A content management system (CMS) is a standalone or group of applications and tools that organizations use to create, edit, review, and publish digital content.
While a developer can design a website from scratch, a CMS enables creators with non-technical backgrounds the opportunity to create web content.
In this definition...
A CMS is a software application that facilitates the creation, storage, configuration, and publishing of online web content. Content management systems offer a graphic user interface (GUI) on a device screen to access the platform via a web browser.
Upon logging in, users can access several tools and applications built-in or downloadable from the CMS platform. These tools streamline content creation and management with building blocks that form an entire website or single webpage.
While developers manipulate code to adjust webpage margins, color scheme, font, a CMS allows users to drag-and-drop specific blocks for text, images, or graphics and configure additional web content settings.
Store web pages and content for continued, consistent access
Ease workflows with user roles; index and search features
Publish web pages and organize the display of public web pages and site theme
Content management systems and website builders offer users the ability to create, edit, publish and manage web content. Where they differ is their features and intent.
While a CMS manages a website’s content, a website builder goes further in offering custom domain name purchases and web hosting. Often used by organizations to build sites fast, the downside of website builders is their lack of content-specific features.
While it might take longer to finish a website with CMS, users have complete control of the website design, multimedia, content tags and categories, users, and more.
WordPress has long been the most popular CMS brand for creating websites. As of 2021, the open-source platform holds over 64% of the market, valued at over $20 billion. Beyond WordPress, the industry remains competitive.
While several top CMS vendors offer their service for free and market their solution as open-source, there is always a cost attached to web development. A user could use a free CMS, but they still have to pay for domain registration and hosting. Add in the price of premium plugins, and it’s worth considering an upgrade to a subscription plan where several tools are built-in.