In this post I am going to clarify what is behind the acronym CMS.
I will explain how a CMS or Content Management System works, its main uses, its operation and I will list some of the most popular management systems.
Although the use of this type of manager is not limited to web development, in this article I will focus on this area.
The use of these content managers does not stop growing day after day. They represent a very high percentage of the technologies used to build web pages. Therefore, it is important that you know them if you are starting to enter the world of web development.
Table of Contents
What Is A CMS?
CMS stands for Content Management System, which in Spanish means Content Management System.
In a very general way, a CMS is software that allows you to manage different aspects of a digital product without the need for technical or programming knowledge.
The most used CMS are focused on the management of web pages. Basically they allow you to create your website at the click of a button. You will be able to manage the visual aspects of your website, its content and even more technical aspects, such as user roles.
Content management systems usually stand out for their ease of use. For example, in the event that you want to build a blog and you decide to use this type of software, to create a new article, all you have to do is use a text editor and publish your entry.
What Is A CMS For?
A CMS has a multitude of uses and utilities, but with respect to the web environment I would highlight three approaches:
- Corporate pages: Today it is almost mandatory that if you have a business, either as a company or as a freelancer, you have to have a website. This gives you a more professional brand image, while making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Blogs: They are focused on the creation of periodic content. They are usually focused on a specific topic. They can be both company blogs and personal blogs. Using a content management system allows you to create your publications in a simple way.
- Online stores: Allows you to sell your products over the internet. The advantages of having an electronic commerce (also known as e-commerce) are multiple, from eliminating geographical limitations, increasing the visibility of your business or increasing your brand image.
You may be wondering: “If I want to make a reservation system for a hotel or a website where I offer my courses online, can I use a CMS?” The answer is yes, of course you can use a CMS, you will achieve this thanks to the extensions.
CMS extensions are small add-ons that add extra functionality to your CMS. You will be able to find a multitude of extensions to create websites with complex functionalities.
You can find both free and paid extensions and even a mixed system, where one extension offers free features and others that require payment.
I want to clarify that they are not commonly called “extensions”, but each CMS calls them differently. For example, the extensions for the CMS WordPress are known as plugins, while in another CMS like Drupal these extensions are known as modules.
How A CMS Works
A CMS has a base code, called core. This core is a code already created that makes the entire management system work. Colloquially speaking, the core is the guts of the CMS.
Depending on the CMS, that core will include some default features and will determine how the ecosystem of the program works.
This type of platform is responsible for managing both the part related to the server, technically known as backend, and the more visual part or, what amounts to the same thing, what the user sees when accessing your website from a browser, called frontend.
In other words, the use of this type of software gives you a system already built with everything you need to create a web page, allowing you to focus on creating content.
As a general rule, we can see several aspects in common between all CMS:
- Administration panel: In this administration panel you can manage everything related to the CMS. It allows you to install extensions or plugins, add pages to the website, create articles for the blog, manage products, manage users… All this is done visually, providing great ease of use to work with any aspect of your website. and making web development affordable to users who are not technical or do not have programming skills. Normally you access this panel with a user with administration levels that is created when the installation is executed.
- Themes: As a general rule, CMS separate the part more focused on the internal operation of the visual or aesthetic part. This is done through themes. These themes are responsible for managing aesthetic aspects, such as background color, typography, link color, menu layout… In short, everything we see when visiting a page. The themes can be very varied and can provide extra functionalities and not just limit themselves to defining styles. Some allow you to visually build your web page with drag and drop tools. It is what we call page-builders.
- Add-ons: As I mentioned before, each CMS has its own marketplace, where you can find plugins or modules that extend the default functions of the content management system. If at any time we do not find a very specific functionality or we need something very specific , we can always develop our own add-ons or extensions and provide the content manager with unique functionalities.
How To Install A CMS
Each content management system has its own installation process. For example, if you want to install WordPress , you can use an assistant that will guide you through the process. However, there are some commonalities:
- Hosting: First of all, you will need to have web hosting. You can find hosting specialized in WordPress or other CMS that will make this task even easier, making the installation consist of a few clicks from the administration panel of the hosting itself.
- Database: For the content manager to work correctly, you will need a database where all the information necessary for the software to work will be stored, as well as all the information of the content that you add.
- File upload : If your hosting provider does not have specialized hosting for the installation of this type of software, you will have to manually upload files to your hosting.
- Installation wizard: In general, content management web applications have a configuration wizard so that, after uploading the files, you will be able to access your website through your domain and an installation wizard will be displayed that will guide you through the necessary steps.
If your goal is to start dedicating yourself professionally to the creation of web pages or you are simply interested in creating websites for personal use, knowing the different CMS or content manager systems is essential.
If you manage to delve into the operation of a management system and do not limit yourself to the most basic, you will be able to create websites with complex and colorful functionalities.
Keep in mind that, although a priori they seem like simple tools, as in everything, if they are not used correctly, you will obtain results that you might not expect.