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Which CMS Is Content King?

Which CMS Is Content King?

Craft CMS vs WordPressA content-heavy site is about more than just creating content. It’s about managing it. Site owners need to ask themselves what type of user experience they want to deliver. This article will look at two distinct options on the market: Craft CMS and WordPress.

WordPress, the most popular CMS around, is free and open source. Originally forked from b2/cafelog in 2003, WordPress quickly saw large adoption from the blogging community. Over time, the platform has grown and increased its functionality and accessibility. However, at its core, it is still a blogging tool.

Craft CMS, while having a basic free version, is not open source. Similar to WordPress, it was originally forked from another CMS: ExpressionEngine. It has since seen good adoption by users, but requires a knowledgeable developer to take full advantage of its functionality.

As we consider the differences between the two CMS, this article will answer:

  • Why use Craft CMS?
  • What makes WordPress a powerful blogging tool?
  • How much does Craft CMS cost?
  • Where can I find WordPress templates and themes?
  • Which CMS offers the most in terms of functionality?
  • Is Craft CMS popular?
  • What are the Craft CMS plugins?
  • Does Craft CMS or WordPress have eCommerce functionality?
  • How can you check Craft CMS and WordPress performance?

Contents

Craft CMS vs WordPress in Numbers
Craft CMS vs WordPress: Pros and Cons
Design and Themes
Ease of Use
Functionality
Plugins
Performance
SEO
Security
Pricing

Craft CMS vs WordPress in Numbers

In terms of numbers, there is a significant divide between Craft CMS and WordPress. This isn’t surprising when you consider that WordPress is known to hold over 32.5% of the CMS market.

A quick comparison of the number of sites shows that Craft CMS does not even amount to 1% of WordPress sites globally. For many Craft CMS users this is actually an advantage.

As we’ll explore in more depth throughout this article, there is a distinct reason why Craft CMS sees a much smaller percentage of the CMS market. That reason translates into unique sites and valuable functionality you can’t achieve with WordPress.



* Requires a hosting solution, which normally starts at around $29 per month.

Craft CMS vs WordPress: Pros and Cons

Craft CMS Pros

It’s lightweight

As we’ll talk about in the performance section of this article, Craft CMS is incredibly lightweight due to a set of coding standards enforced by the Craft CMS team.

It offers great commercial features

Due to it being both lightweight and packed with functionality, Craft CMS is the perfect platform for running a commercial site.

Everything is tailored by the developer

Due to the way Craft CMS is set up, everything created is often custom made by the developer. This means access to a truly unique site that will stand out from the crowd.

Craft CMS Cons

High barrier to entry

While Craft CMS offers incredible customization options, it also has a high barrier to entry. It lacks 1-click installs and requires a knowledgeable developer to get a site off the ground.

It can be expensive

If using advanced functionality, Craft CMS sites can become expensive. While a free version is available, if you’re creating a professional site for a client, you’ll need to use the pro version, which starts at $299.

WordPress Pros

It’s free

WordPress is a free, open source CMS. This includes the vast majority of plugins and a large selection of themes.

It has a huge developer community

Because WordPress powers over 32% of the internet, it has built up a huge developer community. If you end up needing something custom designed for your site, it’s not that hard to find someone to help.

It comes with a 1-click install

You can easily install WordPress with just a click of a button. This means you can get started in as soon as 5 minutes.

WordPress Cons

It is frequently targeted by attacks

This is not to say that WordPress itself is any more vulnerable, but rather the sheer size of its user base is so large it’s targeted more than other CMS.

It’s bloated

From its core up, WordPress is more bloated than some alternatives; especially once you start installing multiple plugins.

It lacks some page customization

WordPress was built as a blogging platform, and in that area it excels. However, when it comes to designing pages, page builders are often needed to create unique designs.


Design and Themes

“Themes are for wussies”: so says Craft CMS. If there was ever a bolder statement with regard to the lack of support for out-of-the-box functionality, we would like to hear it.

Despite this, Craft CMS does offer some awesome design features, including: 

  • Custom fields
  • Section types
  • Categories and tags
  • Matrix fields
  • Simple localization

As we will dive into later, the lack of theme support by Craft CMS does have its advantages. It can mean better performance, unique site designs, and improved functionality. However, it limits the time it takes to get a site off the ground.

That being said, if you’re looking to quickly set up a blog on Craft CMS, the Instablog Github repository can help. In addition, there are numerous tutorials and courses available online for developers to learn how to create Craft sites quickly and efficiently.

WordPress, on the other hand, offers a huge number of themes and templates in both free and paid forms. If opting for a paid WordPress plugin, on average, you can expect to pay $40.

The number of WordPress themes available means that it’s easy for site owners of all knowledge levels to create sites that match their design requirements, and to do so quickly.

However, we have found that WordPress does have some restrictions with regard to design choices that you won’t find with Craft.

Overall, while WordPress is certainly the easier platform to get started with, and offers a huge number of themes for beginners, Craft has the edge with regards to design. Craft’s very nature means that customization lies at the core of site development.

If opting for a paid WordPress plugin, on average, you can expect to pay $40.

We’re calling this a draw, with WordPress winning with regard to themes, and Craft winning with regard to design.

Winner: Draw

Ease of Use

WordPress is known for its out of the box simplicity. It offers an easy to navigate admin panel and an even easier editing interface. Craft, on the other hand, takes a competent developer and some serious knowledge to create professional sites.

In recent years, Automattic (the group behind WordPress) have continued to ramp up their dedication to accessibility. One of the ways they have done this is through the Gutenberg editor. This editor takes a content block approach to creating posts and pages, and has been seen as an improvement by many beginners over the old WYSIWYG editor.

WordPress plugins also make the application easier to use. There are over 55,000 of them available on the WordPress plugin directory, and more elsewhere. These allow site owners to add functionality to their site with just a few clicks.

That being said, the number of WordPress plugins available means that installing them on a WordPress site can easily get out of hand. This can lead to noticeable slowdowns and performance issues. Moreover, each of those plugins needs to be updated regularly so you do not compromise site security.

Comparatively, there are only a limited number of plugins available for Craft, with the bulk of functionality requirements often coded by a developer. This is good for a lot of sites and contributes to the lightweight nature of Craft CMS. Benefiting performance.

The chart below shows a comparison of the main points regarding WordPress and Craft ease of use.


WordPress Advantages

Craft CMS Advantages

Lots of themes

Lightweight

Lots of plugins

Small, easy to navigate plugin store


Despite some issues, WordPress wins here because it is a better CMS for beginners. Craft CMS requires more experience and/or a developer to get the best results.

Winner: WordPress

Functionality

Despite WordPress having the edge when it comes to ease of use, Craft CMS manages to take the lead in terms of functionality. Part of the reason for this is the development expertise required by Craft CMS developers.

With WordPress, there is a large community of developers. Yet due to WordPress being easy to customize, it can be hit or miss with regards to how far their expertise extends. Not only can this lead to you running unoptimized code, it can mean that some of the functionality you’re looking for won’t materialize.

Craft CMS comes with basic functionality out of the box. This includes:

  • Custom fields, section types, and relations
  • Localization
  • Tight Integration
  • Custom order and checkout flows
  • Built-in headless capability

You can also purchase Craft Commerce, with the intention of running an eCommerce site. This will automatically add Products, Subscriptions, Custom Payment Gateways, and more.

Craft doesn’t assume how content should look. One of the big criticisms of WordPress by advanced developers is that it is less of a content management system, and more of a page organizer.

For this reason, Craft CMS is excellent for creating content that integrates across channels. With Craft, it’s possible to show content from multiple categories on a landing page. With WordPress, this requires much more in-depth edits to the site’s code.

Craft CMS is the winner here, as it holds it own as a true content management system.

Winner: Craft CMS

Plugins

WordPress has over 55,000 plugins, much more than Craft CMS – in part because Craft has a much smaller development community.

And it’s these 55,000+ plugins that give WordPress so much of its functionality and flexibility. Looking to create a news site? Download a news plugin. Looking to increase the functionality of your WordPress forms? Download a form plugin. Looking to create unique page design? Download a page builder plugin.

Moreover, the bulk of plugins available for WordPress come with basic versions for free. If you really like what a plugin can do, you can upgrade to the pro version for a small fee. The access to expanded functionality with WordPress plugins is incredible, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Yes, there are 55,000 plugins, but a lot of them do the same thing in slightly different ways. There are also a lot of plugins that are no longer supported. Either they haven’t been updated, or they didn’t make the cut when a new version of WordPress was released.

This can lead to security exploits and performance issues. It’s important that you keep an eye on the plugins you have installed to make sure that they are both maintained and supported.

The Craft CMS plugin store is limited but powerful

The Craft CMS plugin store is limited but powerful.

Craft, on the other hand, has a smaller selection of plugins, but they are all maintained and supported. When plugins are no longer relevant or maintained, they are removed from the Craft plugin store.

Yet despite Craft plugins not having the issues found with the WordPress directory, we have to give this round to WordPress due to the number of plugins available.

Winner: WordPress

Performance

In terms of performance, both Craft CMS and WordPress are great. With the right hosting provider behind them, both CMS provide performant experiences.

However, once you start diving into the development of core and the way in which each CMS handles additional functionality, you start to see a significant divide.

Craft CMS adheres to MCV coding practices when developing core. MCV stands for Model-View-Controller, and means that all coding has to follow a specific pathway to achieve a result.

Imagine you are a painter. In the MCV model, you would be the Controller, your paintbrush and paints the Model, and the resulting picture the View. This coding model streamlines the process of creating and rendering content by only pulling out the tools it needs.

WordPress, on the other hand, has been accused of being bloated; especially with regards to community developed plugins. While efforts are being made to optimize the codebase, and several plugins exist to improve performance (such as W3 Cache), WordPress just doesn’t have the same development team behind it that Craft CMS does.

W3 Cache is a useful plugin for improving WordPress performance

W3 Cache is a useful plugin for improving WordPress performance (if you know the right settings).

If you opt for the enterprise version of Craft CMS, you can see further performance enhancements. This is especially true when you bring on a dedicated Craft developer or development team. They are easily able to leverage the lightweight nature of the application to create incredible, performant content experiences.

Once you start looking to build out functionality through plugins, WordPress continues to suffer performance loss. Too many or outdated plugins are often the cause of a bloated WordPress install. Remember that even a 1 second delay in page load time can result in a 7% decrease in conversions.

Craft is the winner here due to its lightweight nature.

Winner: Craft CMS

SEO

WordPress is often known as the king of SEO, and with 32.5% of sites running it, it’s not a statistic that’s hard to believe. It’s also not true.

The CMS you use does not necessarily have a direct impact on the SEO value of a site. However, a number of factors can influence to what degree search engines place you in the top results.

The first of these is the ability to easily create and edit SEO-specific content such a meta titles and descriptions. WordPress has a huge number of plugins available that can help you do this (Yoast). Craft CMS also has a plugin that does much of the same thing (SEOmatic). In this area, both CMS are evenly matched.

Where the two start to divide is with regards to performance.

In recent years, performance has become a major factor in the ability for sites to rank. The faster your site loads, the better your chances. Google Lighthouse a good tool for testing how a site racks up against the competition in terms of speed.

As covered in the previous section, depending on the developer you have on hand, Craft CMS is a better option for performance. It can make a site perform faster and, as a result, have a higher chance of ranking number 1.

The winner here is Craft, although it was incredibly close.

Winner: Craft CMS

Security

Security is one area where having a smaller community and being closed source is an advantage.

WordPress, due to the size of its user base, is frequently targeted by cyber attacks. While the community works around the clock to keep the application up to date and secure, it can be hard to keep up.

Moreover, while WordPress relies on its community to help identify and resolve security breaches, it is the Craft CMS team themselves that work with their CMS. Because of this dedicated team of developers – and the smaller user base – security breaches are often identified and resolved quickly.

However, WordPress does offer some great plugins for locking down a site, and the right hosting provider will often make sure that the CMS environment is locked down: for both Craft and WordPress.

For security, we’re going to have to give it to Craft CMS. While the difference is very small, Craft’s development team gives it the edge.

Winner: Craft CMS

Pricing

WordPress, minus any paid plugins, is free.

Craft CMS also offers a free, basic version. However, this is not suitable for creating professional sites for clients. If you are making more than a personal blog, you’ll need to purchase a license. This starts from $299 per project, plus $59 a year for continued support.

If you decide to use Craft Commerce, you’re looking at a minimum payment of $199 per project, and $39 per year for support.

If you want to use eCommerce for WordPress, you can install the free WooCommerce plugin.

Winner: WordPress

Craft CMS vs WordPress: The Winner

When it comes to deciding which CMS is right for you, it’s going to come down to a handful of  factors regarding the resources you have at your disposal.

Primarily, what is your budget. Craft CMS will require you to invest in a developer. Even if you have development expertise, to create a professional site you’ll need to pay for a license.

With WordPress you won’t have to pay anything (except for hosting) but you’ll also be limited in terms of design and functionality.

Another factor you need to consider is the time frame you have to work with. WordPress sites are able to be created and go live a lot sooner than Craft sites.

If you’re able to invest in a Craft CMS site, we recommend doing so. WordPress is a great CMS but it lacks some of the advanced, commercial features you get with a paid, closed source application like Craft.

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Craft CMS What It Is, How It Works, & When You Should Use It

Craft CMS What It Is, How It Works, & When You Should Use It

WordPress isn’t the most popular CMS on the market without reason. It’s modular, it’s easy to use, and it’s got a fantastic plugin ecosystem. But it’s easy to forget that it also isn’t your only option when it comes to building a website.

There are plenty of content management systems in the sea, after all. Today, we’re going to discuss one of the more formidable ones. It’s called CraftCMS.

What Is It, Exactly?

Created by ExpressionEngine plugin developer Pixel & Tonic, Craft is billed as a “content-first” CMS tool. It’s created to allow for far deeper control and greater performance than other content management offerings.

Written in PHP and run on the Yii platform, it takes the ‘content’ part of content management literally. Unlike WordPress, it does not include any tools for website creation. Anyone who uses Craft will need to either build their own stuff by hand or hire someone to do it.

It also doesn’t have any sort of official theme or plugin marketplace – so again, if there’s anything you want to do in terms of customization, you’ll need to handle it yourself.

That said, it does have a thriving (and fast-growing) developer community, so you won’t be completely on your own in that department.

“Craft is for folks who like to take their time and do things right, building out their HTML, CSS, and JS by hand,” reads the documentation. “This is not a site builder or some sort of design tool. There are no themes, and you won’t find any flashy UI tools full of sliders and other gadgets that will help you “design” your website in minutes.”

The trade-off is that Craft is both extremely scalable and exceptionally customizable. If you can code it, Craft can handle it. That’s a huge plus – though some people might be turned off a bit by the fact that it’s comparatively much more difficult to use than WordPress.

Why Use It?  

The short answer is that Craft excels at managing sites with a large volume of interconnected and interrelated content. Although smaller sites can make excellent use of the content management tool, where it really shines is with massive, sprawling content bases.

Plenty of enterprises are already using the CMS, including Netflix, Emily Carr, Salesforce, Wildbit, and Oakley.

It’s important to note that although Craft takes a lot of legwork and development expertise to set up, it’s actually incredibly publisher-oriented. The backend is extremely easy to use, and provides a simple, streamlined administrative dashboard that makes content creation a breeze.

The most notable element of this backend is something called Sections and Entries. This is the primary means by which Craft organizes its content. An entry is a single piece of content like a blog post, and has an author, date, and optional timed expiration attached to it.

Sections arrange entries into categories, and can be standalone pages, related entries, or even full hierarchies. Related entries can be easily tied to one another using a built-in schema system, and

It’s actually quite sophisticated, and features like Matrix (which allow certain pieces of content to be grouped together and reused with ease), multiple authors, built-in search, automatic localization, and categories/tags makes the organization and customization of content even deeper.

This level of customization probably isn’t necessary if you’re just running a small blog with a few authors or a storefront for a small business. It’s also not meant for massive enterprises that need a laundry list of features or organizations that need to develop an SaaS applications.

If, however, you’ve a large base of contributors, a highly-trafficked site, or enough content that it would be difficult for you to keep track of it on your own, then Craft is a perfect option.

How Do I Use It?

The first thing you’ll want to do is navigate to the Craft website and download the codebase. Make sure you’ve got PHP 5.3x or above and MySQL 5.1 or above installed. You’ll also want to ensure your web host is capable of meeting Craft’s requirements (Hostdedi is, don’t worry).

Finally, you’ll also need an FTP client such as Transmit and a rich text editing tool.

Once you’ve downloaded Craft, unzip it somewhere on your computer. You’ll then be confronted with two folders, craft/ and public/. The former will need to be uploaded to your server in its entirety, above your web root. The public folder can be uploaded wherever you choose.

Next., you need to set Craft’s permissions. At minimum, you’ll need to ensure that craft/app/, craft/config/, and craft/storage/ have write permissions assigned to them. You can find recommended permission settings here.

Your third step will be to create your database, then you’ll need to ensure Craft is properly configured to connect to said database. Your host can help you with this step, and walk you through configuration. However, you may need to take care of ensuring Craft knows where that database is and how to connect to it.

With all that out of the way, all that’s left to do is run the installed and start building your website. Note that Craft uses HTML website templates constructed in Twig, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it. Plugins are

Get Creating

In a lot of ways, WordPress is designed to be a jack of all trades. It’s a content management system that can do just about anything you want it to. Craft isn’t like that. It’s made to do one thing, and one thing only.

But it does that extremely well. If you’re willing to look past the fact that you’ll need to design your own website and (probably) code your own plugins, Craft can excel at just about any content project you set it to. And if you need a great host to help you run things, why not give Hostdedi a try?

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January 2018’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

January 2018’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

Now that we’re well into the New Year, let’s take a look at what’s been trending so far so we can stay on top of the game! Check out this month’s roundup and if you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and…

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The Internet’s Best Website Content from December 2017

The Internet’s Best Website Content from December 2017

Happy New Year! As we roll into 2018, clean up your databases and get your site ready for this new year. Need some help? Check out this month’s roundup! If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.>Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section.

WordPress and WooCommerce

Content Management Systems & Blogging

Design and Development

Magento and eCommerce

3 Things Improv Comedy Taught Me About Starting a Business – Discover the relation between improv comedy and starting, and running a company.

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November 2017’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

November 2017’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

Tis the season! We hope you’re ready for the holidays and your site is fully optimized for the coming rush. Still unprepared? Check out this month’s roundup. Get to it before the weather turns frightful! If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.…

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Looking Forward to Craft CMS 3

Looking Forward to Craft CMS 3

Craft CMS 3Craft CMS is a favorite of developers and designers because it’s engineered with careful attention to the needs of professionals who build complex content sites. At the beginning of 2017, the beta for Craft CMS 3 was released, bringing hundreds of changes and improvements.

When the Beta was released, Pixel & Tonic estimated that it’d take 6–9 months to work the kinks out, so it’s time to take a close look at what Craft enthusiasts can expect when Craft CMS 3 is production-ready.

Craft CMS 3 isn’t ready for primetime just yet, but if you want to test it, the beta can be downloaded from GitHub.

PHP 7 Required

Craft CMS 3 requires PHP 7. PHP 7 is much faster than previous PHP versions, includes numerous enhancements, and is more secure. Some Craft CMS users may not be pleased that they’ll be required to find hosting that supports PHP 7, but at this point, a hosting company that declines to update to the most recent version of PHP should be regarded with suspicion.

Hostdedi supports PHP 7 across our hosting products.

Image Editing

This is one of my favorite new features. Craft CMS 3 includes a built-in image editor with the most frequently used image transformations. Users can crop, rotate, and straighten photos. A nice touch is the ability to set focal points so that Craft knows which area of the image is most important when applying transformations.

Composer Compatibility

Composer — a tool for managing PHP dependencies — has become an essential part of the PHP workflow for many developers. They’ll be pleased to hear that with the release of Craft CMS 3, it will be possible to manage and install Craft and plugins with Composer.

Craft CMS Multi-site

In response to a developer hack that used Craft CMS’s Locales feature to create multiple sites, Craft 3 introduces a new feature that makes the creation of multiple sites from a single installation (and with a single license) much easier.

More Powerful Templates

Craft’s Twig templates are a key part of what makes the content management system so appealing to developers. Without having to tangle with the PHP innards of Craft, developers are able to quickly build beautiful, functional front-end themes using standard web languages.

With Craft 3, templates get a significant power-up, with the addition of access to Craft’s Application instance and its associated services and components.

Craft 3 includes more than 600 changes. It’s a major update, so developers will want to take some time to check out what’s different before the final release.

Hostdedi provides a wide range of Craft CMS hosting options with a technology stack engineered to offer the best possible content management and publishing experiences, including Craft shared hosting, dedicated servers, and custom clusters for high-traffic Craft CMS sites.

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