In today’s digital age, impactful content and pleasant user experiences drive the web - and it can be a daunting task to find the right CMS to meet your business or organization’s needs. There are dozens of CMS platforms out there to choose from across an entire spectrum of solutions from the fast-and-cheap to the complicated-yet-powerful.
On the one hand, you have platforms such as Wordpress and Wix, which aim to accommodate non-technical users who might struggle with writing code or working with complicated abstractions, and who just want a simple website or blog without any mess or stress.
On the other hand, enterprise-class platforms like Sitecore and the Adobe Experience Cloud come equipped with a fully-loaded arsenal of digital tools for streamlining even the most complex development, marketing, and eCommerce processes needed by the largest companies. But at times they can feel overengineered and needlessly abstract, typically demanding complicated setup before you can start working efficiently. They could require you to engage with modules that you don’t really need or to develop within intricate workflows that you may not be familiar with.
Umbraco bridges the gap between these two extremes, providing power and flexibility to customize every aspect of your web presence but without sacrificing ease-of-use or pushing you into sophisticated development methodologies, so you can work the way you are most comfortable. And best of all: it’s free!
So clearly, we believe there are benefits to using Umbraco as your CMS, but is Umbraco good all things considered, and is it right for your specific needs? Keep reading to find out.
Umbraco in a Nutshell
Umbraco is a CMS based on the Microsoft .NET Framework, with code written in C# and utilizing ASP.NET’s highly-intuitive Razor syntax for its page templates. It’s free and open-source, so there are no licensing fees to pay or unmodifiable proprietary technologies to tiptoe around.
Boasting more than 730,000 active installations, Umbraco has robust community support with extensive training resources and certification courses, a developer forum chock full of useful information, and plenty of third-party modules available both for use and for reference.
Straight and to the Point
One of the nicest things about working with Umbraco is that it’s straightforward and clear user interface avoids complexity and clutter, making it quite simple for both novice editors and experienced developers alike to work with the platform.
On the development side, ASP.NET’s Razor syntax makes writing code as pleasant as taking a breath of fresh air. With Umbraco, you aren’t bottlenecked into using any specific programs or frameworks. Whether you prefer to work in Visual Studio or VS Code, Eclipse, Arduino, or even Notepad, your choice is your own — you can even edit page templates directly in Umbraco’s back office code editor and test your changes without having to deploy any code first!
Umbraco also provides a helpful platform API for easily manipulating all your data, no matter whether it’s in the form of content, media and documents, user data, code, or something else. The API lets you largely avoid the need to write extra boilerplate code to accomplish common goals, and is just as easy to code with as it is to use Umbraco’s sleek and customizable back office. There’s a REST API available too, for when you need to manipulate server-side data via frontend code.
However, just because Umbraco is simple doesn’t mean it is lacking in power or customizability - there’s a good reason why big-name brands such as McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza, and Microsoft use it!
Umbraco is Flexible and Extensible
Umbraco has infrastructure under the hood that can be tapped into to modify and extend its functionality. Examples include:
- Adding new dashboards and custom commands to its backend user interface
- Reconfiguring its versatile Examine search provider powered by Lucene
- Adding and managing the regular running of code for scheduled tasks
- Hooking into its powerful pipeline system to automate synchronization work and integrate with external applications.
This makes it straightforward to enable Umbraco to talk to your company’s CRM platform, ERP system, digital asset manager, or payment provider gateway. Whatever your external needs are, Umbraco empowers you to connect all your software together and make it work exactly the way you need it to.
For when you need functionality that doesn’t come out-of-the-box, there are over a thousand powerful community-driven plugins that can be leveraged as well, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel - and of course, you can easily write your own, too! Umbraco provides ample documentation and examples for developing custom packages and even directly modifying Umbraco’s core code. It’s one of the advantages of working with an open-source platform.
Even if you’re only looking for the basics and want to build a personalized web presence without getting mired in technical modifications, there are tons of stylish themes and skins available for Umbraco with all sorts of customization options to tweak however you see fit.
Security Taken Seriously
With widespread use comes regular exposure to threats, and many free and open-source CMS platforms have had their fair share of struggles when it comes to securing user data and ensuring that sensitive information is only accessible by those who need it.
For example, early in its history Wordpress became notorious for having a lot of vulnerabilities that plagued its user base. Its underlying technology, PHP, was great for whipping up quick-and-dirty scripts, but that convenience made it all too easy to make serious security mistakes, which could be found directly in PHP, in the large volume of third-party plugins available, and even in Wordpress’ core code itself. It wasn’t a platform that was originally designed with digital security in mind. While Wordpress has mostly adjusted from its early days and newer versions of PHP have closed the gaps, its reputation for less-than-stellar security still haunts it.
Umbraco, on the other hand, has maintained an emphasis on security throughout its history. It sports a capable permissions manager with detailed login and change audit logs, integrates seamlessly with modern authentication schemes such as OAuth, has hardened security that’s informed by independently-conducted penetration testing, and has proven to be trustworthy even in industries which must adhere to strict security practices such as healthcare, eCommerce, and government. Umbraco has come to be relied on by major organizations for keeping their data safe — including the UK National Health Service, National Grid, and the Council of the European Union.
Where Do I Start?
Think Umbraco could be the right fit for you?
Umbraco offers an official managed cloud hosting service that’s affordably priced and takes the burden of platform management off of you. Or, if you prefer to handle everything yourself, Umbraco has an easy command-line installation process that rivals Wordpress’ famous “five-minute install.”
And as always, drop us a line if you’re interested in learning more about the platforms we support and the technology solutions we offer!