A Quick Review of the 7 Best ASP.NET Content Management Systems

CMS
ASP.NET seems to have more and more quality options regarding extensible content management systems with each passing year. Depending on your needs, there are excellent options available both with commercial licenses or open source code.

PHP may be king of the web, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for some stellar ASP .NET CMSs that can not only give you the power you need to develop gorgeous, high-concept websites with a strong backbone but will also give you experience working with the ever-popular .NET platform used in business. Whether you're looking for a commercial solution or something born out of the open source community, these top seven ASP .NET CMSes can give you the functionality and the support you need to get the job done.

Top 7 ASP.NET CMSs

1. DotNetNuke

DotNetNuke

Of all the ASP .NET CMSes out there, DotNetNuke is probably the most well known and popular. One of the reasons for the popularity of this CMS is due to its multiple versions which allow for the flexibility to accommodate a beginning web developer, a small to medium sized business, or even a large enterprise. It has enjoyed a busy development since before 2003 that continues to this day.

For those that don't need much support other than what the open source community can provide, there's the DotNetNuke Community Edition offered under the BSD License. It contains most of the features which comprise the other editions, but the support is left up to the community. The Professional Edition gives you support from the DotNetNuke Corporation along with a few more features, and for a (much) increased price, the Enterprise Edition gives you a few more features along with phone support.

This CMS has been around for a while, so it's very stable and there's a plethora of add-ons in the community, so it's definitely the first stop if you're looking for something that's proven.

2. Telerik Sitefinity CMS

Sitefinity

Telerik Sitefinity CMS delivers powerful content management without complication. The CMS platform empowers marketers with a self-service approach to optimizing content and measuring results. Online marketing tools speed the path to conversion goals with personalization, marketing automation, social media and contextual analytics that provide actionable insight to content performance. A single intuitive interface allows you to leverage CMS data to create responsive and mobile websites or build native and hybrid mobile apps.

Telerik Sitefinity is an innovative ASP.NET CMS that provides many out-of-the-box features to help developers deliver compelling web experiences in less time. It is flexible and extensible, allowing for custom content creation, increased functionality, control over presentation, and integration with enterprise solutions. With one of the largest 3rd party .NET communities and a rich marketplace for add-ons, developers will find all the resources and guidance to create a truly engaging online and mobile customer experience.

3. Orchard

Orchard

Provided under the New BSD License, Orchard CMS is Microsoft's hand in the open source world. The Orchard Project is based on a community, backed by full-time developers from Microsoft, that develop components and scripts that are open tools for developers to create applications, and their primary focus at the time is Orchard CMS. Despite some slow development in the beginning, Orchard has struck a chord with the open source community, and the number of contributors is growing every day.

While some of the things you'd expect in a more robust CMS might be missing, there's several fantastic back-end features which will delight anyone who is looking for a young project to support that has a great prospect of growing in the future.

4. Kentico

Kentico

Another CMS offering multiple licensing options is the Kentico CMS. The free license requires you to keep the logo and copyright information on your page, but the commercial versions offer support and allow you to work without the branding. It's designed to be easy to use for even novice users, so web development should go fast with someone who is experienced.

Kentico's focus lies in three areas: Content Management, E-Commerce, and Social Networking. That broad base makes it an excellent choice for a wide variety of technology ventures. If the company's success, showing a three year growth of 553%, is any indication, this is a CMS to keep an eye on.

5. Umbraco

Umbraco

As an open source project, Umbraco isn't going to break your budget, and it has really come alive over the past few years. It was first released in 2004 but it took a little while for it to gain traction. Lately, though, it has become very popular with designers due to the open templating system and ability to build in guidelines that automatically format the content writers provide. Also, it uses ASP .NET “master pages” and XSLT, so you won't have to work with a heaped-together templating format. It's written in C# and is happy to work with a variety of databases, so hosting shouldn't be a problem for you.

In 2009, CMS Wire dubbed Umbraco as one of the best open-source .NET CMS options available. In 2011, it was averaging close to 1000 downloads a day via Codeplex and is highly ranked amongst top downloads via the Microsoft Installer.

6. mojoPortal

mojoPortal

mojoPortal is another open source CMS option based upon the .NET framework. It has a very active developer group and is consistently being updated. While it is free to download and use, there are a number of commercial add-ons that are used to help fund the project. When it comes to developing your own applications, many people prefer mojoPortal because it can act as a starter kit for advanced .NET sites or portals.

mojoPortal is also considered to be very strong as a standalone CMS. It is easy to learn and very simple to use. It includes a variety of different tools such as blogs, photo galleries, chat, newsletters, pools, forums, and much more. It also has a very strong community which makes troubleshooting extremely simple.

7. Composite C1

Composite C1

A relative newcomer to the ASP.NET market, Composite C1 was originally sold as a commercial CMS in Northern Europe until September 2010. Now, it's a free and open source CMS in version 3.0 that's offered under the Mozilla Public License. It's focus is for web developers working on corporate websites, so its learning curve is most likely too steep for the neonate. The 3.0 version, released in December 2011, was only downloaded a little over 1000 times from codeplex, but despite it's dark horse status, it continues to be a well designed CMS for the more experienced developer that wants their CMS to be more functional than it is beautiful.

There are enough free community and commercial add-ons for you to plug in the functionality you need quickly, so Composite C1 is worth checking out if you want to get your hands dirty.

ASP.NET seems to have more and more quality options regarding extensible content management systems with each passing year. Depending on your needs, there are excellent options available both with commercial licenses or open source code. In order to determine which one is best you, it entirely dependent on what features you want included. While there are other options available, these Top 7 ASP.NET CMS options are all excellent choices.

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PixelCrayons (not verified):

Good Comparison

Thanks for this nice comparison...Personally I like DotNetNuke..You have amazingly carried out the pros and cons of others also so that it becomes easy for the customers to select the one for them.

GregTheSEO:

giving Orchard a try

Nice selection. I think about giving Orchard a try.

Teeno (not verified):

PHP vs ASP.NET CMS

There is much greater choice of quality free CMSs in PHP than ASP.NET. The best ASP.NET CMSs DotNetNuke and Kentico have free options but with limitations. The rest lags behind in functionality. There is no real ASP.NET counterpart to big three: Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress

Wap (not verified):

firebird

What about firebird - http://www.firebirdcms.com/default.aspx? Any review of it?

Johnny (not verified):

I use Orchard.

I haven't had much success with sitefinity, used it for few months and now I use Orchard.
The community is very friendly and helpful.

Anonymous (not verified):

asp.net developer

I am an asp.net developer and have tried several content management systems built on it. recently I started learning PHP so I can focus on Drupal. I am pretty amazed with it after studying it for some time.

Resmi (not verified):

DotNetNuke rules

DotNetNuke rules! The best CMS I have ever tried!

Anonymous (not verified):

Here is another free one

After trying Sitefinity, DotNetNuke and Kentico and decided that we cannot justify thousands of dollars in license fees (look at their prices for unlimited number of site instances) we settled for a lesser known ASP.NET CMS called MonoX: http://monox.mono-software.com. It is totally free, uses standard Web parts framework and has a lot of neat social networking modules.

davidS (not verified):

orchard vs. dotnetnuke

orchard vs. dotnetnuke (free)? which one to choose? I would like to create blog with some editorial features, members should be able to submit articles for a review and editor (me) would then approve them or deny. There would be need for profile pages with possibilites for users to upload their avatars. Uploading images for posts should also be possible. And AddToAny or similar integration.

Anonymous (not verified):

I'd say dotnetnuke

If you are considering orchard and dotnetnuke, I'd say dotnetnuke. Orchard is tsill in beta and I don't think it has that features. with dotnetnuke you are on the great path.

Angel Kaushish (not verified):

CMS

You haven't mentioned Sitecore. In our understanding Sitecore is the leading CMS. Please comment if I am wrong.
Also, Ektron CMS is not in the list.
Does that mean they are not in top 7.

Another question:
If there are free CMS in the market in PHP world like Joomla/Drupal, and has many free addons like Magento, Wordpress, Virtuemart to create a full fledged CMS website with shop and blog, etc. why people still are paying 10000+ for .NET CMS to get the same benefit with more development cost, etc.?
If I choose .NET, I pay for CMS, see if shop system is included or not, blog, etc. and all is paid + developer pays.

If would be great to hear from you about it.

WF Admin:

Sitecore and Ektron are both great CMSs

Sitecore and Ektron are both great CMSs. The problem with Top XX lists is they can always be criticized in a way "why this item isn't included, it should be here".

Regarding your second question, I'm not aware of any completely free .NET content management system that could offer the functionality and flexibility of Drupal or Joomla. Kentico and DotNetNuke could do the job, but their free versions have too much limitations. The main reason why so many people choose .NET CMSs, with all the costs that usually go with that choice, are often existing .NET intranets and or existing employed .NET developers and programmers. Another important aspect for corporations is support, if you want to have quality and always available support, willing to solve your requests promptly, you'll have to pay for it no matter which platform you choose.

Anonymous (not verified):

Composite C1, .NET 4 CMS, new option on Free Open Source market

if you didn't seen- check it out on CodePlex http://compositec1.codeplex.com/

more info here http://docs.composite.net/C1/Getting-started.aspx

in short: free, open source, .net 4, xslt, linq, XML or SQL based.

Bilal Haidar (not verified):

Kooboo CMS?

Hello,

Thanks for this useful discussion.

Has anyone looked at Kooboo CMS? It is built on top of ASP.NET MVC. Are there any reviews about it? I found it on Google today, but never heard anything about it before.

Appreciate your feedback.

Regards
Bilal

Mario G (not verified):

better designed than Dotnetnuke

Design wise, Orchard is much better designed than Dotnetnuke.

Mike (not verified):

Jaenovation ASP.NET All in

Jaenovation ASP.NET All in one CMS solution allows your more than CMS features such as marketing and campaign modules, order management modules, blog, forum, announcement management, scheduler much more..
There are cloud and standard version.

if you didn't seen- check it out on www.jaenovationcms.com

asp.net 4, linq, entity framework, cloud asp.net cms, XML or SQL based.

Anonymous (not verified):

Umbraco rules

I worked with DotNetNiuke for about two years. And while I was able to delever interactive and multifunctional websites, I got frustrated with the difficulty to customize them.

Skinning a DotNetNuke site is pretty hard because lot's of code and markup gets injected in the content pages.

Also extending a DotNetNuke site with custom functionality is hard, because all functionality has to be integrated through modules. Programming a module is not the easiest thing to do.

That's why I moved to Umbraco. In Umbraco one has full control over the html markup. This is very important, SEO-wise.

Another big advantage of Umbraco over DotNetNuke to me, is that the backoffice for content administrators is very clean and simple. As an administrator, one has also very granular control over what content administrators can access and use in the backoffice.

What DotNetNuke is lacking in that sense, is a simplified backoffice for content administrators. My experience with customers, whas that it's very hard to explain them the content management in DotNetNuke, because as administrators they have access to the full administrative backoffice in DotNetNuke, which is very overwhelming.

To conclude this, projects that needs to get up and running fast, and where there is little need for customisation I could recommend DotNetNuke.

Projects however where customization and control of the html markup and code is very important, I would definitly recommend Umbraco.

Anonymous (not verified):

I like Atomic CMS system.

I like Atomic CMS which is very good content management system for small websites.
http://atomiccms.com/

alokpandey:

Though the above CMS are best but fast growing Framework is

SageFrame :

SageFrame is an open source web development framework developed on the top ASP.NET 3.5 with service pack 1 (sp1) technology, provided by SageFrame. The SageFrame is a Leading web content management framework for Microsoft asp.net.

The SageFrame is not only a framework with a set of classes but it also creates an abstraction layer in which the programmer is concerned only with the code. The programmer needs not to worry about HOW the result will be presented, but HOW to produce the information.

Users can now relax about various elements such as database, security (with multiple roles), file system, etc because all the elements are dealt with within the framework. Native support for internationalization, multiple sites, templates (based on CSS), integrated security and login with single sign-in, possibility to modify the templates of SageFrame and customize it according to your needs.

http://www.sageframe.com/

Nimesh (not verified):

You guys should have given Sageframe a mention here.

DNN is very very dynamic in terms of functionality, features and security. There's is nothing like it. However there are a few drawbacks that i felt while using it. But you guys should have given Sageframe a mention here.

The biggest drawback in my opinion is the response time of a DNN using sites. The code itself is very obsolete and you need to lock yourself and scour on each and every coding details before using DNN. One more is the URL dependency, if you need to change your domain name to another your old database will be of no use.

There are a lot of new promising CMS extension in Dot NET market and Sageframe, in my opinion, is the best of them. I've downloaded this component from codeplex and have been using it for quite a time now and am very much fascinated by the features it exhibits. Truly a masterpiece !!

Roko Nastic:

Sageframe CMS

Hi Nimesh, thank you for stopping by and for your comment.

Sageframe does look like an interesting content management system, we will explore it a bit more. Cheers!

.NET CMS (not verified):

Another good .NET CMS is

Another good .NET CMS is http://www.auctori.com/
Check it out!

Rubia Gardini (not verified):

This post helped me a lot

This post helped me a lot to know many options of CMS and try many of them. As I'm working with limitations now, with a shared host server, I guess the best way is to work with Orchard. Orchard won't supply all my necessities, cause I need a social networking with communities and everything else. Friends, followers, wall, comments, etc. And I need it in a very special way, so I need a framework where I can control the source code development. Anyway, if someone has a suggestion of module or app to work WITH Orchard, I'll be very thankful.

Thank you a lot,
Rubia

Anonymous (not verified):

mojoPortal

Hi, what do you think about mojoPortal? Any ideas?

Anonymous (not verified):

Joomla/Drupal rules! :D its

Joomla/Drupal rules! :D its simple! :D

Alex (not verified):

There is no real ASP.NET

There is no real ASP.NET counterpart to big three: Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress

Toni (not verified):

All about ASP.NET

There's nothing more powerful than asp.net cms in this case i mean umbraco.
It's robust very fast and you can extend it in a way you never dreamt off.
Worked with all the "Big bosses" in PHP business: Typo, Joomla, ExpressionEngine, Drupal & Joomla.
None of thore gives me the freedom to create what i need to create for my clients without doing nasty hacks to the core.
In umbraco i split up my content and put it out so that's it being displayed the way it should be.
So nobody should tell that there's no counterpart to the php frameworks. That's absolutely bullshit.
If you worked that much and that deep we've done, than you know what's good for you and your clients.

moe (not verified):

DNN is SO easy

DNN is SO easy .. WYSIWYG .. great modules .. super easy interface. You hardly need any website skills to make a DNN site look great

Ole Gulbrandsen (not verified):

You should have a look at Webnodes CMS!

I recommend anyone looking for an ASP.NET CMS to try out Webnodes. It supports the semantic formats Microdata with schema.org and OData. See how Microsoft is using Webnodes in one of their own demos: Webnodes at MIX 2011

I work in Webnodes, so I'm not neutral, but we have had several partners that have switched from several of the systems mentioned here to our CMS.
Try it out, no license is required for local installations!

Ole

Reza (not verified):

Webnodes is my favourite

I have been working with DotNetNuke for a couple of big projects and honestly I don't like it. Very old style coding and since we needed very specific requirements we ended up building all the modules.
Then I found Webnodes and I was really amazed by its features. True CMS system and very easy for understand and extend.
I would recommend to try it.

Anonymous (not verified):

Free Open Source ASP.net Web Pages CMS

r@zorC.net installs quickly and it is very simple. Love it for small sites that need CMS

Pauli Østerø (not verified):

Composite C1

The best rated CMS on Codeplex - http://www.composite.net/

http://www.codeplex.com/site/search?query=&sortBy=CurrentReleaseRating&tagName=%2cCMS%2c&licenses=|&refinedSearch=true

carrie (not verified):

So far we used only mojo

So far we used only mojo portal, though we tried many other CMS. we prefer mojoportal as it is coded in C#, which is our main language of programming.

kaushal k rathore (not verified):

sitefinity coding issue

I have created two pages in sitefinity cms3.7 but I am unable to find where the code perform . Please help me now I am new for sitefinity cms3.7

Thanks && Regards

Kaushal K Rathore

9179155817

Anonymous (not verified):

Integration of existing ASP.net Project with CMS

I want to Integrate of existing ASP.net Project with CMS. Any body can plz help which one is the best for that pupose.

Damir (not verified):

Ehh... No mention of N2CMS?

Just how can you not mention N2CMS when you talk about .net CMS systems? Any search on .net and cms is full with links to n2.

It's fully open source (not like in free scaled-down version of the real thing), supports both webforms and mvc versions of asp.net and is extremely developer-friendly. It's more of a cms framework.

And including DNN in anything with "best" in the same meaning? Have you seen any site bilt with dnn that is actually good looking and/or well built? Web standards and accessibility are not really primary concerns for those guys as much as I can remember.

Anyway, go check out N2CMS if you want a good .net cms to workwith.

Anonymous (not verified):

Sitefinity is unrealitically

Sitefinity is unrealitically expensive and limited, + closed source

Milstein (not verified):

SageFrame is undoubtly got a idea and gradually growing CMS

Yes, I also used Free version of SageFrame. It got more beneficial features that can be handy for general users, site owners, developers and designers. The must prominent features seems uncountable even though the best I liked about SageFrame is its Open Source Framework and flexibile architecture. Also it got free eCommerce Module AspxCommerce which can be more useful to all online shopping enthusiast like me. Its surely too be mentioned over here.

Anonymous (not verified):

Definitely also mention N2CMS

Definitely also mention N2CMS in this list! I've been using it for a couple of years and never been disappointed. Lately trying the MVC Razor version as well!

As an extra the developer is very approachable on the discussion forum. Frequent updates to the CMS.

Karl Rubistein (not verified):

Thanks a lot! That clarifies a lot!

Thanks for such a deep and useful post. (Microsoft hater? huh?)

SageframeFan:

Unleash your site’s ultimate potential with SageFrame 2.0.

SageFrame 2.0 is here itching to marvel you with its appealing new features - plug and play module concepts, drag-drop widget feature, easy customization options... just to name a few. In SageFrame 2.0, we have incorporated various essential features that were given individually by several CMSes into a single package, to offer you an incredible CMS experience.
http://www.sageframe.com

Anonymous (not verified):

All you say it is true. After

All you say it is true. After 6 years of pain and so many problems with dotnetnuke, i am realy happy now with umbraco. Dotnetnuke is not even close to Umbraco. 100 votes for umbraco.

TATA - ITAC (not verified):

One you forgot.....

I think perhaps the best .NET/4.0 Content management system CMS, or portal out there today for Microsoft shops is one called Centralpoint by Oxcyon.com

I have implemented CMS Portal solutions for nearly 13 years, dating back to Vignette V3 (to date myself), also Stellent, and mostly Sharepoint. Centralpoint picks up where Sharepoint leaves off, with nearly 200+ out of the box modules, multiple portal development, and within each portal, multiple (and N-Tiered!) microsites, including roles based management and LDAP/AD integration (out of the box).

I would encourage anyone looking at Sitefinity, Sitecore, or DOTNETNUKE, Sharepoint (my favorite comparison) to look at Centralpoint by oxcyon. You can also see quite a few demos of theirs on Youtube. Ultimatley it offers an architecture out of box, which no other open source or CMS even considers.

No offense to the others on this list, but those not mentioned in my blog do not even rank as potentials.....

Saeed Neamati (not verified):

Separation between MVC and Web Forms

I think it's better if you create a higher classification of these CMSs based on their platform, namely Web Forms, or MVC.

Anonymous (not verified):

Mojoportal wins

Mojoportal is the best thing to come from the America's since the coffee bean.

Anonymous (not verified):

ASP is awesome

If you have worked with PHP you will notice it is much slower than ASP since it is not compiled. PHP is for the LAZY developers. Toni I agree with you.

The Persian (not verified):

SITECORE !

I really thing Sitecore is the ultimate CMS specially when it comes to centralising multiple sites and user management.

but shame it's too expensive :(

as for a free version, so far I'm starting to like N2CMS

Anonymous (not verified):

I think we looked at just

I think we looked at just about every option including Sitecore, Kentico, Orchard, N2, Ektron. I actually really like .NET especially C# as a programming language. Initially it was a requirement that our company would be all .NET an whichever CMS we chose would have to be written in C# or VB.NET. I think writing our own proprietary CMS is out of the question amusing you all know why. N2 actually was the best choice since it plugged in very nicely with all other apps we have developed so we ended up using it for one of our sites. We are now converting all out legacy sites and the requirements are much larger and not one of these CMSes fit and were way more expensive than the PHP counterparts. It is unfortunate but we ended up going with Drupal 7 for all our sites as a standard. Unfortunately there is just nothing close in the .NET world and most of these CMSes (Kentico, Sitecore) require the actual software companies to support them. The good news is that the PHP interpreter is now supported by Microsoft and Drupal 7 supports custom DB layers MS SQL being one. We are also utilizing a Web Services module which allows us to easily talk to any WCF service that we would like. It will be interesting to see if this all changes but I highly recommend looking beyond what is available in .NET.

Anonymous (not verified):

Support

I just want to add that if your business requires a supported product then there are many options for Drupal, http://www.acquia.com being one of the largest. Also there is a new stackexchange site which has over 15k questions an Answers. http://drupal.stackexchange.com/

Cheryl Ray (not verified):

ASP NET Programmer

Thanks for providing such a useful informative resources for CMS's. They are really good to work when comes to ASP as it reduces the workload and various features are available in the CMS to make your project better for ASP NET programmer . Umbraco, Orchard are the nice one,,,,