18 Underground CMS's in the WP Shadow

Choosing an appropriate content management system, or CMS, is usually an important decision that needs to be made when launching a new website or blog. A popular choice these days seems to be the blogging platform known as WordPress, and for good reasons. WordPress is a wonderful CMS that can suit many bloggers and end users quite well. However, in the shadow of WordPress's success, lurk some very wonderful CMS that do not get all the attention they deserve. Today, we will have a look at 18 unappreciated CMS's in the WordPress shadow.

(Don't forget to also check out our updated article with the 20 best CMS for 2012. And yes, this list includes WordPress...)

1. TYPOLight


TYPOLight has been around the scene for awhile and has become known as quite a dependable CMS. One of TYPOLights main features is the Javascript and AJAX integrated technlogies, making it super easy for developers of all skill levels to work with.

2. RedaxScript

Redax Homepage

Redax Script is one of the lesser known content management systems that is packed with plenty of features. The main focus of RedaxScript seems to be simplicity and transparency, making life easy on the end user. RedaxScript is completely free and you can check out the online demo at anytime.

3. Jaws

Jaws Home

Jaws was released back in November 2008 and since it's release date Jaws has seen steady growth, support, and an increasing amount of end users. Jaws accredits this to being easy to work with and allowing developers access to modules for tweaking their website to how they see fit.

4. Modx

Modx Home

Modx is a CMS that has seen a lot of growth and rise in popularity lately. To quote their description of Modx: MODx helps you take control of your online content. An Open Source PHP application framework, it frees you to build sites exactly how you want and make them 100% yours. Zero restrictions and fast to build.

5. Textpattern

Text pattern

Textpattern has been around for quite a long time, and for good reason. It is a very reliable and easy to work with CMS. If you are looking for a very reliable and easy to work with CMS, textpattern might be for you.

6. glFusion


glFusion is a simple CMS created with specific features and ideals in mind. Such features include automatic RSS integration, a wide array of user permissions, and queue submitted user content.

7. Frog CMS


Another up and coming CMS, FrogCMS has received a lot of praise lately. Besides being extremely easy to use, it has a very appealing admin backed and is a breeze for developers to work with. And of course, it is completely free!

8. Radiant CMS

Radiant CMS

RadiantCMS is a CMS built with Ruby that aims to be simple and powerful. The developers claim that Radiant is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams. While the install can be a little tricky, Radiant is packed full of features and options.

9. CMS Made Simple

CMS Made Simple

Need a simple CMS without a huge installation hassle or configuring a bunch of files? CMS Made Simple aims to do just that. Aimed at those who want a CMS that is easy to setup and just works. Oh, and it's free too!

10. Typo 3


Typo3 is a free Open Source content management system for enterprise purposes on the web and in intranets. It offers full flexibility and extendability while featuring an accomplished set of ready-made interfaces, functions and modules.

11. Campware


Campware is a package of different 'CMS like' applications. Campsite (one of the children of Campware) is a user focused CMS and software application. Allowing you to do such things as publish radio broadcasts and multi lingual news postings. If you are looking to get your content out to a giant audience, Campware and it's products might be worth a look.

12. CushyCMS

Cushy CMS

CushyCMS might be one of WPs biggest competitors. It s extremely easy to use, and even better, it has all kinds of client integration setup. Need to allow a client to edit some pages or make some changes without messing things up? No problem with CushyCMS!

13. Magnolia


Magnolia aims to be a simple CMS solution for non tech savvy and tech savvy users alike. Created in 2003, Magnolia has been tried and tested over time and seems to work will for a wide array of projects.

14. eZ Publish

EZ Publish

eZ Publish is an Open Source Content Management System chosen by thousands of enterprises and organizations world wide. It helps you build corporate websites, intranets, webshops and media portals.

15. Expression Engine


Perhaps the biggest industry standard and the only CMS on our list that costs money to use, is the heavyweight known as ExpressionEngine. Used by developers and large companies all over the world, if you want an extremely powerful CMS just packed full of features, ExpressionEngine may be worth the price.

That's all we have for now. Did we miss any? Are there any WP alternatives that you prefer to use? Let us know in the comments section!

16. e107


e107 is another open source CMS completely free of charge, and is written in the popular language, PHP. It uses a databse system to drive the backend, the popular open source MySQL databse. e017 seems to be especially aimed at developers, providing many instances for you to change the look and feel of the CMS for the end user.

17. ImpressCMS


ImpressCMS is setup to be a very, very simple to install and use content management system. Complete with a sleek design, and boasting security features, ImpressCMS is often the choice for small to medium sized websites.

18. SilverStripe

Silver Stripe

Out of all the CMSs we have mentioned so far, SilverStripe might be the most friendly and easiest to get started with. One glance at the homepage leads you to all the information and tools you need to get going in 5 minutes or so. Complete with a templating engine and plenty of free website templates that can be installed from the admin area. SilverStripe is certainly worth a look.

Written 2009-06-17 (Updated 2016-10-10)

Chad Bean

Share your thoughts

Chetaru,  2 November, 2011

Thanks for sharing this information and resources its really help full for me with the help of this we can improve our CMS working design and development.

pearjam,  28 August, 2010

You have RedaxScript (a fork of sNews CMS) - but you missed listing the actual snewscms.com.

sNews CMS is a free, very lightweight and easy to use system. It's got everything most admins need and none of the extra bulk. It's worth checking out.

Prada Shoes,  6 August, 2010

How do all these compare security wise?

Seoexon,  2 August, 2010

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Term Papers ,  6 July, 2010

Thank you for these articles published, both for me to learn more knowledge

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Thanks for your sharing.
you can do it!some site is like yours

Term papers ,  8 April, 2010

Looking by here and learn and see so many beautiful things. Keep Up

justintime,  23 March, 2010

"Underground CMS's in the WP Shadow"
You GOT to be kidding me...80% of the listed are far superior to WP as CMS.
As a blog, and what originally intended to be, WP wins for the ease of use out -of-the-box....but that is about it.
Condom is for protection but I would much rather have a gun in a battle...the same goes for a cms.

uliphant,  23 March, 2010

Have been using TYPOlight for several projects (after RUNNING from Joomla) and it's simply great. Can't recommend it warmly enough for anyone who wants to build clean coded, accessible websites in a fraction of time you usually need for building the same in other CMSes. Very thought through and consistant, fun to use.

jeff,  18 March, 2010

Also try PulseCMS.com

Ben Hurtisson,  4 January, 2010

Thanks for useful tips about CMS. I will use your information in my CMS design next time.

Bob,  28 December, 2009

Looking by here and learn and see so many beautiful things. Keep Up
Membuat Blog

Bob,  28 December, 2009

This is actually really interesting regarding your fact article here, This article is very informative.

ChrisIsAMoron,  26 December, 2009

@chris: WP is secure?!? You're on crack dude. Worst code ever written. Given your full endorsement, it's safe to assume you don't know DICK about development.

Martin,  26 December, 2009

Try http://www.getpixie.co.uk

Web Art Sense,  26 November, 2009

Very good collection and overview.Thanks for sharing this nice post very inspiring

Web Design India

capiznon,  19 October, 2009

nice post thanks for the info

Ed Hardy,  24 September, 2009

good article.. very useful and appreciated it..thanks

Ed Hardy

Prada Shoes,  19 September, 2009

This is a great quote. I am THE worst offender of typing up half of the page. No matter what, it always runs away from two.

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Louis vuitton handbags,  14 September, 2009

Nice post good luck, I am amaze to your post.

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steven s,  27 June, 2009

There is also
I've been using it for years on

joe,  19 June, 2009

http://concrete5.org is really worth checking out.

naspinski,  19 June, 2009

ASP.net gets no love as usual... how about BlogEngine.Net?

Casey Haley,  19 June, 2009

I just got done using Frog on a client's site. Was SUPER easy to get started but had a little trouble with writing our own plugins to get the functionality we needed... Client LOVES the back-end. Overall the project was a big success.

Simon,  19 June, 2009

I have used habari:


The good thing about for me is that it supports postgres - and my boss wont let us use mysql.

scott,  19 June, 2009


if you know php and like not spending hours on the phone explaining stuff to your client i'd go w/ them.

Stu,  19 June, 2009

expression engine really rocks

bart,  18 June, 2009

I've used Typo3 in the past (a few years ago), and one of its disadvantages to me as a programmer is that its data, despite being stored in a standard mysql database, is totally incomprehensible if you access it directly. It could as well have used a proprietary file format, just like MS Office. I love the idea of loading up the contents for a whole, large, website, with a script.

kevcol,  18 June, 2009

@leron: run, don't walk from Joomla (toward Drupal is a good idea, too)

bleedz,  18 June, 2009

I've used typo3 for years, as well as Joomla, Drupal DotCMS and many others. In europe they would not consider Typo3 to be "underground". Check out the size of the community versus some of the others. Typo3 isn't an easy CMS to learn but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Alex,  18 June, 2009

I would not recommend Typo3 for anything. We just switched our main site to it and regretting it every day. It's simply a poor CMS out of the box, and every feature takes ages to build. We even hired a professional company to do this (one of the best in the country) and they were 3x over the deadline. Cost us lots of money.

Summary, Typo3 sucks and it's in the shadows for a reason.

Jim Pannell,  18 June, 2009

Another that's very new but definitely worth checking out is Perch: http://grabaperch.com/

leron,  18 June, 2009

Thanks for the geography lessons, guys. Much appreciated. Chris, I have a drupal project looming this summer as well.

Patrick Morrow,  18 June, 2009

What about RefineryCMS - http://www.refinerycms.com

chris,  18 June, 2009

@leron : Joomla and Drupal aren't "lurking in the shadows"

HJ,  18 June, 2009

Modx rocks...

DotNetBlogEngine.NET,  18 June, 2009


It's no equal of Wordpress yet but it's the best ASP.NET alternative...

dave,  18 June, 2009

@leron yes, look into drupal.

leron,  18 June, 2009

What, no Joomla? I'm in the midst of learning it for a project I am developing. Am I wasting my time?

Eldon Nelson,  18 June, 2009

The Plone CMS is far more mature and has enterprise level deployments than many of these. Something from Nov 2008 can't even compare. http://plone.org

Chris,  18 June, 2009

I'm sorry, but most of those listed are riding the coat tails of WP for a reason. Yeah, as of thsi posting they may be alright to use, but they are quickly outdated as technology moves forward. Generally these are the ones that fight to keep up and are easily exploitable.

Why even bother, unless playing around with script is just your bag? For a web developer like myself, the larger the community, better the security, WP is the only way to go. Why waste time?

Rick Mason,  18 June, 2009

How could you forget Mango?

Austin,  18 June, 2009

I have used MODx, CMSMS and Silverstripe, all have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the project, but IMHO MODx is my personal favourite...

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