Top 40 best free CMS

September 1, 2008


At BLORGE we’re great fans of open source, and in particular, open source content management systems (CMS).

While we all know about content management systems such as Joomla and Drupal, you may be surprised to learn that there literally dozens and dozens of other content management systems out there, many of which  do have their special niche.

While some CMSs are great for putting up a dynamic website in a snap, others are too difficult to implement and use. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the top open source content management systems available to help you choose the most appropriate tool for your needs.

  1. Joomla – a very  popular open-source CMS that is found at the heart of many well known websites (the United Nations is just one example)
  2. Drupal – another very popular, powerful and flexible content management system
  3. WordPress – although geared for publishing blog, WordPress has proven that it can be a powerful CMS too, as you can see with my publisher’s custom publishing web site
  4. Movable Type – like WordPress, Movable Type is also a weblog creation tool which is also used for building non-blog dynamic websites
  5. b2Evolution – a full-featured weblog creation tool/CMS that supports multiple categories, sub-categories, multiple weblogs, skins, statistics, comments, anti-spam filters, photo management and multiple blogs
  6. Xoops – extensible, OO (Object Oriented), easy to use dynamic web content management system written in PHP
  7. Alfresco – powerful enterprise content management system featuring web and document management
  8. DotCMS – J2EE/Java Web Content Management System (wCMS) which includes an AJAX calendar and events management, e-communications tools, personalization/CRM tools, eCommerce hooks and more
  9. e107 – PHP-based content management system designed for the quick creation of websites or community portals
  10. Exponent- a website CMS that allows site owners to easily create and manage dynamic websites without necessarily directly coding web pages, or managing site navigation.
  11. ImpressCMS – a community developed CMS for easily building and maintaining a dynamic web site offering easy to use, secure and flexible system which is said to be an ideal tool for business to community users, from large enterprises to people who want a simple, easy to use blogging tool
  12. Liferay – offers an enterprise portal solution using Java and Web 2.0 technologies
  13. KnowledgeTree Document Management System – document management software designed for business people for team collaboration, storing documents with ease
  14. Pivot – a web-based tool for maintaining dynamic websites, weblogs or online journals
  15. Magnolia – widely used by most Government websites, it offers an easy-to-use editing interface that allows authors to lay out content exactly as it would appear to a website visitor. Contains “best-of-breed” Java technology
  16. MediaWiki – is a free software wiki package originally written for Wikipedia, but that is now used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis
  17. MiaCMS – is a fork of the Mambo CMS and offers simple installation, graphical content editors, RSS content syndication, powerful/extensible 3rd party extension system
  18. MODx – described as a “PHP application framework that helps you take control of your online content”; it allows developers and advanced users to give as much control as desired to whomever they desire for day-to-day website content maintenance chores
  19. Nucleus CMS – extensible and powerful CMS based on PHP/SQL blogging tool that features multiple weblog capabilities, and RSS syndication
  20. Nuxeo CPS – is said to be “the most complete open source platform” for building Enterprise Content Management (ECM) applications, and is described as an user-friendly accessible application ready to for enterprise-grade content management with many collaboration features.
  21. OneCMS – most commonly used by gaming websites, it can be used by webmasters to manage their website, allowing the user to upload files, add content and various other features
  22. OpenACS – an open architecture community system toolkit for building scalable, community-oriented web applications.
  23. PhpCMS-  a CMS characterized by simple system requirements, high performance and flexibility, which is said to be suitable for both small, private websites, as well as complex high-traffic websites
  24. Plone- easy to use, set-up and run CMS, well suited for project groups, online communities, small business websites
  25. TextPattern – a flexible and easy-to-use feature rich CMS with a built-in search engine
  26. PhpNuke – a CMS and portal solution that features web-based administration, surveys, customisable blocks, modules and themes with multilingual support.
  27. Zope – application server for building content management systems, intranets, portals, and custom applications, written in Python
  28. Plone – suited for building an intranet, web site or community site, Plone is a Content Management, Document Management and Knowledge Management system
  29. Jahia – is an enterprise web content and portal management system that includes a web publishing system, a content management server, and a portal server
  30. Website BAKER – a PHP-based CMS developed with one goal in mind, to enable users to create websites easily
  31. ezPublish – is both an open source content management system and content management framework, which offers an enterprise content management solution, community portal and social networking platform
  32. jLibrary – a CMS engine geared for both personal and enterprise use and offers a very flexible system that can almost be used for any information management purpose
  33. Pligg – ever wanted to create your own Digg clone? Well Pligg is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a content management system based on PHP/MySQL with features such as multiple authors, article rating, private messaging and much more
  34. Mambo – full-featured CMS that can be used  for small or large websites; described as a “powerful enough for the most demanding Internet or intranet site, simple enough for everyone to use!”
  35. Jaws – a Framework and Content Management System for building dynamic web sites that is user-friendly and easy-to-use
  36. Geeklog – PHP/MySQL based application for managing dynamic web content, offering out-of-the-box blog engine, and CMS with support for comments, trackbacks, multiple syndication formats, and spam protection
  37. CMS Container – enables an organization to efficiently maintain a large content-driven website using single CMS. This CMS features the ability to create a staging and live environment, scheduling of content for publication, and automatic removal of content on expiry
  38. SiteFrame – a lightweight, web-based CMS designed for the rapid deployment of community-based websites. A group of users can share stories and photographs, create blogs, send email to one another, and participate in group activities.
  39. Xaraya – offers a “cutting edge open source framework” written in PHP, on which developers can create sophisticated web applications featuring modular design, stable and extensive API and fully internationalized platform
  40. PHP Fusion – PHP-based light-weight open-source content management system that includes a simple, comprehensive administration system.


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85 Responses to “Top 40 best free CMS”

  1. Ralph:

    1. Ubuntu …. Installs on almost all computers, can be setup for wireless, has extensive free applications built in. Can run and do mostly all needed internet, graphical, word processing, text message, video, audio applications. Needs no mindless and confusing serial numbers. No online “activation” needed.

    2. Xubuntu… Installs on lower end computers with less RAM and CPU requirements. Same funstionality as above.

    3. Absolute Linux … Installs on older and newer computers with a host of great applications.

    4. DSL Linux…will run on older Pentium I and even 486 computers with 64 MB RAM or less.

  2. Daniel:


    did you even read the article? this is about content management systems not operating systems….

  3. duh:

    Compare #24 and #28 and you know how much proof-reading this article has had before it got published.

  4. Maternity Clothes:

    how could you have missed CMSMS, fantastically simple CMS Made Simple.

  5. Mandar:

    I have a blog by Blogspot. Should I go for CMS or it is OK to live with third party hosted blog?

  6. DigitalMofo:

    I recently started a small blog with wordpress and i totally dislike it. Any plugin with access to core db, version correlations and so on.

    I will go for joomla, even though a code review didnt convinced me either, but lacking of time to build a cms from scratch. is often mentioned as the most secure and flexible cms. but it’s raw, not appealing look might be the reason that it did not get yet the credits it supposed to.

  7. DigitalMofo:

    Started a small blog with wordpress. A nightmare, version correlations, unsigned plugins with full access to core db, wp writing into the admin part..
    Might switch to Joomla, even though it has its downs as well, but this is how it goes when one is to lazy to build something from scratch.

    I couldn’t find Typo3 on your list, which is been said to be among the most powerfull cms available. Guess the not very appealing look of the raw version is the reason for the lack of credits that it deserves

  8. DigitalMofo:

    sorry bout the double post. your captcha confused me.

  9. Mark Webber:

    Demos & Docs for 100 best open source content management systems :

  10. Susan J:

    What about Expression Engine? They’re a great CMS.

  11. Proworkflow:

    As for consolidation of all of the projects into one system; I believe that an ERP application would better fit the overall management needs of a business. We split our projects up because our clients have access to their information and use the collaborative features of the system.

  12. Ryan Kettler:

    This is certainly a great list. What about a CMS built for marketing professionals as opposed to developers?

    I would encourage you all to check out Preation’s Eden Platform. Eden allows anyone to update their website and optimize it for the search engines on their own. We believe that this solution is very important to small businesses because most of them cannot afford search engine optimization services from traditional consultants.

    Eden’s unique do-it-yourself search engine optimization features as well as the large number of easy website management features including: free professionally designed templates, real on-page editing, drag-and-drop page tree, photo galleries, forms, testimonials, slideshows, video, multi-tier navigation, calendars, and event registration. Full details about Eden’s features are available in the product tour on our website (

    Eden is offered with no setup fees and it starts at just $10/month. A 15 day free trial is available at If you decide to write a review of Eden please send us a link to it and we’ll link to your website from our blog.

  13. Vambe William:

    Ubuntu is the best

  14. Vambe William:

    I love Ubuntu because its flexible compared to microsoft

  15. Free Xbox Live Gold:

    Your site is loading rather slow for me. Might just be my isp but i dunno… anyways great read. Very helpful, thanks heaps. Will definitely bookmark your blog for future reference :)

  16. Andre:

    I use business catalyst for run my online business

  17. San:

    I use Joomla bcos i luv Sobi2 business directory..

  18. credit crunch:

    hah… only in small business

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  20. Guest:

    Thanks for the nice article. Have you checked Strelin by the way? It is a php cms. Also free and open source.

  21. Billy Dufort:

    I have been surfing online greater than three hours as of late, but I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s pretty value sufficient for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the internet might be much more useful than ever before. Executive Elite, 18a Greycoat Gardens, Greycoat Street, London, SW1P 2QA, 028 2088 0135

  22. Adrian:

    ERP application would absolutely be better but that’sjus my opinion!

  23. Andres:

    I can”t believe Elxis is not on this list. I like it more than Joomla for example.

  24. evan:

    there are many cms out there but i love easy and simple nibleblog, sweetrice and pritlog..
    i love sweetrice and pritlog..but pritlog have some bugs..and have no plugin..but i can understand that because pritlog is developed by one person..not like another cms that developed by team..

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  33. brad:

    Thanks so much for this great for this overview on CMS.
    I could not wait for a single second to bookmark this page.I was looking for such a description for days and now I get it. Please can anyone tell which cms is good for a university site (multiple sites). I am in the urgent need to find a suitable longterm cms for our univeriste website wishing to start with cms.


  34. David B:

    The easiest, the fast and most SEO optimized it iMagic CMS, for simple sites or for designers: =) very small in comparison with Drupal and Joomla. The site in google has appeared in 2 hours! I am very happy)))

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  38. Glamour:

    Please add Unbraco in the list, an open source CMS in Dot Net.

  39. business catalyst developer:

    Thanks for the nice post. I have already bookmarked it.It was really a good read. I also think quality is vitally important! But saying that, your articles are always a fab read., Keep up the good work.

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    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write once more soon!|

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