Content Management System (CMS)

person at desk editing content management system

Content Management System (CMS): Short Overview

A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software that allows people to create, manage, and store written and multimedia content for websites.

Content Management System (CMS): Deeper Dive

Content management systems are often used to simplify the content management process. Some publishers and editors use systems that are not online, rather are housed on an internal network. “CMS”, however, does primarily refer to internet-based website operation software. These systems allow the creation, editing, and publishing of text, image, video, and form content to websites.

Advantages of a Content Management System

For high content volume websites, a content management system (CMS) can be a worthwhile investment. Some systems are even free since they are open source. Generally, managing content through a CMS is helpful for increasing a company's productivity. With a solid, user-friendly CMS, users need little to no programming knowledge and do not need to alter the website code. They can instead use in-software tools that are part of the CMS to achieve the needed changes. However, they do require maintenance and training to manage. In this vein, CMS’s also often have community forums for users who need help, and offer various modules to meet the usage needs of most users. 

Operating and Developing Modules on Content Management Systems

Content management systems can either be hosted online, or locally, on corporate servers. Most popular CMSs are built with PHP, Perl or Python and also support the popular MySQL database system.

Many content management systems are similar, with some minor differences. Individual content modules can be flexibly defined, edited, and organized (with text, images, etc.) to create unique backgrounds and layouts. These blocks can often be edited in the HTML or WYSIWYG editor, rendering website design easy. Users can also often set different access rights for different users to control access to various features and areas.

For the largest and most used content management systems, there are a number of extensions - significantly increasing functionality. Users can install plug-ins, add-ons and components like Google Analytics integration. These extensions can be co-developed by freelance developers and CMS companies to give end users access to more functionality.

Popular CMS Offerings

An overview of the most popular content management system offerings:


  • Year of publication: 2003
  • Technology (voice and data): PHP, MySQL


  • Year of publication: 1998
  • Website:
  • Technology (voice and data): PHP, MySQL / MariaDB / PostgreSQL / Oracle


  • Year of publication: 2001
  • Website:
  • Technology (voice and data): PHP, MySQL / MariaDB / PostgreSQL / SQLite / Oracle / MSSQL


  • Release Year: 2005 (pre-Mambo)
  • Technology (voice and data): PHP, MySQL


Content management systems (CMS) can enable the flexible administration of online platforms like websites. They are ecosystems that simplify and provide structure for content publishing, where users can edit and post text, image, or video content. Many content management systems are not only open source; they also come with large and helpful user communities.

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