10 Fantastic Lightweight CMSes You Should Try

Sometimes less is more. When it comes to content management systems there’s a huge selection of feature rich, powerful and incredibly complicated options, but what about the lightweight jobs? Many of today’s popular CMSes are overkill for small, basic tasks where the extra frills just aren’t needed.

Today we bring you 10 fantastic lightweight CMSes that’ll get the job done without the extra bloat.

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CushyCMS

CushyCMS

1. CushyCMS

CushyCMS doesn’t require any self-hosted server-side processing since it’s hosted for you and it doesn’t need a database or anything else. Simply integrate the CMS with CSS classes and you’re good to go. The CMS accesses your files via FTP to make the changes. It’s really simple and incredibly fast to get setup (in minutes).

  • Price: Free, Pro: $28 per month
  • Server Language: None
  • Database: No
  • Self-Hosted: No
  • Plugins: No
  • Developer: Stateless Systems
Wolf CMS

Wolf CMS

2. Wolf CMS

Wolf CMS is for slightly more advanced users as PHP knowledge is helpful, although not required. This CMS uses a simple interface, flexible page templating, file management tools and user management options. If you need more power, plugins are available and if you have the skills you can extend Wolf CMS to fit your own specific needs relatively easily.

  • Price: Free (Open Source)
  • Server Language: PHP v5+
  • Database: MySQL v4.1.x or SQLite 3
  • Self-Hosted: Yes
  • Plugins: Yes – Visit Repository
  • Developer: Wolf CMS (fork of Frog CMS)
GetSimple CMS

GetSimple CMS

3. GetSimple CMS

XML based GetSimple is a CMS with the right set of features without the unnecessary bloat. You’re able to “undo” your actions incase you goof up, a much appreciated feature. Setup and templating is a breeze and its interface is clean and uncluttered.

Symphony

Symphony

4. Symphony

Symphony is a XSLT-powered (on PHP) CMS with an elegant and simple interface, engineered for flexibility while also being easy enough for non-programmers to implement. Although this is a lightweight CMS, it’s definitely more focused towards more experienced users. There are also a good number of high profile sites using Symphony such as Virgin media, BBC and MTV.

  • Price: Free (Open Source)
  • Server Language: PHP v5.2+
  • Database: MySQL 4.1+
  • Self-Hosted: Yes
  • Plugins: Yes – Visit Repository
MojoMotor

MojoMotor

5. MojoMotor

MojoMotor was developed by the crew at EllisLab, the same developers of the wildly popular CMS ExpressionEngine. MojoMotor is EE’s little brother, taking on the simpler CMS tasks EE isn’t needed for. It’s not free but it’s certainly easy to use and seems to do the job quite well, so it may well be worth the price for you (plus there’s a 30-day money back guarantee). If you’re looking for requirement information, it’s a little hidden but can be found within the User Guide documentation.

  • Price: $49.95 per license
  • Server Language: PHP v5+
  • Database: MySQL
  • Self-Hosted: Yes
  • Plugins: Yes (Third-party) – View Repository
  • Developer: EllisLab, Inc.
Perch

Perch

6. Perch

Perch is a very simple CMS that is super fast to setup and start using. The interface isn’t as elegant as some of the other options listed here but it’s clean and effective. Templating is very easy, although it does require some PHP knowledge.

Surreal CMS

Surreal CMS

7. Surreal CMS

Surreal CMS is another content management solution that isn’t self-hosted, which means you don’t have to worry about server language, databases or installation. Just design your website and integrate Surreal in a few easy steps with CSS classes (like CushyCMS). To use your own branding, domain and manage unlimited websites, you’ll need to go Pro at $25 per month. This CMS solution also has quite a few additional options for image resizing, Google Analytics, repairing and validating markup, etc.

  • Price: Free, Pro: $25 per month
  • Server Language: None
  • Database: No
  • Self-Hosted: No
  • Plugins: No
  • Developer: A Beautiful Site, LLC.
PageLime

PageLime

8. PageLime

PageLime is another CMS solution that you don’t have to host (although this one is optional), yet offers a very strong selection of features and flexibility. Of all the hosted CMS solutions, this one is probably the most appealing and offers the most value, especially for those running multiple sites for others (like web designers & developers). The interface is well thought out and really easy to use also making good use of AJAX for a more fluid experience.

  • Price: Free, $19+ per month (depending on plan)
  • Server Language: None
  • Database: No
  • Self-Hosted: Optional
  • Plugins: No

What do you use?

If you use a lightweight CMS, which did you choose to go with and why? Let us know via comment below. Also, stay tuned for our roundup of ultra-lightweight CMSes that use flat-file storage (or similar).

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Pulse CMS

Pulse CMS

9. Pulse CMS

Pulse CMS is a super simple CMS making use of PHP includes that you “embed” in place of blocks of content. The client then uses the WYSIWYG editor to edit the content in those blocks. A Pro version is available which offers quite a few more advanced features such as image galleries, blog or news engine, document uploader and more.

  • Price: Free, Pro: $15 per domain
  • Server Language: PHP
  • Database: No
  • Self-Hosted: Yes
  • Plugins: No
PyroCMS

PyroCMS

10. PyroCMS

PyroCMS, while a lightweight CMS, is more so on the advanced end of the spectrum for this roundup but is none the less great. It’s powered by CodeIgniter and you’ll need to know some PHP to integrate your themes. Unfortunately the documentation for this CMS is very limited, so don’t expect to find too much direction in that area.

  • Price: Free (Open Source)
  • Server Language: PHP
  • Database: MySQL
  • Self-Hosted: Yes
  • Plugins: Yes