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In recent years, free, open-source content management systems (CMS) have become very powerful tools for building, deploying and managing web sites, blogs and more. You may be familiar with some of the top-notch names in this arena, including Drupal and Joomla. WebWorkerDaily’s sister blog OStatic was built in and runs on Drupal, and it powers other sites such as The Onion and Fast Company as well. In every way, the best of these free tools are competing neck-and-neck with costly proprietary alternatives. So how do you go about choosing one to try?
In this post, I’ll cover the newly overhauled version of OpenSourceCMS, which lets you put on your administrator gloves and try top, free CMS tools.
OpenSourceCMS goes beyond just collecting a series of online demos for CMS platforms; instead, it delivers user ratings for them, and allows you to play administrator for hours. If you do this, you can get a strong sense of the capabilities and limitations of these tools, which have become very strong in the past few years.
Where should you start if you have no experience at all with CMS platforms? Drupal happens to be a pet platform that I like, and it runs some of the web’s most popular sites, so consider starting with OpenSourceCMS’s Drupal Demo. You can get a feel for what it feels like to be the administrator of a Drupal-driven site, and you can watch free video tutorials on building and running a Drupal site.
Joomla is another very popular open source CMS choice, and you can get the feel of administration with the Joomla Demo here. You’ll find user comments down the page there, and an overall rating at the top of the page.
There are many other demos available for open source CMS platforms, found here. Under OpenSourceCMS’s E-Commerce category, you can also try out some of the free, e-commerce platform solutions. These are found here. Among them, Magento is a very fast-growing and well-liked choice, and OpenSourceCMS has a complete demo available for it. It gets a 4.3 star rating out of possible 5 from readers,
There are many other demos, news items, and forums related to free, open-source CMS platforms at OpenSourceCMS. Especially if you’re paying or considering paying for a proprietary solution, take some of the demos for a spin. A full-blown content management system may be overkill if you’re just producing a quick, miniature site for a client, but if you’re putting together a game plan for an ambitious site or blog, picking the right CMS platform is an excellent initial step.