What exactly is a content management system?

What is a content management system? Is this something that I would need to manage myself or do I delegate to an agency? 

Top voted answer
Brent Jackson

Brent Jackson, Director at

I think they say 70% of sites now are on Wordpress, which is a CMS that does manage the look of your site and has lots of integration's for forms, shopping carts, forums etc as well as the basic services of creating the site and the pages/blogs on it. We have used Wordpress for a while and it is pretty straightforward and you could run it yourself, but I would probably have someone do the initial setup for you, or use one of the online services where they provide the site with the wordpress system all configured as part of the hosting. Jeffs comments are relevant on the security issue, we did find ourself under attack for a while with hackers coming in and changing elements on the site - I guess if you have a large share of the market on one product then the hackers will try and do this. I haven't tried the alternatives as we have built up a lot of material on Wordpress over the years!

Gill Walker

Gill Walker, Owner Director, Principal CRM Business Consultant at

Hi Mike

A Content Management System or CMS is the database that holds the content for a website. Examples of CMS solutions are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, SiteCore and many others.

You can think of a website of having two parts, the content, which is the text, graphics, articles etc and the look and feel, which is the colours, fonts, etc. To a degree they operate independently, although both are required. This means that you can change the look and feel and it will usually apply to all existing content, and you can add new content and it picks up the existing look and feel.

As to whether you "need to manage this yourself or delegate it", it depends on your skills and interests, together of course with budget. There are people who will do this for you at varying prices. Some also help with writing of content. As with any outsourcing arrangement, it is important to check exactly what you are getting. I now manage our website myself, although most businesses do outsource at least some of it.

I hope that this helps


Aditya Wardhana

Aditya Wardhana at

Top 20% Insurance

Content Management System is a system to manage content of your website. The system normally in form of website / web application like wordpress.Will you manage the content yourself or delegate to the agency ? It's totally up to you. When a website built on top of cms, normally to give access to the owner to manage the website themselves.However, some of our clients delegate the job to us.In terms of difficulty, I'd say if you can use this form in savvysme to post questions, then yes, you can do it yourself.It is as easy as that, none of our clients take more than 30mins to understand a cms. Should you get website with cms ? Yes. Google likes fresh content. Cms definitely help you to cut website management cost to keep your content fresh. Hope that helps, Aditya Wardhana Web Design Melbourne

Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons, Consultant at

The concept of CMS is it make it easier for people to manage their own content. The most popular CMS's out there are PHP based easy to use. Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal are pretty popular however that also means spammers and hackers focus on those systems.

In reality you may not need a CMS to run your site (assuming you are talking about your company website). If you only need a static website there is no need for a CMS. CMS is good if you have daily updates like news articles. If you only want a website that lists your services, about page, contact form and some basic information then a CMS will just complicate a simple process.

Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman at

Top 10% Web Development

In the context of web design in simple terms it is framework whereby anyone with limited experience can easily and efficiently administer all content that needs to be added and revised.

The same theory can also be extended to other systems like CRMs.

Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray, Managing Owner at

Top 10% Insurance

Simply put, it's a website where non-technical people can change parts of the website. There is no need for a web programmer to do these changes.

Some CMSs are more complicated to set-up and use than others.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

The majority of the market is starting to turn the tide. Any Content Management System (CMS) that uses a database is at risk, especially the most popular (Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal).

I have spent the better half of the past year investigating and even becoming a part of a new Content Management System (CMS) movement. It is called a "Flat File CMS". What does this mean? There is absolutely no database involved? Why is that a good thing? It mitigates the majority of the risk that a hacker could gain control of your content.

Flat File Content Management Systems are definitely an emerging trend in 2016. There are several that I have looked into (Grav and Yellow CMS). As a personal bias, I am part of the development team working on the open-source Yellow CMS project. However, its documentation is second to none and the system continues forward progress. I should know I just integrated it with my newly launched e-commerce greeting card business.

You read that correctly, even an e-commerce site that doesn't need a database (because my e-commerce provider is essentially nothing more than a service). Yep there are even several of them.

Flat file truly removes complexity. You can upload plain text files (yep like Notepad .txt) and have it be a beautifully rendered article or page that is fully indexed and searchable.

I truly encourage everyone to think beyond the generic Wordpress answer. There are many more interesting and less jumbled solutions out there.

Strat Vlachos

Strat Vlachos at Anuhope.com

Where can I find more info on flat file cms? Besides Google that is...

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Hopefully this article will be helpful for you, http://www.webhostingsearch.com/articles/flat-file-cms.php