Choosing a content management system (CMS) on which to build your website is a common question many people ask.
Without prior knowledge of what CMS options are available, this task can be quite daunting, seeing as there are newer systems on the market every year.
You’ve probably already heard about WordPress, which runs over 30 percent of the entire internet.
However, its popularity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best, as there are other CMS options that win on several fronts, depending on your circumstances.
When it comes to choosing between SilverStripe and WordPress, they’re both great, intuitive CMS solutions developed brilliantly, but you need to define the scope so you’re not sucked into fancy functionality that you won’t use.
They’re also versatile and capable CMS software you can use to create professional, interactive, and highly ranked websites in the shortest time possible.
We’re going to shed some light on the two CMS solutions, plus their ins and outs, so you can make the right choice for your needs.
Originally co-founded by Sigurd Magnusson, SilverStripe is a pioneer, flexible, open-source CMS with incredible potential, despite being fairly new to the market.
It may not have a lead over WordPress in the website categories, but it’s managed to win awards, and continue maintaining a steady flow of new projects.
In fact, it’s been downloaded more than 1 million times, with more than 4,000 sites built on its framework.
Its global network also has more than 400 agencies and freelancers, which is a paltry figure compared to WordPress.
Still, it’s an exceptional system worth considering and a strong contender with the bigger CMS names in the open-source market – not just a little CMS from New Zealand.
The CMS has no regional restrictions and is available in several languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, and more.
Who uses SilverStripe?
Marketers, developers, and agencies from SME or enterprise backgrounds all leverage the power of SilverStripe for different purposes.
Developers use its framework to build secure, high-performing and robust sites and apps, besides creating a responsive and accessible user experience.
Content teams and marketers use the CMS to create and publish content quickly on blogs, websites, and mobile apps.
Agencies, on the other hand, leverage the platform to manage client site hosting, maintenance, and support.
This gives them more time to win more projects and develop memorable frontend experiences.
Why choose SilverStripe?
SilverStripe is easy to use, SEO-friendly, and super-secure as its robust security is threaded across its interface and back-end technology.
It also doesn’t rely on third-party plugins like WordPress for better functionality.
Each tool it offers is built and developed by SilverStripe, cutting out rogue developer or plugin issues.
The fully managed platform-as-a-service allows web teams to focus on creating great apps, while it handles infrastructural and support issues.
It also offers Amazon Web Services Cloud Hosting (AWS), which means you get market-leading flexibility and reliability.
SilverStripe’s superior developer experience means you can easily and simply build your website on the platform thanks to the wealth of training resources, clear documentation, and demos available to guide you.
Their expert support team is also at hand, constantly monitoring your site to ensure things are running well.
The CMS is built on top of its own former sapphire PHP framework, now called SilverStripe framework, which offers flexibility to developers such that they focus more on user experience than basic tasks.
At a high level, this framework saves you time and money spent creating basic website building blocks or adding features to existing code.
Instead, you can use the time to build the functionality you want and easily add new fields to elements in the CMS.
It’s also easier to switch developers, as the framework code is easy to understand. Its documentation also makes it easy for new developers to take over and continue with the site.
The framework allows web teams, governments, and organizations to deliver unique and complex digital strategies on any type of web experience.
These include lightweight informational sites to ecommerce sites with complex transactions.
SilverStripe’s in-house template language is easy to maintain, clean, and lets you develop your site’s front end quickly.
This translates to less time and money spent developing the site, plus it’s easier to make future updates.
SilverStripe’s CMS is beautiful and easy to navigate.
It’s also easy to install by simply clicking the “Install SilverStripe” button and the installation is done pretty fast.
The admin engine is also easy to use and quite different from other CMS platforms, as it separates widgets and themes from the CMS.
SilverStripe offers three different view modes when editing a page in the CMS. From the content editor, you can choose between the edit, split, or preview mode to streamline the editorial process.
- In edit mode, which is ideal for lower resolution screens, you can see the full CMS view.
- Split mode, ideal for high-resolution screens, gives a preview of the current page under editing and the edit screen.
- Preview mode shows a preview of the page you’re editing.
With these three modes, you can switch to the one you prefer instead of using tabs or windows to see what the actual page would look like when live.
This is a reusable code that helps manage data on your site.
It’s one of SilverStripe’s advantages, as it saves you time and money spent on the development of controls and interfaces, plus you can manage data from a consistent interface.
SilverStripe is highly extensible because you can extend its core features to suit what you need for your site.
It also means you can manage the code better, particularly because your site’s needs are also growing and changing.
SilverStripe has a huge security advantage over WordPress just because of the latter’s popularity.
It may not be 100 percent secure from malicious threats, but it’s less of a target for hackers compared to WordPress.
It also has built-in security permissions or roles to manage user/group permissions.
With SilverStripe, migrating from one site to another, for example migrating from Joomla to WordPress, is a snap.
You don’t need to update manually, use third-party tools to update your database tables, or run, search, and replace.
SilverStripe has a rich variety of modules you can select from that adds an array of powerful functionality to your site.
Its framework makes it easier to extend the modules to include extra functionality.
Its user community is also quite large and interactive.
SilverStripe offers the following features for content teams and marketers:
- Content authoring, for drafting and publishing content in a non-technical and intuitive style
- Rich text editor that formats content in a painless and straightforward way
- Versioning to keep track of changing versions of the content
- Content queue to schedule content for publishing at a later time and order
- Approval process helps institute approval routing between editors and authors
- Asset management to store and manage rich media files
- Internal search helps you search for content based on tags, keywords, metadata, and other variables
- Content repository manages published and pending/draft content intuitively, besides editing, tagging, approving, and storing the content.
SilverStripe has a breadth of attractive pre-built templates that are free or purchasable to suit your website’s needs. The templates are mobile responsive, available, and easy to customize.
If you want a consistent design across your sites, SilverStripe offers branding for themes and other design elements that unite your site’s pages into a coherent web presence.
You can easily customize your site’s visual appearance based on your needs.
On the SilverStripe platform, you’ll find several elements that contribute to your site’s success including:
- Site SEO elements like pagination, meta tags, page headers, titles, and URL structure
- Flexible navigation to build different or multiple taxonomies that index and store your content
- User role and access management so you can grant access to specific data, features, and more based on users/user role or groups
- Scalability features allow you to scale your site so you can have an expansive web presence
- Internationalization lets your users see and interact with your content in different languages
- Pre-built custom reports and dashboards offer analytics for your site
- APIs/Integrations are also available so you can specify how apps communicate with other software and enable data, logic, and object integration with other apps or software.
SilverStripe Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Super secure
- Development versatility
- User-friendly back-end admin interface
- Large array of tools
- Useful modules
- Professionally designed templates
- Internationalization with multiple languages
- Strong support team
- Power and functionality is hidden from developers
- Small following
- Not as many modules as WordPress
- Lacks third-party documentation
- Empowers developers more than content authors
- Not many themes to choose from
- Limited number of extensions
WordPress is a free, open-source, simple but powerful CMS platform based on PHP and MySQL, which enjoys unbelievable levels of popularity worldwide.
WordPress CMS (WordPress.org) isn’t the same as the blog hosting service (WordPress.com), and this review looks at the popular self-hosted software used by millions of people globally.
It’s easy to use, efficient, and offers unlimited flexibility to create any website type with any level of complexity.
WordPress users include individuals, startups, agencies, SMEs, and enterprises.
The semantic personal publishing CMS platform leads in the top 10K, top 100K, top 1 million sites, and the entire web, and is mainly focused on web standards, aesthetics, and usability.
It’s used in different website categories including business, industry, arts, people, entertainment, religion, society, spirituality, and a host of over 242 other categories.
Like SilverStripe, it also doesn’t have any regional restrictions, and you can use it on major platforms such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, WebOS, and more.
Why use WordPress?
WordPress began in 2003 as a simple platform for blogging, and has since evolved to become an app development framework and CMS.
This means you can build any type of website on the platform.
It’s easy to use and free to download and install, plus you’re free from censorship, or from suspension due to a terms of service violation.
You can also customize it to suit your needs with no restrictions or limits.
For most newbies and users who aren’t tech-savvy, or have experience with code, WordPress offers intuitiveness and simplicity, which makes it the go-to software of choice.
It also packs some powerful SEO capabilities that ensure search engine visibility, plus a plugin library that helps expand the platform’s core functionality as required.
As an open-source tool, WordPress’ core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and powers sites for more than 60 million people.
WordPress separates the content, design, and functionality elements away from each other to allow for data portability, which other website builders don’t.
Thus, regardless of your current design, you can add content and modify the design of the site without making any changes to the content.
You can also add new features without affecting other elements of the site.
Content is stored in a database, while images and other media files are held in a separate folder.
The Post Editor is where you’ll add your content. It’s a simple WYSIWYG editor that comes in two forms – visual and plain text editor – with basic formatting tools.
By default, the editor doesn’t offer drag/drop features for content customization while writing, but you can pick one of their drag/drop page builders if you need this functionality.
A mobile app is also available so you can write, edit, format, and post on the go. It also lets you check your site’s stats remotely.
WordPress manages your site’s appearance through a powerful templating engine that lets developers create themes.
Thousands of premade WordPress themes are available today, each with its own set of basic template files and stylesheets that display the various sections on a WordPress site.
Themes also have their own settings, some with more customization options, depending on the one you choose to use to customize your site’s appearance.
You can pick from any free or paid theme, and use your own layout combinations, colors, and brand identity, including logos.
Alternatively, you can get someone to create your own custom-made theme from the ground up, though this will cost you more than it would picking a free/paid theme from WordPress.
The other route is to use a page builder to create your own custom theme, without paying a developer to do it for you.
WordPress is popular among developers who write their own add-ons or plugins, which can be installed to add more features to your site.
They’re also the main reason why people choose WordPress over other site builders.
So far, there are more than 55,000 plugins available in the WordPress CMS directory, so if you imagine a feature for your site, it’s probably already available as a plugin.
You can get plugins that are complex, with a rich set of features and capabilities, but there are others that are simple and offer a specific feature.
Plugins like WooCommerce and others for ecommerce exist too, with their own ecosystem akin to a platform built on WordPress.
WordPress Pros and Cons
- It’s free to use
- Search-engine friendly
- Complete control over your website’s files and data
- Self-hosted, so you’re not tied to a specific hosting company
- Access to a collection of plugins, extensions, and add-ons
- Easy to customize with thousands of designs and templates
- Third-party integrations available from popular tools
- Huge and interactive user community
- Open source
- You’re responsible for your site’s security, installation updates, and backup
- No built-in drag/drop website builder
- Requires some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS
- Not ideal for huge ecommerce sites
- No integration with customer database, stats, and email marketing
SilverStripe or WordPress: Which is better?
Both CMS solutions are versatile and capable as they let you create top-ranked, interactive sites in the shortest time possible.
SilverStripe may be a newbie on the CMS market, but it’s already struck chords with its audience.
It’s a whole framework, not just a CMS, and offers great functionality.
WordPress, on the other hand, has been on the scene since 2003, and is great for newbies and pros alike.
It combines user-friendliness, ease of use, flexibility, and SEO power, together with a rich plugin collection.
In order to define the best CMS between the two, you need to look at which one offers the best tools for your website needs.
If you’re an experienced developer, you may want to go with SilverStripe as it offers a platform on which you can efficiently filter content, render, and create customized views of complex data.
However, if your priority is a faster way to create a functional and flexible site, regardless of your user experience level, WordPress is the better option.
SilverStripe offers benefits such as intuitive content editing with drag/drop controls and other formatting tools, reduced development time, and improved performance thanks to its cached engine.
It’s also easier to carry out design refreshes owing to the Model View Controller (MVC) methodology, and it offers better security from hackers.
SilverStripe isn’t just a CMS framework, so you can do pretty much anything on it from brochure sites, to complex business critical and transaction systems.
However, you can’t upgrade it at the click of a button as with WordPress.
WordPress offers publishing tools, flexibility, a large user community, user management, and a variety of plugins for added functionality.
However, it’s hindered by limited customization as your requirements must match the plugin’s offerings.
In some respects, the platform has a layout slightly more complex than SilverStripe, as it transitioned into a CMS from a blogging platform.
Its user interface isn’t different from other CMS’, and plugins can interfere with others on the platform, so if you get something wrong, it has dire repercussions.
Thankfully, you can use WordPress without prior web development or coding knowledge, so if you need a quick site, it’s your go-to CMS.
The downside with this is troubleshooting things on your own can be a challenge, especially where compatibility issues come up, so you need a developer standing by to help with any modifications and fixes as issues arise.
Ultimately, your choice will be determined by your requirements and your available budget. If you want a unique site with specific functionalities, SilverStripe is great, but if you’re on a tight budget and requirements aren’t so complex that you can build your own site, go with WordPress.
Different individuals and businesses alike have different priorities, including what CMS to choose over the other.
The main determinants are obviously budget and requirements, which vary from one business or individual to another.
SilverStripe and WordPress are great pieces of software when used within the right parameters and contexts.
Specifically, SilverStripe may probably suit experienced developers better as they’d be looking to create customized views of complex data and render them or filter content efficiently.
In contrast, WordPress is best suited for either newbies with no coding or web development knowledge, or professionals who want to build sites on their own and want a fast solution with great flexibility and functionality all-in-one.
If you want an easy-to-use business website with built-in SEO and flexibility to scale as your business grows, SilverStripe will match that and exceed your expectations.
WordPress boasts a huge user base compared to SilverStripe, which the latter can’t match, at least for now, and is a great CMS for several reasons.
It’s not just widely used and managed, but being open-source, it has a huge community of developers behind it with a wide range of tech support from open forums to local meetups.
You can try both CMS solutions and see the benefits, differences, and detriments to help you make a decision as to which one is right for your site.