Simple CMS for a simple website ?

Dear readers,

I’m looking for a simple CMS, that would be usable by a non-programmer to write a simple website with less than 10 pages, not updated too frequently.

– maintained/supported, but won’t force me to upgrade for security reasons every month
– good wysiwyg editor (including positioning of images). Wiki-like markup is not an option.
– easy to learn, easy to use.
– doesn’t look like a CMS or a blog for the visitors.
– usable by a non-programmer. Please suggest something that your parents would be able to use :-)

Bonus points if:
– documentation available in french
– available as a Debian package
– doesn’t expose many complex about publication workflow, user management, etc

So, suggestions ?

36 thoughts on “Simple CMS for a simple website ?

  1. I have used Concrete5 for similar projects as well as some commercial projects. It takes about an hour to get the hang of editing-wise (tested on people of various computing abilities).

    It’s still a largish system, but it’s organised well so editing/adding is fairly organic. So that said, it does still need updating because security is always an issue.

    The biggest “setup” timesink is getting it themed. There are existing themes so if this doesn’t need to be highly branded, perhaps a prefab will do fine. Otherwise, you can look at investing a couple of days+ getting it templated (Note: I do this for a living and that’s how long it takes me to get a polished result, YMMV).

    I’d suggest playing with their demo.

    Or setting up something really simple with django-flatpages and an admin-tweak, if you’re that-way inclined. It won’t be as nice an interface but it’ll be faster and you’ll get security updates through apt.

  2. Agreed with the above coomment about wordpress. Just use the pages feature and you can have it more like a site. See my site as an example.

    We used the pages function to create the “site”, and then the blog to talk about the different techniques that you can do. Just remove the categories bit from the template (very easy to do) and you’ve turned wordpress into a website only system.



  3. Drupal. Yes, there were some security updates in the last few months, but most issues were related to user input. So if you only use it by yourself, you can turn off user registration. Have a look at my homepage, its Drupal running and many other site uses drupal too.

  4. I’ve used Pivot (, which is more like blogging software, but can be configured to be used as a CMS.
    A really simple CMS is CMSimple ( Very quick to setup, lots of templates available to change looks.
    A more serious CMS is Joomla. Very active community, tons of plugins to add functionality and change looks.

    None are available a Debian package, but I’ve tried or used all of these application on a Debian server. WordPress is a Debian package.

  5. WordPress should do.

    Anyway, whatever you do, DON’T pick drupal, it’s a piece of crap when it comes to usability and easiness.

  6. @Dread Knight.
    Thank you for making fun of somebody’s work.
    It’s not a piece of crap when it comes to usability. It does has flaws but 90% of the time you would not notice them.
    The problem is that it has a very steep learning curve it’s true.
    Anyhow i would recommend Joomla for your needs. It’s easier to learn, has wysiwyg by default and in general it’s pretty well suited for a small-ish site.

  7. dotClear?

    Mostly made by French people too, so you’ll get excellent support.

  8. Disclaimer: I am one of the developers of the TurnKey Linux, so I might be biased, and forgive me if this post seem like a plug, it isn’t meant to be.

    Before suggesting a CMS, let me attempt to fulfill your platform requirements by suggesting TurnKey Linux appliances, they are:

    – Auto-updated daily with latest security patches.

    – Easy to use configuration console and web management interface

    – Minimal footprint (typically around 150MB)

    – Based on Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS (Hardy).

    See for more details.

    As regards to the CMS, I personally prefer Drupal as it is the most powerful and flexible CMS I have ever used (used to power the Ubuntu and Canonical websites), but comes with a learning curve.

    In addition to TurnKey Drupal5 and Drupal6, we also have TurnKey WordPress and TurnKey Joomla appliances which you might want to give a go.


    Good luck!

  9. I used CMS Made Simple for quite a while, but now WordPress has caught up to them in terms of “simple and easy to use”, so now I’m moving people over to WordPress. My girlfriend knows how to use it for crying out loud. (hopefully she won’t read this :)

  10. Go with Drupal. The only trick is to do the initial setup properly and chose the right theme (or create one).

    While most people recommend WordPress, my advice would be to stay away from it. Great CMS if all you need is a blog, not so much for your requirements.

  11. WordPress! Anyone can figure it out, and you can choose from all kinds of themes for it and create all the static pages you need.

    Joomla’s supposed to be better for creating a “pretty” website that isn’t updated as frequently, but it sounds like you’d rather spend your time learning to use other things than your CMS. ^.^

  12. Either wordpress or a wiki software (my suggestion is twiki). WordPress is probably simpler to use and should be able to look not too like a blog.
    A wiki is probably a little harder to learn, but if you want interlinking pages is probably easier than trying to do it in wordpress

  13. After spending hours trying some CMS demos, with needs like yours (a few pages, wysiwyg, simple to use), I ended with CMS Made Simple, and I’m very happy with it.

    The installation is easy, the customization may need a little knowledge (a few smarty templates to modify), but once it is set up, it’s really easy. It uses TinyMCE as editor (easily customizable if you want to prevent users from using fuschia Comic Sans MS), wich even uses the front-end CSS.

    The site structure is a tree (I prefer that to categories/tags, at least for a small website), and interlinking is made easy in the editor. Image/file management is also easy, and the documentation is available in french.

  14. WordPress is the right choice. Simple to use, self maintained (updates & upgrades) & plenty of free themes!

  15. With my little experience, Joomla is really easy and user-friendly.
    You can also customize with some existing plug-in.
    If you need develop new functionality, it’s simple.
    Many book existing over internet and other media (packt or <a href=”″ title=”amazon”)

  16. If you want to set something up from scratch, I’ve got to agree with the WordPress idea. You can get some nice templates too, so it won’t look too much like a blog.

    If you want something for a site that’s already up-and-running which is easy to edit, then try as it’s all edited via the front end.

  17. I’d strongly recommend Joomla. It’s very easy to set up and use, has a very good WYSIWYG editor and you can make it look like whatever you like through a well designed template system. There are some very good third party template designers such as Rocket Theme if you don’t feel like spending time on the template yourself and there are also thousands of extensions available for just about anything you might want to do with a website.

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