CMS Search: Joomla Major Competitors and Good Alternatives to Pick the Right One

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So, you’ve chosen Joomla (or have been recommended to use it, or inherited a Joomla based site) – this doesn’t really matter. What matters, is your desire to learn about other CMS systems that are like Joomla and see whether you could do better with another CMS solution.

Joomla Competitors – Hardly a Surprise

Even if you’re a total newbie in the IT world and hardly ever did anything like starting a website, you definitely heard those names – WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Interestingly, they often come in a conjunction, though in fact, they are the names of fierce competitors, desperately fighting for every new user.

All of the three CMSs are open source and totally free, therefore eternal love from their users can be taken for granted. Despite many common features and deceptive similarity, if looked at unscrupulously, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress have clear distinctions and are good for different purposes. Let’s take a closer look at them.


The king of content management systems, with over 140, 000 000 downloads (compared to Joomla’s 50, 000 000 roughly) and powering 48% of the TOP 100 sites by Technorati, is a frequent choice for users who are starting their first site, bloggers, companies creating their business card websites etc. The ease of use of WordPress has become legendary and attracts users along with a huge number of plugins and themes available to give a special feel to your website. However, it loses to Joomla in terms of flexibility and space for customizations, necessary for building more complex websites.


As for Drupal, it has the image of a CMS made for coders and by coders. Providing huge, virtually limitless opportunities for customization, it is good for websites with complex databases and multilevel structure. However, it affects the user-friendliness, making Drupal the least intuitive among the three CMS giants. No wonder it is the least used, too. So, unless you’re planning to extend your site with a very special functionality and need specific branding options, you should better start with a more user-friendly platform.

So, putting Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress in a line, Joomla can be positioned right between WordPress and Drupal in terms of both ease of use and flexibility. Still, while these website builders are immensely popular, it doesn’t mean they are absolutely best. On the contrary, many new niche CMSs are appearing today, with the goal to satisfy the needs of particular kind of audience, doing a good job in their sphere.

So, what are decent Joomla alternatives and content management systems you cannot miss? (listed in random order)


ExpressionEngine is an excellent example of commercial open source software by EllisLab, Inc. According to the showcase on their front page, EE is used by both commercial and non-profit organizations for all kinds of projects -from content driven sites to membership websites thanks to its suite of member management features.

Despite its open source nature, which in most cases means no support other than community forums, EE does offer an excellent level of technical support for its users. However, it is paid with 3 plans available as for now, starting at $49/mo.

ExpressionEngine also puts a great stress on security and offers a full array of features to make your site resistant to attacks. It presents an intuitive control panel and practically limitless opportunities for designing the site to your taste. Moreover, thanks to a number of add-ons, you can extend your site as desired, without the unnecessary weight right out of the box. EE allows managing multiple websites from a single backend, adding a community forum,  ecommerce project etc. However, all of the conveniences don’t come for free – you’ll have to buy a license for $299, or use the ExpressionEngine Core – it’s free, but with many limitations.

While EE looks like a decent platform to work with, we highly recommend to thoroughly explore this CMS before making the payment.


concrete5 is a free and open source CMS, just like Joomla. However, it became free recently, having started out as a commercial project.  It is available in two versions – both hosted and self-hosted, which is convenient if you want to steer away from hosting and security troubles. It is positioned as an easy-to-use CMS, but it is true mostly for users who already have some previous experience of using a CMS. concrete5 offers a selection of add-ons and themes, which in numbers are inferior to those of Joomla, but quite enough to create almost any kind of a site. Some of them are paid, like ecommerce add-ons, blog or discussion board functionality, but most standard ones come at no cost.

Finally, this CMS offers certain features making it stand out of the crowd – those include document management, contact management, project tracking and file-distribution plugins, so it can be a good tool for many businesses.

CMS Made Simple

CMS-MS is not so simple as the title may prompt. This free open source software positions itself as an alternative to heavyweight CMS solutions due to its simplicity. But, contrary to many users’ beliefs that this system should be very easy to use, it’s mostly oriented at developers. Providing a very basic package right out of the box, it allows easily extending the site with the desired functionality, and thanks to the 3d party integration ability, users can code the missing elements themselves.

What sets this CMS apart, especially for inexperienced users, is the way of handling support issues. Similar to other open-source systems, there is always a community forum available to ask any questions at, you can rely on professional help from developers, who can be contacted and paid a symbolic sum for dealing with your problem.

All in all, keep in mind that CMS Made Simple is best fitted for small to medium websites, while huge complex sites should better be built with other tools.


As you can see, Joomla is a decent and robust tool for website creation, but it is way not the only one, and numerous alternatives are available to help you pick the right tool for the job. So, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and what it should be able to do, then making your choice will be much easier.

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