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What Is A Content Management System?

A Content Management System or simply a website CMS is a software that exists on a server and return web pages as a means of displaying a website. Actually pages do not exist on the server and instead are created from a database on-the-fly, by the CMS software. 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. In practical terms it means that design issues are resolved more easily and quickly.

content management system1 300x259Therefore, CMS is 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.

Main points of a CMS:

1. Pages are edited online via a normal browser.

2. Edits go live immediately.

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

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

5. Design and layout are controlled by templates – no custom design is necessary, though of course it can be utilized in order to extensively customize the page appearance.

6. Additional features are added via plug-ins – no custom work is needed.

7. Plug-ins are (or should be) widely available.

8. Content of many different types can be organized and presented in many different ways.


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9. Content is completely separated from presentation – i.e. the page content does not affect its layout.

10. Rich media capability is usually better than that for standard websites.

All CMS use a database (DB) of some type, the most common being SQL. If no SQL database is available, then there is an alternative: a flat-file DB, which is basically a text file.

More significant points:

1. On a normal website, the web pages exist on the server.

2. On a CMS site, there are no web pages on the server.

3. The CMS will normally use an SQL database.

4. The pages are built on demand and do not pre-exist.

5. When there is no SQL on the server, or no access to management functions, then a flat-file CMS can be used.

Types of CMS

Content management systems can be divided into many different kinds, for several different purposes. Firstly, there are website CMS and non-website CMS. The former are designed to serve content on the Internet, the latter to contain and organize an enterprise’s information in a private environment.

The next division is between the various classes of function:

1. The micro CMS class

2. The lightweight class

3. The online brochure type

4. The extended online brochure type, with rich media publishing

5. The community / news model

6. The provider-consumer model

7. The enterprise class of CMS

8. The ecommerce-enabled type

I hope that this concise run-through of what cms means, what a cms does, cms types should have filled in most of the gaps for you.

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