When you first began entertaining the idea of creating a website, you may not have realized how many choices you would have to make. Many decisions need to be made when designing a website. One of your first choices will be whether to use a dedicated physical server, a Virtual Private Server (VPS), or a shared hosting arrangement. Another option that meets some more advanced customers’ needs is a bare metal solution which can be addressed with physical resources in conjunction with virtual resources.
While a shared hosting solution may initially be less expensive, it limits the degree of customization that can be performed on your website. In many cases, you will find that a VPS offering is the most attractive as it provides the best combination of security, scalability, and customization at a reasonable price point. It’s the most flexible, functional, and economical way to host your website.
One of the most important decisions you will make regarding your website is the content management system (CMS) that will be used to organize and display the information on your site. We are going to look at three of the most popular CMS solutions and provide information that allows you to make an informed choice regarding which one best suits your needs and level of technical expertise.
What is a CMS?
A CMS is an application that is used to build and manage a website without the need to perform extensive coding. You can create, manage, and publish content easily through the solution’s user-friendly interface. Much of the customization you want to do can be accomplished through templates or extensions instead of digging into the code. Multiple users can be granted different levels of authority over the processes required to create, modify, and publish information on the website.
A CMS is made up of two core components. The content management application (CMA) is the part you interact with when adding and managing the website’s content. When you add a new page to your site, you are using the CMA. A content delivery application (CDA) works in the background, storing the input to the CMA and displaying it to your visitors.
There are substantial differences in the functionality and complexity of competing CMS solutions. Making the wrong initial choice in a content management system can make it extremely difficult to migrate your website to a different platform. It can also be frustrating either because it is too complex or does not support all of the features you would like to implement. The selection of your CMS must be made carefully.
Three Popular Content Management System Solutions
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are three popular, open-source CMS solutions for building VPS-hosted websites. The three platforms support MySQL as their database management system and are primarily written in PHP. Themes, plugins, and extensions are used extensively to add customization and functionality in each of these community-driven content management systems.
Each solution has strengths and weaknesses that may make them a more attractive option for different types of users. Let’s take an objective look at how these three CMS platforms address the needs of VPS-hosted website builders.
Let’s investigate WordPress first. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS and dominates the market. It has reached this level of acceptance for many very good reasons, but it is not without its flaws. Let’s begin by identifying the strong points of using WordPress as your CMS.
- User-friendliness – The WordPress dashboard is reasonably intuitive and makes it easy for users to create or edit posts, format web pages, and update WordPress itself. Changing themes is a straightforward operation and plugins can be added with a few clicks.
- Simplicity – Very little technical proficiency is required to create and manage a website with WordPress. There is essentially no learning curve as most processes such as updating plugins and installing security patches can be done with a single click. Ease of use is one of the main reasons for the popularity of this CMS.
- Community support – Due to the number of WordPress-based websites, there is a large and active community of users and developers. The result is an incredible amount of blogs and websites filled with tips that allow users to use WordPress more efficiently. Community members also regularly create new themes and plugins that customize websites and give them enhanced functionality.
These factors have made WordPress the most popular CMS solution for website builders. Its simplicity and user-friendliness are what attract a large percentage of individuals new to website design. The amount of community support available is comforting when embarking on an unfamiliar endeavor like creating a website.
Not everything about WordPress is perfect. Following are some characteristics of WordPress that may lead you to consider other CMS options.
- Security – As the most popular CMS on the web, WordPress offers an inviting target for hackers. WordPress sites are regularly attacked by hackers and many sites contain spam. Users must make sure that they install security patches as soon as they become available.
- A low initial degree of functionality – Without using plugins, the functionality of a WordPress site is limited. This should not pose a serious problem for designers, although they will have to browse a large set of plugins to find what they need.
- Flexibility – The required use of plugins and themes can limit the degree of flexibility afforded to website designers.
Atlantic.Net offers a One-Click Word Press VPS Hosting Application.
Joomla does not enjoy as large a user base as WordPress but has some features that may make it a better solution for your VPS-hosted website.
- More initial functionality – Joomla provides a high degree of out-of-the-box functionality. A basic installation allows content to be optimized for search engines without the use of plugins.
- Enhanced customization – You can extend the functionality of your Joomla website with components, plugins, modules, and extensions. With these items, you can easily add things like news feeds and buttons to your website.
- A potential app development platform – Developers can use Joomla’s basic code as the foundation for web applications. Coding will be necessary to make use of this feature.
The disadvantages of using Joomla include:
- A substantial learning curve – Finding the correct options and using extensions effectively can be challenging for new users. It takes a little more time to be comfortable using all of Joomla’s powerful features.
- Basic coding knowledge is required – Taking advantage of the web app development framework offered by Joomla requires CSS and PHP coding knowledge.
Drupal is the last CMS we will look at in this article. It also has a powerful feature set but is not as easy to use as WordPress. Its features include:
- Enhanced security – Drupal is the choice of many government agencies due to its robust security capabilities.
- A large selection of modules – An advantage of Drupal modules is that multiple modules can be combined to add additional custom functionality.
- Powerful content management features – Content types and custom views enable the presentation of web pages to be fine-tuned. Its cache management system handles traffic spikes to keep your website running smoothly.
Here are some of the potential issues associated with using Drupal:
- A very steep learning curve – While Drupal is a very powerful and secure CMS solution, it takes a substantial time investment to get up to speed with the tool.
- Slower implementation time – It can take a long time to correctly configure your website with the desired functionality using Drupal.
Simply choosing a CMS based on its popularity might not be the best way to go. Each solution we reviewed addresses the needs of a segment of the overall user community. Individuals with little technical experience who are interested in developing an online presence should look at WordPress first. More experienced users who want extended functionality at the cost of additional complexity may find that Joomla works better for them. Drupal offers enterprise-grade security and functionality that may be better suited for larger, more professional websites.
Many CMS solutions are available for use on your website in addition to these three. OctoberCMS is another open-source content management system that is easy to learn and use. It’s a lightweight solution that isn’t packed with little-used features. OctoberCMS is one of the one-click additions available from Atlantic.Net to tailor your VPS-hosted website to your specific requirements.
We suggest that you investigate these CMS solutions and make your selection before engaging a VPS-hosting provider. Make sure that the provider you pick offers an easy way to add the CMS to your site.
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