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Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system (CMS for short) is a digital application that can be used to create and manage content and data and make it available to users online. A CMS usually consists of an intuitive user interface that can be used entirely without programming knowledge thanks to a clear backend.

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Definition CMS

With the help of a CMS, the boundaries of a static HTML website can be broken down and dynamic content can be published instead. The application acts as a kind of construction kit in which new content can be constantly managed and published. You can also often make your own adjustments to the design in order to individualize the website. Text templates create a uniform design and ensure that individual content elements, such as blog or glossary articles, are categorized in a meaningful way and that all website content is structured according to the same scheme. Most content management systems also have the option of creating a database with media files in order to insert them into corresponding posts.

In which cases is a CMS needed?

Websites that are operated with a CMS are not automatically superior to static HTML pages. When deciding to use a CMS, you should first clarify the extent to which a content management system suits your own knowledge, requirements and the function of the website. If it is a website that is regularly updated with similar editorial content, the use of a content management system makes sense.

If it is a website that does not require any changes and is not constantly revised, the use of a static HTML solution is perfectly adequate. The use of a CMS incurs costs in individual cases, most of which are billed in the form of a subscription model. Minor security vulnerabilities may occur from time to time, but these are counteracted with appropriate updates. This ensures user security.

Content management system types

A basic distinction can be made between two types: There are both cloud-based and local CMS. The former are hosted on the provider's server, while the latter are installed on the user's own server. In addition, there is one area of application that most frequently relies on the features of a CMS - complex corporate websites. These require product and service presentation, a possible connection to other systems and marketing platforms. The multilingualism of the respective website is also often required if the company is to be marketed internationally. There is also another type of content management system - the headless CMS. This only has a backend, but no frontend, and is often used to distribute content across multiple channels. A practical solution if content is to be managed centrally.

A second area is e-commerce, which often uses CMS elements in dedicated store solutions and also has more complex demands on the functionality of the software. For websites that operate a blog or a regularly published online magazine, the requirements for a CMS are less extensive. In most cases, different categories of articles are required, which can be entered into a standardized template.

Popular content management systems

There is now an almost limitless selection of different CMSs, all of which have individual advantages and disadvantages. The best-known and most frequently used CMSs are currently WordPress, TYPO3, Joomla!, Ibexa and Drupal.

Logo von TYPO3


TYPO3 is free of charge and its wide range of functions makes it ideal for complex projects on the web. This becomes clear from the fact that the people involved in the website can be assigned different roles such as "editor-in-chief". Depending on the growth of the project, the corresponding content can be scaled as required with TYPO3. TYPO3 also complies with European data protection requirements and is designed to offer multilingual content. With its wide range of extensions, TYPO3 is the ideal choice for a variety of project implementations.

Logo von WordPress


WordPress is the most widely used. It is an open source software that was originally developed for creating and managing blogs. The CMS can be installed free of charge in just a few steps and has a wide range of ready-made templates that can be used for your own website in no time at all. WordPress also offers its users a variety of different plug-ins (i.e. individual extensions) that can be used to improve the desired functions of the website. WordPress is primarily suitable for smaller websites and private blogs.

Logo von Joomla!


Joomla! is also free to use in its basic functions and is particularly impressive due to its intuitive and flexible way of working. A single website can be based on several templates, of which a wide range is available. Similar to WordPress, Joomla! also has a generous library with many plug-ins designed to improve the user experience. This CMS is not immune to security vulnerabilities, although it is considered more secure than WordPress.

Logo von Ibexa


Ibexa combines several functions of different CMS types. The provider sees itself as a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and offers companies various service packages depending on their requirements and needs. These include, for example, Ibexa Content, Ibexa Commerce, Ibexa Cloud and Ibexa Experience. Particular emphasis is placed on customization options and improving the customer experience.

Logo von Drupal


Drupal is particularly suitable for projects that have high technical requirements, for example due to high traffic. The CMS is also suitable for multilingual websites and, as an open source application, is available free of charge. However, the potential scalability of the respective website and the numerous options for implementing a project with Drupal mean that the application is sometimes somewhat complicated and demanding to use.

The cost of a CMS

The costs due for content management systems vary greatly, particularly with regard to the industry in which they are used. Many applications are freely accessible, while complex platforms can cost over 1,000 euros per month. These are often store solutions in e-commerce, and the most popular platforms include specialized providers such as Magento or Shopware. Meanwhile, costs are also incurred for the corresponding extensions and additional software that are not part of the basic scope of open source software such as WordPress, although these are not absolutely necessary in most cases.

FAQs on content management systems (CMS)

A CMS (content management system) is a digital application with extensive functions. It is used to create, publish and manage content. A CMS can be described as a prefabricated construction kit for the web.

Content management systems are primarily used for corporate websites and in e-commerce. For example, a CMS can be used to manage blogs or content in a web store.

In terms of prices, the CMSs vary in comparison. Many applications are available free of charge, while more complex, comprehensive solutions with a number of additional functions often cost well over 1,000 euros per month.