Open-source CMS: tips to choose the best option

PersonalizationBy Mariana Bonanomi

Choosing a great CMS can be challenging. While many are too expensive and complex for daily tasks, others may lack the security and support you need to manage your website.

Open-source CMSs like WordPress, Strapi, and Drupal offer many website management features and functionalities. Whether a small business owner or an enterprise, an open-source CMS allows you to tailor your website to specific needs, from design templates and plugins to custom codes. It's like having your virtual toolbox to craft a unique and engaging online experience for your audience.

In this post, you will learn how to choose a great open-source CMS for your website strategy.

Your CMS for dynamic contentCreate segments and tailor content to meet user preferences in just a few clicks.
A few lines of code for the developer to edit and a page for the market to edit.

What is an open-source CMS?

An open-source CMS is a software application that allows you to create, manage, and publish digital content on the web. Unlike proprietary CMS, open-source CMS is built on a foundation of collaboration and community-driven development. This means that the software's source code is available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.

Whether you want to change the design templates, add functionalities through plugins, or even modify the core code, an open-source CMS allows you to do so.

To learn more about different types of CMSs before moving on, check out our blog post about headless and web CMSs.

Advantages of using an open-source CMS

Using an open-source CMS comes with a multitude of perks. Let's explore some of them:

Flexibility and customization

One of the most significant advantages of open-source CMSs is their flexibility. With a wide range of design templates, themes, and plugins, you can create a website that perfectly aligns with your brand requirements — whether you are a small business owner or a large enterprise, you will tailor your website to suit your unique needs.

Community support and regular updates

Open-source CMS platforms have thriving communities of developers and users who actively contribute to the software's development and improvement. You can rely on a vast network of experts to support you, answer questions, and offer guidance whenever needed. Furthermore, open-source CMS companies regularly release updates and security patches to ensure your website remains secure.

Reduced learning curve

These CMS platforms tend to be user-friendly and easy to use. Many integrate visual editors, making content management and organization intuitive.


Many open-source CMSs can handle large amounts of content, high traffic volumes, and complex functionalities — which is crucial for SEO. Ensure that the CMS you choose provides tools and features that simplify optimizing your content for search engines. This includes SEO-friendly URLs, meta tags, and XML sitemaps.

Open-source CMSs are the best option for businesses seeking flexibility. They let you be creative with designs and optimize your growth and SEO efforts with a structured website.

Popular open-source CMS options

There are several popular options available in the market. Let's take a closer look at three of the most widely used platforms:


WordPress is the most popular open-source CMS in the world, powering over 35% of all websites on the internet. It offers a user-friendly interface, a vast library of themes and plugins, and a robust community support system. WordPress provides the flexibility and scalability to meet your needs, whether you're building a personal blog, an e-commerce store, or a corporate website.


Strapi is a highly flexible open-source CMS that simplifies API creation. It suits both developers and non-technical users and supports both REST and GraphQL APIs. It also allows users to trigger custom actions or external processes in response to specific browsing events. The platform has an active community and comprehensive documentation, ensuring a supportive environment. It is popular for serving projects ranging from small websites to large-scale applications.


Drupal is a robust CMS for building highly scalable and secure websites. It offers a flexible architecture and a comprehensive set of tools for content management, making it a preferred choice for government agencies, educational institutions, and large enterprises. Drupal's modular approach allows you to extend its functionality to meet your specific requirements.


Contentful is a headless content management platform that enables businesses to implement content modeling, real-time collaboration, and robust APIs for retrieval and management. With features like rich text editing, asset management, and support for localization, Contentful provides a flexible solution for creating and delivering digital experiences. Its seamless integration capabilities make it popular for developers and businesses seeking efficient solutions.

How to choose the right open-source CMS

With so many options, selecting an open-source CMS suitable for your needs can be overwhelming. Start by clearly defining your website's requirements and objectives. Consider factors such as the type of content you will be publishing, the level of customization you require, and the scalability needed for your future growth.

You may need to compare different open-source CMS platforms' features and check other users’ reviews to make an informed decision.

Pay attention to what they say about ease of use, available plugins and themes, community support, and security updates.

Choosing a complete CMS with accessible libraries and documentation can save you much time later. Seek advice from industry experts or hire a professional web developer. They can provide valuable insights and help you decide based on your requirements.

Static or dynamic?

Choosing between a static or dynamic CMS may be an option you haven’t considered yet. However, they can bring specific benefits depending on your strategy and the website you want to build. Here are the differences and characteristics of each:

Static CMS

A static CMS represents a modern approach to website management, focusing on simplicity, speed, and security. Unlike traditional CMS platforms, which dynamically generate web pages upon each request from a database, a static CMS operates by pre-generating HTML files for each page or post. This means authors can still create, edit, and organize content through a user-friendly interface, similar to traditional CMS platforms. However, instead of relying on server-side processing to generate content on the fly, the static CMS generates static HTML files ready to serve visitors directly.

Static CMS platforms offer an appealing alternative for websites with primarily static content or those requiring optimal performance and security. Popular static framework options include Astro, Hugo, Gatsby, and Next.js, each offering unique features and functionalities tailored to different use cases.

While these platforms can handle essential dynamic elements using client-side JavaScript or APIs, they are less suitable for highly interactive websites. Complex features such as user authentication, dynamic content generation, or real-time updates may require additional development effort or integration with third-party services. In that case, a dynamic CMS may be just what you need.

Dynamic CMS

Unlike static CMS solutions that generate pre-rendered HTML files for each page, dynamic CMS platforms create web pages dynamically in response to user requests, typically utilizing server-side scripting languages such as PHP, Python, or Ruby.

They store content, metadata, and other website elements in a database, allowing for flexible content organization, retrieval, and manipulation. This approach enables user authentication, personalized content delivery, and e-commerce functionalities.

Websites powered by dynamic CMS systems can deliver personalized experiences to users based on their preferences, behaviors, or profile information. For example, an e-commerce website can dynamically generate product recommendations, shopping carts, and checkout processes tailored to individual users, enhancing web page engagement and conversion rates.

They also offer robust scalability, allowing websites to grow and adapt to changing requirements. Developers can extend the functionalities of dynamic CMS systems through plugins, modules, or custom code, enabling integration with third-party services, APIs, or enterprise systems. This flexibility empowers organizations to implement complex workflows, automate business processes, and deliver innovative digital experiences to their audiences.

While they are great for creating personalized user experiences, dynamic CMS platforms also present specific challenges and considerations. They typically require more resources than static CMS solutions, as server-side processing is necessary to generate content dynamically for each user request. This can lead to slower page load times and increased server load, particularly during high-traffic or resource-intensive operations.

An alternative to dynamic CMS drawbacks

If you want the benefits of a dynamic CMS without drawbacks such as its dense learning curve, Croct’s PMS may be just what you need. Our Personalization Management System is like a CMS with built-in personalization and AB testing, which lets you personalize your website and experiment with content in real time. You can personalize it based on specific criteria, depending on what each audience segment wants to see.

This will help you create the perfect user experience in just a few clicks. Furthermore, you can analyze users' behavior and preferences based on the data you collect from their sessions and optimize your website to convert more. It’s also SEO-friendly and flicker-free, ensuring you increase organic traffic and rank better in SERPs.

Check our use cases and discover how we revolutionize our partners’ strategies.

That’s a wrap

Open-source content management systems offer a cost-effective and flexible solution for managing your website's content. With the ability to customize, extend, and scale your website, they provide endless possibilities for creating a dynamic and user-friendly online presence.

Depending on your strategy and timing, you may want to consider having a dynamic website. Although they need tech know-how, dynamic CMS is a great option to improve user experience and generate qualified leads with content based on preferences and behavior.

If you want to experiment with a powerful headless CMS without the drawbacks of a dynamic open-source CMS, create your free account and start using Croct today!

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