This is the question that comes up time and time again, which is better, Umbraco or Wordpress?
Before attempting to find an answer we should state that both have their own merits and, in different use cases, will provide a more than adequate solution for end users. Better yet, both are completely open source and free to use.
What is Wordpress?
Wordpress, at its core, is a blogging system and is built in PHP meaning it can be served in any hosting environment. It is open source and due to its continued rise in popularity over the years it has been pushed into the world of content management systems. It is even estimated that, as of March 2018, it powers over 30% of websites on the internet. Its popularity is mostly thanks to the ever growing plugins that are available for it, these include SEO tools and a range of both free and paid for website themes. Another reason is that from the moment you install Wordpress you are provided with a basic starter template that you can alter and add content to to get you up and running in no time at all.
What is Umbraco?
Umbraco, on the other hand, was designed and built as a content management platform from day one. It is the most popular CMS built on the Microsoft .NET framework and is widely supported by a community of developers across the world. Unlike Wordpress there is no starter website installed following Umbraco installation, it is essentially a blank canvas that affords users complete freedom to shape the CMS and frontend of their website in any way they wish. What Umbraco does provide is a full framework of tools designed to assist you in fleshing out the content editor experience and ultimately your website. Additionally, with Umbraco being built on Microsoft’s .NET you can rest assured that the platform is extremely secure.
Umbraco: The Friendly CMS from Umbraco.
So, if Wordpress is more popular why should I use Umbraco?
As mentioned above, Wordpress is undoubtedly more popular than Umbraco but the reason for this is nothing to do with performance, instead it’s simply to do with exposure. As a blogging platform Wordpress began to be utilised as a CMS, but due to this shoehorning of its functionality it has become very vulnerable to hackers. The vast majority of its users have no background in development, which is a great selling point for Wordpress, however, this is part of what leaves their sites open to attacks!
Not only are security attacks an issue but due to the non technical nature of most of its users, they install free, poorly supported plugins onto their website one after another. Now, on the surface these plugins are appealing because they allow them to have contact forms, create pricing tables, improve SEO, build up subscriber lists and create media galleries all for the cost of, well, nothing. In reality though, these free plugins are not only going to break your Wordpress website but they are also going to slow it down and possibly hinder your place in search rankings. Furthermore, if you update Wordpress when they release security patches chances are your plugins will stop working as being free they will be poorly supported, thus rendering your website unusable.
Where as Umbraco was built as a content management system. This is probably the most important take home from this article. :-)
Not only that, but Umbraco powers some of the worlds biggest brands and fortune 500 companies, including Heinz, Carlsberg, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, Ministry of Sound... (we could go on!). It’s pretty good company to be in, knowing your website will be as secure as some of these global powerhouses. One of the typical downsides (traditionally) with Umbraco though is the learning curve of going from installing the CMS to getting your website launched and for the most part you’ll need to seek assistance from a professional developer or consultant. Well, that was before...
Say hello to uSkinned themes for Umbraco :-)
Remember all those individual plugins you needed for your Wordpress site? Or, in Umbraco’s case the developer you’ll need to hire to build that functionality? Well, uSkinned themes come packed with all those features under one code base and better yet, it’s fully maintained, continually improved thanks to user feedback and will always work on the latest version of Umbraco. Additionally, once Umbraco is installed you can simply drag your uSkinned theme package into the package installer and you’ll have a full demo site up and running in minutes.
The important thing to remember is that uSkinned don't just provide the frontend theme of a website, they provide everything needed to manage the full website in the content management system. This ranges from simple user interfaces that manage complex designs on the frontend to a fully functioning blogging platform built in as standard. Not only that but the code base is extendable, so if your website or business needs to grow the tools are provided for you to add any functionality you can imagine.
Creating an effective homepage with Craft theme for Umbraco CMS.
One click hosting for Umbraco? Sure!
There are plenty of hosting options out there for Umbraco, a number of which will provide a one click install of the CMS - great! Furthermore, Umbraco themselves now offer a hosting service with Umbraco Cloud all backed up with Microsoft Azure technology. Not only is there a one-click install of Umbraco but you’ll also get automated updates, multiple environments, access to Umbraco Forms, and it’s fully source controlled with GitHub - pretty amazing right?!
So, who is the winner?
The simple question you need to ask yourself here is, if you had unlimited resources, which would you buy, a Ferrari or a Tractor? It’s all dependent on the scenario, are you going to be racing or farming? Each has its own merits, however, what we would say is if you’re looking for a secure, stable and extendable content management system then there really is only one winner.