How to choose a CMS (engine) for the site: a guide

When the need arises to create a website, the question immediately arises: Which CMS to choose? Choose a ready-made CMS or order your development? Buy a paid engine or use free solutions? In this article, we will try to answer these questions.

  • A bit of terminology
  • Free engines
  • Paid CMS
  • Samopi
  • Conclusion

A bit of terminology

First, we define the terms.

  • CMS (Content Management System) – this is the control system of your site, what is popularly called the “engine”.
  • Paid CMS – the engine that you buy. Paid CMS has both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Free CMS – distributed free of charge. You can freely download it and deploy your website on it. It also has its pros and cons.
  • Samopisnaya CMS – is the engine that is created specifically for a specific project and its tasks. And this option also has its advantages and disadvantages.

Important point: before starting the selection of the engine, I recommend to develop the logical structure of the site. It will save a lot of time and save you from future problems.

And now we will sort all these points in detail.

Free engines

Let’s start with the most affordable types of CMS – with free ones. On these works a huge number of sites, including commercial. The most popular are WordPress, Joomla !, Drupal, OpenCart, MODx and others. The popularity rating of engines in RuNet (paid and free) is approximate as follows:

As you can see, the leader in Runet is the paid Bitrix, but the remaining 5 positions were shared by the free engines, which have more sites in total.

You can learn more about statistics at the link –


The main advantage of such engines (you will not guess for anything) – they are free. ?

They have a huge audience of users and volunteer developers who create plugins that extend the capabilities of the engine and create themes. Also on these CMS, there is a large amount of reference material on the Internet, they are devoted to entire blogs and forums, where you can always find a lot of useful tips and tricks.

For example, here is the official Word Press manual translated by Russian volunteers into Russian.

Or here is a whole Russian portal about Jumla with the abyss of useful information on this CMS.

The best free engine, in my opinion, is WordPress. You can customize it for yourself, even without deep knowledge of programming. Want to add asterisks to a Google snippet for a WordPress site? No problem. Want to remove the WordPress version so that the site is harder to hack? You are welcome. If the task is more complex and you cannot do without a programmer, then finding a specialist in freelancing is not difficult.

This is how WordPress admin works.

And so admin Joomla.


Each barrel of honey has its fly in the ointment. This also applies to free engines.

First, since the engine is free, it has no official technical support. You are not a client of the developers of this engine. So to call at 2 am and say that the site is broken, will not work. The problem will have to decide on their own or look for a specialist.

Secondly, in free plugins and templates, there can be any unpleasant surprises. For example, hidden links to left sites or even worse. Often, attackers are trying to hack the site through vulnerabilities in plugins. It is possible that you will get a virus on the site. Even in the history of my blog, working on WP, once there was such a case, but I noticed it in time. But WordPress, nevertheless, remains my favorite engine.

What types of sites are suitable for?

Practically for any. Many website development studios do client projects on free engines and this is not some kind of negative marker. Even a large portal can be deployed, say, in Drupal.

For example, Bored Panda, a popular entertainment site in Burjunet, which is visited by more than 70 million visitors per month, runs on good old WordPress.

Paid CMS

Everything is simple here – buy the engine from its developers. The most popular paid CMS in RuNet is 1C-Bitrix. Yes, yes, the same 1C, which develops software for accountants. He also was engaged in the development of games (very good ones, remember at least Truckers), and also created the CRM Bitrix 24.

Other paid engines are UMI.CMS, NetCat, CS-Cart and less well-known. Thousands of them!


Such engines have official developers, there is technical support. They regularly get updates, their security is at a higher level. There are no extensions and additions to them, created by someone unknown. Of course, 100% security does not happen, but here it is much higher.

Rating paid CMS in RuNet.

The full rating can be studied at the link.

Admin site Bitrix.


I’m not sure that this should be attributed to the shortcomings, because each product costs money. But. For a paid engine you have to pay. ? And you pay not only once when you buy the engine. Extensions, plug-ins, modules, as a rule, are also paid and are often expensive. There is also a problem with frames. For example, if you want to maintain the site on Bitrix on your own, then you will have to look for a specialist for Bitrix. The logic of Bitrix differs from the logic of other engines, so you need to learn more about Bitrix-programmer, such programmers are less common and therefore more expensive.

The disadvantage of Bitrix is ​​well, just a fucking code. Often you do not even know where to specifically climb. (c) Anonymous programmer

What types of sites are suitable for?

In the first place – for commercial, because the purchase of the engine is an investment that should pay off. On Bitrix, for example, it is convenient to deploy online stores, especially large ones. Its close integration with 1C accounting and CRM is one of the chips of this engine. Also on paid CMS, they make corporate websites, portals, and sometimes forums, although they gradually die in an unequal struggle with social networks (there is a popular paid forum engine vs Bulletin).

There is an opinion that sites on paid engines rank better in search engines. But this is not true. The search algorithms are not affected by the fact that the site has a paid or free CMS.


Samopisny engine can afford not all. Such an engine is made for a specific and usually large project, it is created for specific tasks. The same samopisny engine can be used on several sites, but usually, these are sites of one company.


Nothing extra. The engine is created according to the TOR for your project, it does not need to buy/install plug-ins and extensions, it is not necessary to write to technical support or study manuals on the Internet. Everything is done by your development team. Plus a high level of security, because the vulnerabilities of paid and, even more so, free engines are known to potential hackers, and in a samopisny CMS, such a loophole is still to be found.


Only a large company can afford to keep a development department. There may also be difficulties with SEO: on ready-made engines, SEO specialists can do a significant part of the work on optimization themselves, and on self-written ones, only through programmers. Given the workload of the programmer, the frequent unwillingness to be distracted by improvements in SEO or bureaucracy in the company, even a simple task for 1-2 business days can take several weeks.

Often, samopi engines do not have admin as such. For example, it was not in the TZ, so the developer did not. Programmers do not need it, they work with code and DB. Admins are needed for administrators, content managers, managers, SEOs, etc. If you forget or specifically exclude the admin panel (from savings, fewer items in the TK – lower the cost of the site), then the site administrators will have a hard time adding new products and other content, and for SEOs to perform optimization.

What types of sites are suitable for?

On the recorder, you can do anything. If the programmer makes his business card, then it will be on the recorder. But first of all, these are large projects, of course, commercial ones. Online services (payment systems, online banking, freelance exchanges, social networks, online stores of national scale, portals, etc.) are made exclusively on their own, specially developed for these projects, private engines.

Sometimes the owners of small sites believe that the site on the recorder is a sign of prestige. This is a delusion if only because even looking “under the hood” into the source code of the site, a non-expert will not understand that there is a samopisny engine in front of him and not a ready-made CMS. If the owner of this site and its customers are not associated with the IT industry, the type of CMS will not affect the prestige.


As you can see, the choice of the site engine is not a 5-minute solution. You need to compare the type and objectives of your project with the CMS offered in the market and your financial and time resources. This is the only way to avoid mistakes and create a successful project.

I hope this article has helped you a little. Leave your questions in the comments, share the article with friends (all of a sudden, they also suffer from a choice) and put asterisks. And subscribe to updates by e-mail. ?

January 20th, 2021 09:45 am