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11 Best Open Source Website Builders

by Vamsi Krishna
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Website building isn’t hard anymore, there are several online services and software that are specifically designed to create and maintain websites as easy as possible. If you are looking to create your own website or an online store, here are some of the best open-source website builders you should try.

Open Source Website Builders

1. WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) when it comes to building websites. In fact, more than 30 percent of websites on the internet are running on WordPress, including the one you are reading this on.

We recommend, using Wordpress and buy a decent theme. Or if you’re on a budget and don’t need much functionality, there are plenty of free themes to choose from.

What makes WordPress special is its ease of use, a great community with millions of users, plenty of themes and plugins to customize and do whatever you want with your website, including e-commerce. No matter your need, you will have a plugin to do the thing.

Not to mention there are plenty of free resources to guide our every step when building a website with WordPress. Almost every web host supports WordPress and some even provide specially designed servers for better performance. WordPress runs on PHP and MySQL.

Read: How to Add CSS Box Shadow in WordPress

2. Builder Engine

Builder Engine is specially designed to build and manage websites without sacrificing any features whatsoever. Unlike WordPress, you don’t have to use a separate plugin for essential features like SEO optimization, managing files, backup and restore capabilities, basic analytics, support for HTTPS, security settings, etc. The admin interface is straight to the point and gives you quick access to any module you want with just a couple of clicks.

The community edition of Builder Engine is free. For additional support and exclusive modules, you can purchase Builder Engine license for $299 per year. Builder Engine runs on PHP and MySQL.

3. Joomla

Joomla CMS is second only to WordPress and is built with flexibility and security in mind. You can create almost any type of website you want, be it a general blog or an e-commerce shop. Out of the box, Joomla has extensive security controls to manage the environment and built-in two-factor authentication to protect the admin area. Moreover, Joomla also provides a better and lightweight PHP framework so that you can write your own web and command-line applications in PHP. Since the CMS and PHP framework are two independent systems, one can work without the other or compliment each other.

Just like WordPress, Joomla has several free and premium community developed plugins and themes to extend the functionality even further. Joomla runs on PHP and MySQL.

4. Drupal

Drupal is another popular and open-source CMS that makes it possible to build your own website with little effort. Compared to WordPress or Joomla, Drupal lacks in the terms of features and the usability is not that great thanks to its complicated user interface. That being said, Drupal is famous for its built-in support for multilingual sites, custom content view and types, and flexible taxonomies that can handle lots and lots of data without any hiccups.

Add to that, Drupal excels at user permissions and access controls thanks to the ability to create user roles with custom permissions. Drupal runs on PHP and MySQL.

5. OpenCMS

Unlike most website builders in this list that use PHP and MySQL, OpenCMS is built using Java and XML. For database management, you can use popular software like MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, etc. OpenCMS has all the features that you will need from a website builder to create the website of your choice. However, compared to others in this list, the user interface looks dated and to properly maintain a website created with OpenCMS, you need to have a basic knowledge of Java and other related technologies. OpenCMS has a wide range of modules to extend the functionality and add new features.

6. Modx

ModX is often compared to WordPress. However, while WordPress is touted to be user-friendly and can be used even by a beginner, ModX is designed for developers. After installing ModX, you won’t find that many point-and-click options, menu builders, or page builders. To use ModX, you need to have basic to intermediate knowledge of various server-side programming languages and HTML. Though this makes it harder for regular users, for developers, it is one of the most secure, fastest and customizable CMS out there.

To help with the website development, ModX has a very good documentation, instructional video tutorials, and dedicated books. ModX runs on PHP and MySQL.

7. Django CMS

Django CMS is built on Python web framework and uses MySQL for database management. The best thing about Django CMS is that the framework is lightweight and fast. Though Django CMS focuses heavily on developers, the drag and drop user interface and intuitive editor makes it easy to create and maintain a website. Django CMS has a great multi-lingual support so that anything you publish can co-exist in multiple language versions.

If you a Python developer who has other Django apps, you can easily integrate them with Django CMS or create new apps with little effort. There are several first-party and third-party themes and plugins to extend the core functionality and add new ones.

8. SilverStripe

SilverStripe is mainly developed with developers in mind. As such, it is quite flexible, secure, and powerful too. Though the regular users will have no problem using SilverStripe, its feature set is not tuned for regular users. The user interface, compared to WordPress looks a bit confusing and lacking but gets the job done. SilverStripe is suited if you want to create a lot of content with complex data and filter the content efficiently as and when needed. Moreover, SilverStripe is also good if you want to create custom views for different types of content and data. SilverStripe runs on PHP and MySQL.

9. PrestaShop

As you can tell from the name itself, PrestaShop is designed to create and manage e-commerce websites or online stores. Being designed for an online store, PrestaShop has several inbuilt modules to properly track inventory, associate products with suppliers, create manufactures, sort orders and filters, create custom filters, support for various payments methods, fast content and product navigation, tools to create proper legal literature, manage special offers and discounts, analytics, etc. If you are looking for a dedicated CMS to create an e-commerce website with all the bells and whistles then do try PrestaShop.

10. Concrete5

Concrete5 is yet another popular CMS software that makes it easy to build a website both for beginners and advanced users. The user interface of the CMS is very minimal but you will find all the options to properly manage a website. Some of the features include easy theme controls, drag and drop support, automatic updates for add-ons, support for template and page types, marketing tools, powerful access control system to manage users and groups, built-in SEO and social media tools, etc. Concrete5 runs on PHP and MySQL.

11. Orchard CMS

Orchard CMS is a lightweight and fastest CMS that makes it a breeze to create new websites. One thing I really like about Orchard CMS is that everything in it is a module. Which simply means that if you don’t like a particular feature, you can simply turn it off. This means that you will remove dead weight and possibly improve overall performance. Out of the box, Orchard CMS has better media management system, supports multi-lingual and multi-site functionality, proper and powerful user access controls, ability to track and see the history of changes made to the content, custom workflows and events, etc. Orchard CMS uses ASP.NET 4.5 and run on IIS Express web servers.


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