases these updates regularly and lets site owners know by email, but ultimately upgrades and other maintenance tasks are up to individual users.

Picking the Best CMS for Your Business

While you can’t find “The Best CMS,” or one solution that best suits all websites, you can find the best CMS for your business. Your ideal platform will offer the amount of support you need, improve the ability of your teams to manage content, and ultimately, enable you to provide a desirable website experience for your visitors.

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Originally published Feb 7, 2020 12:29:50 PM, updated February 07 2020

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