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CMS or Framework – Which is More Efficient for a Startup

If you are just starting up a new online business and wondering what is better – CMS or Framework, you are at the right place. In this guide, we will discuss the effects of both Framework and CMS in four features. When it comes to developing a website to start up a new business, understanding the differences between both platforms can ensure smoother performance in website maintenance and development.

What are Frameworks and CMS?

First of all, we will define what CMS is. As the name suggests, CMS or Content Management System helps a business owner to manage their website’s content. Once the website is ready completely, you can login and access any function of your website.

You can, then, change the text on any page, start an Ecommerce site, manage inventory, add new products, change the price of products, and perform any functions once you have the access to your CMS-based website. In short, you can make changes to your website easily without relying on developers. Some of the most common CMS options are Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla.

On the other side, a framework is a custom code which is written by the user in a predefined method. By considering PHP as a primary language, developers can develop the applications and modules with the core features of programming. It also includes various other frameworks to provide support to several library features. A web developer can develop a more customized site with frameworks. But only IT team can maintain and design a website completely. In simple words, only technical users can work on frameworks. The core functions and programming language behind a website are not for non-technical users. Some of the common frameworks are Zend, Laravel, CodeIgniter Frameworks.

CMS vs. Framework – The Features

To get further information to decide whether to go for Framework or CMS, we have listed the four important features to develop and maintain a website. These major functions are Upgrades, Flexibility, Security, and the UX or User Experience, managed differently in both platforms.

  1. Flexibility

According to your specific business needs, you may want to add several functions to your website as well as mixing with various third-party applications. You may often want your site to perform independently and connect with other systems at the same time. For instance –

  • You may want your website to connect with FileMaker or other order-processing systems, where the orders can be processed independently but they should be generated from your site only.
  • You may want your website to work with Salesforce or other CRM to send the registration data.

Despite having different types of functions, CMS websites don’t have flexible applications. The applications in these sites are pre-defined and are often limited in creativity. In CMS website, a lot of plug-ins and modules may need you to make several custom changes. On the other side, frameworks have several library options that you can easily customize as per your business needs.

Verdict – Flexibility wise, Frameworks win the race against CMS.

  1. Security

Security is a major concern whether developing an application or an official business website. Hackers are always looking for advanced ways to attack your website, change the look of your website, or even destroy it. It can damage the overall value of your website.

Generally, CMS platforms are open source. Hence, anyone can access the code base. Different developer communities build widgets, plug-ins, or modules. When any loophole is found, developers quickly launch a new version of a feature using a safe code. If you are using a CMS site, you should install the latest plug-in from trusted partners.

When compared to CMS, frameworks give added security to your website. By using custom code, that can make it more difficult to compromise the security. A lot of frameworks come with built-in features to protect and encrypt website to avoid vulnerabilities like –

  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
  • SQL Injection
  • CRSF or Cross Site Request Forgery

Verdict – A well-developed website based on Framework is more secure than CMS-based one.

  1. UX or User Experience

Now that’s what I call user friendly!

CMS websites are built by considering the need of a website manager. Website content is easy to manage in CMS websites. A business owner can easily change the data on their website without any confusion. Generally, CMS have responsive themes so when any plug-in or module you put into your desktop site, it will work on mobile version too.

Usually, a PHP framework doesn’t come with default UI. Hence, CMS is more user-friendly. But it has library functions to create the interface for the users. One can easily use CSS frameworks like SASS or Bootstrap with PHP frameworks to give best user experience to a website. These front-end frameworks make it possible to develop responsive, mobile friendly website design.

Verdict – CMS takes a bow when it comes to providing interactive user experience effortlessly.

  1. Upgrades

It is very important to use the latest code functions to keep your website up to date. Upgrades help to ensure the security of your website. CMS gets updates virtually every month.

You have to keep your website up-to-date using the latest upgrades just from the time when it is available. The website would be running even without updates. But it won’t be as user-friendly and secure. Here are some of the common upgrades in CMS –

  • New features
  • Security patches
  • SEO support
  • New plug-ins support

On the flip side, Frameworks don’t get updates too frequently, unlike CMS. Most of the frameworks get updates with new features, but not so early. Some websites can go up to 6 months without any update and still be working and secure.

Verdict – It is up to your preferences on updates when it comes to choosing between Frameworks or CMS. Both of these options have their own pros and cons.


How would you decide between a CMS and framework to start your business site? When it comes to choosing, consider the core features of both options and get an insight regarding security, upgrades, flexibility, and user experience.  Consider your business needs and what is important to your business.


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