Looking for a new CMS for small websites

Recently I’ve been looking at other small CMS solutions for future projects. For a while now I’ve been using Frog CMS; unfortunately development seems to have stopped which is a shame. At the weekend I stumbled across quite a major security concern with Frog involving a Cross-site request forgery (CSRF). Using Google it is even possible to find ready to be used scripts (which I won’t link to here). Being hacked using CSRF is unlikely to happen as it requires a user who regularly uses the site to click on a rogue link, but even so it’s quite concerning.

Now I could keep using Wolf CMS (which is a variation on Frog) but my thoughts are why keep all your eggs in one basket. If Frog is vulnerable then its likely that Wolf will be too. So time to look about for a new small CMS.

The CMS will be used for very small websites (5 – 20 pages) where MODx, Drupal and WordPress are just overkill; It gets updated regularly and is based on PHP / MySQL. I’ve been having a search and have found a few that look really promising:


Very clean looking CMS (love the typography on its homepage… not that it matters) and having tried the demo I can see the admin interface is simple to use and all the features are easy to find. I think the admin area needs a little work in terms of design, but the comments on Opensourcecms all seem to be very positive so I’ll definatly be installing it locally and having a closer look.

Text pattern homepage

A flexible, elegant and easy-to-use CMS. We shall see!


Another interesting CMS, the video on the homepage makes it look like some sort of action movie, maybe a little over the top but whatever. I was unable to find a live demo of the CMS unfortunately, but the screencasts from the video looked very promising. There’s also an option of Concrete5 hosting the CMS, which removes the (sometimes) tricky setup process; great for non-technical people.

concrete5 homepage

Dramatic homepage video, but how well does it work? Live demo please!

CMS Made Simple

Of the new CMS’ I’ve looked at CMS Made Simple is my favorite. The live demo looked good with a very intuitive administrator area. Some of the comments on Opensourcecms were quite negative; so I’ll have to do some testing of the installation and template system before I commit to building a live site with it.

CMS Made Simple homepage

Some negative comments but it looks very promising.

For my next small project I’ll be using one of these small CMS’, but which one will it be? When i decide I’ll be sure to update you. Got any other suggestions? Why not leave a comment.

David on September 2 10 / 244 Permalink

I write as one of the Wolf CMS core team members….

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Wolf CMS will remain as insecure as Frog! Hardening security is a major concern of its develoment work, and it has many, many changes from the ancestor project! Do check out the changelog for a very quick look at how it has moved on.


There are other good options out there, like some you have listed. But I’ve looked at most other comparators out there, and Wolf remains my “small CMS” of choice! :)

Matt on September 3 10 / 245 Permalink

Hi David,

Thanks for the link, the Wolf CMS team really has been busy! Looking forward to the 0.7 release whenever that may be.

Matt on September 19 10 / 261 Permalink

Hi Cara,

Very true, I completely forgot about MODx. I’ve used it many times in the past for various projects of different sizes. Although I haven’t tried their newest “Revolution” release. Thanks for reminding me.

pablo on January 28 11 / 27 Permalink

i enter here just to say what cara already did! try modx, revolution realease is great, may be bloggin and permission the dark points, but is great.

guess is great for not so small sites…

CMS Application on March 23 11 / 81 Permalink

Awesome post! It really helped me a lot! Thanks for sharing it.

code19 on November 14 11 / 317 Permalink


See also Havalite CMS on http://havalite.com

Havalite, a lightweight, open source CMS Blog based on php and SQLite db. It’s licensed under the GNU General Public License.


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