Top 10 PHP CMS Platforms For Developers in 2023

There are many types of Content Management System (CMS) on the market, and they’re all designed to help people create their own websites without programming training. While some systems are targeted at buyers with some knowledge of coding, most are aimed at website owners looking to build and maintain sites with maximum ease.

As there is such a wide range of options, we’ll take a look at the main factors to consider when choosing from multiple CMS platforms below.

What’s a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System. It is a software application or platform that enables users to create, manage, and modify digital content without requiring advanced technical knowledge. CMS allows users to easily create and organize content such as text, images, videos, and documents, and publish it on websites or other digital platforms.

A CMS typically provides a user-friendly interface that allows content creators and editors to add, edit, and delete content using simple tools and templates. It separates the content from the presentation, making it easier to update and maintain the website’s design and structure.

CMS platforms often include features such as user management, workflow management, version control, and search functionality. They can be customized and extended with plugins and themes to meet specific requirements.

Choosing the Right CMS Platform for Your Website

When you’re planning to invest in a new CMS, it’s crucial that you know which features matter to you most. Getting the must-haves clear in your mind before you start browsing can make the process simpler.

User-Friendliness

The best CMS for you will be intuitive and include an interface that allows you to pick it up without in-depth knowledge of software engineering. It should be so easy for you to understand that you can place audio, text, pictures, and videos on webpages efficiently. A simple, smooth way to change things is important too, and self-explanatory tools can also be helpful.

Design Templates

A major advantage of PHP CMS platforms is the variety of design templates on offer. In some CMS software, you may find entire galleries of pre-made templates so that you don’t need to create them yourself from scratch. However, it will be helpful if you can customize them easily without needing any coding skills.

Data Portability

Unless you’re planning to stay with one host indefinitely, your CMS platform should incorporate tools for moving data in the future.

Optional Extras

There are many styles and types of websites online, suited to diverse budgets and goals. As a result, no one CMS platform will be the perfect fit for every website.

Still, add-ons and extensions offer a solution. These add to the fundamental feature sets included with CMS platforms, providing you with a more personalized experience and helping you get more out of your website.

User Support

A well-made CMS platform should be easy to use from the start. But you’ll still have questions from time to time. Some of the CMS platforms out there have big user communities, so you may be able to get all the support you need from fellow users on dedicated forums. It’s likely that they’ll be happy to help people facing a range of technical issues. In addition, the best CMS providers will offer their own support services (some may run 24 hours a day).

Costs

While a number of CMS platforms are available for free, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for others. The free ones, though, will still offer templates and add-ons for a price. Your hosting services will incur some expense, too. Still, it’s easier and more cost-effective for beginners to launch their own websites than ever thanks to CMS platforms.

So, keep all of these points we’ve mentioned in mind and you should be able to start tracking down the perfect PHP-based content management system for your needs. Please find our TOP 10:

These CMS platforms make traditional development work a lot less of a chore for the developer. Dynamic web sites can swell up to include thousands of pages, and when they do it’s much easier to manage the process with the best PHP CMS platform as it can streamline development work in clever ways.

WordPress

WordPress is a widely used open-source content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites around the world. It was initially developed as a blogging platform in 2003 but has evolved into a versatile CMS that can handle various types of websites, from blogs to e-commerce sites and corporate websites.

WordPress offers a user-friendly interface that allows users to create, edit, and publish content without requiring extensive technical knowledge. It provides a range of customizable themes and templates that control the website’s design and layout. Users can also enhance their websites with plugins, which are small software modules that add specific functionality.

WordPress supports a wide range of content types, including text, images, videos, and documents. It provides a built-in editor for creating and formatting content, and it allows users to schedule posts for automatic publishing. It also includes basic SEO features to optimize websites for search engines.

One of the key strengths of WordPress is its large and active community. There are thousands of free and premium themes and plugins available, allowing users to customize their websites according to their specific needs. The community also provides support, tutorials, and resources to help users get the most out of WordPress.

WordPress is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database to store content. It is highly scalable and can handle websites of all sizes, from small personal blogs to large enterprise sites with heavy traffic.

Details

  • WordPress accounts for 76.4% of the CMS market
  • It supports over 68 languages
  • Plug-ins have been downloaded 1.48 billion times
  • WordPress powers many government websites around the world

Pros

  • Accessible platform
  • Largest plugin and theme directories
  • Very secure platform
  • Integrated SEO features
  • Availability of WP Toolkit extension for Plesk hosting platform

Cons

  • Themes and plugins can require annoyingly frequent updates
  • Open source can mean ‘more open to hackers’
  • Customization requires a deep level of understanding

Joomla

Joomla is another one of the best PHP CMS platforms and it’s garnered a reputation for being good for portfolio and blogging websites. It may sit somewhat in the shadow of WordPress, but it still comes with enough high-quality features to create effective blogs and dynamic websites. It meshes well with a few versions of SQL, which means database integration should not be a problem.

This PHP CMS can integrate the site with its hosting provider in just one click and makes the creation of responsive websites a breeze. Its multitude of available designs and extensions make it easy to add extra features to any web apps that you may be designing. As one of the best PHP CMS platforms, Joomla has proved to be popular among big names that include eBay, Barnes & Noble, IKEA, and many others.

Details

  • 6% of all websites rely on Joomla
  • 2 million sites and counting
  • One of the top three CMSs which offer free plug-ins and themes
  • Supports over 64 languages

Pros

Cons

  • Not as SEO enabled as some PHP CMSs
  • Difficult for non-developers to add custom designs
  • Not many modules for sale
  • Some plug-ins not completely compatible without modification

Drupal

Drupal is an open-source PHP CMS that allows users to create and manage websites and web applications. It provides a flexible and powerful platform for building a wide range of websites, from personal blogs to complex enterprise-level applications. Drupal offers extensive customization options, scalability, and a strong community of developers and contributors.

While WordPress functionality can be extended further with plugins, Drupal refers to its add-ons as modules, although it already comes with many features and options.

Many big brands and organizations use Drupal to power their websites and online platforms including The White House, NASA, Pfizer, Harvard University, Tesla Motors and Grammy Awards

Details

  • Drupal has around a million users
  • It’s available in over 90 languages
  • Many American government websites are Drupal-powered
  • Acquia spent half a million dollars to accelerate the migration of Drupal 7 modules to Drupal 8
  • Drupal powers around 1 million websites

Pros

  • The platform can be greatly expanded upon
  • Frequent patches and updates enhance platform security
  • Drupal is well-suited to eCommerce
  • Best PHP CMS for websites with lots of traffic

Cons

  • Hard to understand for non-developers
  • Not well suited to blogs or other publications
  • Installing custom modules is not easy

OctoberCMS

OctoberCMS is a free, open-source PHP CMS based on Laravel framework. The CMS is flexible, simple, and ready to deliver retina-ready websites and apps.

This CMS may not be as widely known as some other CMS platforms, in the same time it has gained popularity among developers and small to medium-sized businesses due to its simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility. Some notable brands and organizations using OctoberCMS include Groupon, Oracle, HP (Hewlett-Packard), Cuisinart and Greenpeace Canada.

While OctoberCMS may not be as prevalent as some of the more established CMS platforms, these examples demonstrate its capability to handle websites for various industries and organizations. Its user-friendly interface, customizable templates, and modular architecture have attracted both small businesses and larger brands seeking a lightweight yet powerful CMS solution.

Details

  • Own community
  • Ecosystem of plugins & themes
  • Based on Laravel framework

Pros

  • Open source and free
  • Versatile and extendable
  • Many and varied themes and plugins

Cons

  • Requires developer input to customize
  • Fewer users than WordPress

Opencart

Opencart is another of the PHP based content management systems that are ideally suited to the creation of eCommerce websites. It’s open-source so PHP developers can easily add their own updates, and for users, it’s not hard to get to grips with thanks to its intuitive UI. The platform caters to a great many languages and offers unlimited product categories for the biggest inventories out there. Opencart is a well-featured PHP CMS that gives plenty of scope to developers while keen to create comprehensively featured online stores.

Details

  • Opencart allows more than 20 ways to pay
  • 12k+ extensions on offer
  • Powers 790k+ websites
  • 95k+ forum members

Pros

  • Easy to set up and get started
  • Free themes in abundance
  • Thousands of available modules and extensions
  • Makes it easy to set up sites in different managers

Cons

  • Some technical knowledge needed for customization
  • Not very SEO-friendly
  • Bogs down when web traffic spikes
  • No event system so users can’t set up tasks from within modules

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine is one of the best PHP based content management systems for sites that need to handle large amounts of content. It is an excellent PHP based CMS with an architecture that can be modified with custom scripts to introduce additional functions.

Any newly added content becomes visible to the customer straight away. ExpressionEngine is versatile enough that when it creates pages, it does so by pulling content from the database and then formatting it so that every user gets the best available view for their device. This dynamic approach to content generation makes it very flexible.

Pros

  • Custom edit forms are available. You can navigate and fill them out easily
  • HTML agnostic template system
  • Preview window the cheque work before saving changes
  • Integrated SEO for content
  • Excellent security

Cons

  • Some content boxes in certain templates don’t expand, making navigation and editing difficult
  • Poor developer network support
  • Fewer 3rd party add-ons and plugins

PyroCMS

PyroCMS is an open-source content management system (CMS) built using the PHP programming language and the Laravel framework. It provides a flexible and user-friendly platform for creating and managing websites and web applications. PyroCMS aims to strike a balance between simplicity and extensibility, making it suitable for developers and content creators alike.

This CMS offers a modular architecture, allowing users to customize and extend its functionality using modules, themes, and addons. It provides a visual user interface for managing content, templates, and navigation, making it easy to create and update websites without advanced technical knowledge.

With PyroCMS, users can create and manage various types of content, including text, images, videos, and documents. It supports multilingual websites, making it convenient for creating content in different languages. PyroCMS also includes features like user management, SEO optimization, and caching to enhance performance.

One notable aspect of PyroCMS is its marketplace, which provides a collection of modules, themes, and addons that users can leverage to enhance their websites. The marketplace fosters an active community of developers who contribute to the growth and improvement of PyroCMS.

PyroCMS is suitable for a range of applications, from simple websites to complex web applications. Its flexibility, combined with the power of Laravel, allows developers to create custom functionality and integrate with external systems as needed.

Overall, PyroCMS offers a user-friendly CMS solution with a focus on simplicity, extensibility, and community collaboration. It is well-suited for developers and content creators who value flexibility and want to build websites and web applications efficiently.

Pros

  • Versatile PHP CMS can be adapted to any project
  • Readily accommodates third-party APIs and apps
  • Easy to install and learn

Magento

Magento was designed with eCommerce applications in mind, and it’s now the preferred platform for building innovative online stores. Brands such as Ford, Nike, Foxconnect, and many others rely on Magento’s extremely capable eCommerce features to power their sites. The major advantage of using Magento is that it’s tailor-made for designing rich and varied online shopping experiences for customers.

Another part of Magento’s appeal is its great emphasis on security. It uses hashing algorithms for maximum security password management and has additional defenses to defend apps from attackers. Also, Magento benefits from an active developer community which frequently contributes with numerous updates and patches. With Magento 2 the platform has benefited from a variety of enhancements to further strengthen its position as one of the best PHP-based content management systems for online retail.

Pros

  • The platform is feature-rich enough to power modern eCommerce stores
  • Magento is very accessible
  • The community regularly develops plug-ins and extensions
  • The platform is very scalable and can accommodate big apps

Cons

  • The premium and enterprise versions are pricey
  • Slightly slower to load than other platforms
  • Only works with dedicated hosting
  • Product support is quite pricey

Craft CMS

Craft is one of the more recent PHP-based content management systems but its low user account shouldn’t put you off though because it’s tailored towards pleasing developers. If you’re a user that may be a point against it, but from a developer’s point of view it’s easy to work with.

Craft gives users the scope to create their own front ends, or at least it does in principle because doing so requires a knowledge of HTML and CSS. Despite that, it offers a clean backend, so it’s relatively easy for content editors to easily find their desired features and publish content frequently.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Commercial features
  • Developer-centric
  • Highly functional
  • Performs well
  • Effective security

Cons

  • Pricey
  • More for advanced users
  • Not so many plugins
  • Not open source

TYPO3

TYPO3 is one of the best PHP CMS platforms available. It works on various operating systems including Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, and OS/2. It’s best suited to powering the portals and eCommerce platforms of large companies and it’s supported by a sizeable community for ongoing support and discussion.

Content and code are handled separately which makes TYPO3 a very flexible proposition for users. With support for over 50 languages and integrated localization built-in, it will fit in with users no matter where they may be in the world. Installation can be completed in just a few steps.

Pros

  • Sizeable community
  • Flexible with lots of functions
  • Enterprise-level

Cons

  • Hard to configure
  • Entry-level training is hard to find

One comment

  1. Hello, very interesting article, but about Opencart there are some points that I disagree with.
    I’ve been working with Opencart for over 12 years, having created over 100 integrations and plugins for it.

    Here are the points:
    – About customization can be done through the Panel, it has an editor for the visual part and also for the language, but the ideal really depends on the adjustment being made by a professional
    – It has a strong SEO, due to being the fastest E-commerce that consumes less resources, in addition to having meta title, meta description and other features, it can also be used simple plugins for OpenGraph and Structured Data
    – It withstands high demand, we even have stores with thousands of orders per day and having an excellent performance. Large store recommend using Cache with Redis, as would be needed in any E-commerce, with the advantage that Opencart can handle more demand with less resource cost
    – It has native Events for years, as far as I remember since Opencart 2, and it is currently in Opencart 4
    – Another advantage of it is that it is 100% modular, having a rich ecosystem of worldwide and professional plugins, in addition to being easy to customize and create new features by PHP developers, due to its simple architecture and MVC

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