Best CMS of 2024

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
A person using a laptop.
(Image credit: Startupstockphotos / Pexels)

The best CMS (Content Management System) makes it simple and easy to manage your website content without having to learn web design or coding.

Many of the best CMS platforms available today began as blogging services, such as WordPress. The modern CMS now goes way beyond blogging, though, with tools and technologies to build and manage almost any kind of business or ecommerce site.

In fact, the majority of the best website builders now include a dedicated CMS as part of an all-in-one package. 

There are plenty of CMS out there, including niche platforms, such as CMS for non-profits and online learning in particular. They all allow you to create and manage your own content, website and blogs, but some are more effective than others - and that's where we can help.

We've also featured the best website monitoring service.


The best CMS of 2024 in full:

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below we explore 6 of the very best CMS available on the market. 

Best overall

(Image credit: WordPress)
The most popular CMS

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of tools
+
Great selection of themes
+
Affordably priced business plan

Reasons to avoid

-
Customizing pages can be difficult

WordPress was launched in 2003, and it's since grown into the world's favorite CMS. The stats are spectacular: 43% of the internet is now built on WordPress, and the company says more bloggers, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies than all the other options put together.

Why so successful? Two reasons. The first: accessibility. Even if you've never used a CMS before, stylish website templates allow you to build a good-looking site with WordPress in minutes. You can get started for free, and spending just $2-$4 a month on WordPress hosting gets you everything you need to run most personal and small business sites.

The second secret to WordPress' success: it's hugely extensible. If the built-in features aren't enough, there are thousands of add-ons and vendors offering themes, interface extras, integrations with every major platform out there (and most of the minor ones), ecommerce platforms, and more. And if even that's not quite right, no problem, thousands more developers can build a solution for you.

This irresistible mix of power and ease of use earns WordPress a justified top spot in our CMS charts, because it really is a great product for everyone. Whether you're a first-timer looking to build a simple family blog, or an international business running a string of busy web stores across the world, WordPress is a top-notch solution.

While the version of WordPress available on WordPress.com has limitations, the standalone WordPress software CMS is second to none.

Read our full WordPress.com website builder review.

Best for creatives

(Image credit: Squarespace)
Excellent CMS for creatives

Reasons to buy

+
Beginner friendly
+
Intuitive UI
+
Loads of themes

Reasons to avoid

-
No free plan

Squarespace is a popular CMS platform which started out at around the same time as WordPress. The main difference is that it isn’t open-source, so you can’t download the software and install it on your own server.

Instead, Squarespace is an integrated website builder, blogging platform and hosting service. It's easier to use than WordPress, arguably with more modern and stylish templates and an excellent drag-and-drop editor. But Squarespace can't match WordPress for configurability, or the power and sheer range of features available through WordPress plugins, making it less suitable for complex and demanding sites.

There is still plenty of advanced functionality here, though, especially with Squarespace's ecommerce platform. Gorgeous store templates give you a great-looking site from the start; you can sell unlimited physical and digital products, take payments via Stripe and PayPal, and use third-party extensions to help you with shipping, marketing, inventory management, customer support and more.

If you're intrigued, take the 14-day free trial for a spin. There's no credit card or other payment details required: just sign up for a free account and explore what Squarespace has to offer.

Read our full Squarespace review.

Best for scalability

(Image credit: Magnolia)

3. Magnolia

The business focused CMS

Reasons to buy

+
Strong focus on security
+
Tailored to business needs
+
Java-based

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of admin dashboard

One of the main attractions of content management systems is that they’re often easy to set up and use. If you’re running a business, you’ll want to have a website to promote your products and services, but you may not have the technical know-how to build one yourself.

The java-based Magnolia CMS is targeted specifically at companies that need websites which can do pretty much everything. It sports a hub integrating areas such as e-commerce, analytics, marketing automation, social media, CRM and ERP. The beauty here is that you can add these functions as time goes on and your business develops.

Security is at the heart of the system, too, as it employs an architecture that separates your website’s public and private elements to help combat attacks. You can even define what users and admins are able to do, so you’ll always know who can write, edit, view and publish certain content. Prices are tailored to business needs.

Best for ease-of-use

(Image credit: Weebly)
Easy to use CMS to build a website in minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of plans
+
Drag and drop website building
+
Easy to add media to your site

Reasons to avoid

-
Under-powered editor interface

Similar to WordPress, Weebly may well be a name that you’re familiar with. It’s an easy-to-use content management system that lets you set up a simple website within a matter of minutes. The platform uses a drag-and-drop format, so you can add features and media to your website easily. And by the same token, you can swiftly remove anything whenever you want.

There are a load of pricing options to choose from, all based on different business and personal needs. After the basic, free option, the cheapest paid plan provides you with unlimited storage, a domain name and Google Ads credit. There is a small business option, and for that, you get all the usual features, as well as handy tools like password protection and tax calculators.

Read our full Weebly review.

Best for mobile

(Image credit: Wix)
Cloud-based CMS which is great for mobile-optimized sites

Reasons to buy

+
Supports HTML5
+
Wide range of plugins available
+
Reasonably priced business plans

Reasons to avoid

-
Only the most premium plans have eCommerce capabilities

Wix is a cloud-based web development platform which lets you create HTML5 and mobile-optimized websites easily. 

The platform offers a drag-and-drop system, and you can add more functionality by installing plugins. Wix caters for elements including email marketing, e-commerce, contact forms and community forums. As is normal for CMS platforms, you have the option to remove adverts, use your own domain name and get increased bandwidth by going for a premium plan. In February, Wix Turbo was released, which noticeably increases the performance and speed of websites.

If you’re a small business, you can select the Business Basic plan which the company says it's best for small businesses, and you benefit from uncapped bandwidth, generous storage, a free domain, a custom favicon, an online store builder and ad vouchers.

Read our full Wix review.

Best for brands

(Image credit: Bynder)

6. Bynder

Great CMS for brands

Reasons to buy

+
Great collaboration tools
+
Easy to create shareable style guides
+
Ideal for marketing

Reasons to avoid

-
Costly

Content management systems are great for publishing content online, obviously enough, but they’re also gold dust when it comes to collaborating on content across teams. Bynder is a marketing platform that lets brands create, find, use and work on content easily. 

It provides a plethora of high-quality workflows to help brand managers, marketers and editors produce, approve and circulate new marketing content. There’s also the ability to create a shareable style guide so all content is consistent and matches the company’s brand image. 

While it sports some handy features, Bynder is a lot more expensive than other offerings, although you can try out the service with the 14-day trial. You'll need to contact the company for exact pricing, but you should expect to pay anything from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Although very expensive by comparison to others listed here, the software is designed to take a good deal of strain off your marketing budget by simplifying many mundane and time-consuming tasks. 


How we test

We've tested the best CMS across multiple factors, like their ease of setup, user interface, documentation, and customizability. 

We looked at their security features, scalability options, themes, extensions, and tools. We evaluated what type of users the different content management platforms would be best suited for and their collaboration features. 

We also checked their pricing plans and whether there were free trials, among other things. 

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.

FAQs

What is a CMS?

A CMS (content management system), is a software platform for users to create and manage a website without the use of coding. 

Thanks to CMS, users can swiftly setup websites in minutes without requiring any technical knowledge about the workings of a site.

What is the difference between CMS and website builders?

The term website builder typically refers to a no-code tool used to build the part of your website that users interact with when they visit your domain. Developers often refer to this part of the website as the ‘front-end’.  

A CMS deals with the part of your website that the audience doesn't see. It is all the tools you have at your disposal to manage the content on your website. Developers often refer to this part, along with some other parts, of the website as the ‘back-end’.

Many of the best website builders, including Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, offer a CMS and website builder as all-in-one packages. Other website builders help you build a website on top of an existing CMS such as WordPress.

How to choose the best CMS for you?

When choosing the best CMS for yourself, start with evaluating the platform's ease of use. If you and your team are completely new to CMS, you'll want to choose a simple platform that'll make it a breeze to manage daily tasks. 

Next, you'll want to consider the platform's customizability. Generally, content management platforms become more complex if they offer greater customizability. But if you're planning to scale, then a highly customizable website will be useful. 

You could also assess different CMS based on the industry you're in, and what most of your competitors are using. 

Lastly, you'll want to consider the platform's pricing plan and other hidden costs (for maintenance, security, etc.). 

Get in touch

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!

With contributions from