WordPress is Best Overall CMS of 2009

Okay, I will admit a bias toward WordPress because I have been using it on 5 of my own blogs and dozens of other projects. But I use Drupal, Joomla. Gallery, PHPBB and Coppermine too. No one CMS is clearly dominant – you fit each CMS strengths to the tasks at hand.

Interestingly, WordPress has always taken a second seat to Drupal, Joomla and other popular CMS. But this year, WordPress took the top spot as Best Overall CMS at the Open Source CMS 2009 Awards sponsored by Packt Publishing.

Now all of the major free and Open Source CMS systems are pretty sophisticated these days [and you can buy your CMS with support as well – see Concrete5 here for an example]. Just go to OpenSourceCMS for a catalog, ratings, and demos of well over two hundred [and growing] CMS systems in a variety of categories from Bulletin Boards through eCommerce to Wikis. The common traits among systems are:
1)easy download and install steps;
2)getting-started helps and assistance;
3)broad range of themes and templates for styling your CMS site;
4)broad range of plugins and extensions for adding new functionality to your CMS site.
So if everybody is broadly the same what sets WordPress apart?

Well first WordPress is more amenable to dynamic content as shown in our previous posting.

But WordPress has done 3 things very well over the past 3 years. First, they have streamlined their install process to one of the easiest in the business. Second, WordPress has made the process of adding new plugins and extensions dirt simple to do; and third and not to be undervalued – WordPress is now equally simple to upgrade. I used to dread the process because I had WordPress installations on so many different hosting services and each of different vintage and with its own distinctive Control Panel. But now users can upgrade WordPress from within the Dashboard – and so far, knock on wood, it has been clean and simple even for massive WordPress sites. But you have to first get your WordPress to version 2.7 or later  before the gravy train comes in.

Finally, here are two other benefits- a bit hidden and of interest to a smaller set of users. First, behind the scenes, WordPress provides a versioning system for all your pages and postings. Check out some of the plugins that take advantage of this especially if you do a lot of of collaborative editing. Second, there is a Multiuser versions of WordPress, WPMU – which along with its extension at BuddyPress.org is really quite fine. This multi-user version allows developers to grant enhanced administrator permissions to a wide range of users. And WPMU also is capable of handling websites with huge numbers of users.

So yes I like my Drupal control of articles and taxonomy a bit better over WordPress’ strange blend of tags and categories. And Joomla has some dynamite extensions and templates that I simply cannot find elsewhere. But WordPress, with its constant improvements,  certainly deserves the honors for top CMS this year!