WordPress vs. Umbraco

Will the real CMS please stand up?

We all know that kid in the neighborhood who attached a lawnmower engine to his bicycle and zipped around his backyard, pretending it was a motorcycle while everyone else made fun of him.

Did his modified motorbike work? Well, yeah. For a little while. Was it a good idea? Not necessarily. Just ask his mom about the hospital bill and his dad about the new lawnmower.

Just because something can be, certainly doesn’t mean it should be.

A similar comparison is true when it comes to selecting a content management system (CMS). Just because a program is capable of running an entire website, doesn’t mean that’s what it’s best suited for (see bicycle + lawnmower engine).

WordPress: pros and cons

WordPress, above all else, is a blogging platform, which it does well. But WordPress can also be modified to mimic the work of a CMS. When utilized in this capacity, WordPress provides users with more speed and ease of use when managing their content. As a CMS, it also offers:

  • Unlimited functionality
  • Active community of users
  • Value (it’s free)

However, WordPress is a personal publishing platform. In order to function as a CMS, it requires many plugins and widgets that unfortunately cause major slowdowns and affect system performance. These numerous plugins also require constant updating to function as a CMS and create additional problems like: 

  • Generated code that is not optimized for individual sites and not W3C compliant
  • Heavily-coded
  • Increased security concerns

So if you want to blog, WordPress works extremely well for that purpose. But it’s a mistake to think of it as a true CMS. Can it function as a CMS? Yes. Is it your best bet? Probably not.

Umbraco: pros and cons

Umbraco, on the other hand, is a true CMS, specifically designed to run all sorts of websites – from small brochure sites to multimillion-dollar corporation websites (Heinz Ketchup, anyone?). As a fully featured open source CMS, Umbraco offers an updateable interface and expansive support network. Specifically designed to manage and maintain company websites, Umbraco is:

  • Highly customizable
  • Flexible
  • Open source with a vast user community

Simply put, Umbraco does the job it was designed to do without any plugins or modifications, allowing users to manage their websites and content. And while it does require experience and having a .net programmer available does help, the end product makes the effort worth it.

WordPress also does the job it was designed to do… if you’re only blogging.

The Verdict

It’s a pretty obvious decision: Don’t ruin a perfectly good bicycle by attaching a lawnmower engine to it with duct tape and chewing gum. And don’t run a website by loading up a blogging platform with a multitude of plugins. When it comes down to Umbraco or WordPress, it’s not necessarily one against the other. It’s a matter of using the proper tools to fit the job you’re doing.

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