CMS or PHP Framework: Which technology is best for my business?

Four features distinguish CMS from PHP frameworks. When creating a website for a business, making the customer understand these differences will facilitate website development and maintenance.


CMS and PHP Frameworks: Defined

CMS stands for Content Management System. As the name suggests, CMS gives you, as a business owner, the ability to manage the content of your website. Once the website is created, you can log in and access all the functions. You can edit text on a specific page, run an ecommerce store, add new products, manage inventory, change prices and perform a number of functions once you enter the back end of your site. Web based on CMS. Then you don’t have to rely entirely on your developers to make changes to the website. The most popular CMS options include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

A framework is custom code written by the user in a set of predefined rules. This allows developers to develop modules and applications using basic library functions, with PHP as the main programming language. It can also be made up of other frameworks to add support for various functionalities. By working with frameworks, developers can create a more personalized website, but the site must be designed and maintained exclusively by the IT team. The real users of the frameworks are technical users. A non-technical user would get lost in the programming language and functions of the website. Popular PHP frameworks include Laravel, CodeIgniter and Zend Framework.


Four Differences in Features

To further understand whether to choose a CMS or PHP framework, consider four important features in building and maintaining a website:

The four functions of Security, Flexibility, Upgrades and the User Experience (UX) are managed differently in CMS and PHP frameworks.


1.  Security

Security is the biggest concern today for a website or online business application. Hackers are trying to find ways to attack a website, destroy or alter the appearance of the website. This can decrease the value of a business website.

Most CMS are open source and the code base is open to everyone. There are different communities that develop plug-ins, widgets or modules for CMS. When developers detect vulnerabilities, they launch a newer version of this feature with secure code. It is important to install a reliable plug-in on a CMS site, from reliable sources.

Websites developed using PHP frameworks are more secure than CMS. Since they use custom code, it is more difficult to breach their security. Most frameworks also have built-in encryption and protection against common vulnerabilities, including:

  • SQL injection
  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF)

Conclusion: Well-developed PHP framework websites are more secure.


2.  Flexibility
Depending on your business needs, your website may need various functions and integration with third-party applications. Sometimes you need your website to perform operations that are independent of each other and that also connect to various systems. For example:

  • Your website needs to integrate with a CRM, like Salesforce, to send contact registration data
  • Your website needs to connect with an order-processing system, like FileMaker, where your customer orders need to be processed independent of your website but the actual orders are generated from your website.

While CMS sites can have various functions in applications, these applications are not very flexible. Since the applications are predefined, creativity can sometimes be limited. A number of modules and plug-ins within a CMS website can also require a lot of custom development. Frames contain various library functions and can be easily customized to suit the needs of the business.

Conclusion: In terms of flexibility, PHP frameworks are ahead of CMS.


3.  Upgrades

Updating your company’s website with the latest code features is really important. Upgrades contribute to website security.

CMS has updates almost every month. The website should be updated with the latest updates as soon as it is available. Even if it were not updated, the website would work, but the site would not be as secure or user-friendly. The following upgrades are common in CMS:

  • Security patch
  • New features
  • Support for SEO
  • Support for new plug-ins

Frameworks do not have very frequent updates compared to CMS. Most PHP frameworks have updates regarding new features, but not every month. Some can go six months without updates and still be secure and functional.

Conclusion: In regard to upgrades, choosing CMS or PHP frameworks depends on the business owner’s preference regarding updates. Either choice has its benefits and drawbacks.


4.  User Experience (UX)

CMSs are built with the website manager in mind. Most CMSs facilitate the management of website content. The business owner can change the information on the website without problem. CMS mainly provides responsive themes so that any module or plug-in placed on the website also works on a mobile device.

A PHP framework generally does not have standard user interfaces by default, which makes the CMS so user-friendly. But developers can create an interface using the available library functions. CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or SASS can be used with PHP frameworks to develop a site for the best user experience. Users can develop responsive sites using these front frames.

Conclusion: CMS offers the best user experience with less effort.


What’s best for your business?
So how do you choose between a PHP framework and a CMS for your business website? By now you understand the core functions of the two and have an idea about how they deal with Security, Flexibility, Upgrades and User Experience. As a business owner, you understand what is important for your business, and depending upon your business requirements, you can decide which technology is best.

The IT Hands team has enough experience and the skill set to help you define the right technology tool for your business website. Our team has competent resources on popular CMS including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla as well as PHP frameworks like CodeIgniter and Laravel. We understand the pros and cons of each technology solution and are capable of defining the right fit for your business.


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