Every four years since 2010 I have been writing the ‘state of the CMS’ in which I compare how the major Free and Open Source (FOSS) content-management systems (CMSes) call themselves.
Today’s version will likely be the last of the series.
This is because in the past 12 years the main contenders for the title ‘popular CMS’ were all basically offering the same thing, namely an open source, LAMP-based generic CMS. That made them a natural category. Now that other types of CMS have started to compete in the top ten, it has become much harder to define a category to which these systems belong.
Wordpress is still by far the biggest fish in the pond, but in the past 4 years hosted CMS-es have grown in importance and have grown bigger than what were for a good 10 years Wordpress’ only rivals, Drupal and Joomla. In fact, according to W3Techs (which I won’t link to, because their chart changes weekly or so), the three most popular CMS-es after Wordpress are now Shopify, Wix and Squarespace. And where four years ago Drupal and Joomla were the only CMS-es after Wordpress that had a better than 1% market share — my personal measure of significance here — now between 6 to 10 do, depending on who you ask and how you calculate market share.
It seems, in other words, that the very definition of what a CMS is, is shifting, and that makes it less meaningful to continue this series.
How have these systems called themselves over time and can we glean anything useful from any changes?
2010: Semantic personal publishing platform
2014: Web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog
2018: Open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app
2022: Open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app
2010: Open source content management system
2014: Open source content management platform
2018: Open source content management system
2022: Digital experience platform (DXP)
2010: Dynamic portal engine and content management system
2014: Content management system
2018: Content management system
2022: Content management system
I have tried to figure out what Wix and Squarespace call themselves, but being commercial entities they are not really calling themselves anything. Instead they present themselves as a bunch of solutions to any number of problems you might have and leave it to the historians to provide them with a label. So Wix opens with “Create a website you’re proud of” and Squarespace with “Everything to sell anything”.
See also: State of the CMS in 2018.