Is choosing the right tool to create your website a challenge? Depending on your needs and objectives, you could consider a CMS (Content Management System) as it allows you to create, control and manage the content of your web site without any programming knowledge.

There are a variety of open and closed source CMS solutions available for you to choose from. The most common open-sourced options include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, and closed ones such as Subdreamer, CushyCMS and ExpressionEngine. These tools have a lot of similarities. Hence, it is difficult to decide which one to use.

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages for WordPress, Joomla and Subdreamer.

1. WordPress


The core software of WordPress is built by hundreds of community volunteers. Thus, the most prevailing feature of WordPress is that it has thousands of free plug-ins and themes available for users to download.
Key advantages of using WordPress:
– It’s free, helps minimize your cost for start-up business
– Open-source
– It has a huge user database, drives more traffic to your site
– Allows quick and simple integration with other software packages, you can upload content directly to your website with no hassles
– Search engine friendly. I noticed that search engines love WordPress because a lot of websites displaying on the first page of search engines are built with WordPress. This is because WordPress has many outstanding SEO plug-ins available for users to download.
Comparing with the benefits of WordPress, there aren’t many disadvantages for WordPress, if I had to find one, I would say that WordPress has some security issues. Hacking and spamming seemed to exist and there are many unsecured plug-ins that may cause problem to your website, but these issues can be prevented such as disabling the unsecured plug-ins and installing spam prevention tools such as RECAPTCHA.

2. Joomla

Joomla is an award-winning CMS. Similar to WordPress, Joomla is good because:
– It’s free and open source
– Has a more simple and user-friendly admin interface than WordPress
– Great for large companies because it allows multiple users to edit the site simultaneously without causing problems
– Supports multi-language sites
Similar to WordPress, Joomla also had many highly customizable themes, templates and web modules available. One of the most prevailing features of Joomla, comparing to WordPress, is that the system itself has lots of readily integrated features (such as polls and user control). There are no additional plug-ins need to be installed, whereas in WordPress, a brand new system only contain the most basic features, all other features have to be added through plug-ins. Hence, I believed that Joomla would be more appropriate for large companies, whereas WordPress would be more suitable for small and medium companies.
Some disadvantages of using Joomla include that it is harder to learn than WordPress and it has less plugins (including free plugins) comparing to WordPress. Making changes on Joomla is not as simple as it is on WordPress because changes often require development support.

3. Subdreamer

Subdreamer is an example of good closed source system that also uses PHP and MySQL database. It is 100% rebrandable, it allows you to white label the CMS. White labeling gives the freedom to re-brand the CMS under your own name. It’s a great way to promote your company. Subdreamer also includes its own discussion forum plugin so that you can integrate your website with forums such as vBulletin, phpBB.

The reason why I list Subdreamer as a solution is because it contains most of the functions open source systems has and it is more reliable and secure than using open-source systems because most of the security issues in the open source system come from the free plug-ins that might contain unknown threats to your website. For Subdreamer, every plug-in is made and under the administrative of the Subdreamer’s development team. Many hacking and spamming from auto-generated programs could be prevented.
A typical Subdreamer CMS cost $99.95 USD. Considering this cost, I assume it will be easier to obtain support when you experience problems since the license purchased also comes with 24-hour real human technical support. However, some of the drawbacks of this system is that it will not be updated as often as the open source system due to its nature of close sourcing, only the developers of Subdreamer can fix the bugs and add features and functionality whereas in a free open source system, everyone could contribute the system.

In the process of selecting a CMS, always remember to a research before you decide to invest time and money in it.  The main purpose of a CMS is to create a website that is easy to manage. As long as the CMS fits all of your needs, it will be the right decision.