CMS Showdown: TYPO3 v WordPress - Which is the best?

Written by Pranath Fernando on 4th September 2017

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CMS Showdown: TYPO3 v WordPress - Which is the best?

For most websites a Content Management System (CMS) is an essential tool that can help you create and manage your website more easily. There are of course many CMS's - with strange names, and very different features - but which is the best? Well the answer to this really depends on what you're website needs to do. Therefore the best way to answer this question is to first develop a clearer idea of what your website needs are.

Below we will compare the pros and cons of two of the most significant yet vastly different open source CMS's - TYPO3 and WordPress. We will then highlight various scenarios for which each of these CMS's is best suited to. This combined with a clearer idea of what your website needs to do, should help you decide which of these two CMS's might be best for you.

WordPress: pros & cons

Pros 

  • Easily set up with little to no technical knowledge required
  • Wide range of free or affordable 3rd party 'plugins' that can expand the features of your website for commonly required things such as maps, forms, image sliders, and many more
  • Wide range of 'themes' (free or affordable, & automagically responsive to different devices such as mobiles and tablets) that can completely change the look and design of your website quickly and easily
  • Good degree of security, due to widespread use and frequent & automatic updates

Cons

  • Vulnerabilities due to use of 3rd party plugins and popularity of the WordPress platform (making it a more likely target for hackers)
  • Can require more time/budget to customise to bespoke requirements

TYPO3: pros & cons

Pros

  • LTS (long term support) versions - TYPO3 releases specific versions of the CMS with long term support. With a LTS version of typo3 installed, for that version you will get 12 months support for all bugs fixed and then a further 2 years support of priority & security bug fixes - 3 years support in total
  • Excellent support for multi-lingual websites and managing multi-language content in an easy to understand way
  • Regarded as an 'enterprise class' CMS, able to manage very large and complex websites required for big business & major organisations e.g. Thomas Cook, Panasonic, Star alliance (see https://typo3.org/typo3-cms/case-studies/)
  • Good for integrating data from other systems
  • Granular access control which allows editors unique and controlled access to specific areas of the site(s)
  • Good range of free 3rd party plugins

Cons

  • Usually requires medium to high degree of technical expertise to set up & maintain (i.e. apply bug fixes, security updates), and to add new features
  • Limited freely available (and attractive) 'themes' to change look & design of website without use of professional web developers
  • No automatic updates for the CMS

Pros Common to TYPO3 & WordPress

  • Free to use
  • Runs on relatively cheap platform (LAMP stack)
  • Can handle multi-site installations
  • Strong development community adding new & free features that can be relatively easily integrated into site, also good for highlighting technical problems and providing fixes for them.

Which is the best?

Comparing WordPress to TYPO3 is a bit like comparing a champion fly-weight boxer to a champion heavy-weight boxer: in many ways they can't be directly compared - they are in a different league to each other in terms of the kinds of websites they are suited for, and are arguably both 'champions' in each of their respective niches.

Therefore, to identify which of these 'champion CMS boxers' might be best for you, consider which of the following features best characterises your website.

If one or more of the following best describes the needs of your website

  • Relatively simple website, with extra features only very common ones (e.g. forms, maps, etc)
  • Have a small-medium budget and prefer to create & manage website yourself for the lowest cost e.g. are happy to choose a website design from a range of pre-existing ones, or require only very common features
  • Have a mid-size budget and are happy to spend it e.g. on a better custom design
  • Do not require website in multiple languages

Then out of the two, WordPress is probably the best CMS for you.

If however one or more of the following best describes the needs of your website:

  • Needs to be able to handle multiple languages
  • A complex website with complex page hierarchies & specialised functionality
  • Have mid to large sized budget to spend on website professionals for assistance with the design / build / maintenance of the site
  • Need to integrate content with data from other systems/sources

Then out of the two, TYPO3 is probably the best CMS for you. There are of course many other CMS's, with their own pros and cons, some of the most notable / popular also include Joomla, Magento, Shopify & Drupal. For many who need a basic and simple websites with little to no budget - WordPress can be a very good option. But for anything more demanding than that, it might be best to recruit the services of professional web developers or design agencies that will be able to advise you on the best CMS/solution for your website needs.

This article was posted in Client Guides by Pranath Fernando

  • Pranath Fernando

    Pranath Fernando

    Pranath is our back-end developer who knows the deepest, darkest secrets of our CMS of choice - Typo3. In his free time he likes to balance the mind and body doing plenty of hot yoga, freediving, SUP, or balancing on his new slackline in front of the old west pier.

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