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CMS definition

Content Management System

What is a CMS?

A CMS, for Content Management System, is a computer application that allows publishing, editing content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface.

CMSs are often used to run websites containing blogs, news or even shopping. Typically it aim to avoid the need of hand coding, but may support it as we will see later on.

The function and use of content management systems is to store and organize files, and provide version-controlled access to their data.

The CMS has two elements:
  • CMA, for Content management application, is the front-end user interface that allows a user, even with limited expertise, to add, modify and remove content from a Web site without the intervention of a Webmaster.
  • CDA, for Content delivery application, compiles that information and updates the Web site.
We can also sometimes hear about a WCMS (Web CMS). It is a bundled or stand-alone application to create, deploy, manage and store content on Web pages.

Some examples

Here are some examples of Content Management Systems:


Drupal is a free and open-source content management framework written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is used as a back-end framework for at least 2.1% of all Web sites worldwide.


Joomla! is a free and open-source CMS for publishing web content. It is written in PHP, uses OOP (Object-Oriented Programming) techniques and software design patterns. Joomla! stores data in a MySQL, MS SQL or PostgreSQL database.

Joomla! is built on a model-view-controller (MVC) web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS.


PyroCMS is a free and open-source CMS based on the CodeIgniter framework. CodeIgniter is a MVC web application framework written in PHP. 


TYPO3 is a free and open source web CMS based on PHP. It is released under the GNU General Public License. It is, along with Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, among the most popular CMS worldwide.

TYPO3 is credited to be highly flexible. It can be extended by new functions without writing any program code.


WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a CMS based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015.



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