Are you looking for a WordPress alternative? Here are all the best CMS that you can use instead of WordPress.
WordPress as a Content Management System has many advantages going for it. It is versatile, customizable, and compatible with thousands of themes and plugins. It has a searchable database and a vast community that supports it. WordPress is constantly updated, is the most popular Content Management System, with 44% of all websites using WordPress, and shows no signs of slowing down.
However, WordPress may be excessive for certain websites. A basic blog may require limited functions, making WordPress unnecessary. Despite being user-friendly and having a quick installation process, WordPress may eventually require technical knowledge for further customization. Other CMS options are also emerging in the market, some of which have been around for a few years.
An online website builder is an alternative to traditional CMSs and can work well for smaller projects. Being accessible online, it allows for simultaneous team collaboration from anywhere. One advantage of an online website builder is that there is no need to purchase or install software locally. The provider hosts the CMS and can be accessed through any web browser. Additionally, many comprehensive and free packages are available.
In contrast, offline builders require downloading and installing software on a computer. This allows for greater independence from the provider and ensures that you are not disconnected from your website.
Website builders can cleanly separate website design from content, enabling easy design modification without affecting the content. This separation also improves search engine discoverability.
While WordPress has numerous alternatives, it is important to remember that it may not suit every situation. Each alternative has its own pros and cons, with some better suited for specific types of websites. While not as versatile or customizable as WordPress, some alternatives offer a user-friendly drag and drop approach that requires no professional assistance. Additionally, they provide excellent customer support.
Who should look for WordPress alternatives?
- Do not want to be bogged down with technicalities such as creating a database,
- Want free hosting (many providers throw in at least a custom subdomain free hosting),
- Looking for a web presence rather than a comprehensive blogging platform,
Then look at alternatives to WordPress. If you want to be hands-on, but at the same time do not want to use code, read further to find out which should be your choice of CMS.
Developers willing to wade through code or utilize the particular features offered by certain CMS can also pick their choice of CMS.
Best WordPress Alternatives
Wix offers free CMS combined with a hosting platform. It is not open source. With Wix you can select from a template from among the 500 available and customize your website. Your website is built visually as you drag and drop elements with Wix. Over 10 million websites use Wix.
Wix gets frequent and regular updates to keep up with the latest trends. There are over 200 apps that will let you add to your functions. Wix is shop friendly and you can have a custom domain name with the premium packages. Packages start at $16 per month and go up to $159 per month.
While Wix is good for starting a website, you will not have control over it, as Wix also does hosting. And if you want to customize as you scale up, you may find that customization options are limited and third party plugins cannot be added. Wix is continuously adding to its extensions, and as they come from the same developer, you will find that they are entirely compatible. Updates are done automatically with Wix, and so there will be no maintenance work to be carried out.
Here are some excellent websites built using Wix.
2. Drupal (Open Source)
With almost 100,000 users, Drupal is the second most popular CMS after WordPress. Larger organizations with access to professional technical resources primarily use Drupal.
Drupal is fast, open source, and highly scalable. It is reliable, secure, and allows for easy content management. The presentation can be customized with themes, and additional functionality can be added through add-ons.
Drupal is free, but you will need to find your own web host. With a single installation, you can manage multiple sites, and it supports multiple languages.
While Drupal is a powerful CMS, it is more technically complex than WordPress, and beginners should avoid attempting to build a site with Drupal. It is ideal for creating visually appealing websites with advanced features, but it requires technical proficiency for installation and operation.
3. Joomla (Open Source)
In comparison with WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is neither here nor there. It brings many of the advantages of Drupal, without being too technical.
Joomla is multilingual, extensible and allows front-end editing. It boasts over 50 million downloads. It is perfect for content heavy sites and sites that need efficient content management.
Joomla is free and open source. It can run any website — a small store or a large government website. Advanced categorization of content and advanced search is possible. User management, user groups and contact management are features that can best even WordPress. Some features are inbuilt with Joomla, while you would have to add a plugin with WordPress to get the same functionality. But you must pay for most of Joomla’s themes and plugins.
There are many other open source website builders and we have compared and reviewed all of them.
With Squarespace a user will get a website builder, a blogging platform and a hosting service. You would need to pick a template and you can customize this to a certain extent. The templates are modern and you can use multiple templates in a website. Squarespace is not open source, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching 3 million active users.
The design templates from Squarespace are gorgeous and fit beautifully on mobile devices. Load times are fast as SquareSpace uses Content Delivery Network across geographies to host content. The developers fully integrated SquareSpace with eCommerce, and you can quickly set up an online store with Squarespace. You get free custom subdomain with some packages and a custom domain with higher-priced packages.
Squarespace is a paid service that starts at $5 per month. You can also opt for a 14-day free trial.
Squarespace is good for portfolio, restaurant or wedding sites- sites that need impressive visuals. While Squarespace does offer a limited amount of customization, you may find it frustrating if the feature you’re looking for is not included. Unlike in WordPress, you can’t change its basic features, where you can change pretty much anything.
Squarespace is for you if you want to set up a good-looking website on your own, without spending too many hours developing or troubleshooting its technology. All updates are fully tested and added to your site automatically, so you do not have a thing to do with maintenance. We recently created a detailed list of great websites using Squarespace.
TYPO3 is another CMS that is popular with large organizations and corporates. It is free, open source and you can run any website with TYPO without using any code. It can also be extended with many functions without using code, simply using the 6000 freely available extensions.
Editors will love this CMS as it has front-end editing capability using integrated image processing, copy-paste functions, thumbnail generation, and various text and media elements. It is highly scalable, multilingual, and assists workflow management.
You can manage and distribute content across multiple websites from the backend of a single installation. So TYPO suits distribution websites, multiple microsites, and product sites.
If you want to start blogging in a small way, Weebly should be your pick. It is a good choice if you’ve set your site for only one purpose, a portfolio. But if customization or adding to your subscription list is a big deal, skip this one.
You can pick your theme from the theme gallery and build your website by dragging and dropping images and text. You get access to the design codes in case you want to tweak your website here and there. Start an e-Commerce store that can manage shipping and tax, discount, and coupons. You can create and edit your website from any mobile device, so you can always stay in touch with your customers. Hosting is free, and Weebly counts over 30 million users.
Moreover, Weebly offers a free option that will suit students or hobbyists. But for every other kind of use you will have to subscribe to their packages- Basic at $8 per month, Pro at $12 per month and Business at $25 per month. All packages come with one-year free domain. With the free option, you get a custom subdomain.
7. Ghost (Blog CMS)
Ghost is starting to do what WordPress intended- simply being a blogging platform. It is not a complete CMS and aims to be an excellent option for blogging. You can suit it best for full-scale newspapers and individual blogs. About 47,981 live websites use Ghost.
Ghost is much faster than WordPress as it uses Node.js. But this can also be a drawback as Node.js is unavailable with many web hosts, narrowing your hosting options. The UI allows distraction-free writing, with no menus or settings bothering you. The developers split the editor, with text editing on the left and visual on the right. This enables you to view and format your work even as you write. The text editor uses Markdown syntax, meaning you do not have to deal with HTML. It enables multi-user usage and you can also manage your workflow.
Ghost was created as a WordPress alternative that could take over the entire market. But the enthusiasm quickly dried up and it is now a good blog platform with a small market share compared to WordPress.
Ghost offers a free version that you can download and install. You have access to source code and community support. Paid packages with added features, range from $9 to $199 per month. You can also try the premium packages free for 14 days. Alternatively, you can self-host your blog and here you can find the best Ghost hosting options.
Jekyll may be the perfect solution for a truly fast loading publishing platform with free hosting. What’s the catch here? Code – enough of code to bracket this as a preferred option for developers. Those who prefer to work with code rather than fiddle about in the UI should try Jekyll.
Jekyll takes your content, makes up Markdown and Liquid Templates, and converts it into plain HTML static documents. This content is now ready to serve and presented by the server. It is a static site generator, converting your text files into HTML pages. Free hosting is available on GitHub pages. Jekyll can handle a huge traffic volume even from a very limited server.
More than 15 million websites around the world use Jimdo. Jimdo offers a free basic version with which you will also get a custom subdomain. The Starter version, $15 per month, gets you a custom domain and a basic online store. Jimdo VIP at $39 per month, will fetch you priority support, unlimited storage and a complete online store. You can try the paid versions for free for 30 days.
To set up Jimdo, you can pick a template and customize it. You can change it about a lot as well without losing content. Without doing anything much, you can also use it on mobiles. Setting up an online store with Jimdo is easy and its personalized support has earned it a loyal fan base.
10. Blogger (Blogging platform)
Blogger is a blogging platform from Google, with all the organization’s advantages backing it. Blogger is multilingual and you can access it from mobile devices as well.
Many beautiful templates are available to pick from and use, with or without customization. You can modify it using CSS and HTML to make it appear distinctive. There are many great ready-made Blogger templates available. And if you are using it for your business, you can create a custom domain.
The developers integrated Google AdSense to your Blogging account so you can develop your blog into an income-generating venture.
Blogger was the #1 WordPress alternative before it was acquired by Alphabet (Google). However, development for it has stalled and the results show.
There are countless Blogger themes available and most of them are free for private and commercial use.
11. Expression Engine
Expression Engine is not for newbies or anyone who does not want to handle code. It is a complex, powerful CMS intended for web developers. It is a PHP and MySQL-based secure platform. Several add-ons from third parties are available, and creating add-ons at all levels is easy and helps a great deal in customization. After rendering it in HTML, you can use themes for other platforms for Expression Engine.
Expression Engine also offers a free version, Expression Engine Core, a limited feature option. Individuals can only use it for non-commercial purposes. You must also display the credit to the CMS on the website. The paid service comes at $299 and you can use it to license a single live site. Support is also available, but only on a monthly subscription.
12. Shopify (eCommerce)
If it is an online store that you want, Shopify is a great alternative to WordPress. It has all the tools you need to set up shop quickly, with ready-made templates and apps. You can modify the design of your templates a good deal using HTML and CSS.
Shopify is not a free platform, although there are many packages you can buy and use according to the size of your store. A Lite version comes at $9 per month, and allows you to sell via your Facebook page. Big businesses may find Enterprise Shopify Plus more apt for their needs.
Statamic CMS is built with PHP. This CMS can also reduce your website building tasks to simply putting a few tags in your HTML. Additionally, it is a flat-file CMS, with the files carrying content in a simple directory structure. This CMS does away with a database. There is no database search in the serving and calling of files. This is also the same with WordPress meaning it will not cause your site to slow down.
Moreover, you can incorporate the themes and extend their functions. With the prerequisite being only PHP, it can run on any server. You must buy a license that costs $29 for use on a single personal website. For a Professional license, $99 is the cost of license.
WordPress Alternatives FAQ
Some well-known alternatives to WordPress include Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, and Shopify. These platforms offer diverse capabilities, from simple website builders to fully-fledged content management systems.
Wix is a hosted website builder and requires less technical knowledge than WordPress. It’s great for beginners due to its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. However, WordPress offers more customization and scalability, making it a preferred choice for complex sites. Both platforms have pros and cons, and the choice between them depends on your specific needs and technical ability.
Squarespace is known for its beautiful, designer-quality templates and user-friendly interface, making it an excellent option for beginners or those who prioritize aesthetics. However, WordPress provides more flexibility and functionality with its extensive plugin ecosystem. For a beginner who values ease of use and design, Squarespace could be a better option, while WordPress might be better for those looking for in-depth customization and control.
Absolutely! While WordPress, with WooCommerce, is a popular choice for e-commerce, other platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce are specifically designed for online stores. They offer integrated payment solutions, inventory management, and other e-commerce specific features that may not be as readily available or as easy to implement with WordPress.
Joomla and WordPress require a learning curve, but Joomla is generally considered a bit more complex due to its extensive functionality and flexibility. WordPress is often considered easier to start with, especially with its vast array of plugins and themes. However, Joomla offers a high level of control over your site’s layout, which may benefit more complex sites.
Drupal and WordPress are open-source and free to use, but the total cost depends on your specific requirements. With WordPress, you may need to pay for premium themes, plugins, and hosting. On the other hand, Drupal requires more technical expertise, so you may need to budget for professional development and maintenance services unless you have these skills in-house.
Migrating from WordPress to another platform is possible but can be a bit tricky, depending on the complexity of your site. Squarespace and Wix offer import tools to assist with migration, but these may not capture everything, especially for more complex sites. Planning for some manual work or considering hiring a professional is important to ensure a smooth transition.
WordPress is renowned for its SEO-friendly features, especially with plugins like Yoast SEO. However, most modern website builders, including Squarespace and Wix, have improved their SEO capabilities significantly. They now offer features like mobile optimization, clean URL structures, and easy meta tag editing. However, the advanced SEO tools and flexibility offered by WordPress still tend to be superior.
Which is the best alternative to WordPress CMS?
Now, which one is the right CMS for you? While there is no hard and fast rule, beginners can pick Jimdo and Weebly. Squarespace is also ideal for users needing advanced features without changing them too much.
For ready-made online shopping platforms, Shopify and Magento are good choices. For developers, Expression Engine, Jekyll, and maybe Drupal. Community platforms should also look at vBulletin.
Of course, keep in mind that WordPress is always there for everyone – free, versatile, flexible, customizable, updated, and good developer and community support. It may take a little time to familiarize yourself with it.