Tuesday, 24 November, 2020
Why Use Umbraco?
Why should you consider using Umbraco to manage your website's content?
What Is Umbraco?
Umbraco is a free, open-source, Web based Content Management System (CMS) created by Niels Hartvig. It simplifies website authoring enabling non-technical editors to update and manage site content.
Umbraco has been around for a long time and is trusted by big brand names such as Costa, Harrods, Heinz, Microsoft, Peugeot and Vogue. It's backed by “Umbraco HQ”, a private organisation with 25+ employees all actively maintaining the software.
“We help you deliver delightful digital experiences by making Umbraco friendly, simple and social.”
Umbraco HQ. Mission Statement.
According to Umbraco HQ’s website over 500,000 websites are actively using Umbraco, although this is hard to verify with independent analysis (https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/Umbraco , https://www.similartech.com/technologies/umbraco) suggesting the figure is far lower, in the region of 25,000+.
Umbraco Is Open-source
Umbraco is open source software, licensed under the MIT Licence, meaning you have full access to the source code and the right to modify it and use it however you please.
The code is well documented, easy to build and accessible to any seasoned ASP.NET developer. Meaning if you have an issue and it isn't being addressed by Umbraco HQ you can always fix it yourself.
Umbraco is built using Microsoft ASP.NET MVC (C#) which means you'll need the full Windows .NET Deployment Stack to host and serve content - that's Windows, Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) Web-server and the .NET Framework.
This is probably the key factor in deciding whether you're going to use Umbraco or one of it's competitors based on a Linux (LAMP) based stack, such as WordPress or Drupal. Choosing between Windows .NET and Linux LAMP hosting is mostly a matter of taste or convenience, but as a rule Microsoft stacks tend to be more expensive, while WordPress and PHP environments tend to be slightly less secure (not by design, but by implementation).
If you already have experience, expertise or infrastructure using of one these technologies then it may be best to stick, rather than twist, but if you've evaluated all the popular CMS platforms and decided on a clear winner then that will determine the underlying platform regardless.
The Umbraco community prides itself on being the friendliest CMS community on the internet. There’s a free and active online forum, with 220,000+ members, any questions you have will be answered promptly.
There are also a number of Umbraco meetups around the globe and Umbraco HQ has an active presence on Twitter.
Umbraco’s has a Package plugin system, see https://our.umbraco.org/projects/, with over 1200+ free extension packages available.
All the usual CMS extensions are available: starter kits, Search Engine Optimisation, Google Analytics, system performance and metrics, Google Maps, Blogging and E-commerce solutions.
The default Umbraco installation comes with a free starter kit to help you get up and running with Umbraco.
There's also an annual developer conference – Umbraco Code Garden – with video talks and presentations often available on Vimeo free of charge.
Installation and Support
Umbraco.com provides documentation on Umbraco releases, breaking changes, and explains how to install Umbraco and upgrade from version to version. Nevertheless installation and upgrades are still time consuming, and if you're not familiar with ASP.NET development they may be prove difficult or impossible.
Umbraco HQ offers two managed hosting solutions to take the pain out of installation and maintenance: Umbraco Cloud and Umbraco Uno. They're both significantly more expensive than vanilla hosting platforms but in exchange provide a managed infrastructure which comes with Umbraco preinstalled and security fixes automatically applied. Umbraco Cloud allows some customisation and is aimed at projects requiring a professional developer, while Umbraco Uno is a more restrictive package, tailored towards non-professional developers or graphics designers.
Most professional developers self-host Umbraco because it's more flexible and cost effective, but agencies often use Umbraco Cloud - passing on additional charges to clients - as it offers high quality infrastructure and support.
If you'd like to discuss the options or need assistance installing, upgrading or maintaining your Umbraco installation please get in touch for a quote.
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