What is a CMS? - Act-On IT Solutions Ltd

What is a CMS?


A CMS website or Content Management System is software that resides on a server and replaces web pages as a means of displaying a website. The pages do not exist and instead are created from a database on-the-fly, by the CMS software. The owner can edit content online without recourse to a webmaster. Additional website functions and features are added by means of plugins, so that custom development is not normally required. Page design is based on templates instead of the free-form method used in normal web pages, and this means that content is separated from design, so that each does not affect the other. This means the site owner can change the content without affecting the page layout, and that design issues are resolved more easily and quickly.

It is just as easy to create a 1,000-page website as a 10-page site, as the CMS creates the page framework and the content can be pasted in. A new page can be created and go live on the site in under two minutes if the standard page layout is chosen.

A website CMS is therefore the best way to run a large website, or indeed any site where regular edits or changes are made; and where additional functions will be needed at a later date. A large or complex site will be far quicker and cheaper to build with a CMS.

CMS Advantages

  • Pages are edited online via a normal browser.

  • Edits go live immediately.

  • The site owner can easily edit, add or delete pages.

  • With minimal training, the site owner may be able to add new menu items and even sections to the site.

  • Design and layout are controlled by templates - no custom design is necessary, though of course it can be utilised in order to extensively customise the page appearance.

  • Additional functions are added via plugins - no custom work is needed.

  • Plugins are (or should be) widely available.

  • Content of many different types can be organised and presented in many different ways.

  • Content is completely separated from presentation, meaning that the page content does not affect its layout.

  • Rich media capability is usually better than for standard websites.

  • Many people will have been down the same road you are on. This transfers directly to the CMS you will use, and even more to the plugins. This work has all been done many times before and you reap the rewards. Design issues, functionality issues, and how to do things better - all have been tuned already.