WordPress is the undisputed king of building websites, managing a whopping 42% of the entire Internet, but that doesn’t mean there are no alternatives that may suit your individual needs better. Each CMS is built differently with a different customer base in mind.
And believe me when I say there is no shortage of WordPress competitors to choose from. However, as with anything concerning a website, you need to take into consideration what type of website you are building and your skill level.
One of the big reasons why WordPress is so popular is that you don’t need any coding knowledge to build a site. The same is not true for some of the other CMS on this list, thus, you need to find one that works for you.
Today, I will cover the best WordPress alternatives to consider using in 2024.
What Makes a Great CMS?
With no shortage of CMS or website-building platforms to choose from, the number of options is quite frankly staggering. Thus you could easily spend hours sifting through these platforms before one catches your eye.
We looked at five key pieces of criteria when assembling this list that include:
Accessibility– This determines how easy a CMS is to use, which is arguably the most important factor. Getting the most out of a CMS depends entirely on if you can use the tools it provides.Performance– No one likes a slow website and the CMS you choose will have a major impact on that. This will directly affect the speed at which pages load, and how well the platform interacts with third-party software.SEO– SEO determines how your website ranks on search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the more traffic you will receive, and just about everything impacts your SEO, thus your CMS is an important factor as it impacts everything as well.Security– The internet is not a safe place. Every day 30,000 websites are hacked with 43% of those belonging to small businesses. You need to be able to defend your site and the data it contains.Customization Potential– Everyone has a certain vision for their website, and that vision is only reachable if you have the creative freedom to reach it. Many CMS have limitations in place, thus, it’s important to find ones that give you more freedom.
These were the core values we considered when assembling this list, but keep in mind there are other factors to consider. This list is in no specific order, so without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Joomla is one of the best CMS alternatives to WordPress due to its high flexibility, but it needs to be said that, unlike WordPress, it is not beginner-friendly. The backend you will be using is not intuitive to pick up.
Users often spend hours trying to get accustomed to it and when first installed, it lacks any sample data. That said, Joomla does provide sample data, but you need to find it in the options to import it in Joomla.
Joomla is quite similar to WordPress regarding extensions. Joomla has a large library of templates and extensions that are the same as themes and plugins for WordPress. While the library is not as robust, there are a lot of options.
Unfortunately, the trend of Joomla being more complicated to use continues when it comes to its extensions. The CMS uses numbers instead of names to place these extensions, which makes it hard to follow for beginners.
That said, once you get used to it, it will match WordPress when it comes to creative freedom.
When it comes to editing, Joomla uses a similar editor to the classic WordPress layout. Thus, it is quite easy to create content with, but again, nothing in Joomla is very intuitive. The editor will bring you to both blog and page content.
The only way to tell the difference is with the category system. It does work and you will get used to it.
One of the main advantages Joomla offers over WordPress is that it typically offers a better performance, which can also give it an edge SEO-wise. This brings us to security, which is another strong point for Joomla.
Unlike WordPress where you need to install a plugin for basic security features, many are built right into Joomla, which makes it more secure out of the box. It even comes baked in with SSL.
Benefits of Using Joomla
Offers users a faster performanceSEO and security tools are built into the installSolid customization options and a good selection of templates
Drawbacks of Using Joomla
Not intuitive to usePublishing interface is a mess in comparison to WordPressYou need a basic understanding of PHP to fully use Joomla
Drupal is one of the most popular WordPress alternatives, but it is far more complicated than WordPress. Thus, it is a poor choice for beginners. This is apparent when you try to choose a theme for your site.
Drupal doesn’t offer a huge selection of themes you can use, and the ones that they do are quite simple. This is because Drupal is intended for more advanced users that will code their own themes.
As such, if you don’t have this expertise, you are going to need to hire a developer to create the theme for you. This can dramatically increase the costs associated with a Drupal site. Luckily, Drupal does have a good selection of modules.
Modules are the equivalent of plugins in WordPress and there are thousands to choose from, but there are still fewer options. One area where Drupal dominates WordPress would be security. Drupal is one of the most secure CMSs on the market.
This is why Drupal was a top choice for government sites such as NASA. However, NASA replaced Drupal with WordPress as the primary CMS as WordPress is easier to use and far more expansive for NASA’s needs.
The editor of Drupal is not great. It is perhaps the most basic one on this list, which can be a real turn-off for blogs. Even compared to the classic editor in WordPress, it lacks a lot of basic features.
With this said, it can still get the job done, but don’t expect a lot of options or customization on post content. One area where Drupal excels is when it comes to custom content types. They are more flexible than WordPress and easier to implement.
When it comes to performance, Drupal is a lightweight CMS that focuses on creating fast-loading pages and is better suited for larger sites. As such, it is typically faster than WordPress, which is a boon for SEO efforts.
Benefits of Using Drupal
Robust security measures in place upon installationBuilt with custom content types in mindTypically faster than the average WordPress site
Drawbacks of Using Drupal
Theme selection is poor often requiring a developerThe editor is extremely simple and lacks more advanced optionsSmaller selection of modules compared to other CMS
Many people may not realize this, but when WordPress first started, it was a simple blogging platform. However, as its popularity grew, it expanded into a platform that can build any kind of site. Ghost is a CMS that focuses exclusively on blogging.
Since the platform focuses on publishing content, it is much simpler than many CMS but is about equal when it comes to WordPress. The UI is intuitive with most things exactly where you expect them to be.
One of the more standout elements would be that it color codes everything so users can find what they are looking for at a glance. The colors stand out on the white background, so it is a really good design decision.
In terms of the actual editor, Ghost is quite robust but ultimately falls a little short of what WordPress offers, and unlike WordPress, you can’t just add what you need.
At least not always.
Ghost add-ons, the equivalent of plugins, are not very robust. It is still a growing library, thus in many cases, it just isn’t possible to find every option you could in WordPress, but it has everything a typical blog will need access to.
One area in Ghost does fall short would be customization. It just isn’t robust and often limits the design of any website.
One area that Ghost blows WordPress out of the water would be performance. Ghost has been touted as being much faster than WordPress, which would improve speed scores for SEO and the user experience.
Ghost also excels when it comes to SEO. It includes a variety of features that you would typically need a plugin in WordPress. This includes automatically filling metadata, creating XML sitemaps, and more.
Benefits of Using Ghost
Extremely fast performance blows WordPress awaySEO tools are built into the platform to help your blog growColor-coded design makes the UI very intuitive
Drawbacks of Using Ghost
Limited design options outside of traditional blog stylesThe add-on library is very small, which makes it difficult to add additional featuresGhost does not have many themes to choose from
PrestaShop is a popular eCommerce solution for building websites. As such, it focuses solely on eCommerce and is aimed at beginners. It is a platform that is very easy to use and set up which is a bit rare when it comes to eCommerce solutions.
When it comes to building a store, PrestaShop includes over 4,000 store templates that act like themes in WordPress. It is a robust selection with something for most niches. The designs typically leave plenty of room for products and featured products.
If you are talented in HTML, you can also build your template to give you complete freedom when it comes to store design.
You’ll be able to show off all of the necessary product information like price, descriptions, categories, SKU number, and can even show how many are left in stock. It has everything you would expect in a typical eCommerce platform.
When it comes to payment gateways, PrestaShop supports all of the major players like PayPal, Stripe, direct credit cards, and more.
One of the strongest points for PrestaShop would be its built-in shipping management tools. Customers will be able to see how much the shipping is before they go to checkout, which helps them see the actual price.
Oftentimes, when shipping is added to the final cost, customers will abandon a cart, thus, showing the true value is a great tactic. And this data is submitted by shipping companies to PrestaShop directly for the most accurate rates through various APIs.
As an eCommerce platform that handles credit card information and other personal information, security is a serious concern.
PrestaShop supports a variety of security measures like SSL certificates, firewalls, forcing strong passwords, and so on. While no platform is absolutely safe from hackers, as long as you keep PrestaShop up to date, you should be fine.
Benefits of Using PrestaShop
Relatively easy setup compared to most eCommerce solutionsHealthy selection of payment gateways are supportedShipping manager is a very robust tool
Drawbacks of Using PrestaShop
Most modules are not free which can dramatically increase the pricePrestaShop is slower than WordPressWhile there are lots of themes, they look unprofessional
MediaWiki is a free and open-source wiki engine. It focuses on using the same design as Wikipedia to create individual wikis for topics. This is commonly seen for certain franchises like Game of Thrones, or video games like Baldur’s Gate 3.
As such, this is not like other WordPress alternatives, because it does something very unique, and has become quite popular in this space. Virtually all wikis you access online utilize MediaWiki.
While WordPress has wiki plugins, they just are not as robust as MediaWiki out of the box.
In terms of design, it is a wiki. There’s probably not much I need to say, but you can customize the appearance to better match the franchise which includes the background color, background image, font color, font size, and so on.
At the end of the day, anything you create will still largely resemble Wikipedia, but with a specific skin applied.
The actual editor of media wiki is an HTML editor. It lacks a lot of the features you would find in WordPress, but those knowledgeable in HTML will have no issue creating content in it.
Perhaps one of its strongest features would be its internationalization. MediaWiki is available in over 400 languages.
When it comes to security, as long as you keep your version updated you will be fine. You should ensure that all of your files are permission-protected to ensure users cannot write in them. Media Wiki also has a good selection of extensions.
Extensions are the equivalent of plugins from WordPress and so all kinds of things for your site. Most of them are free, so they can be a great addition to the site, just make sure to keep them updated for security.
Benefits of Using MediaWiki
SEO is simple and intuitive at any skill levelSupports over 400 languagesGreat for collaborative projects
Drawbacks of Using MediaWiki
Not suitable for traditional blogs or eCommerceLack of rights management makes integrating with enterprise wiki challengingCan be considered complex if not familiar with HTML
OpenCart is designed for creating eCommerce sites. It provides all of the tools and features you would need to start an online store and it does all of this in a user-friendly manner. As such, anyone can take advantage of the tools this platform offers.
While WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin installed becomes a powerhouse for small to medium-sized businesses, OpenCart excels at large-scale eCommerce sites. One of the standout features when it comes to eCommerce would be the shipping potential.
This platform allows you to choose between different shipping models like flat rate, weight, or per-item shipping. And that’s just a few of the choices. In total, you can add up to 8 different shipping options for customers to choose from.
This grants customers much more flexibility and can aid in any memberships you create, as they can be member-exclusive.
When it comes to the design of your store, OpenCart offers a solid selection of themes to choose from. They are all eCommerce-focused and are typically designed with different niches in mind. While there are a good number of free options, you can also find paid options.
The themes can be customized just like WordPress, but you will need HTML and CSS skills to do it.
OpenCart also comes with some unique security tools built-in like fraud protection, security tokens, IP address blocking, and more. And similarly to WordPress plugins, you can install extensions to add additional security measures.
The product editor is quite robust and offers all of the options you would find in WooCommerce, but there is one main difference. OpenCart does not support bulk changes, thus you will need to edit products one at a time.
Benefits of Using OpenCart
Strong selection of themes for all kinds of shopsEasily create coupons and discount codes to entice new customersUsers can share products on social media
Drawbacks of Using OpenCart
No bulk editing options for productsLacks SEO functionalityExtensions often do not work well together
Adobe Commerce (formerly known as Magento) is an eCommerce-focused platform. It provides all of the tools you’ll need for building an online store, with the added benefit of full compatibility with other Adobe tools.
When it comes to the setup, Adobe Commerce requires users to use the command line, which can be pretty challenging for beginners. As such, it is recommended to understand the basics of coding, as it is required to get the most out of this platform.
Sadly, the challenges to using this platform don’t end with the setup. Even adding extensions (the equivalent of plugins) can be a daunting task. These extensions often require more advanced skill sets to utilize on your site.
Luckily, Adobe Commerce does come with everything you’ll need for a basic shop out of the box, so extensions are optional.
When it comes to the design of your site, Adobe Commerce utilizes themes the same way WordPress does but ultimately offers fewer options. What is available is your typical online store interface tailored for different niches.
There are premium options available, but to get the most out of the platform, you are going to need to edit the themes yourself.
Naturally, everyone wants customers to find their store, which is why SEO is vital to any site. Adobe Commerce comes with a variety of SEO features built-in that stores can utilize to improve their rankings. There are also a number of extensions that you can install to help.
As an Adobe product, Adobe Commerce is also quite secure. If you keep it up to date and install security extensions, your site will be well protected.
Benefits of Using Adobe Commerce
Solid selection of themes for a variety of nichesComes with built-in security optionsCompatibility with other Adobe tools
Drawbacks of Using Adobe Commerce
Requires more technical knowledge than WordPressExtension library mainly offers premium optionsBetter as an enterprise solution
Zen Cart is a free eCommerce solution you can use to build a website with. Downloading the program itself is quite trivial, however, actually getting it on your web server is another matter. It is downright confusing and can scare away most beginners.
Once you do manage to set it up, actually using Zen Cart isn’t too bad. There is an initial learning curve as the UI is not as intuitive as you would expect in 2024, but once you learn where things are, it is easy enough.
Zen Cart comes with a lot of great eCommerce tools out of the box like shipping tools, but you will need plugins to add certain features. For instance, most payment gateways will have their own plugin to install.
Sadly, Zen Cart plugins have a reputation for not working well with each other, so be prepared to do some troubleshooting. Speaking of troubleshooting, updates to Zen Cart can also cause issues. As such some basic web development skills are required.
When it comes to customizing the appearance of your site, there isn’t much to say.
Zen Cart has a library of themes you can choose from, but they are rather basic. Most stores will purchase premium ones, but they also have stability concerns. Again, you are going to need to tweak the themes, so coding knowledge is a must.
When it comes to the SEO aspect of Zen Cart, it has some basic features you would expect like metadata, but nothing beyond that. Plugins can help fill this shortcoming. The same can be said about its security offering. It is basic at best.
Benefits of Using Zen Cart
Has an active community to help solve problemsEasily sort products into categories and subcategoriesCreate coupons and special offers for customers
Drawbacks of Using Zen Cart
Requires web development experience to set up and maintain the sitePlugins often cause conflicts with one anotherSite reporting leaves a lot to be desired
Blogger has been around for a long time and even pre-dates WordPress, but never found the same success. It is a free blog hosting service by Google that allows you to build a full blog for free, which naturally attracts a lot of users.
That said, as a free service, there are a lot of limitations put in place, which is often why serious bloggers avoid it.
When it comes to accessibility, Blogger is one of the easiest platforms to get started on. All it requires is a Google account and you can create your blog in minutes. Creating content for it is no different.
Blogger looks quite similar to Microsoft Word with a variety of features suited for blogging. Where things become trickier would be designing your site’s appearance. Blogger is not very customizable and to really do anything with it, you will need HTML.
Without using HTML to edit a theme, most are quite basic and lack any creative flair.
It is worth pointing out that the content you create on Blogger doesn’t actually belong to you. At any point, Google can shut down the service and it will all be gone. It can even ban your account without warning if the content violates its Terms and Services.
One thing that is very noteworthy about Blogger would be the security. It is owned and maintained by Google, and as such, it is very secure. This is one thing you’ll never have to worry about when using Blogger.
Blogger is a solid choice for someone who wants to test out blogging, but it hasn’t received any major updates in years. Given Google’s track record, it may get shut down like many other Google services have.
Benefits of Using Blogger
Can start your blog in a matter of minutesAllows you to use a custom domain nameSimple interface makes it easy to create and edit blogs
Drawbacks of Using Blogger
Hasn’t received any major updates in a long timeYou don’t actually own your blogExporting from Blogger is complicated and can impact SEO
Moodle is a unique entry on this list of WordPress alternatives because it is a Learning Management System (LMS). It focuses on the creation of educational material like online courses for any kind of topic.
It was made with all skill levels in mind. As such, building online courses with Moodle is very easy compared to other LMSs, including the LMS plugins offered by WordPress. And that is all thanks to the drag-and-drop course builder.
With it, you can simply add and drag course elements to the desired location. It is also easy to set deadlines for content and allow users to submit work for grading. Naturally, you can also build quizzes and assignments in the same manner.
While the actual course assembly is great, it is worth noting that the initial setup does need just a bit of technical expertise. Thus, some basic coding skills will be required to get your website up and running.
When it comes to customization, Moodle doesn’t have a great selection of themes. While it does have themes to choose from, the customization is often limited and pales in comparison to what WordPress offers.
Moodle also delivers a solid selection of plugins that focus on more eLearning tools to expand your options.
Unfortunately, as a dedicated LMS, Moodle doesn’t have a lot of SEO tools at its disposal. All it has is the ability to edit metadata and not much else beyond that. It recommends creating links on other websites to improve SEO.
Of course, since the main purpose of an LMS is often to sell course material, Moodle comes with a full eCommerce suite for this very purpose. You can sell courses for a one-time fee or create a subscription model for users to keep access to the content.
Benefits of Using Moodle
Excellent course buildingAccept payments from all major payment gateways like PayPalThe Moodle Community is great at helping members solve problems with their site
Drawbacks of Using Moodle
Lacks SEO options to help you grow organicallyThe UI is a bit dated and can be confusing at firstGradebook functionality is not the best and most will use a third-party solution
WordPress Alternatives FAQ
Absolutely! WordPress sites can be transferred to other CMSs. Just keep in mind that transferring from one CMS to another can present a lot of issues that you’ll need to resolve, which depend entirely on the CMS.
Not really. WordPress itself is actually free to use. Instead, users pay for web hosting services, and luckily, because WordPress is so dominant, web hosts offer extremely low rates for their services. The same cannot be said for more niche options.
Yes. You can keep your domain name while changing CMS. You will have to take a few additional steps to make this happen, and it depends entirely on the CMS. Contact your web host for help with this process.
Yes. Even if you copy all of your data to a new CMS and keep the same domain name, due to the structural difference between CMSs, everything needs to be reindexed by search engines, which will impact your SEO.
Yes. It is possible to integrate two CMSs to transfer content from one to another. For example, you can use Magneto and WordPress together. Magneto to run your eCommerce store, and WordPress for all other needs.
Yes, but not as big as you would think. One thing I refrained from mentioning was the price, and this is because many of these tools are free, and the costs depend on the hosting environment and what add-ons you include. Ultimately, the pricing difference is not large enough to be a deciding factor.
Pick the Best Website Builder Today
While we just went through a great selection of WordPress alternatives, the best option is still WordPress. It does anything any of these other platforms does, but better and with more options available.
That said if you are set on not using WordPress, Ghost is probably the best option for blogs, and OpenCart is a great alternative to WooCommerce, but again, it just comes down to the needs of your site.
The best thing you can do is try multiple platforms and see which one works best for you before committing to one of them.
Why are you looking for WordPress alternatives? Which CMS did you choose?