Creating a Website with CMS
Web 2.0 and CMS
The concepts of Web 2.0 encourage website authors to develop online communities as opposed to the old idea of the individual website. CMS gives you the ability to create a website with interactive features like member registration, polling and site search at start up.
Message boards and chat services are easily added with no programming knowledge.
We've provided some typical questions and answers about CMS below. Find out if CMS is the tool you need to create a website.
- What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
- How do you get CMS?
- Is it hard to install a CMS?
- What kind of help can I expect when developing my website with a CMS?
- Do I need any coding or programming knowledge to use a CMS?
- Which CMS do you recommend?
- Other Information
- Our Demo Sites
- Where to Get Your CMS
What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A Content Management System is a software package usually used to create a website with interactive features. Click a button to install it and you've got a website with features like member registration, polling, blogging, chat, message boards and more.
Most of the popular CMS packages employ the use of PHP and the MySQL database, for storing the information that you input for your website. Pages are then dynamically generated upon the request of a user.
CMS can be used to create conventional websites, blogs, journals, news sites, educational sites with question and answer functions for testing and more.
How do you get CMS?
Most web hosts offer CMS at no extra charge with their hosting packages. They are usually offered as part of a script installation package. The 2 most popular installation packages are Elefante and Fantastico.
Click a button to install and you've got a website with member registration, polling, blogging and site search at start up.
Is it hard to install a CMS?
If you install your CMS using the script installer provided by your web host, the installation process is automatic. You may need to supply information like username and password during the install.
If your web host does not provide an installer, the process of installation is still very easy. You would download the current version of Joomla from joomla.org, create a MySQL database using your web host's control panel, upload Joomla to the folder you want it to install in and start the installation process. Answer a few simple questions to allow it to connect to your database and the installation is pretty much automatic. Delete the installation folder and you are ready to go!
What kind of help can I expect when developing my website with a CMS?
Most web hosts DO NOT provide direct support for your CMS. Your main source of assistance will come from the home site of the CMS that you choose. We recommend that you explore the Helps and Documentation provided with a CMS before you install. Some are poorly supported and the documentation (handbooks, manuals and tutorials) is very Unfriendly.
See Our Recommended Host for one that does provide technical support.
NOTE: Most of the web hosts listed by 'Review Sites' , as Joomla web hosts, do offer Joomla, but do not provide direct support for it!!
Do I need any coding or programming knowledge to use a CMS?
Yes!! They all require at least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Making changes to your template or theme will require some knowledge of programming. You'll need it to place your logo and slogan, and for making simple changes like column width settings.
On some we tried, adding images and links to content also required some coding knowledge.
Joomla! was the only one we tried that had a built in Image Insertion tool.
Exception If you choose the right template, Joomla! does not require any coding experience. Some of their templates use the site name that you enter during configuration to produce your page heading or logo.
WARNING!! CMS websites use a lot of CPU. You should not build them on shared web hosting accounts. If you are going to add chat, message boards, videos and other resource eating features, you will soon exceed your CPU share on a shared hosting account. When you do that, your website will be banned, shut down, even removed from your web host's server.
One of the greatest disadvantages of using any CMS is only realized when in comes time to change your web host. Transferring a working CMS with database files intact is a real pain in the You Know what!! It can be done, but it is a very involved process not suited to the novice.
Another disadvantage is that websites that use a MySQL database run slower. They are also more expensive because web hosts charge more for database storage and bandwidth usage than they do for conventional hosting.
Most web hosts do not provide the latest versions of CMS software packages. Since most of these packages are Opensource, they are updated and revised on a regular basis. Upgrading to the latest version will be your responsibility.
The Fantastico script installer now includes an automatic software updating tool. when a later version of the software becomes available it notifies you and installs it over the old version upon request. Last we checked, Elefante was releasing a new version that provides the automatic updating feature..
If your web host offers the old Elefante script installer, before choosing a CMS, we recommend reading their documentation on Upgrading to see if it is a task within the realm of your own expertise. Some will require you to edit PHP scripts and perform other tasks which are beyond the understanding of most novice users.
Content Management Systems are a bit more intimidating to beginners than conventional website building tools. The benefits far outweigh the initial tech shock, once you learn to use them. Features like Site Search, User Registration, Polling and Blogging are built into the software. Chat, message boards and newsletter features are easily added using extension software.
CMS (Joomla!) allows the author to concentrate on the content of the website. The entire website can be completed using the generic theme or template that is included in the installation. Changing the template after the site is completed or during the development process is easier than changing your socks.
I've tried really hard to change my opinion about CMS. Alas, even with all their improvements, they still suck!! - especially for first time website authors.
Which CMS do you recommend?
We've tried several and we recommend Joomla!
It's the best documented with manuals for both users and administrators.
There are visual tutorials on the main site at Joomla.org.
There are also resources for video tutorials that cover every aspect of installing and using Joomla.
Click the box on the left to visit the Joomla Magic website.
Our Demo Sites
We have no working demos at this time.
Where to Get Your CMS
I've only found one web host that claims to offer support for CMS. They offer Expert technical support for both Mambo and Joomla. They have been voted Best Joomla Web Host by many of the top rating services.
Visit Siteground :
They provide Expert Technical Support.
Their servers are Joomla optimized.
They provide free onsite tutorials.
They provide a gallery of Free Templates.
We offer the one-click Elefante installer at CaFW Hosting with UNLIMITED hosting for $3.25/month ( 1 domain hosted - free domain name).