Each and every time I read a run through of content management system options it’s always WordPress this, WordPress that with a bit of Joomla and Drupal thrown in for good measure. Whilst these are fantastic content management systems and for the most part can do pretty much anything and everything you’d ever need to do – they’re not the be all and end all – far from it. There is much more out there and new applications coming on the market on pretty much a monthly basis. Sure, some fall by the way side and nothing has been put out there that has every come close to achieving the popularity of WordPress – but, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be considered as highly viable options when the time comes to build your site.

So let’s get started. You can find tutorials online to get setup with all of the applications below – they’re not that “out there” even if in comparison to the big players their user bases are relatively small.

October CMS

I couldn’t write one of these articles without mentioning October. It is currently my favourite application and is seriously easy to install. It is also the most starred content management system on GitHub which if you know what that is you’ll know what a big deal that is. It’s top of my list as it’s written in Laravel which as you may know is one of the most popular PHP frameworks around at the moment. Even trumping Zend! The CMS itself does everything you would want from a content management application and there are lots of plugins in development due to its ever increasing usage.

Grav CMS

I’m a big fan of Markdown as I find it so much easier to write with than regular HTML. I’m not saying regular HTML is complex but Markdown makes it more simpler, cleaner and ultimately faster to write customised content. I mention this as Grav CMS does not use regular HTML. It serves content via flat Markdown files – it doesn’t even have a database which is a unique feature in its own right. If you want a lightweight CMS without cumbersome database installs then Grav is most definitely for you.


Ghost is branded as a professional publishing platform (it’s a blogging platform effectively) that is used by some MAJOR clients. Part of its attraction is its content editing features. Where as WordPress tends to focus on all of the things you’d want to do outside of the article itself, Ghost is the opposite. There is not much in the way of bells and whistles but in terms of content/text editing features it’s probably the best interface you’ll ever see. The previewing is also fantastic so you don’t have to keep publishing/saving drafts etc in order to see how your page looks.

Concrete 5

One thing I like about Concrete5 is that it’s feature-rich right out of the box. Where as in WordPress you’d need plugins like NinjaForms if you wanted to create a contact form or All in One SEO tools if you wanted to manage meta tags etc. There is no need for that with Concrete5. You can do all of the regular stuff and also all of the add on stuff you’d usually do with heavy, resource intensive WordPress plugins. The CMS might look a bit dated in comparison to the others but the features more than make up for it.

So as you can see there is much more out there than simply going with your tried and tested WordPress install. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new things. There are maybe fifty more applications I could mention that would do a fantastic job in managing and serving your website but the ones above should be enough for you to consider. A personal favourite of mine is October as it’s written on Laravel which I think is one of the best frameworks ever written for PHP enthusiasts but I can also appreciate that users of content management systems in general tend not to be web developers so that sort of thing shouldn’t really matter too much.