Alternatives to Wordpress

almost 8 years ago from , Designer at Movile

Hi. I am searching for a self-publishing tool that can both be easily used by clients who want to update content by themselves; and be customized or even built from the ground up by me to function like a static site.

Do you know any?

(Sorry for the possible grammatical errors)


  • Alex CarpenterAlex Carpenter, almost 8 years ago

    http://buildwithcraft.com/ is a great option.

    14 points
  • Lara SchenckLara Schenck, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    Don't write off WordPress completely - I use Timber and Advanced Custom Fields for ground up sites. Timber lets you use Twig for templating - makes custom WP dev a dream.

    I've toyed a lot with the idea of using Craft, et. al but scrapped that once I discovered Timber. Those other CMSs are a bit green still, and there's a ton to be said for WP's reputation and community support. If you are building from scratch, just make sure you give clients limited opportunity to mess things up. Remove all WYSIWYGs and force them to focus on content. Annotate the admin area well, and give them a good training on how to manage the site, and you're golden (probably).

    13 points
    • Ahmad Al Haddad, almost 8 years ago

      Great combination! I was very close to give up on WordPress. +1

      0 points
    • Jodi WarrenJodi Warren, almost 8 years ago

      Agreed, ACF and a little elbow grease allows you to create a wonderful admin experience for your users.

      I've not actually deployed anything with Timber, how has your experience been?

      0 points
      • Lara SchenckLara Schenck, almost 8 years ago

        Awesome - it's very well supported and documented. You can also use all the functionality of Twig, so splicing arrays, adjusting date formats, etc. is super simple. And extending templates is so awesome - really encourages your to DRY out your code, and come up with a design system.

        The only concern I had was performance (the more things you layer on WP, the more problems) but that hasn't been an issue as long as you are caching well. Also don't plan on using plugins for major UI components (good to steer clear of those anyhow) - I think you could run into issue where they rely on some default WP functionality you've decided to abandon, as Timber makes it so easy to customize.

        One thing to watch out for, though, is that it's not hard to request more from the database than you need - just be sure to use the global contexts sparingly. Just general best practice stuff.

        1 point
    • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

      The problem I have with Timber and ACF is that they feel bolted on and don't address the real problem with WordPress. Like Timber says on their website..."It's a Library, not a Framework". While I agree that WordPress has a huge community and tons of support, its also starting to show cracks. Because WordPress isn't a framework, you can't easily create sites that have lots of data relations. Plus, the way content is stored in the database makes it incredibly difficult to migrate.

      Just because a particular platform may be "green" doesn't mean that it shouldn't be used. Clients will still need support directly from the folks who built their website, not necessarily from the organization responsible for the CMS. SilverStripe, a CMS I highly recommend, has been around for quite a number of years now and certainly can't be labeled as "green". ;)

      1 point
      • Lara SchenckLara Schenck, almost 8 years ago

        Agreed. I think there is a pretty specific use case for WordPress sites, and that's where it excels: brochure sites and blogs. When you start incorporating any app-ish functionality and passing around data, bad news bears. Even ecommerce is pushing it. And don't get me started on those premium themes...

        Re: 'green' CMSs - I'll check out SilverStripe. I've been in WP mode since discovering Timber, but it's on my list to check out some others.

        1 point
        • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

          And you said the magic word: blog! WordPress started off as a blog platform and, even today, if you look at a default install of WordPress it's still first and foremost a blog platform. At it's core, it really hasn't changed all that much over the years. Sure, they certainly made it easier in how you handle pages, plugins, and themes but much of this still feels bolted on and doesn't address some of the problems we now face with building modern websites. For those of us who prefer to build highly modern, heavily customized websites, dealing with WordPress themes and plugins just isn't fun. :(

          0 points
  • Jerome Arfouche, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    Can't believe no one mentioned Kirby, I love it, I've been using it since version 1. It comes with a panel, you can create users for your clients to use

    9 points
    • Ian WilliamsIan Williams, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

      Always recommend Kirby.

      Super extendable, no DB, and if you're pro, you can just commit new stuff to a repo and you have a full git record of your blog/content.

      0 points
    • Simon GoetzSimon Goetz, almost 8 years ago

      I love Kirby, It is powerful, flexible and you can hook it up to a db as well. Our site is build on Kirby 1 and we are currently under dev on our new site which will be on kibry 2.0

      0 points
    • Suleiman Leadbitter, almost 8 years ago

      I use Kirby for all projects now. It's an amazing CMS that is highly customisable and bulletproof especially if you use Git with it.

      It's also one of the rare static CMS's that has a decent admin panel so it's even fine for clients.

      0 points
  • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, almost 8 years ago

    9 times out of 10, the simplest answer is to just set up your client with SquareSpace.

    7 points
    • Hawke BassignaniHawke Bassignani, almost 8 years ago

      This is a go-to for me when prospective clients or friends asking for advice approach me about their site.

      Very few people do something so complex or so custom that a build of WordPress ends up being their best solution.

      1 point
    • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

      Be careful about SquareSpace. I had a client who had her site built with SquareSpace and asked me to review the site to see if I could improve SEO performance. What I found made me realize that I could not recommend SquareSpace to any of my clients.

      First, in order to have control over the markup of templates, you have to be on at least a "Professional" account in order to gain access to their "Developer Platform". That's $16 a month which some clients might not be so happy with.

      Second, the way the "Developer Platform" works might not be favorable with some designers and developers. The way SquareSpace templates work is ok and certainly gives designers and developers a degree of flexibility but there are still some severe limitations.

      For instance, there is absolutely no way to add on any custom fields . You're basically stuck with the fields that SquareSpace provides. For the life of me, I could not find any information about how to get around this in their documentation and ended up contacting support. This is a huge limitation in my opinion.

      For my client, these issues forced the designer to use a SquareSpace field in a way that it wasn't intended and caused a huge issue with the way the site was built. The designer used the Description field for the subheading on various pages of the site. The problem is that this field is used for the meta description of the site and caused the content of this field to show up on Google searches. Because we couldn't create a custom field for the subheading, there was no workaround for this issue.

      Along with that we discovered that there wasn't any way to customize the way meta data is handled on a SquareSpace site as well. What if we wanted to add new meta tags and/or information in the header with dynamic values?

      Because of these issues, I simply can't recommend SquareSpace, especially for a business site that might grow in the future.

      3 points
  • Ryan LeFevreRyan LeFevre, almost 8 years ago

    I've always been impressed by Ghost. Not sure if it can do everything you mention out of the box, but it is open-source.

    7 points
    • Thibault MichelThibault Michel, almost 8 years ago

      +1 for Ghost. One of the best alternatives to Wordpress out there right now in my opinion.

      1 point
    • Alfred BeckmanAlfred Beckman, almost 8 years ago

      I'm running the company blog on Wordpress (http://blog.brisk.io/) and tried out Ghost for the internal blog.

      I really see potential in Ghost - but it's way to limited to even be comparable with Wordpress right now. Give it a few more months, maybe a year and Ghost might become the next big thing.

      Wordpress i slow and takes quite a lot of effort to keep down the loading time. I would not recommend it for static pages.

      0 points
    • Jodi WarrenJodi Warren, almost 8 years ago

      It's a great blogging tool for those who can run Node.js. You're still essentially using a beta product, and you'll hit those walls if you try to do more complex templates. But the actual experience of blogging on there is great.

      It's definitely not a fully featured CMS though, nor is it trying to be (afaik).

      0 points
    • Marcel VossMarcel Voss, almost 8 years ago


      0 points
  • Oskar RoughOskar Rough, almost 8 years ago

    Perch is also a very well made alternative. Backend is easy for clients and Perch is great for converting static sites that doesn't conform to the title+body mantra of Wordpress.

    5 points
    • Mark HegganMark Heggan, almost 8 years ago

      +1 for Perch from me.

      I've been using it since v1, clients love it. Incredibly customisable for such a simple system.

      2 points
    • Rachel AndrewRachel Andrew, almost 8 years ago

      Thanks for mentioning us :)

      I'm one of the Perch founders (spotted the thread in our stats). Perch is a mature platform (we're 5 and a half years old now) for these kind of jobs. Our initial aim with Perch was to give an easy way for people to retrofit an essentially static site with a CMS.

      We still have that core use case as a basis for Perch, the nice thing about that is that you can build and design the site as you want - then drop in Perch - rather than creating "themes".

      We've also now got Perch Runway which is an upgrade from the basic Perch product for those sites that get bigger and more complex and so benefit from a front controller and "big site" features. So there is an upgrade path if a simple site gets bigger and also so you can learn to use the system, templating and so on then pick the product that works best for the type of site.

      4 points
    • Warwick KayWarwick Kay, almost 8 years ago

      +1 for Perch from me.

      I've been using it for awhile now for a few sites. It's great for converting sites from HTML.

      I also find it really easy to setup for clients to edit. As you can break things like the homepage down to a field level, they have no chance of breaking anything.

      While I'm sure this is possible in WP, you get it out of the box with Perch.

      0 points
  • Bud ParrBud Parr, almost 8 years ago

    I think http://www.webhook.com/ fits your criteria perfectly

    4 points
    • Dave SniderDave Snider, almost 8 years ago

      Thanks Bud :)

      But yes..

      1. Check - can both be easily used by clients who want to update content by themselves.
      2. Check - customized or even built from the ground up.
      3. Check - function like a static site.

      That's our sweet spot.

      2 points
  • Julian ShapiroJulian Shapiro, almost 8 years ago

    Webflow.com is the best visual website editor I have ever used. Strong sentiment, I know. But every designer I've referred has liked it since it actually delivers on its promise: It puts designers first by allowing them to build sites without having to ever rely on developers for technical assistance.

    And you aren't limited to stock templates.

    /end rant

    2 points
  • Aaron LarnerAaron Larner, almost 8 years ago

    Check out http://900dpi.com - great for smaller statics sites that you still want clients to be able to edit.

    2 points
  • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

    For ambitious sites with lots of relational elements, I prefer SilverStripe (http://www.silverstripe.org). Granted, you have to know some PHP to make the most of it. Still, it's far more powerful, more flexible, and enherently more secure than WordPress.

    For lighter sites with less requirements, give Statamic (http://www.statamic.com) some consideration. Like Kirby, it's a flat-file, database-less CMS. Really fast, user-friendly, flexible, and secure.

    2 points
    • Jodi WarrenJodi Warren, almost 8 years ago

      I last used Silverstripe about 4 or 5 years ago, but did really like it. Is the community still active? I found there wasn't much discussion back then.

      0 points
      • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

        The community is definitely more active now than they were. The community is still smaller compared to other platforms but vibrant enough to where you can get answers for just about anything. I've always kept tabs on SilverStripe since version 2.3 but noticed quite an uptick in activity after version 3.0 was release. It's now on version 3.1 with 3.2 just around the corner. There's also a bit of talk about a 4.0 release.

        Another CMS I forgot to mention is October (http://octobercms.com). This one looks quite interesting and is built off of Laravel, a pretty popular PHP framework. Been meaning to learn more about Laravel so I'll be keeping my eye on this one and might use it for a project or two in the near future.

        Personally, I prefer frameworks over systems when it comes to CMS platforms. The thing I've never liked about WordPress, Drupal, and others is that there's no easy way to retain control over your business logic and have complete freedom and control over the front-end of your site. Platforms like SilverStripe, Statamic, October, and others offer far more control and flexibility in my opinion.

        2 points
        • Jodi WarrenJodi Warren, almost 8 years ago

          Cheers, I'll probably check it out then.

          Btw, this is off-topic but you might find it interesting. The approach I've been taking recently to Wordpress is to essentially use it as an admin panel host. I've built several recent sites heavily using Advanced Custom Fields, especially with the Flexible Content and Repeater fields. Combine that with some fancy-pants classes that I wrote to produce the layout, and I've had some extremely good feedback from clients. I've not felt any restrictions from using Wordpress, especially when combined with the action and filter hooks.

          I should probably do a proper post about this at some point.

          0 points
          • Jeff WhitfieldJeff Whitfield, almost 8 years ago

            I've got a method I use in SilverStripe that puts ACF to shame and stores everything in the database in a much more logical fashion. Basically involves creating a set of classes for modular content that are related to one another. Pretty easy to add to a page type and allow for stacking different kinds of content on top of one another for flexible layouts. :D

            0 points
    • Jordan BowmanJordan Bowman, almost 8 years ago

      +1 for Statamic

      0 points
  • Valentijn KintValentijn Kint, almost 8 years ago

    I'm a big fan of this for small sites: http://processwire.com/

    2 points
  • Marko VuleticMarko Vuletic, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    Anybody tried Anchor CMS?


    1 point
  • George PhillipsGeorge Phillips, almost 8 years ago

    http://cloudcannon.com/ works with any static website and makes it updatable for a client. This allows you to build anything you want in HTML and add the content management when you are ready.

    1 point
  • Jesse HaffJesse Haff, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )


    Particularly if you want people to actually participate/do something instead of creating another pretty billboard. Created for people building community around something.

    1 point
  • Oytun ÖzdemirOytun Özdemir, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I recommend Typo3 or Drupal.

    1 point
  • Michael Frankland, over 5 years ago

    There are loads of lightweight CMS alternatives available these days. Pulse for example is not a static site generator, but more like a static site CMS: https://pulsecms.com

    0 points
  • Guillaume GosselinGuillaume Gosselin, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    HI, I have used Barley CMS as my CMS for a Webflow Website. Pretty cool, Barley let me create the Backend UI, so that client can easily add or edit content to their website without having to manage a Complex Wordpress backend. And, they offer a really competitive and fast hosting package.

    CMS : http://getbarley.com

    Live site : http://gmasaglac.com

    Webflow Public link: http://groupe-multiconseil-a710338.webflow.com/

    0 points
  • Javan GriffithsJavan Griffiths, almost 8 years ago

    Maybe a bit late to the party on this one but i just thought i would mention Concrete5, it's an open source cms that offers in context editing and easy customization/themeing.

    Have used it on countless projects where the client updates content by themselves and can say that they find it very intuitive.

    If u need any help getting started with it don't hesitate to get in touch @JavanGriffiths

    0 points
  • Alex Demetriades, almost 8 years ago

    Cannot recommend Kirby highly enough, great for client projects too.

    0 points
  • Dwayne CharringtonDwayne Charrington, almost 8 years ago

    The honest answer is: there is no true alternative to Wordpress. People will recommend flat-file/static content management systems like Craft, Kirby or Statamic but they aren't as feature complete as Wordpress.

    I was tasked with thoroughly investigating an alternative to Wordpress at the previous place I worked at. An agency that used Wordpress as its CMS of choice for simplistic client websites, I even built a collaboration tool for a museum client using Wordpress.

    Basically some of the designers weren't happy with Wordpress (partly because they couldn't really style the admin panel easily) and a few other nontrivial issues they had. I tried them all over a two month period, I even tried ExpressionEngine (which seems to be the closest I've found, still not the greatest). I came to the conclusion we all take Wordpress for granted, we just don't realise it.

    I don't understand the need for replacing Wordpress. Fair enough if you feel as though Wordpress offers you too much and you want a simple site that doesn't need a database, use something else. But if you are trying to replace it because someone told you it is bad or the constant target of hackers and insecure, you're looking for an alternative to Wordpress for the wrong reasons. It's like someone telling you to use a Mac over a PC because Mac OS is better (debatable).

    0 points
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

      I don't understand the need for replacing Wordpress

      A bit of Stockholm Syndrome here, my friend. If you're satisfied with Wordpress as a good option for developers or for end users, you need to aim higher.

      It's like someone telling you to use a Mac over a PC because Mac OS is better (debatable)

      In the sense that two people could choose to debate, yes. But that doesn't mean one isn't objectively better: Mac OS is better designed, easier to use, more stable, more secure, runs more apps, and can boot Windows or UNIX. By the same token, just because Wordpress works for you and your agency, doesn't mean it's great software.

      Now, obviously I don't anything about your agency or client needs, but from my experience I don't know anything one could do with Wordpress that I couldn't do with ExpressionEngine faster and more intuitively. (And I don't even like ExpressionEngine, after having developed 50+ sites with it.) One trivial example: I just don't understand why folks subject themselves to writing raw PHP to parse content and run db calls in Wordpress templates. All that "<? the_loop(); ?>" nonsense? And the hacky workarounds just to call the loop more than once per template? Hogwash.

      The real unspoken truth here when it comes to CMS options: we're mostly all stuck with choosing the least awful one.

      0 points
  • Marcel VossMarcel Voss, almost 8 years ago

    I love Kirby CMS.

    0 points
  • ミンニシオ 。ミンニシオ 。, almost 8 years ago

    Anchor CMS

    0 points
  • Stuart McMorrisStuart McMorris, almost 8 years ago

    Some good options. Going to keep an eyeball on this thread.

    0 points
  • Hmphry xHmphry x, almost 8 years ago

    ExpressionEngine has completely changed the way I build with CMS's.

    0 points
  • Ryan GloverRyan Glover, almost 8 years ago

    Siteleaf is my jam: http://siteleaf.com.

    0 points
  • Kramer PosfordKramer Posford, almost 8 years ago

    Postatic? it's not a blogging software per se, more for online communities.

    0 points
  • Mubashar Iqbal, almost 8 years ago

    Had a hand in writing: Statamic, but its a great solution for building many different kinds of sites.

    It doesn't required a database, but does come with a CMS to allow non-technical people make updates, quickly and easily.

    0 points
  • aren reyaren rey, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    http://processwire.com is free and open source, and it's what I use these days for any kind of website. Try it! :)

    0 points
  • Jorge MartinsJorge Martins, almost 8 years ago


    0 points
  • Denis KDenis K, almost 8 years ago

    I'm currently using BigTreeCMS for a client project and its a good alternative to Wordpress.

    0 points
  • Clinton HalpinClinton Halpin, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I've played with this demo a few times but I haven't found a reason to use just yet. https://github.com/keystonejs/keystone

    0 points
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, almost 8 years ago

    This hasn't launched yet, but: http://helixpowered.com/

    0 points
  • Darth BaneDarth Bane, almost 8 years ago

    I don't mean to start a whole debate about Wordpress, but can I ask why you don't want Wordpress? It seems to fit all your criteria?

    0 points