7 Simple CMS Solutions for Quick Website Creation

With all of the complex and sometimes complicated CMS solutions available, many programmers, designers, and webmasters are looking for a simpler solution. If you don't need all of “extra features” of some of the larger CMSs, then these 7 simple CMS solutions might be exactly what you are looking for.

There are a lot of CMS solutions available that seem to do everything except your laundry. While these more complex CMS solutions are exactly what some webmasters need, they can just easily be way to much. Fortunately, there are also a lot of really simply CMS solutions as well. These solutions are perfect for people that don't want to deal with the learning curve that is necessary with some types of software. They are simple and straightforward. Here is a look at 7 simple CMS solutions that anyone can learn how to use in a matter of minutes.

1.CMS Made Simple

CMS Made Simple was first released in 2004 and is designed for “smallish” websites ranging from a few to several hundred pages. CMS Made Simple was designed to keep the code and content separately so that administrators can manage the content without needing to know anything about coding. It has a variety of essential features and modules including: SEO friendly URL's, auto-generated menu, full template support, unlimited content hierarchy, audit log, polls, blog, form, and more. But it has been created to appeal to programmers as well. It includes GPL's source code, full API documentation, rich module API, and the ability to program PHP from inside the admin area.


SimpleCMS is the first content management system of its kind to allow you to add your website, click to define your desired editable areas and then go right ahead and start editing - without the need to even look at any HTML. Perfect for those designers who are particularly 'right-brained'. It's also fully brandable (in about a minute!) and they supply you with your own sub-domain of their generic and whois-protected Updating.net, as well as a custom CNAME option if you prefer. If you're after a really simple CMS, then you won't find much simpler than SimpleCMS.


Zimplit is known by some as the web creation tool for dummies. There is no admin area at all. You simply edit every page on-site, plus all of the data is within the HTML, so there is no need for a database. This open source CMS is definitely created for non-techies who need to create a quick website. You simply log in and choose your template. Then you will redirected to your home page and the Zimplit toolbar will be waiting for you. The toolbar has 12 buttons, much like some WYSIWYG editors. From here you can modify text settings, insert images, add links, and more. You can even go directly into the source code and make alterations as well.


CushyCMS is a free CMS that was created to allow people to quickly create versatile and fast websites with little or no programming knowledge. It has proven to be particularly useful for programmers who have clients that want to be able to edit certain aspects of the website on their own. The programmer can simply define what is and is not editable. That way, clients can make changes without running the risk of “breaking” the website. While its simplicity is it's defining characteristic, it may not be the best choice for websites with hundreds of pages, because each page must be created manually. However, with so many advantages, it has continued to become more popular. There is also a Pro Plan that allows programmers to rebrand the CMS and add their own logo, color scheme, custom styles, and more.

5.Surreal CMS

Surreal CMS is a hosted content management system that was created specifically for website designers. All websites can be managed from one location. Additionally, your clients can access and edit their own content. You have the ability to make certain things editable and uneditable, which means that you can ensure that your clients aren't messing with important coding. All you do is add class=“editable” to any HTML element that you want to allow your clients to be able to edit. Surreal CMS can be white-labeled if you sign up for Pro plan ($25 monthly). Some of it's highlighted features include: easy page integration, customizable rich text editor, page cloning, and much more.


LightCMS was created specifically for designers. As a designer, you have complete design flexibility, automatic upgrades, and easy reseller account if you charge the suggested retail price, you will earn a 35% commission on a monthly basis, however you have the freedom to choose any price. You can even replace the LightCMS logo with your own logo and colors to allow for maximum branding. There are also a number of features that will make your clients happy such as a simple add page features, drag and drop content, and simple WYSIWYG editor.


Pixie is an open source CMS that was designed to make creating and editing a website easy. It has a number of important features including: clean URLs, CSS themes, file manager with tag support, microformats, plug-ins/modules, and easy development. If you want to develop a new module or plug-in, Pixie will look at the database tables for your new module and automatically create the admin interface for it. Additionally, when zipped, it is less than 1 megabyte in size. It also used CKEditor for text areas. In true Pixie form, instead of calling themselves a CMS, they prefer “small, simple, website maker”.

As you can see, there are a lot of different CMS options available, especially for programmers and designers who are searching for a simple way to allow their clients to make changes to their website, while still restricting the clients access to critical files. While none of these CMS solutions are currently in a position to compete with some of the more complex alternatives, they are not being designed to do so. They have been created to fill a niche that has been left vacant for some time. If you are looking for a simple CMS solution for you and/or your clients, then any of these 7 might be what you are looking for.

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Go Simple CMS

What about Go Simple CMS? what's your opinion about it?

kksidd (not verified):

Another light weight CMS

For web designers who are not that comfortable dealing with PHP code, CouchCMS (http://www.couchcms.com/) is the perfect fit.

It uses simple XHTML tags to mark out areas within a page that are editable.

It is as simple as Cushy yet does so much more.

Best of all, it is free for non-commercial and personal sites.

Peter Caines (not verified):

What's the best cms for me?

Hello, reading these reviews were very helpful, I am a freelance web designer and have always coded everything myself without using cms. I few months ago i Started using Zen Cart for my shopping carts and realised the major benefits of these pre-build cms.

I now see that using cms software is the future and was wondering if anyone can give me advice on which one to go for, what I need to get out of it is:

1) complete control of how each web page will look - really don't want to be restricted by the cms
2) PHP based and the ability to go behind the scenes to tweak the code if needed
3) good support forums
4) easy for my clients to edit with little jargon

Here is a link to my website: http://www.pchelpforyou.co.uk/web_design_chorlton/web_design_chorlton.php
will my portfolio so you can see the kind of sites I do and maybe give advice on which cms to go for.

Any help will be MUCH appreciated

Roko Nastic:

tough choice

Hi Peter, we've built WebmasterFormat using Drupal and it would satisfy your first three requirements. It is robust, flexible and has large community. If you go with version 6, I would suggest you to take a look at Views and CCK modules from the very beginning. Version 7 is also worth checking as it is now in RC (release candidate) phase.

If you want it to be easy for your clients to manage sites I would suggest you to check those listed above, starting with CMS Made Simple.

Alternatively, Joomla could be a good choice. It is also very flexible, has large community and should be a bit simpler to manage than Drupal. But it is still not "simple CMS" as those listed in this article.

It is much easier to choose a CMS when you don't have to have your clients in mind. Don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions.

Peter Caines (not verified):

good reviews about cms mades simple

Thanks for the info Roko,

I was thinking Drupal as from what i've read its seems the most advanced to learn but the most rewarding, but it is important that my clients can have a simple interface to do simple editing on their contents.

I will take a look a cms made simple as I have also heard good reviews about that.

Once again Thanks

Anonymous (not verified):

Good CMS with lots of modules

I run a web design company (www.vision2life.com), and recommend concrete5.org
Currently have built all my sites using dotnetnuke (asp.net cms) but i like the simplicity of concrete. If you want something even simpler, surreal cms or simple cms will do. They're all great.

Christopher (not verified):

CMSimple_XH is also a good option, no DB needed

I've used CMSimple to meet impossible timelines, budgets and other requirements for years. I use it most often when I'm in a pinch because I've procrastinated and a client is expecting something the next morning.

If you have the content for a site in a Word file with the outline defined, you're 30 minutes away from a published, dynamic, CMS website with tiered navigation, etc. It doesn't matter if the content spans 20 pages or 200.

In 2009, CMSimple_XH showed up at http://www.cmsimple-xh.com. It's an evolved version that's standards compliant while still keeping things simple.

Even better, over at http://www.dotcomwebdesign.com you'll find over 700 well designed themes that work with both versions of CMSimple.

As a point of perspective, the majority of my projects are either WordPress (heavily pimped) or Orchard (been waiting for something like it since DNN bought SnowCovered!).

Yo (not verified):

CMS, programation, website creation & dummies

What is more important than content ?
So perception of the reader... finally f***ing rules ... ?
Let's face it, fellow coders : what the clicker understands, sorry, what the user, actually perceives, understands, memorizes = does matter... the most ?
what about a dumproof way to create clearly organize content on the web ?
what about making code the necessary glorious substance of backstage ?
CMS is supposed to be about content ...?
If your content is dedicated to clearing the path to describe nicely your (pro) activity.
just try http://www.simple-different.com
and let the world know how stupid it is.
Simplicity is not easy.
Simplicity is a F***ing challenge, let's face it.
Simplicity is a F***ing challenge, let's share it.
All Heartly.

dennis (not verified):

another option

another great solution is the coscms found at http://www.coscms.org

i have used this system for building different solutions. A web shop, small websites for small companies, order systems. It's is flexiable and fast and uses zend and pear components.

Jim (not verified):

Dont think Simple...Thnk long term...Centralpoint


I would like to ask you to watch this video on Centralpoint, by Oxcyon. We have been called the alternative to Sharepoint, offer source, and have been in business for 12 years, with over 320 clients. The biggest differentiators are: We integrate wtih LDAP/AD (out of the box), and support Audience, Taxonomy and Roles based filtration for each record (which no other CMS can claim), making us the most robust and universal platform out there today...

Centralpoint has been named amongst the TOP 10 CMS vendors, by Business Software.com, and can be proven via demo or trial download.

Centralpoint in Action

Centralpoint Powerpoint overview

Thank you

Anonymous (not verified):

How about mut8?

Mut8 is an online CMS that shows promise for smaller agencies and one man shops.


Dominik (not verified):

New simple CMS system.

I recommend new cms system, because also people that know only html and css can build on it websites from scratch. Read more at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/simple-to-use-and-free-cms/x/1881459