At OSS Watch, we regularly get asked to recommend a Content Management System (CMS). Unfortunately, we often don't know enough about either the organisation itself or the CMSs concerned to recommend one over another. What we can do is provide guidelines for how to go about choosing a CMS.

Think about what you want the CMS to do

People look to CMSs for a wide variety of things including:

All of these are possible with a CMS, but not all of these are necessarily easy and some represent direct tradeoffs. Knowing what you're looking for and your priorities is the first step.

Look at what your peers are using

The users with needs most similar to you are your peers, talking to them about their experiences, good, bad and indifferent is a valuable resource of experience.

Internal or external?

Many projects don't have the technical or financial resources to host their own CMS. Frequently the development, customisation, install and hosting is done by an organisations hosting organisation (if they have one), a peer organisation or even a commercial ISP. Think about whether these apply to you.

Look at the possible contenders

There are a number of open source CMSs that people seem to be talking about and using, these include (in no particular order):

[Feel free to add more here]

Look at comparisons

There are a number of CMS comparisons and reviews, including:

OSSWatchWiki: HowToChooseAContentManagementSystem (last edited 2013-04-15 13:56:22 by localhost)

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OSS Watch is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and is situated within the Research Technologies Service (RTS) of the University of Oxford.