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Choosing your CMS

CiviCRM works with what are arguably the three most popular open source Content Management Systems (CMS).

  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Wordpress

Before starting a project you should consider how you plan to use CiviCRM both now and in the future. Two big questions are; How much information from CiviCRM do we want to display on our website (e.g. A live list of our current members)? What information, collected through our website, do we want to store in CiviCRM (e.g. Family data from a public form with the family relationships automatically added). This is known as integration. How much integration you require will help you determine which is the best CMS for you.

You may also choose a CMS because you already know how to use it or it is already used by your organisation. Each CMS has different advantages and disadvantages and different people will give you views on which is better. This chapter gives a quick introduction to each of them.

Drupal is the most flexible and has the best integration with CiviCRM. If you have complex CMS needs or envisage a lot of interaction between users on your website and your CRM, then Drupal might be the CMS for you. The main negative is that this flexibility makes it harder for new site builders to get to grips with.

Joomla isn't as popular as WordPress, though it is more popular than Drupal. Joomla is easier to learn than Drupal. The amount of integration available is lower than then when using Drupal.

WordPress is by a wide margin the most popular of the three CMS's. It is considered to be very easy to build sites using Wordpress, especially for people that are not familiar with web technology. A lot of people know WordPress as a blogging platform rather than a CMS, but it is becoming more powerful and flexible with each release. The amount of integration available is lower than when using Drupal.

The following chapters in this section go into more detail about what is offered for each CMS.

Users and Contacts

Anonymous site visitors and those with a website login are website Users Individuals and organisations with a CiviCRM record are Contacts