WordPress and other content management systems

Sat, 21st September 2013, 12:01

Even the most tech illiterate considering a foray onto the web would soon be acquainted with the content management system (CMS) that has morphed from the blogging platform called Wordpress. Now powering ~ 50% of the websites on the internet, Wordpress not only has a vibrant open source community working to evolve and grow the software, but has also spawned a whole industry churning out website themes of every imaginable flair, and developers intent on creating plugins that makes wordpress act in ways that could only be imagined even a short while ago.

Although Wordpress itself has remained one step ahead (or maybe more), of the shadier nefarious types lurking on the net, the sheer success and popularity of this platform makes it an obvious target for malicious activity.  The websites at risk from ignored security updates, poorly coded plugins, and themes that have seen better days, grows proportionately with the number of users.

With automated bots crawling the web just looking for that open door to exploit a website, opportunities abound! Despite all the reasons why someone would choose Wordpress, there are likely hundreds of open source CMS platforms which may get less exposure, but can offer flexibility, customization, as well as more security (more secure can be a relative figurative. Less disciples embracing a CMS translates into less shady types looking for that Achilles heel).

Whether its a wordpress plugin, a theme, or the latest idea for a new CMS, without some community for further development, or a following to incite the community, many great ideas wither and die. The classic chicken and the egg analogy.

So HostJury decided to take a look at a number of content management platforms, some of which have broken the early barriers achieving the following, and the community, although not necessarily in that order. For fun we looked to see if they recommend any particular web hosts, and whether they follow their own recommendations. Enjoy!



Drupal, like wordpress has a very large, active community and has evolved into a more user friendly platform with excellent support for plugins and other general questions. Drupal is more of a pure CMS rather than a blogging platform and the latest  installation comes with a ton of distributions that are pre-configured themes and modules for feature-rich web sites giving you a head start on building everything from personal blogs, online communities, media portal, online store to enterprise applications!

Drupal was the CMS of choice for many of the blogs in the HostJury post ‘Ever wonder what the Top 100 Blogs use for Hosting’, and is powering millions of websites and applications worldwide. Drupal can be installed easily using the one click script installer provided by most web hosting companies.

The Drupal community has a disclaimer stating that while they don’t endorse web hosting companies, WebHostingHubA2 HostingInMotion HostingArvixeBluehost, and GreenGeeks are listed as great choices because they go out of their way to support the Drupal community directly.  

So who does Drupal use for a web host… they have their server(s) at the Oregon Joint Graduate Schools of Engineering



Joomla is designed to be easy to install and setup even if you're not an advanced user. Again most web hosting companies offer the infamous single-click install so getting a new site up and running only takes a few minutes. Joomla is highly extensible and thousands of extensions are available (most, but not all, are free)

Since Joomla is so easy to use, as a web designer or developer, you can quickly build sites for clients, then, with a minimal amount of instruction teach clients to easily manage their own sites themselves.

Joomla powers the MTV Networks Quizilla social site, the Harvard University website, the United Nations site, various restaurant chains, magazine, and bank websites, as well as countless e-Commerce websites including E-Bay.

Web hosts Joomla ranks as global sponsors are InMotion HostingArvixe, and A2 Hosting. (editors note: Interestingly Siteground, which is known to sponsor numerous Joomla events, was not included.. possibly also sponsoring those Wordpress events will get you blacklisted.. just a thought). Joomla appears to have their server(s) with colocation provider Colo4.



ExpressionEngine (EE) is a flexible CMS solution for any type of project. If you can dream it, ExpressionEngine can help you build it. That's why web professionals like EE's flexible approach. ‘We keep our hands out of your design so the only limit is your creativity’.

ExpressionEngine's renowned flexibility allows you to build websites that fulfill your needs and creative vision entirely. ExpressionEngine grows and scales in unison with your business. Designed to be extensible and easy to modify, EE sets itself apart in how clean and intuitive their user administration area is. It takes only a matter of minutes to understand the layout of the backend and to start creating content or modify the look. It’s fantastic for creating websites for less-than-savvy clients that need to use the backend without getting confused.

ExpressionEngine is packed with helpful features like the ability to have multiple sites with one installation of software. For designers, EE has a powerful templating engine that has custom global variables, custom SQL queries and a built in versioning system. Template caching, query caching and tag caching keep the site running quickly too.

ExpressionEngine says it is lovingly produced by a team of committed developers, on an open source foundation. ExpressionEngine's code base is 100% open, transparent, and extensible… but it comes with a price. The free ExpressionEngine Core is a feature-limited edition of their award winning content management platform…but everything else seems to costs: 

  • ExpressionEngine 2.7.0  costs $299
  • Want the Discussion Forum add $99
  • Multiple Site Manager Requires ExpressionEngine add another $199
  • Support will cost you anywhere from $49 to $1,999… and that’s per month
  • If you want to jump the support que and get urgent support.. that’s going to cost you $249 more … although it does looks like a one time fee! 

Nexcess, besides powering the ExpressionEngine website, is Ellis Lab's official Enterprise Hosting Partner, ‘providing a finely tuned hosting environment for your ExpressionEngine powered web sites.’ Using the search function adds EngineHosting to the mix. (HostJury does not equate adding, with endorsing!)



RadiantCMS is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams and built on the Ruby framework Rails. Although the developers behind Radiant have done their best to make the software as simple and elegant as possible, with just the right amount of functionality it doesn't come with a WYSIWYG editor and relies on Textile markup to create rich HTML. Radiant also has it’s own templating language which is similar to HTML for intuitive template creation.

Radiant CMS is hosted by ‘the kind folks’ at AVLUX. The HostJury search function shows many web hosts that appear proficient in the Ruby on Rail platform including: 

A search of the hosting reviews also suggested there are some companies, trying to host Ruby sites, that should be run out of town on a rail (no pun intended!)



We’d be amiss if we never included some ASP.NET CMS...

SageFrame is a highly extensible open source CMS that helps you build your site, and builds it to perfection. It empowers you with all the essential tools required for developing custom modules, applications, templates and various-purpose websites with ease and convenience.The plug-n-play module concept employed in SageFrame offers enhanced dynamism to your site, and also holds provision for addition of new features. Moreover, by virtue of the drag and drop widget feature, and a highly configurable control panel, SageFrame imparts flexibility to your website like no other CMS

The guys (and gals) at SageFrame may recommend using Pipe Ten or Arvixe to host your SageFrame install, but they have on GoDaddy nameservers running on iWeb servers.



e107 has been nominated for numerous awards and is an Advanced Content Publishing Solution for Website Pages, Documents, Menus and Links (Content Management System) powered by PHP and MySQL which gives you a totally dynamic and professional website "out of the box". It's open-source (free), easily customized and doesn't require any knowledge of programming languages in order to use it to build a web site. It is simple to use for a novice and yet powerful and flexible enough to meet the needs of professionals. server(s) are with Dedicated Server and co-location provider PremiaNet . Although there does not appear to any official web hosting recommendations, Fused Network was #1 in the e107 search function.



MODX Revolution Bend it any way you want. (editor’s note.. this is one CMS that is only going to grow!)

Selected as Critic’s Choice for Best Open Source CMS of 2012, MODX is a powerful and flexible content management system that molds itself to your design. MODX is creative freedom.

MODX is sponsored by A2 Hosting (MODX Site Sponsor $2500/month for the first two to subscribe, $3000/month thereafter).

HostHero, InMotionA2 Hosting (again)WebHostingHubArvixe, and Site5 sprung for the more furgal listings, priced at $250 per month.

MODX, oh they are hosted on a server at FireHost!



XOOPS is a web application platform written in PHP for the MySQL database. Its object orientation makes it an ideal tool for developing small or large community websites, intra company and corporate portals, weblogs and much more.

Arvixe is the exclusive partner of XOOPS and is the host of their website.



TYPO3 is an enterprise-class, Open Source CMS (Content Management System), used internationally to build and manage websites of all types, from small sites for non-profits to multilingual enterprise solutions for large corporations. 

  • Open source - No license fee
  • Enterprise level - Professional system
  • Safety First - Safest open source CMS
  • Stable Core - For more than a decade
  • Scalable Architecture - Complex or simple: you decide
  • Unlimited Extendability - Catering for your needs
  • Tolerant System - Impartial to hosting systems
  • International Setup - 50+ Localizations available
  • Solid Roadmap - TYPO3 is the future
  • Active Community - Dedication worldwide
  • Safe Investment - Check your ROI! 

TYPO3 can run on most standard hosting services that offer PHP and MySQL. The TYPO3 website is hosted using Snowflake



Jahia provides the most efficient and strongest Java open source content platform. But nowadays, front end is king and is named “User Experience”. Jahia aims to provide the most advanced and fastest User Experience builder, the Jahia Studio on the market to develop all your web projects: Website, Intranet, Web and mobile applications.

Hosted using French web host


eZ Publish Cloud

eZ Publish is used by thousands of organizations today not only as an intuitive and simple publishing tool but also as a powerful digital management solution at the center of an enterprise’s digital architecture. eZ Publish enables even the most complex integrated communication and digital information exchanges across multiple processes and systems. eZ covers the whole life cycle of your digital solutions: Create - Deliver - Optimize.

eZ Publish Cloud is a new service that we provide to our subscribers that allows them to host and run their eZ Publish projects on the Cloud without need for on-premise systems or 3rd party cloud or hosting services. Subscribers benefit then of this unique hybrid delivery model where they have full freedom to decide how they host their production websites and applications, either on their own or on our Cloud infrastructure - we take care of everything.

eZ Systems released and operate eZ Publish Cloud with the support of Ixonos, a Finland-based cloud solutions provider. Ixonos Elastic Cloud, running on top of the reliable Red Hat Cloud stack, is the solution chosen by eZ Systems to deliver a highly reliable version of eZ Publish in the cloud!

So just who does eZ Publish Cloud use for a web host - Amazon!



OpenCms is a professional, easy to use website content management system. OpenCms helps content managers worldwide to create and maintain beautiful websites fast and efficiently.The fully browser based user interface features configurable editors for structured content with well defined fields. Alternatively, content can be created using an integrated WYSIWYG editor similar to well known office applications. A sophisticated template engine enforces a site-wide corporate layout and W3C standard compliance for all content. 

It appears that OpenCms does not openly promote a web host but they use European based STRATO to host their own website.


PHP-Fusion, a light-weight open-source content management system (CMS). PHP-Fusion is written in PHP and MySQL and includes a simple, comprehensive administration system. The most common features you would expect to see in many other CMS packages are included in PHP-Fusion including:
  • Discussion Forum
  • Photo Galleries
  • Post News and Articles
  • Member Registration
  • Downloads 

Hosted in the Netherlands by Xl Internet Services Bv, a.k.a. CloudVPS



Bitweaver is an open source content management system. Its speed and power are ideal for large-scale community websites and corporate applications, but it simple enough for non-technical small site users to set up and administrate.

A search on Bitweaver got me to a page that discussed web hosts along with a review of the services. The information does appear dated.

Bitweaver Friendly Hosts

  • JaguarPC - $19 (USD)  Knowledgeable, responsive support. Great features - VPS hosting provides ultimate flexibility for price.
  • 2mhost -  $36 (USD) per year. I have hosted bitweaver on this site. It supports PHP5. No problems with Installation
  • SiteGround - $60 (USD) per year. Hosted on this site. It supports PHP5. No problems with Installation
  • HostGator - $10 (USD) per month. Hosted on this site with unlimited multisites. Issues: TinyMCE and FCKEditor not showing. * see below
  • UbiquityHosting - $5 (USD) per month. I have hosted bitweaver on their shared hosting, works great. 

Also included was this tidbit which happens to be coming soon.. using a server at DreamHost...

CMS-Quebec offering a dedicated repertory of CMS bitweaver, Demo website, and bitweaver in the Matrix, the addition of a section (Experience feedback) will make it possible to our visitors to visualize what is done with the CMS. This new section will enable them to better choose the adapted CMS to their needs.

*As stated, this info is a little dated, and obviously before the sale of HostGator to Endurance International, as EIG also happens to own the last web host discussed by Bitweaver:

Bitweaver Unfriendly Hosts 

  • BlueHost $7USD/month Works, but barely. Issues with MySQL server and PostGRESQL server, ranging from constant errors, UTF-8 encoding, to total outages for days at a time. Avoid! 

Bitweaver is hosted on a server(s) at SunGard AS



Elxis is powerful open source content management system (CMS) released for free under the GNU/GPL license. It has unique multi-lingual features, it follows W3C standards, it is secure, flexible, easy to use, and modern. The development team, Elxis Team, paid extra attention to the optimization of the CMS for the search engines and this lead to high performance of all elxis powered web sites and to high ranking in search engines results.

Hosted on a server at Hetzner


CMS Made Simple

CMS Made Simple is an open source ( GPL) package first released in July 2004. Its built using PHP that provides website developers with a simple, easy to use utility to allow building small-ish (dozens to hundreds of pages), semi-static websites. Typically our tool is used for corporate websites, or the website promoting a team or organization, etc. This is where we shine. There are other content management packages that specialize in building portals, or blogs, or article based content, etc. CMS Made Simple can do much of this, but it is not our area of focus.

Hosting Partners are: 

CMS Made Simple is hosted on a Linode server



SilverStripe CMS is an open source web content management system used by governments, businesses, and non-profit organisations around the world. It is a power tool for professional web development teams, and web content authors rave about how easy it is to use.

A good looking CMS delivered by the folks down under… but hosted by RackSpace in America. 


The intention of the preceding examples are not meant to be a comprehensive list of open source CMS platforms. (There are countless more being developed, forked, or envisioned. This is a post, not a book!). The  impressive growth and adoption of Wordpress can easily be correlated to the quality and design of the product. The dominance of Wordpress  provides valuable lessons for others . But an increasing numbers of detractors claim Wordpress is trying to be all things to all people suggesting the CMS marketplace is big enough to support numerous other platforms.

A final note.. so just who does Wordpress recommend for hosting:

There are thousands of web hosts out there, the vast majority of which meet the minimum requirements of WordPress and other CMS platforms. Choosing one from the crowd can be a chore. Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, your website will works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment. Choose wisely!


Lightning Base. Reliable Managed Wordpress Hosting