Choosing the right CMS

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A Content Management System - CMS is a collection of tools designed to allow easy , modification organization and removal of content from a web site.
The problem
The majority of websites today cannot be maintained by a notepad with HTML for the following reasons:

Most of the users and website administrators are not technical gurus
It is extremely time-consuming and error-prone
A significant quantity of the content is dyna mic
A lot of the website are just too large to be hand edited by HTML
Historical Background
Software called CMS was invented to make website construction and management easier. The first commercial CMS was the Vignette StoryServer. Hardly anyone uses StoryServer anymore. It is bulky, expensive, and very user-unfriendly.
Microsoft came up with MSCMS 2001 and MSCMS 2002. Both products could work fantastically well or turn into your worst nightmare. The configuration makes all the difference. If you are thinking of getting a new CMS, do not consider MSCMS. A newer version is not is the pipeline and the existing ones lack several key functionalities present in newer CMS.

A web host that would allow you to choose your CMS
Most websites are run on virtual servers. There is no reason why you cannot use a CMS on a virtual server. Look for a web server that offers fantastico. Fantastico is the leading autoinstaller for cPanel servers. It integrates with cPanel and gives you the ability to install multiple instances of any of programs listed by your web host. This list often includes a list of CMS. In other words, fantastico would allow you to choose the CMS you would like to install.

Choosing a CMS that suits your needs
Whenever you ask seasoned webmaster which CMS you should use, he would tell you that it all depends on what you need and then he might mention the one he likes best. He might even advise you to visit www.opensourcecms.org. This is a great website but there is just too much information for someone who just wants to know which CMS to use. So I have summarized some points which concern the 4 best CMS and their prime features. Please feel free to add to or critique these points in the comments.

The 4 most noteworthy CMS are Joomla!, Mambo, Drupal, and Xoops
Web designers love Joomla and Mambo due to their superior design and template functionalities.
Web developers love Drupal because of its power and flexibility.
Xoops is great for someone who just wants a quick and easy solution.
Xoops is also loved by developers who like to customize the CMS to their individual needs through coding.
Go for Mambo/Joomla if
you want a quick and easy setup
you are not concerned about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
you don’t need to integrate with other software such as coppermine
you are short on time
you are not worried about the consumption of server resources
you won’t have a complex set of login, group, and permissions
you won’t be running membership sites
you want to be able to change your website’s design in a jiffy
you won’t be needing much besides what the CMS is offering
Go for Drupal if
you absolutely need Search Engine Optimization
you need to integrate with other software such as coppermine
you must used your server resources very prudently
you have a complex set of login, group, and permissions
you will be running membership sites
you want be changing your website’s design frequently
you might be needing more besides what the CMS is offering
you want a powerful templating system
you would be willing to invest some of your time to realize exactly what you want
you need the more flexibility and fewer limitations
you want to work with a powerful CMS with an extensive API
Specialized Content Management Systems
There are several specialized content management systems which concentrate on precise tasks. For example, coppermine [http://coppermine-gallery.net] concerns itself with photo galleries. Moodle [http://moodle.org] is designed exclusively for elearning.

Conclusion
The content management system technology is essential, inexpensive, efficient, powerful and mature. If you are not using one, consider using it. Web hosting services were unwilling to offer CMS services since it gave more access to the server than they desired. Fantastico is changing this status quo. More and more web hosts are offering custom CMS installation using fantastico at no additional cost.

The best CMS is often a matter of choice, taste, and need. Joomla, Mambo, and Drupal are certainly very popular and powerful but this doesn't mean that all others are seriously deficient. In fact, several lesser known CMS are very innovative and seem to be heading in the right direction.

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Please feel free to publish this article, free of charge, as long as this resource box is visibly published. Copyright Nazim Rahman (c) http://www.selfimprovement.ch

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