Published on November 29, 2022 by Amin Darvand

Content Management System - Web Design Tutorial

In this Web Design article we're introducing Content Management Systems, in short: CMS. For the start, you need to have a basic understanding of how web pages work. Maybe some knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript is enough to understand what's going on in a CMS.

In brief, when you type a website's address in the browser, first of all, a HTTP/HTTPS request is sent to the related server. The server's response depends on the server-side programming language functions defined. Many servers process the requests with PHP language, some with Java, some ASP. It depends on the settings on the server.

But with any back-end language, the result will be sent in HTML format. The HTML is the layout of the web page. For example, <nav></nav> is used in HTML to define navigation links in the top of the page.

And CSS is used for styling the page. For example if you have: <style> nav{ background: grey; } </style> it will give a grey-ish background to the navigation part of the page.

And finally, Javascript (JS) is used to define some client-side web page responses. For example if we have something like this: <script> alert( 'Hello!' ); </script> when you load the page, it will show a pop-up alert message saying Hello!

So, basically, HTML, CSS and JS are responsible for showing and styling the end web page visuals, while PHP or ASP or Java are used in the server-side (backend) for processing requests and interacting with the Database.

Now, this supposed-to-be simple web page opening process ends up with lots and lots of coding, which requires lots of knowledge on web development, which may take a long time to master.

That's why CMS's are introduced: to remove the need for web development, in order to have a nice website with just a few clicks and drag and drop.


What is a CMS?

A CMS or Content Management System is a platform where in you can write content and publish on your website, without need for programming knowledge. WordPress is a popular CMS as an example. With WordPress, you don't need to have a server-side / PHP knowledge just to have a website or publishing posts on your website.

CMS Features

A typical CMS has the following functions and capabilities:

  • Login / Authentication system
  • Adding users or defining user roles
  • Creating posts or a fully functional blog system
  • Contact forms or custom forms for interaction with users
  • Uploading images or files
  • Themes for the look of the site
  • Settings to customize the functions of the site or the customizing the theme
  • Plugins (free or paid) to install for more advanced functionality, such as:
    • rating system
    • shopping system
    • creating forums
    • stats and analytics scripts
    • etc.

Most Popular CMSes


WordPress is today's number one CMS which was first released in 2003. Today over 43% of the websites of the world (810 million) are using WordPress. It's free and open source. And has the biggest community. There's almost no functionality that you may need and already doesn't exists among Wordpress plugins. But good plugins may be paid. There are pros and cons for Wordpress. The advantages are many, but the cons maybe some times the plugins have conflict, some times the website may be slow or has bugs.

But all of the problems have solutions. You may need an wordpress expert to fix your site problems and maintain and manage your website on your behalf.



Shopify is great. Introduced in 2006, it's widely used for e-commerce and online shopping purposes. It has many available pre-made themes. In terms of running an online-shop, Shopify may be a better solution compared to WordPress' Woocommerce plugin. Shopify is faster and more customizable and easier managed in this case.

But you can't have complicated functions with Shopify, so this is a disadvantage for this CMS. But Shopify has 6% of the market share among CMS'es, which makes it the second most popular CMS in the world, right after Wordpress.



One of the oldest CMS's online, started in 2001. Drupal once was the best and most popular CMS, and its main feature is its scalibiliy and modular structure where you can re-use modules for more advanced functions. Today, Drupal has 1.8% of the market share in CMS industry, while Wordpress has 64% of the market. The community is rather small today for Drupal, which means if you run into problems, less people are available to help you fix the technical issues.



Started in 2005, Joomla was once one of the greatest and most popular CMS in the world, but eventually its popularity dropped as it was difficult to work with. Joomla has 2.5% of the market share among CMSes.



Unlike other systems, Wix is a paid CMS, which means you need to pay for a plan, choose the hardware you need, just like a hosting plan. And then connect a domain to your application. Then with Wix you can design your website on the fly. There are of course templates available, just like any other CMS. Then you will be able to publish your new content from the admin dashboard via Wix's website. In other words, you can't download Wix and install it on a local server, which most free and open-source CMSs allow. So, this can be considered a disadvantage, but it will also give it more security, because you won't need be concerned about security or getting hacked. Wix is in charge in that matter.

Today, Wix owns 3.4% of CMS market, which makes it the third popular CMS after WordPress and Shopify.


Custom CMS

Finally, it's also possible to write a custom CMS for specific web design needs. This is also an option, but it's not recommended, because the amount of work, time and energy required to write a CMS from scratch is too high, and it will definitely require a high budget from you as the future website owner. And another problem that custom CMSes have is that they will not update or add features for you later on. It means, if you for example want to add some new functions to your CMS, unlike popular Content Management Systems, you can't just install a plugin. You will have to contact the developer team, and they will charge you extra for that.

And another issue with custom CMS is that you cannot change the template, because the templates are offered for popular CMS's. So, if one day you decide to change the look of your website, the developer has to do it via the codes. It will take much more work compared to other known content management systems.



Choosing the right CMS has lots to do with your website design needs. It means, web design experts can suggest the right Content Management System for you once they study your case and answer a few questions regarding your desired website. Of course, you can go for WordPress as the most popular CMS and have a nice and good looking website with some try and error, however, your business could benefit from other CMS's if your needs match with the functionality and performance offered by those.

Amin Darvand Amin Darvand

Web Developer, AI Developer, Robotics Engineer, SEO Expert, Music Lover...

Graduated as a Telecom engineer, skilles include AI development & Robotics, Web Development, SEO and so on. 

Amin is the manager of Niotik which is the best AI development and IT services Company. Amin loves scientific and technological news. You can contact him via Linkedin.

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