20 Best Free PHP-based CMS Alternatives to WordPress for 2024

20 Best Free PHP-based CMS Alternatives to WordPress for 2024
Photo by Emile Perron / Unsplash

WordPress dominated the content publishing for years now, but because of many security concerns, many may decide to migrate to other CMS or choose a similar alternative for their customers or for their next projects.

WordPress site admins are required always to backup their data, files, database and secure their files. They also need t

19 Free and Open-source WordPress Security Vulnerability Scanners and Pentesting Tools
WordPress security is crucial for maintaining the integrity and safety of your website. By utilizing security vulnerability scanners and pentesting tools, you can proactively identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your WordPress site. These tools offer several benefits and advantages, including: * Identification of Vulnerabilities: Security scanners can scan your WordPress

If you are looking for a good flat-file CMS to replace their WordPress, then this article is for you: 17 Free Open-Source Flat-File CMS in PHP (Laravel, Symphony, and Pure PHP).

However, If you desire to have a content backend yourself and use it to build your own custom front-end or a static website, then we invite you to check our following collections:

In this list, we collected the best open-source free PHP-based CMS (Content Management Systems) options. However if you want a Laravel-based CMS we got you covered in this post.

1. Grav

Grav is a fantastic alternative to WordPress. It features a comprehensive flat-file system for managing posts and content, eliminating the need for a database and the risk of SQL Injection.

It has dozens of themes, plugins, and extensions, and a developer-friendly API.

Features

  • Fast, Simple, and Flexible file-based Web-platform
  • Zero installation required
  • Built-in WYSIWYG editor
  • Search and filter content
  • Dynamic content types
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Powerful Package Management System for simple installation and upgrade of plugins and themes
  • Use of well-established and best-in-class technologies
  • Twig Templating for powerful control of the user interface
  • Markdown for easy content creation
  • YAML for simple configuration
  • Parsedown for fast Markdown and Markdown Extra support
  • Doctrine Cache layer for performance
  • Pimple Dependency Injection Container for extensibility and maintainability
  • Symfony Event Dispatcher for plugin event handling
  • Symfony Console for CLI interface
  • Gregwar Image Library for dynamic image manipulation
GitHub - getgrav/grav: Modern, Crazy Fast, Ridiculously Easy and Amazingly Powerful Flat-File CMS powered by PHP, Markdown, Twig, and Symfony
Modern, Crazy Fast, Ridiculously Easy and Amazingly Powerful Flat-File CMS powered by PHP, Markdown, Twig, and Symfony - getgrav/grav

2. Twill

Twill is an open-source Laravel package developed by AREA 17, designed to streamline the creation of a custom CMS. It standardizes common functions while retaining developer control, facilitating the delivery of a feature-rich admin console for modern publishing needs.

Twill offers a variety of pre-built features and custom-built Vue.js UI components, allowing developers to focus on unique aspects of their applications. It provides flexibility with no lock-in, no front-end assumptions, no unnecessary features, no need to write or adapt HTML for the admin UI, and no limits to extension.

GitHub - area17/twill: Twill is an open source CMS toolkit for Laravel that helps developers rapidly create a custom admin console that is intuitive, powerful and flexible. Chat with us on Discord at https://discord.gg/cnWk7EFv8R.
Twill is an open source CMS toolkit for Laravel that helps developers rapidly create a custom admin console that is intuitive, powerful and flexible. Chat with us on Discord at https://discord.gg/c…

3. Silverstripe

Silverstripe CMS is a flexible, secure, and extensible content management system powered by the Silverstripe Framework. It allows for customization to fit business needs and offers enterprise-level security and support.

It is an ideal solution for web agencies and companies.

Key Features

  • Easy content management
  • file management
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • SEO-friendly
  • Security configurations
  • Supports pages and posts
GitHub - silverstripe/silverstripe-framework: Silverstripe Framework, the MVC framework that powers Silverstripe CMS
Silverstripe Framework, the MVC framework that powers Silverstripe CMS - silverstripe/silverstripe-framework

4. Flextype

Flextype is an open-source, flat-file content management system that values simplicity.

It enables users to design their data structure, update and share data using version control, and avoids the need for a MySQL database by storing all data in simple files.

It can be used as a web agency website, or for building a native mobile apps, for kiosks content, or even wearable devices.

Features

  • Open-source, (MIT Licensed)
  • Allows users to design their data structure
  • Enables updating and sharing data using version control
  • No need for a MySQL database; stores all data in simple files
  • Easy portability during hosting provider changes
  • Faster and more productive way to build and manage content
  • Simple elegance architecture with built-in smart cache
  • Emphasizes simplicity and flexibility
  • Simple but powerful APIs
  • Freedom to use any favorite content editor to write content
  • Built-in REST API with compact JSON payloads for full programmatic control
  • Dynamic content types allow you to define unlimited custom fields for any entries
  • Supports version control with GIT or any other Version Control System
GitHub - flextype/flextype: Modern Open Source Flat Files Content Management System.
Modern Open Source Flat Files Content Management System. - flextype/flextype

5. MODX Revolution

For years, MODX has been an exceptional independent open-source CMS, distinguished by its user-friendly and SEO features. MODX Revolution is a remake of this excellent CMS, which we highly recommend for its stability, design, and security.

GitHub - modxcms/revolution: MODX Revolution - Content Management Framework
MODX Revolution - Content Management Framework. Contribute to modxcms/revolution development by creating an account on GitHub.

6. Fork CMS

Fork CMS is an open-source content management system that uses Symfony Components. It aims to provide a user-friendly environment for building, monitoring, and updating websites.

It is designed for both beginners and professionals, and uses the latest technology to enable developers and designers to create high-quality websites.

Features

  • Open-source content management system
  • Layout designer
  • Uses Symfony Components
  • User-friendly environment for building, monitoring, and updating websites
  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • SEO friendly URLs
  • Designed for both beginners and professionals
  • Custom fields
  • Uses the latest technology
  • Provides additional apps to expand the site
  • Offers a collection of beautiful themes
  • Email integration
  • Easy-to-use marketing tools
  • Compatible with existing services like Campaign Monitor and Google Analytics
  • Community contribution through open source
GitHub - forkcms/forkcms: Fork is an easy to use open source CMS using Symfony Components.
Fork is an easy to use open source CMS using Symfony Components. - forkcms/forkcms

7. Bolt CMS

Bolt CMS is an open-source platform for building websites, utilizing PHP, Symfony, Twig, and compatible with SQLite, MySQL, or PostgreSQL. It aims to provide a simple and straightforward content management solution.

Features

  • Easy to setup and install
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Code editor
  • Posts relations
  • Blocks
  • Files, Assets and Image Managements
  • Developer-friendly REST API
  • Unlimited content types
  • Supports multi-languages content
  • Posts and content version control
GitHub - bolt/project: 🚀 Repo to `composer create project` a Bolt 5 project.
🚀 Repo to `composer create project` a Bolt 5 project. - bolt/project

8. ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine is a recommended CMS for freelancers, particularly developers and designers, due to its customizable options and elegant user interface.

Key Features

  • Flexible and feature-rich content management platform
  • Empowers individuals and organizations to manage their websites easily
  • Unlimited potential for building sites and managing content
  • Front End editing: Allows control panel access from the front end of any ExpressionEngine site
  • High customer satisfaction: In the last 60 days, ExpressionEngine has received a 100% satisfaction rating
  • Access to best ExpressionEngine developers for site upgrades and design modernization
  • Extensible capabilities through add-ons developed by a large community
  • Organize your content into flexible channels
  • The Dock for complete control of your front-end editing experience
  • Templates: Your own code powered by ExpressionEngine tags
  • Over 20 different field types to capture your content
  • Entry Cloning: Clone any channel entry with a single click
  • Add-On Prolets: Bringing the power of add-ons to the front end
  • User Management: Easily manage different types of members
  • Manage multiple sites from a single control panel
  • Live Preview: Preview your content before you commit
  • Build your own online community with a full-featured discussion forum module
  • Extend ExpressionEngine’s capabilities with a large community of developers making add-ons
GitHub - ExpressionEngine/ExpressionEngine: ExpressionEngine is a flexible, feature-rich, free open-source content management platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of individuals and organizations around the world to easily manage their web site.
ExpressionEngine is a flexible, feature-rich, free open-source content management platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of individuals and organizations around the world to easily manage the…

9. TypiCMS (Laravel CMS)

TypiCMS is a multilingual content management system developed with Laravel, offering out-of-the-box management for pages, events, news, places, menus, translations, and more.

GitHub - TypiCMS/Base: Multilingual CMS built with Laravel.
Multilingual CMS built with Laravel. Contribute to TypiCMS/Base development by creating an account on GitHub.

10. TYPO3 CMS

TYPO3 is a free and open source Content Management Framework that requires a web server with PHP and a database. It can run on several web servers and operating systems. The backend is accessed via a supported browser.

It is suitable for websites, intranets, and online applications, and ready to scalable from small sites to multinational corporations.

Features

  • Fully featured and reliable
  • Supports scalable multisite, multilingual installations
  • Open, adaptable, pluggable, decoupled architecture
  • Can be set up on existing infrastructure in minutes
  • Fast performance for higher engagement and conversions
  • Security features that respect user privacy
  • Backed by a vibrant professional community and a strong commercial ecosystem
GitHub - TYPO3/typo3: The TYPO3 Core - Enterprise Content Management System. Synchronized mirror of https://review.typo3.org/q/project:Packages/TYPO3.CMS
The TYPO3 Core - Enterprise Content Management System. Synchronized mirror of https://review.typo3.org/q/project:Packages/TYPO3.CMS - TYPO3/typo3

11. Winter CMS (Laravel CMS)

Winter CMS is a free, open-source content management system based on Laravel PHP framework, used globally for quick prototyping and development. It offers a secure codebase and simplicity, catering to projects of all sizes and developers of all experience levels.

GitHub - wintercms/winter: Free, open-source, self-hosted CMS platform based on the Laravel PHP Framework.
Free, open-source, self-hosted CMS platform based on the Laravel PHP Framework. - wintercms/winter

12. Drupal

Drupal, a free and open-source content management system written in PHP, was first released in January 2001 by Dries Buytaert. It has powered millions of websites and is known for its ease of installation, use, and extension.

GitHub - drupal/drupal: Verbatim mirror of the git.drupal.org repository for Drupal core. Please see the https://github.com/drupal/drupal#contributing. PRs are not accepted on GitHub.
Verbatim mirror of the git.drupal.org repository for Drupal core. Please see the https://github.com/drupal/drupal#contributing. PRs are not accepted on GitHub. - drupal/drupal

13. Statmaic

Statamic is an open-source, flat-file content management system that offers a flexible data structure, version control, and does not require a MySQL database.

It is known for its speed, productivity, and simple architecture, including a built-in smart cache. It provides powerful APIs, a built-in REST API, and dynamic content types for unlimited custom fields. It supports version control with GIT or other systems.

14. October CMS

October is a Content Management System (CMS) designed to simplify the web development workflow. It was created due to dissatisfaction with existing systems and aims to make web development straightforward, emphasizing that it doesn't have to be as complex as rocket science.

15. HTMly

HTMLy is an open-source, databaseless PHP blogging platform that is fast, secure, and powerful. It can quickly find or list content, handle large amounts of posts and tags, and run smoothly on minimal server specs.

It is also secure, with all new features undergoing a security audit. Starting a blog with HTMLy requires no configuration.

It can run up to 20.000 posts and pages without any speed or performance issue.

16. ProcessWire

ProcessWire is a free CMS and CMF designed to streamline work with custom fields, a secure foundation, scalability, and performance. It seamlessly connects all content, making tasks quicker, easier, and enjoyable.

It is the right choice for designers, developers and freelancers who want to create a highly customizable website for their customers.

Features

  • Free CMS and CMF
  • Streamlines work with custom fields
  • Secure foundation
  • Scalable and high performance
  • Connects all content seamlessly
  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Powerful engineering
  • Best and powerful API, easy to learn and use
  • Makes website development enjoyable
  • Designed to scale, can power small to large websites
  • Integrates into existing development tools and processes
  • No new template system to learn, pure API
  • Continuous development since 2006, stable platform
  • Friendly and knowledgeable community

17. Neos.io

Neos is a free and open-source Content Management System (CMS) that is scalable and intuitive. It is ready to create eCommerce shops, blogs, magazines and agency websites.

Pros

  • User-friendly in-place editing: Edit content directly where it appears on your website. No need to navigate through the backend.
  • Scalable and high performance: Neos can handle small to enterprise-level websites.
  • Inline WYSIWYG content editor
  • Powerful engineering: Neos uses best practices and powerful APIs.
  • Seamless content management: All content is connected, making it easy to manage.
  • SEO friendly options
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Built-in form generation
  • Active development: Neos has been continuously developed since 2006, ensuring a stable platform.
  • Friendly community: Neos has a knowledgeable and welcoming community for support and collaboration.
  • Easy to setup using Docker

18. MonoCMS

MonoCMS is a free, open-source Basic CMS written in PHP, designed for simplicity and doesn't require an external database. It provides easy installation, supports plugins and extensions.

We recommend it if you want to run a simple website.

Features

  • Super easy to install
  • Create and edit website pages
  • Save data in XML, HTML files
  • Login to web server with a username and password
  • Manage multiple accounts with three types of users: author, administrator, super user
  • General settings page for control panel and website settings
  • Create categories for website content categorization
  • Tags for content characterization and search
  • Several official themes for gallery and blogs
  • Images page for uploading and saving image files
  • Support for plugins and extensions for additional functionality

19. CouchCMS

Couch is a simple CMS ideal for web designers. It can retrofit into any existing static site without requiring PHP knowledge. It allows any HTML design to become CMS managed within minutes, without altering the original markup.

Features

  • Simple CMS ideal for web designers
  • Can retrofit into any existing static site without requiring PHP knowledge
  • Allows any HTML design to become CMS managed within minutes
  • Does not alter the original markup
  • Does not require PHP knowledge
  • Keeps the CMSified site 100% faithful to the original static design
  • Provides a simple, customizable admin panel
  • Offers powerful features like relations, saving form submissions into database, custom routes
  • Has been time-tested and is secure
  • Has been used by thousands of sites worldwide
  • Keeps sites safe from web hacks like XSS, CSRF etc.

20. Tomato CMS

Tomato CMS is a free feature-rich CMS System to manage your content build for Tomato PHP. It is written on top of Tomato Framework which is based on Laravel for building scalable user-friendly apps.

Features

  • SPA App with Blade
  • CRUD Generator for Web/API
  • HMVC Architecture Support
  • Authentication & User Manager
  • Responsive UI using Filament Template
  • RTL/Dark Mode Support
  • Ready-to-use Breeze Tool Kit with RTL/Dark Mode Support
  • Ready-to-use Arabic/English Translations
  • Easy-to-use Menu with Provider

17 Free Open-Source Flat-File CMS in PHP (Laravel, Symphony, and Pure PHP)
Flat-file content management systems (CMSs) expertly address the issue of eliminating the need for a database to store content and configuration. Relying exclusively on flat-files instead of a database, they robustly safeguard against SQL-injection. Moreover, they optimally utilize server resources, far more efficiently than their traditional database-dependent CMS counterparts. Indeed,
20 Best Free PHP-based CMS Alternatives to WordPress for 2024
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