A content management system (CMS) is computer software used to manage the creation and modification of digital content (content management).[1][2][3] A CMS is typically used for enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM).

ECM typically supports multiple users in a collaborative environment[4][5] by integrating document management, digital asset management, and record retention.[4]

Alternatively, WCM is the collaborative authoring for websites and may include text and embed graphics, photos, video, audio, maps, and program code that display content and interact with the user.[6][7] ECM typically includes a WCM function.


A CMS typically has two major components: a content management application (CMA), as the front-end user interface that allows a user, even with limited expertise, to add, modify, and remove content from a website without the intervention of a webmaster; and a content delivery application (CDA), that compiles the content and updates the website.

Installation type

There are two types of CMS installation: on-premises and cloud-based. On-premises installation means that the CMS software can be installed on the server. This approach is usually taken by businesses that want flexibility in their setup. Notable CMSs which can be installed on-premises are Wordpress.org, Drupal, Joomla, Grav, ModX and others.

The cloud-based CMS is hosted on the vendor environment. Examples of notable cloud-based CMSs are SquareSpace, Contentful, Wordpress.com, Webflow, Ghost and WIX.

Common features

The core CMS features are: indexing, search and retrieval, format management, revision control, and management.[4]

Features may vary depending on the system application but will typically include:[4]

Popular additional features may include:[4]

Other types of content management systems

Digital asset management systems are another type of CMS. They manage content with clearly-defined author or ownership, such as documents, movies, pictures, phone numbers, and scientific data. Companies also use CMSs to store, control, revise, and publish documentation.

There are also component content management systems (CCMS), which are CMSs that manage content at a modular level rather than as pages or articles. CCMSs are often used in technical communication, where many publications reuse the same content.

Widely used CMSs

Based on a survey, the most widely used content management system is WordPress, used by 42.8% of the top 10 million websites as of October 2021. (although, per definition, it is a blog system/website generator, not a fully-fledged content management system), followed by Shopify and Joomla.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. Ann Rockley, Pamela Kostur, Steve Manning. New Riders, 2003.
  2. ^ The content management handbook. Martin White. Facet Publishing, 2005.
  3. ^ Content Management Bible, Bob Boiko. John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
  4. ^ a b c d e "What is a Content Management System (CMS)? Definition from WhatIs.com". SearchContentManagement. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  5. ^ Moving Media Storage Technologies: Applications & Workflows for Video and Media S2011. Page 381
  6. ^ "What Is a Content Management System (CMS)". Kinsta. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  7. ^ Kohan, Bernard. "Content Management System (CMS) and other spin-off terms definition(s)". Comentum. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Tech Reports – What CMS?". December 14, 2020. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "W3Techs content management usage". March 1, 2021.