Content Management Systems
CMS and Open Source Software
CMS (Content Management System) is software, usually running on a database and some web scripting language like PHP or Active Server Pages from Microsoft. It makes it easy to maintain larger websites, because the software behind the web site takes all the data from the database and you don’t have to worry about layout or linking the pages together.
Nowadays most web hosting companies, also the cheaper ones, offer hosting including some form of database and web scripting, usually the GPL (free) PHP and MySql combination. The popularity of this combination has caused an overwhelming supply of content management software and a lot of it is free to use, so tasting CMS has never been easier today.
To try out CMS without immediately finding a web host, you can install a web server with web scripting and a database on your own PC. The also free Apache web server is mostly used for this. Installation of this server is relatively easy, but to get your server running together with PHP and MySql, needed for a CMS, is not always easy.
Some people have compiled complete installation packages to download, so installation should not cause too many problems. Here you find some samples of these packages, suitable for a CMS:
Easy PHPComplete Apache Installation package.
Server Installation Listings from Hot Scripts Complete Server Installation packages.
So, makes Content Management your life easier as a site owner? Yes and No. If your objective is to get a CMS to “get rid” of a webmaster who you always have to ask to update your content, forget it. Yes, now you can easily update you content, but now you need somebody to keep an eye on your Content Management System. Especially when you use one of the free systems that are around. There are regular security updates, you probably will need a original template etc… Maybe you better keep him/her on…
A good way to to get to know free CMS is here:
Open Source CMS Discussions, reviews and try outs of Content Management Systems.
I write most of my CMS software myself, and its fun to do! If you need a CMS I may write you one, if I have the time...