What CMS is Best? CMS Showdown Results after Milwaukee Meetup


It began in melodramatic fashion with Michael Buffers trademark phrase:

"Let's get ready to rumble!"

But we weren’t at a boxing match in Las Vegas. We were attending the CMS showdown hosted last week in Milwaukee by Web414.

The showdown featured a group of panelists each showcasing their CMS in 3-5 minutes including:

  • Sitecore - Nick Wesselman (Hanson Dodge)
  • ModX - Rob Martin
  • WordPress - Brad Parbs (Snow Day Group)
  • Drupal - Kevin Cieselski (Red Beard Unlimited)
  • Concrete5 - Chris Grahm (Potawatomi Bingo Casino)&
  • Joomla - Gabe Wahhab (Savvy Panda)

Here is how the scorecard looked after 6 rounds.


”Web Content Management System (CMS) software helps you create and keep up-to-date dynamic, full featured websites of all types.”

Nick Wesseman started the the rumble by showcasing Sitecore, the only commercial CMS in the showdown.

Nick kept the open source crowd from throwing chairs by explaining how Sitecore is involved with the open source community.

But then he turned up the heat by summing up why commercial software is the better CMS option in two words: Accountability and Predictability.

”You are generally on your own for any issues with an open source package while commercial vendors typically warranty against software flaws that can impact an enterprise organization.”


“Creative Freedom. MODX is an open source Content Management System (CMS) and Framework that dominates SEO, supports all modern web standards and integrates with existing infrastructure to give you complete control over your online presence.”

Rob Martin spent a lot of time talking about how the blazing speed of Modx websites, and that is the how MODx out-powers the other big CMS’s.

He mentioned the simple and powerful template system MODx uses. It was made very clear that MODx does not use a template framework to add a layer of complexity to the system. Templates use tags to display variables such as document attributes, systems settings, and template variables, all by using HTML and CSS.


“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”

Internet rockstar Brad Parbs used three words to showcase wordpress:

“Wordpress is Awesome”

Unfortunately, Brad spent most of his time updating twitter and meetup.com, costing him critical points with the judges.



“Come for the software, stay for the community“

Kevin Cieselski discussed three key factors that differentiate drupal. Customization, Community, and “The Drupal Way”.

Kevron used the example of a calendar event date to showcase how much you can customize your Drupal website. Each item of content is described by a content type, a special format for displaying fields in "view modes" depending how or where you want your content to display.

For example if you are viewing the content on a the full page you may want to show all the fields available different core functionality like Content types, Fields, Date formatting and extend it with contributed modules such as Date, Date API, Views, Calendar.

”Events, meetups and the enormous impact of community is a big part of what makes the big 3 CMS’s so popular and hard to compete with.”

Drupal — like the other big 3 contenders — have international, regional, and local conferences throughout the year.

Keven then delivered his strong right-hook, discussing how he played the official drupal song.


“CMS made for Marketing but built for Geeks”

Chris Graham from Potawatomi Bingo Casino caught the audience's attention and showcased from a user perspective how large teams manage a website. The ACL and true front end editing being to key features needed by Potawatomi bingo casino.

The audience was impressed with the un-geek use case presented by Chris that allowed him to punch above his weight.


“Joomla! is a extremely customizable and adaptable for Enterprise, SMBs, NPOs and beyond.”

Gabe Wahhab made one major point clear: the web is going responsive and so is Joomla.

With the Twitter Bootstrap framework, Joomla is first major CMS to be mobile ready out of the box, for both visitors and administrator areas.


Joomla is also enterprise-ready with support for multiple databases, Active Directory Authentication, XML-RPC, SOAP, REST, server side caching, granular ACL, multilingual content and more. Version Control and custom workflows can also be added with Joomla add ons.

It is not surprising then that Joomla is a popular choice among the thousands of governments that use it in their infrastructure.

Beyond features, Joomla has a vibrant community organizing many local and regional events around the world as well as two international conferences, J and Beyond and the Joomla World Conference.

Perhaps most importantly — Gabe explained — Joomla is truly 100% community-driven with no single owner/benevolent dictator.

and the winner is...

Presenting the only true comparative data, Gabe compared Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress in a live site build at the SXSW. As you can see below, Joomla outperformed the competition in every metric.

CMS Showdown Chart

So by unanimous decision — with the sole judge the author of this article — Joomla wins by technical knockout.

Not into boxing? Get both Wordpress and Joomla to power your website. WordPress for Joomla makes it easy to start your Joomla Blog.

Last modified on Dec172013
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