CMS or Frameworks?

By Roman Berezhnoi April 10, 2019 11.48K views

CMS or Frameworks?

What to choose for website development; a framework or CMS (Content Management System)? How do they differ in general and what are the advantages and disadvantages of frameworks and CMS.

A framework is a set of codes used to build websites and web applications.

Unlike a CMS, it doesn’t have ‘ready-to-use’ tools to manage and update content. However, a framework does come with ‘common codes’ that serve as building blocks for developing your website, making it a relatively easier option compared to coding completely from scratch.

Examples of frameworks include:

1. React.js. It is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library for building user interfaces or UI components. It is maintained by Facebook and a community of individual developers and companies. React can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications. You can read the article about the benefits of using React.js framework with WordPress CMS.

2. .NET. The NET framework from Microsoft supports C#, F#, and Visual Basic programming languages.
.NET Core is a cross platform framework that extends the building and running of applications in Windows, Linux, and macOS servers.

2. Laravel. Laravel is a PHP framework. It has been a preferred framework by developers for years for its vast ecosystem. You can read more about the best PHP frameworks that web developers use.

3. CodeIgniter. CodeIgniter is another PHP framework known for its hassle-free installation and small footprint. It is best used for beginners and developing light-weight applications.

4. Symfony. Symfony is one of the oldest used PHP frameworks. It’s often the first choice for many developers for large-scale enterprise projects due to the extensive availability of reusable libraries and components.

A Content Management System (CMS) is an application that consists of features and functionalities that enable you to easily manage and publish content in a website or webshop without needing a developer.

A typical CMS has two major components:

1) a content management application (CMA), which allows you to add, modify, and remove the content on your site;

2) a content delivery application (CDA), which is what works behind the scenes, compiling the content you input in the CMA, updating it, and delivering it to the frontend of your site.

Widely used open-source CMS platforms include:

1. WordPress. WordPress is an open-source CMS based on PHP and MySQL. Launched in 2003, it is still considered as one of the simplest ways to create a website, online store or web application.

2. Umbraco. Umbraco was launched in 2004 and is one of the leading CMS built systems with a .NET framework. It boasts user-friendly features and flexible content management strategy.

3. Magento. Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform written in PHP. It’s the popular ecommerce platforms due to its rich features and scalability.

3. Drupal. Drupal is another open-source CMS. It is often used in content-heavy systems. With its large selection of plugins, Drupal offers extensive opportunities for customization.

4. Joomla!. Joomla is the second most used CMS platform. Like Drupal, it offers a large selection of plugins.

Frameworks take more time in terms of development, but any idea is achievable without any problems and there wouldn’t be any need of installing a plugin.
Everything is literally achievable with frameworks, you can build the user interface and decide how it will show in the browser. Whereas In a CMS always involve third-parties modules which can be detrimental at time. For example, some malicious code that can add links to other sites in your project.

One of the main advantages of using a CMS is the time that it saves. And this helps developers a lot during production as they often work according to deadlines.

While using a CMS, you have to follow its logic of operation, therefore all user interactions will work according to a specific algorithm. In some cases, this is advantageous, especially when the freelancer does not have enough experience to work with the framework.

A framework gives complete freedom of action. The web developers wrote the foundation, which, you can implement any project. But for high-quality website or web app development on the framework, you must have a sufficient level of knowledge. In addition, if we are talking about creating a unique, large-scale online project, then no CMS can cope with this task.

Let’s just dive in.

Advantages and disadvantages of CMS and frameworks

Advantages of CMS

  • Speed. A template solution can be created very quickly.
  • Ready-to-use admin panel. On many popular CMS, there is a fairly comfortable and understandable admin panel.
  • Ease of development. In many cases, to create a simple, working website, you do not need to have knowledge in the field of design or web development. You just need to install any CMS (for example WordPress) and the template for it.

Disadvantages of CMS

  • Limited functionality. Any actions that are not within the framework of the CMS lead to negative consequences. It is possible to add custom functionality, but this will require a high level of knowledge and experience from the developer. In addition, the development of such functionality is often more difficult than using the framework, so it will cost more for the customer.
  • Redundancy. The task of the developers of content management systems (CMS), is to create the most versatile product, so they all contain a huge number of functions, which are often not used. But it adversely affects the load and speed of work.
  • Sometimes, in order to correct or change some part of the site, you need to know how the CMS works as a whole.
  • A site built using a CMS performs less good than a site that is developed from a framework.

Benefits of frameworks

  • Flexibility. You can implement any idea without a “conflict” with the engine.
  • Performance. Much better performance compared to CMS.

Disadvantages of Frameworks

  • Complexity in terms of development. Working with a FrameWork require extensive knowledge and experience to create a decent product.
  • Lack of administrative part. The site editing section needs to be written independently, and this is essentially the creation of another site.
  • Time. Development takes much longer than development using CMS.

The main factors to consider in choosing between CMS and frameworks


If your project have too complex requirements (specific UI/UX design, specific business functionalities), you can choose a framework web development. Because a CMS can’t handle specific requirements, then a framework such as Laravel or React.js is more suitable.
But if you want a blog, small online shop or website, then WordPress is an excellent system that would suit your needs.

Target time

A CMS already comes with the basic features necessary to build a website or online shop, making development time shorter compared to frameworks. It allows you to start making money in no time.
If you’re a startup owner who is working with a minimum viable product (MVP) and you’re aiming to go live as soon as possible, then CMS may be the better option for you.
F5 Studio’s team is experienced in design and developmnet websites for startups.


Since CMS-based web development takes less time, it costs less too. With framework, not only is development time longer but most functionalities and features you want for your website must be developed, leading to higher cost.
If you has a shoe-string budget, you can choose a website development at fixed price.


Websites or webshops created through frameworks are more scalable since you’re not limited by an project architecture not meeting your requirements like in a CMS.

Sum up

When is it better to use a CMS?

  1. When the project requires a template solution that is within the CMS.
  2. A quick, temporary or short-term solution
  3. When the client has a shoe-string budget to develop a site (it is much cheaper to launch a site using CMS than to create a site using a framework)

When is it better to use the framework?

  1. When the client needs a Custom, non-template project
  2. When working on a project that is actively changing or adapting to trends.

There is no right or wrong option between CMS and frameworks for developing your site. As you can see either of these two options has its advantages and disadvantages. Some experts will choose frameworks for web development, but sometimes using a CMS will be a much more cost-effective solution.

The choice between using a framework or an open source CMS lies on what it will be used for and what your business needs are. If your website or webshop’s features can be achieved using CMS like WordPress or Magento then you’d be better off using them.
However, frameworks like .NET or React.js lets you build a website or online shop that’s customized for your business needs. Although it will require much work, you get the ability to develop a system 100% the way you want it – with features not found in CMS.
Also web developers can use CMS with frameworks and libraries to get more benefits.

Professional digital agency should create both CMS-based websites and framework-based websites.

Choosing the right solution for your project is challenging task. You can contact the F5 Studio web development agency that in front of professional WordPress website development and using modern web technologies for web development to get a free consultation.

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