I have heard about many content management systems (CMSs) such as Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, etc. Many sites are built using these CMSs, but what are CMSs and how do they work? Is a CMS a normal blog-like site which has extended functionality, or can you do more with it?

  • It sounds all wonderful and such. But what if I have my own static website that is already somewhere on the server. How do I combine a CMS and my website? I find this part really confusing.
    – Ship
    Jan 6, 2015 at 11:32
  • @Ship Unfortunately... with a whole lot of work. You could install a pre-packaged CMS and move all of your existing content into it. Or you could develop your own and gradually enhance your website by moving what content you want to be dynamic to a database and create a separate interface to that database that lets your content manager update it.
    – Ben L
    Jan 6, 2015 at 16:01

6 Answers 6


but what is a CMS and How they work(i.e basics)? Is CMS a normal Blog like site which is given many extended functionality, or we can do more from it?

Having developed 3 different CMS, essentially a CMS works like this:

User Enters URL:

  • The URL is matched against records in a database.
  • The "Content" is put together and rendered.
  • This can include any HTML content, and in some cases Coded "Modules" think of them as "Widgets".
  • In this manner an unlimited amount of "Web Pages" can be created.
  • All of this can be altered on the fly, because they are simply database records.
  • A CMS includes a web "Front-end" that allows users to edit the database records via the web.
  • 1
    will a normal website, which also fetch data from database(as normally website do..) be called as CMS??? Jan 14, 2011 at 7:45
  • @Harish No, not unless you have a web front end to manage that data/content.
    – Darknight
    Jan 14, 2011 at 9:15
  • ok @Darkknight got it.. Jan 14, 2011 at 10:19

A CMS is a content management system.

The idea is that it lets the end-user add/remove/update/alter the website's pages, design and layout.

Some are intended for blogs such as WordPress, others for eCommerce such as osCommerce, and some are generic.

It all depends on what you want to do.

They work like any other web application. There is a database, the public front-end that the CMS generates, and the admin "back-end" web site that allows validated users to make changes.

For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_content_management_system


A blog will be built using an implementation of a CMS (Content Management System), this may be a specific CMS geared towards blogs or a more general purpose one.

In this case the content is each blog post.

For the general case the content will depend on what the system is. So for example if you are running a music review site, the content could be text (the review), images (the album art), mp3 files (the music) or even video files.

Often a CMS is used by developers/designers to define the site which is then used by others to upload the content.

For example in a previous job my team used a CMS to create sites for local newspapers which were populated via data feeds directly to the database and administered through the CMS by journalists and editors at the paper. They would edit the feed stories and write content directly into the CMS - in exactly how you would when writing a blog.

  • what will be the content?? will content be an Image file, Music file, Video file or just strings like in the case of blogs.. Jan 13, 2011 at 14:19

As other answers have stated, a CMS is a content management system. These are popular since it means that users don't have to edit the raw HTML which makes up a page; instead there are usually options which mimic familiar programs such as word processors.

Why is this a good thing?

Most users (and by this I mean non-programmers) are put off by HTML - they find it confusing and don't want to learn it. However, they do know how to use word processors and so are quite happy to use a web interface to update their sites.

It also allows non-technical people to manage a website effectively, without having to learn HTML or server-side languages.

  • yeah i agree..but it isnt that simple as i have worked in Drupal it's backed was not user friendly..not techi will get confused.. as our client wanted our people to manage the site as he will give us the content. Jan 14, 2011 at 10:17

I think the most important question what you should ask anyone who wants to get his own website is the point of how frequently the content has to be updated. As pointed out before a CMS is easier to handle for customers who do not understand html coding quite well and therefore faster for them to update their own content.We use different systems depending on what the customer demands for. And as said above we chose the systems we use looking at their user friendly handling. Some CMS systems, I have to agree are really hard to understand for people who are not used to it.


A CMS - Content Management System - is basically any website or application that lets the end-user create and manage content without specialized help from a programmer.

CMS applications can be blogs, eCommerce applications, presentation / portfolio / gallery websites, official websites - anything you can think of that allows a user to manage the content without any specific programming skills.

Many content management systems have evolved well beyond just simple content management and allow users to visually manage anything that is related to the application - layout, design elements, colors and themes, various page templates that can be used to create a specific type of content, menus and the overall application structure, plugins and widgets which can offer specific functionalities tailored to the end-user's preferences etc..

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