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Concrete CMS vs WordPress: which should you use?

If there’s one major decision you’ll need to make when starting a website, it’s which content management system (CMS) to use. Because if you pick a CMS for your website and decide later on that you don’t like it, migrating your website to a different CMS can be pretty difficult and tedious.

While there are many CMSs out there, from Joomla to Drupal and more, today we’re just going to focus on these two: WordPress.org and Concrete CMS.

WordPress.org needs no introduction: it is undoubtedly the world’s most popular open-source CMS, thanks to its general ease of use and flexibility. (Note: WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com - WordPress.org refers to the famous open-source software, while WordPress.com is a managed hosting platform. In this article, we’ll be using “WordPress” to refer to “WordPress.org”.)

On the other hand, Concrete CMS is an open-source CMS that aims to make content management and team collaboration simple. You may know of it through its former name, “concrete5”. But Concrete CMS has captured much less market share than WordPress: for example, BuiltWith estimates that around 56,500 live websites operate on Concrete CMS at the time of writing. Meanwhile, WordPress claims that over 60 million people use WordPress to run their websites!

From these numbers alone, you might immediately conclude that WordPress is the way to go. After all, the crowd has spoken, right? But not so fast - don’t just use a CMS’ popularity (or lack thereof) to decide whether it is ideal for your website. Read on as we compare WordPress and Concrete CMS according to various categories, so you can evaluate which is the better option for you.

Pros & Cons of Concrete CMS vs wordPress

Ease of installation - Concrete CMS vs Wordpress

Whether you go for WordPress or Concrete CMS, installing either CMS should be equally simple if your hosting provider offers a one-click install option for it. In this case, you’ll be able to run an online installation tool that automatically installs your preferred CMS for you. If you opt for one of our world-class Krystal hosting plans, we offer one-click installs for both WordPress and Concrete CMS, so you can get your website up and running with no fuss.

One-click WordPress installs are widely available, but Concrete CMS? Not so much, given its more limited popularity. If your hosting provider doesn’t include one-click installs of either WordPress or Concrete CMS, then you can manually install your chosen CMS by uploading its files to your server via an FTP client, among other configuration steps.

Manual installation will definitely be a more tricky process than having everything done for you. So if you aren’t feeling confident of your ability to do a proper manual install, then it’s worthwhile looking for a hosting provider that provides one-click installs of either WordPress or Concrete CMS, depending on which one you want to use for your website. (Gentle reminder here that Krystal offers one-click installs for both!)

Ease of use - Concrete CMS vs Wordpress

We’d daresay that WordPress wouldn’t have been so widely adopted if it wasn’t so easy to use. Its settings are intuitively labelled, and navigating to different features rarely takes more than a few clicks. WordPress’ Gutenberg drag-and-drop block editor also makes creating beautiful post and page content a breeze: by adding rich content blocks for headings, paragraphs, galleries and buttons, you can build stunning-looking pages without writing a single line of code.

WordPress Gutenberg editor

Apart from that, WordPress is well documented through official support documentation. There are also countless written and video WordPress tutorials online. So as a whole, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a CMS you don’t know how to use if you opt for WordPress.

Concrete CMS also appears to score similarly high on usability. In its theme customiser, for instance, you’ll find neatly laid out options for customising your website’s typography, logo, and primary and secondary colors, or even adding your own custom CSS.

However, Concrete CMS users have previously criticised the CMS’ support documentation for being outdated, or even lacking coverage in certain topics altogether. With more limited help at hand, you might face a steeper learning curve when trying to figure the platform out.

Theme availability - Concrete CMS vs Wordpress

WordPress themes are a dime a dozen. Do a quick search on the WordPress theme repository and you’ll find a wide variety of free and paid themes and templates grouped in categories such as use case, layout and features.

Even if you can’t find something that you like in the official repository, third-party theme marketplaces such as ThemeForest will have plenty more options for you to choose from. So whether you need a theme as a blogger, small business founder or ecommerce store owner, locating the perfect WordPress theme for your website shouldn’t be an issue.

Frontend Dashboard theme for Concrete CMS

On the other hand, you’ll find the range of available themes for Concrete CMS to be much smaller. After all, looking at Concrete CMS’ smaller user base versus WordPress’ significantly bigger one, developers would be more inclined to develop themes for a larger market. As a result, you may need to dig a little harder to find a suitable theme for your Concrete CMS website - or engage a web designer to code a custom Concrete CMS theme for you.

Range of plugins - Concrete CMS vs Wordpress

To extend the functionality of your WordPress website, you’ll install additional software called plugins. Currently, there are almost 60,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugin repository. These have been specially designed by WordPress developers for beefing up your website’s security, optimising your website for search traffic, adding testimonials to your website and so on.

For instance, the Yoast SEO plugin is a popular plugin for search engine optimisation (SEO), while others swear by the Contact Form 7 plugin for adding contact forms to their website.

As for Concrete CMS, its plugins are known as “add-ons” and they’re also available to a more limited extent. If you can’t find the right add-on for your Concrete CMS website, then you may need to have one developed for you.

Magic Tabs add-on for Concrete CMS

Even if there is an existing Concrete CMS add-on for your needs, bear in mind that you might need to pay for it. For example, tabs add-on Magic Tabs costs $30 for a single licence, while a single licence for the Block Designer add-on costs $40. In contrast, many WordPress plugins are free to use, with paid plans available for unlocking advanced features.

Compatibility may also be an issue, as not all Concrete CMS add-ons have been updated to support the latest version of Concrete CMS (being version 9) as of writing.

Pricing - Concrete CMS vs wordpress

Both WordPress and Concrete CMS are free, open-source software. This means that you can download and install these CMSs on your website for free. However, you may still need to pay for things like:

  • A domain name
  • Premium themes
  • Plugins (for WordPress) or add-ons (for Concrete CMS)

You’ll also need to spend money on hosting. For instance, our managed WordPress hosting plans start from £14.99 per month, while our Concrete CMS hosting plans start from £4.99 per month. Our starter plans for both CMSs include a generous amount of SSD storage space and LiteSpeed caching, among other perks. But if you find yourself requiring a more powerful hosting setup, then you may need to upgrade to more premium hosting plans - which will necessarily cost more.

All in all, the total cost of running your website will depend on your website’s technical complexity as well as its performance needs. This is regardless of whether you go with WordPress or Concrete CMS. That said, you may end up shelling out more to run a Concrete CMS if you can’t find off-the-shelf solutions for what you need, and end up needing something custom built.

SEO - Concrete CMS vs Wordpress

Concrete CMS is SEO-enabled out of the box, without you needing to implement additional code or install add-ons. You’ll customise your web pages’ SEO options in their respective SEO Tab settings, where you can specify the page’s URL slug format, meta title, meta description and more. You can even exclude the page from your XML sitemap if needed.

Alternatively, to adjust the SEO options for multiple pages in a single screen, fire up the Bulk SEO tool. This tool is handy for identifying pages that lack meta descriptions so you can add them in all at once, for example.

Permalink settings in WordPress

In contrast, WordPress also has some built-in SEO features. From the backend, you’ll be able to customise your URL slugs and set your website’s search engine visibility. And from version 5.5 of WordPress onwards, newly created WordPress sites will come with basic XML sitemaps by default. But to gain access to more SEO customisation features, you’ll need to install an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO).

WordPress vs Concrete CMS: Which is your CMS of choice?

Comparing WordPress and Concrete CMS, WordPress appears to be the more beginner- and user-friendly CMS as a whole. This is especially if you’re a web development newbie, and have a limited budget for custom-developing a website that meets your specifications.

And once you’ve decided on a CMS for your website, why not host your website with us? We offer fantastic web hosting plans for both WordPress and Concrete CMS, with features such as:

  • Super-quick SSD storage
  • LiteSpeed caching for blazing-fast page load speeds
  • Free SSL encryption and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection to keep your website secure
  • Automated website backups for peace of mind

Throw in our award-winning support, you’ll be in good hands when you opt for a Krystal hosting plan. Ready to get started? Then sign up for our WordPress or Concrete CMS hosting plans today.

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