WordPress is the de facto standard when it comes to content management systems. It’s ubiquitous, customizable, has a ton of plugins and has a great selection of free and paid themes. However, there could be plenty of reasons why you’d want an alternative.
You might want something simple without the bloat, something that’s easier to modify or you might simply want something that focuses on content and takes care of the rest itself.
We’ve gathered a selection of the best free alternatives to WordPress. It doesn’t matter whether you are a budding blogger, a designer or a seasoned professional. This list has something for everyone.
Open source, Free for personal and commercial use
Bolt recently got updated to v2 and it makes it a genuine contender for the best free CMS around. It’s feature set includes a responsive layout, a clean content editing experience. diverse content types and image management and a great method to create relations between your content.
It is built with Silex and uses various Symfony components so if you are a PHP professional, you can easily extend the CMS according to your needs. The front-end uses Twig, a popular templating engine, so front-end developers can easily customize the look and feel of a site running Bolt.
Free open source license, paid commercial license
Dislike dealing with PHP but but still want control over how your blog looks and behaves? CouchCMS might be your cup of tea. It allows you to take any HTML/CSS website and make it CMS enabled through the addition of a few XHTML tags. At no point do you have to deal with back-end code, which makes it ideal for designers.
A highlight feature is ‘Editable regions’, which are of great help when you’re using CouchCMS to build something for a client. Other features include cloned pages, comments, auto-validating forms, RSS feeds and URL cloaking among others.
Open source, MIT license
For those of you who are thinking, “I thought you said there would be simpler stuff in here!”, Pico is an ideal WordPress alternative. It is a flat file CMS, which basically means that it does not use a database. This means anything powered by Pico is fast and very simple. Essentially, you’d be editing text files to create and update posts.
Pico uses Markdown, which is an easy to read and easy to write plain text format that converts to HTML. For theming, it uses the Twig templating engine. Keep in mind that Pico does not support PHP versions lower than 5.3.
Open source, free
Another alternative that is much simpler than WordPress, Anchor CMS keeps the focus on writing while providing all the features you can’t really do without. It literally installs in two minutes and provides a nice dashboard for managing all your content.
Open source, free
Modx Revolution is brilliant if you want complete control over every aspect of your site. It has an amazing community and high customizability so if you do client work, this is one option you should definitely be checking out.
It provides an easy way to extend the platform without resorting to hacks and a great manager which can be tweaked exactly how you want it. Not only that, it also provides advanced features for running multiple sites and scaling on multiple servers.