What is a content management system (CMS)?


A content management system (CMS) is a software to collaboratively design, edit and organize content mostly in web pages, but also in other forms of media.

These may consist of text and multimedia documents. An author with access privileges to such a system can in many cases operate with little programming or HTML knowledge, as the majority of the systems has a graphical user interface.

Special emphasis is placed on CMS on a media-neutral data management. Thus, a PDF or HTML document, can be generated in fully dynamic systems only when the query from the database is made.

Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3 and WordPress are amongst the most popular open source CMS. WordPress and Joomla are currently the most widely used.


The main purpose of a content management system (CMS) is to manage and target groups as well as barrier-free representation of textual and multimedia content for web browsers.

In addition to the main content of a page with more content to be included, such as

Meta-information such as publication date, author, table of contents,
Multiple use of content by transclusions and
external data sources, such as calendars, cards and user data (eg Gravatar) via third party application programming interfaces (API) or web services such as RSS.

Besides the presentation of content, the CMS automatically offers alternative content aggregation:

  • Categories
  • temporal changes to newly created content
  • machine-readable output of content for feeds (such as Atom, RSS), micro formats or programming interfaces for integration with other services (eg as JSON)
  • Interesting content for the reader
  • Print version.

Through the built-in content lifecycle management content can be automatically published or archived time-limited.

Integrated search engines also allow the user to browse the contents of a Web page. These search engines are either already integrated in the software or be integrated as external services.

OpenSearch allows you to access the search also outside of the website. Do not confuse these options with which so-called meta-search engines.

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