Difference between CMS and Framework in web development

Difference between CMS and Framework in web development

When building websites or web apps, as a developer, the first thing you need to decide on is what tools you are going to use. You could build from scratch, but not everyone knows a suitable programming language for its site. Content management systems stand for that to reduce the need to have that expertise; while frameworks provide a set of features that you can use to create a custom application. CMS’ and frameworks are very different from each other.

So, let’s see how -


The term “Framework” is generally used when we are talking about web application framework. A framework is a library that makes it possible to develop a Web Application.  The web application framework is simply based on programming or coding and if you are a developer or programmer you would often go for choosing a web application framework for your projects. Some common examples of the framework include Django, CakePHP, .NET, and Rails etc.

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS is a web application for managing web contents. A CMS is built on top of an underlying framework. It enables users to install themes, plugins, etc. without affecting the essential functionality of the site. A CMS typically doesn’t require any coding knowledge since it is based on installable modules that don’t touch the base code. It's a simple and easy way to create websites. It allows you to manage the content of your website. Some examples of CMS’ you might have heard of include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla etc.

CMS vs Framework

To paint a clearer picture, let’s go over the main differences between the two.

  • CMS’ are easier to use if your project requirements are relatively straightforward. A CMS is probably the best option for people who don’t have much programming knowledge and have no interest in learning.

  • Frameworks can save time on large web development projects. With frameworks, custom programming allows you to build the website exactly the way you want it. It is absolutely the right choice for building big applications with large feature-sets and unique requirements.

  • CMS projects don’t require additional testing and bug-fixing.

  • With CMS, you can build a relatively simple and generic website.

  • For more complicated projects with a substantial budget, a framework is better suited.

  • With frameworks, you open the door for customization, flexibility, and superior security. On the other hand, CMS websites are much easier to build and maintain as you don’t need to know any programming language for that matter.

  • Frameworks do have updates, but much less often and even then, it’s often best to stay with your original framework. A website developed using a framework can stay secure and functional even without updates if it was secured properly originally and the code hasn’t been tampered with.

  • Content management systems are updated regularly. CMS’ usually update every month, and they are installable at the click of a button.

  • CMS can be used by anyone, even non-programmers.

  • Frameworks are built for programmers. You cannot use a framework unless you can code the thing from scratch. A framework helps you do things faster (primarily), and then the right way.

  • For CMS, websites need to take a backup of the site, even before installing an official update from your CMS provider. Because things can go wrong and content management systems are no exception. On the other side, for frameworks, there is no need regular backups. Because it has less often updates.

  • Talking about flexibility, frameworks offer much more freedom than CMS’ but they it comes at a high development cost. Though CMS’ can be adapted to have a lot of features through the use of plugins, they are not very flexible.

  • A well-developed framework is far more secure than a generic CMS, but content management systems often have plugins and mods to strengthen their security.

  • Many frameworks come with built-in functions like SQL injection or Cross Site Scripting that allow for encryption and protection against the most common types of attacks. In contrast, CMSs are open-source, which means the code is available to anyone.

  • Frameworks are highly customizable and CMS’ typically have limitations.

  • With a CMS you get a predefined set of features, you can choose an already styled theme for your website and you can add new features by easily installing plugins.

  • A ready-made CMS will rarely be as fast as a custom made an application.

  • Many frameworks provide libraries for database access, templating engines etc. A CMS is often built upon a Framework.


Frameworks and CMS both are completely different tools. It depends on your needs.

You can share your experiences with us in the comment section. Thank you!