Comparing CMS Applications: DotNetNuke, Joomla, Kentico and WordPress

DotNetNuke, Kentico, Joomla and WordPress are four of the most popular CMS (Content Management System) Applications used by the customers of Applied Innovations. We even offer One-Click Installers right on our Control Panel for all of them. We’ve invested extensive time and research optimizing our hosting platforms to support these apps, too – one of the things that really differentiates from the other web hosting providers. But there are some key differences among these apps, so let’s take a closer look at why developers might choose one over another.


DotNetNuke 6.0

DotnetNukeDotNetNuke  (DNN) is one of the leading Open Source web CMS apps for Microsoft ASP.NET, claiming it powers over 700,000 production websites worldwide. DNN offers a free version – the Community Edition – as well as two paid editions – Professional and Enterprise. A handy feature comparison chart is available on the DNN website.

Known for its exceptional flexibility, DNN also functions as a web application development framework, using open APIs which allow for easy integration with other applications. It features dozens of standard modules and over 8,000 third party apps available through DNN’s Snowcovere online marketplace. Thousands of free apps or extensions are also available through DotNetNuke’s Open Source Extensions Forge, a community providing collaborative support for the DNN platform.

Depending on your role within your organization, DotNetNuke provides powerful benefits to support your Web initiatives. From a user standpoint, DNN is approachable and easy to use. Granular user permissions provide administrators with flexible control. DotNetNuke also stands out because the Administrator can support multiple websites from one control panel. The more websites you have, the more valuable you will find this feature to be. And while the Community version offers no official Support, there are a variety of support forums throughout the active DNN community. And finally, Developers like DNN because it offers a flexible, open platform built on Microsoft ASP.NET. It’s simple to customize and empowers custom app development with an open API.

Kentico 5.5

KenticoFounded in 2004, Kentico offers a variety of different licenses for its CMS platform. The Free Edition is a little difficult to find on their site, but you can download it here.  It offers limited features and require you to display the Kentico logo and link in the footer of your website. The full-feature Base License sells for $1,999 and includes unlimited Editors and Languages, Newsletter, Online Forms, Workflow, Permissions, Custom Tables and more. You can purchase incremental modules – the Advanced Package, Ecommerce module, Social Networking or Document Management – or you can upgrade to the Kentico Ultimate License for $4,500. Compare features here.

Kentico bills itself as the easiest-to-use CMS available for non-technical users, while still allowing for flexible, rapid site development. Kentico is a self-contained solution, with dozens of modules and hundreds of built-in web parts, so you don’t need to purchase additional software or third party add-on components. The newest UI, introduced with Version 5, combines a novice-friendly visual interface with sufficient fire power to satisfy most advanced developers.

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Kentico also offers a robust DevNetportal for developers, offering a variety of forums, documentation, FAQs and other resources. And while you may never need to pay for an add-on with Kentico, there are plenty of third party products available, including additional site templates.
WordPress 3.2.1

Wordpress_Cloud_Hosting_OfferWhile WordPress was originally designed as a Blog builder, it has evolved into an exceptional web CMS that is extremely easy to use and set up. Over the past 10 years, hundreds of volunteers in the Open Source community have collaborated in writing the core software, as well as creating thousands of plugins, widgets and themes – some free, some available as third-party apps through the Marketplace. It’s estimated that over 25 million sites have been built in WordPress since it was initially released in 2003, with over 50 million current users across the globe.

One of WordPress’ core philosophies is to keep the core code streamlined and light so as to provide a rich framework for the huge Open Source community to expand what the app can do. Modified or bare bones, WP is easy to use by both designers and even the greenest of users.  However, some claim WP is “not as developer friendly” as some of the other apps. WordPress is not suitable for eCommerce sites, and has some security limitations. It also has a history of “more bugs than fixes” with its frequent upgrades. But the huge community base offers extensive support and resources through the WordPress Forum, and there’s a regular stream of editorial content on the subject throughout the blogosphere.

“We use WordPress for virtually all our development projects, except ecommerce sites,” stated Peter Brooke, President and CEO of Blue Interactive Agencyin Ft. Lauderdale, FL. “A key factor is how simple it is to train clients to use and maintain their sites built in WordPress.”
Joomla 1.7.0

Joomla_Cloud_Hosting_OfferJoomla is the youngest addition to this cast of CMS applications, having been released originally in 2008. The name Joomla is an Urdu (Swahili) word meaning “all together,” which is a fitting moniker for a CMS that attempts to be equally approachable by end users, designers and developers. It claims to be the single most popular Open Source CMS worldwide, with “2.7% of the web running on Joomla,” a vast and energetic community and extensive add-ons and extensions available.

Designers tout Joomla’s extensive creative chops, and end users generally express enthusiasm for its user-friendliness. Developers appreciate Joomla’s large capacity for development and customization. The new MVC framework allows anyone with the technical knowledge to override the core of the CMS without actually modifying the original code.

But some claim Joomla is still not as flexible as DNN, from the programmer’s perspective. One developer commented “There are some parts of the system that just can’t be pushed and stressed as hard as DotNetNuke.” Moreover, while DNN can be used to run multiple websites with one backend and database, Joomla lacks the ability to create multi-sites.

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In comparison with WordPress, Joomla is considerably less user friendly, although it is improving with each new release. The most recent upgrade involved a complete rebuild of the system from the ground-up. While many proponents argue this took Joomla to a whole new level, many old die-hards are still using the previous version.

Features shared by all four compared CMS apps: DotNetNuke, Joomla, Kentico and WordPress
Included or available as a “free add on” module

• Content Approval
• Email Verification
• Granular Privileges
• Login History
• Session Management
• SSL Compatibility
• SSL Logins
• SSL Pages
• Versioning

• Commercial Manuals
• Commercial Support
• Commercial Training
• Developer Community
• Online Help
• Pluggable API
• Professional Hosting
• Public Forum
• Public Mailing List
• Third Party Developers
• Users Conference

Ease of Use
• Friendly URLs
• Image Resizing
• Mass Upload
• Prototyping
• Server Page Language
• Spell Checker
• Subscriptions
• UI Levels
• WYSIWYG Editor

• Extensible User Profiles
• Multi-lingual Content
• Multi-lingual Content Integration
• Interface Localization
• Metadata
• URL Rewriting

Management & Performance
• Advanced Caching
• Asset Management
• Content Scheduling
• Inline Administration
• Load Balancing
• Online Administration
• Page Caching
• Sub-sites and Roots
• Themes and Skins
• Trash
• Web Statistics
• Web-based Style & Template management
• Web-based Translation Management

• Content Syndication (RSS)
• FTP Support
• UTF-8 Support
• XHTML Compliant

Built-In Applications
• Blog
• Classifieds
• Contact Management
• Data Entry
• Discussion Forum
• Events Calendar
• Events Management
• FAQ Management
• File Distribution
• Guest Book
• Job Posting
• Link Management
• Mail form
• Newsletter
• Photo Gallery
• Polls
• Product Management
• Search Engine
• Site Map
• Surveys
• Syndicated Content (RSS)
• User Contributions
• Weather
• Wiki

Differentiating Features

While the above features are shared by all four CMS applications being discussed, this matrix maps out the features that differentiate them. So while you may like the user-friendliness of WordPress, you can see that it does not support eCommerce.

In Summary

All of these applications have a lot going for them, and plenty of fans across the globe. Which one is right for you – or for any given project – will depend on a number of factors.

Start by prioritizing the feature set you need. Then map that to your budget. Factor in usability, community and support. Talk to any developers you know who have worked in the platform you are considering. In the end it may just come down to your own comfort level and the community you find yourself in.

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Windows Hosting for Advanced applications like DNN, SiteCore and Kentico CMS platforms.


  1. Robert Jacobi on November 9, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Great overview of some fine CMSes! Regarding Joomla, the CMS has been around since 2005 and is a fork of Mambo which actually puts its history back to 2000 making it older than any of the other CMSes mentioned. The Joomla 1.7 upgrade is huge and has made development much more robust – especially for the enterprise. Upcoming versions will support Multidb (running Joomla on MySQL, MS SQL and Oracle) as well as Multisite (one instance of Joomla and multiple sites). It’s an exciting time in the Joomla-sphere as well as for all CMSes.

  2. Mike Kormendy on March 21, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    The comparison list that is linked to in this article, has outdated information and should not be used as a current reference point of functionality.

  3. Pedro on July 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Just for a reference to Kentico and others CMS themes, have a look to
    Have some themes for Kentico, all customizable to fit your branding.
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    In 30 minutes have a sharp looking Kentico theme installed and running vs. 1 to 2 weeks of custom development.

    Have a try

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