A content management system (CMS) manages the creation and modification of digital content. It typically supports multiple users in a collaborative environment.
CMS features vary widely. Most CMSs include Web-based publishing, format management, history editing and version control, indexing, search, and retrieval. By their nature, content management systems support the separation of content and presentation.
A web content management system (WCM or WCMS) is a CMS designed to support the management of the content of Web pages. Most popular CMSs are also WCMSs. Web content includes text and embedded graphics, photos, video, audio, maps, and program code (e.g., for applications) that displays content or interacts with the user.
Such a content management system (CMS) typically has two major components:
- A content management application (CMA) is the front-end user interface that allows a user, even with limited expertise, to add, modify, and remove content from a website without the intervention of a webmaster.
- A content delivery application (CDA) compiles that information and updates the website.
Digital asset management systems are another type of CMS. They manage content with clearly defined author or ownership, such as documents, movies, pictures, phone numbers, and scientific data. Companies also use CMSs to store, control, revise, and publish documentation.
Based on market share statistics, the most popular content management system is WordPress, used by over 28% of all websites on the internet, and by 59% of all websites using a known content management system, followed by Joomla and Drupal.
WordPress has a web template system using a template processor. Its architecture is a front controller, routing all requests for non-static URIs to a single PHP file which parses the URI and identifies the target page. This allows support for more human-readable permalinks.
WordPress users may install and switch among different themes. Themes allow users to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website without altering the core code or site content. Every WordPress website requires at least one theme to be present and every theme should be designed using WordPress standards with structured PHP, valid HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Themes may be directly installed using the WordPress "Appearance" administration tool in the dashboard, or theme folders may be copied directly into the themes directory, for example via FTP. The PHP, HTML and CSS found in themes can be directly modified to alter theme behavior, or a theme can be a "child" theme which inherits settings from another theme and selectively overrides features. WordPress themes are generally classified into two categories: free and premium. Many free themes are listed in the WordPress theme directory, and premium themes are available for purchase from marketplaces and individual WordPress developers. WordPress users may also create and develop their own custom themes. The free theme Underscores created by the WordPress developers has become a popular basis for new themes.
WordPress' plugin architecture allows users to extend the features and functionality of a website or blog. As of March 2017, WordPress has over 55,286 plugins available, each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs. These customizations range from search engine optimization, to client portals used to display private information to logged in users, to content management systems, to content displaying features, such as the addition of widgets and navigation bars. Not all available plugins are always abreast with the upgrades and as a result they may not function properly or may not function at all. Most plugins are available through WordPress themselves, either via downloading them and installing the files manually via FTP or through the WordPress dashboard. However, many third parties offer plugins through their own websites, many of which are paid packages.
Web developers who wish to develop plugins need to learn WordPress' hook system which consists of over 300 hooks divided into two categories: action hooks and filter hooks.
Native applications exist for WebOS, Android, iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. These applications, designed by Automattic, have options such as adding new blog posts and pages, commenting, moderating comments, replying to comments in addition to the ability to view the stats.
WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine–friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign multiple categories to posts; and support for tagging of posts. Automatic filters are also included, providing standardized formatting and styling of text in posts (for example, converting regular quotes to smart quotes). WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or an article. WordPress posts can be edited in HTML, using the visual editor, or using one of a number of plugins that allow for a variety of customized editing features.