If you need a quick and easy answer to the question “What is a CMS website?”, then read on below.
In a nutshell: CMS software is a system that allows you (user) to make changes to your website with little or no training or coding skills. This administration is usually done through browser-based interfaces (website login areas).
Web CMS = Website Content Management System
Web content management systems (web CMS) are software/programs that work as interfaces which provide simplified tools for integrated website management. They allow users with little knowledge of programming or markup languages to create and manage website content (the dynamic collection of HTML documents, images and other media) easily or intuitively in regards to:
- document control
- content editing and timeline management (content input and updates)
- authoring (e.g. pages and section creation, restructuring, deletion)
- collaboration (a good CMS will allow to manage content by multiple users)
- administration (main and sub-navigation adjustments, internal and external linking etc.).
Content Management Solution
CMS Web Design
Structures of pages (overall design) within a CMS website are usually “hard-coded” and work as static (i.e. not user-changeable) templates. Within these page templates users can easily introduce and manage their content (text, images). Thus, the overall CMS web design cannot be “broken” by the user.
Depending on particular CMS system’s flexibility, sometimes also adjustments to the pages’ styling or layout can be done by the user(s). So it is always good to discuss your expectations with your developer beforehand.
CMS Web Development
A CMS web development typically requires a web developer to build (or set up) essentially two websites that are inseparably connected and share one database. One is the “front-end” website that the site visitors will perceive and enjoy. The second is a website into which the site owner logs in to manage his content, add posts, pages or products, etc.
This complexity of CMS web development meant that such websites can cost more to build than simple, static HTML sites. On the other hand, CMS websites are much more cost-efficient in the long run, as once initial coding of framework and features is done, a web content management system is primarily a website maintenance tool for non-technical users. This in turn cuts out the need to engage a developer each time a site owner wants to introduce any content or page changes!
Website Maintenance in CMS
Most CMS systems use database or back-end backup to store page content, metadata, and any other information assets needed by the system. The content itself, once introduced by the user, is usually stored as XML (Extensible Markup Language – a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form) to facilitate, reuse and enable flexible presentation options (displaying of the content to the website’s human visitors).
Web Hosting of CMS Website
Now that you know what a CMS website is, let us look at its hosting. Well, it is exactly the same as for any other website and the needed solution (available memory and bandwidth allocation, etc.) will depend primarily on the site’s performance. By that we mean e.g. size of the website, what type and size of files will it make accessible to visitors, periods of higher activity, its functionalities etc.. Also and any additional, unusual functionalities of the website (e.g. live chat, video hosting, etc.) might need to be taken into consideration and catered for.