Which Content Management platform?

April 28, 2017

We have development experience dating back over 20 years to a time when mass-market Content Management Systems (CMS) didn’t exist. We’ve built with, or tested and advised on, most of the popular CMS, and we feel we are uniquely placed to advise on the best choice for our clients.

The most popular CMS are generally considered to be WordPress, Drupal and Joomla with WordPress powering nearly 60% of the websites on the planet (source). It is also, of the big three, the only one with a growing market share.

We have used all three and inherited projects with the sole aim of moving CMS. In our opinion, Drupal and Joomla are less secure, less well maintained and user-friendly than WordPress or Treeline CMS. They are also fairly technical and difficult to work with and offer no advantage over WordPress or Treeline CMS.

So the obvious choice out of the three would be to build the website using the WordPress Content Management System or, for particularly complex sites with lots of customisation requirements, Treeline CMS.

WordPress is an ‘open-source’ CMS, meaning there are no license or software fees and you’re not tied in to using any particular web developer or agency in the future. It’s also very user-friendly, even for non-technical people who want to add/edit content or features. Treeline uses the same PHP development language and also has no license fees or ongoing cost and, whilst not ‘open-source’, it is a platform that any competent developer will be able to work on. So again, you are not tied to us as an agency.

Is WordPress secure?

One thing to be aware of is the perceived security vulnerability of WordPress. Because WordPress is the most commonly used CMS in the world, it is the target of automated ‘bots’ that scan sites looking to exploit weaknesses in WordPress installations and attempting to infect them with malware or malicious scripts.

This is why you need an experienced agency like Treeline who build security in from the start of the project and have, or can advise on, a secure hosting environment. WordPress itself is an extremely secure piece of software if constantly updated. If sites are set up with the proper security configurations and ‘locked down’ against the bots then they’re perfectly secure. We’ve never had any security problems with any sites we’ve built.

We would always recommend that you add an ‘SSL certificate’ to your site for added security and peace of mind. Although not required, it adds an extra level of security and reassures users. It also helps with rankings in Google.

The alternative

Many leading agencies have developed their own CMS over time. The earliest CMS we developed were for our commercial clients (including Kodak, Apple, Intel) in the late 90’s.

In 2002 we launched Treeline CMS as a product we could offer to our own clients and many choose it because it’s fully tailored to their project, simple to use, powerful and secure. It is not a mass market product so it does not attract ‘bots’ in the same way as the others.

We have developed hundreds of sites on Treeline for charity clients and the UK Department of Health and we have no doubt that it would be an excellent choice for clients who prefer an alternative to WordPress.

As mentioned previously, Treeline CMS is built on the ‘open-source’ principle so any competent PHP developer (this is the same coding language as WordPress) could work on it so, like WordPress, you are not tied to Treeline. It is maintained and supported in the same way as WordPress so again that’s no barrier to its use.


80% of clients would benefit from using either Treeline CMS or WordPress and the majority of our projects are built using these platforms, or occasionally Drupal. However, new products come on the market all the time and we always monitor and evaluate any software we feel is delivering something new and fresh but will also stand the test of time.

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