Craft CMS

Craft CMS vs Umbraco: Which CMS is Right For You?

Matt Ellis September 12th, 2022

Comparing digital content management systems isn't something that should be taken lightly. The decision each content creator, marketer, and digital professional makes will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their organization’s digital strategy.

When it comes to Craft CMS vs Umbraco, choosing which CMS is right for you comes down to understanding the key features of each and identifying which fits better with your current needs and objectives. Every organization is unique, and no one CMS can provide all the answers. As such, it pays to do your research—and that’s why we’re here!

In this post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of both Craft CMS and Umbraco, and ultimately you’ll be in a much better position to decide which of these two systems is the best fit for you and your organization. Ready? Let’s dive in!

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Spoiler alert. We don't use Umbraco – we use Craft CMS.

Quick Overview of Key Points

Craft CMS is an open-source content management system that emphasizes flexibility, content authoring and creation. Umbraco is an open source .NET Content Management System with a focus on extensibility and scalability.

Overview of Craft CMS and Umbraco

When it comes to choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your needs, two of the most popular options are Craft CMS and Umbraco. Both offer a range of features designed to make it easier to create, manage and publish digital content. However, there are significant differences between them, which we will explore in this article.

Craft CMS began as a lightweight open-source CMS that has since grown in complexity and capabilities to become one of the most powerful platforms for developing complex web sites without sacrificing ease of use. Compared to other content management systems, it is extremely customizable and flexible while still offering dozens of ready-made modules and templates to fit almost any situation. It also allows you to create custom web application experiences with code extensions and plugins.

On the other hand, Umbraco is a commercial CMS designed specifically for larger organizations. It offers several features that prove useful for businesses, such as its eCommerce framework, media library manager, analytics integrations and its authentication framework. As compared to Craft CMS, it has a much lower learning curve, enabling smaller businesses with limited resources to quickly get up to speed on using the platform. In addition, its interface is user friendly and intuitive which makes navigating the many features offered much easier.

In terms of security, both have been developed with high standards in order to meet the demands of large organizations over small-scale websites. They both provide adequate security measures such as role permission setup and secure authorization methods for preventing unauthorized access. Umbraco goes further by providing tools like an intrusion detection system that can alert administrators in real-time when visitors attempt malicious activities on the website or try to access restricted areas.

As you can see, there are clearly some pros and cons associated with each platform depending on what you need from a CMS. In the next section we will compare Craft CMS and Umbraco more closely so that you can gain a better understanding before making a decision about which one is right for you. So let’s dive deeper into comparing these two platforms starting with the next section: “Comparing The Two Platforms”.

  • Craft CMS offers a higher level of flexibility when configuring content, making it more adaptable to different content formats.
  • Umbraco is generally easier to learn and use than Craft CMS due to its intuitive UI and improved UX elements.
  • Craft CMS has a significantly larger user base, with an estimated 4.3 million active websites using the platform compared to Umbraco's 500,000 sites.

Top Points to Remember

When selecting a CMS, Craft CMS and Umbraco are two highly popular options offering a range of features to aid in creating, managing and publishing digital content. Craft is open-source with great customizability while Umbraco is commercial, with an emphasis on larger organizations and eCommerce integrations. Security-wise both provide adequate measures to prevent unauthorized access but Umbraco has the added feature of an intrusion detection system. Comparing the two more closely will help make the best decision for a given user.

Comparing the Two Platforms

When comparing Craft CMS vs Umbraco, there are a few key points to consider. Both platforms offer powerful features and flexibility for creating digital content experiences. However, there are critical differences between the two that may make one a better fit than the other depending on what project requirements are.

Craft CMS is focused more on web design than traditional content management. This makes it ideal for creating highly customized and interactive designs with minimal effort. It has an intuitive user interface and comes with sophisticated tools to quickly create custom sites with dynamic content. The downside to Craft CMS is that it requires some technical knowledge in order to really appreciate the full scope of its capabilities.

Umbraco is focused more on the content side of web development. It's a much simpler platform than Craft, but it still allows for a lot of customization when it comes to creating unique content structures. With Umbraco, developers can take advantage of powerful tools like XSLT and Razor templating language to rapidly create compelling website experiences without needing specialized technical knowledge or coding skills. Unlike Craft, Umbraco does not come with pre-built modules so developers have to build all functional components from scratch.

Both Craft CMS and Umbraco offer powerful features, but they come with different approaches that suit different types of projects. When deciding which platform is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and decide which areas are most important for your project needs.

The next section will dive into how both these platforms compare in terms of user experience and content editing capabilities.

User Experience and Content Editor

When it comes to user experience and content editing, Craft CMS offers a more intuitive approach for novices who may not be as familiar with web development. Its Live Preview modifier allows you to see changes you have made in real time before pushing them live. Additionally, the company frequently releases updates which improve the user experience further and minimize the learning curve for new users.

Umbraco also offers an intuitive user experience, but its interface can take some getting used to. It doesn’t offer the same automated processes for developers and designers as Craft does, so it can be difficult to master for those who don't have a grasp of coding concepts. However, it stands out with its continuous integration of Microsoft Office products such as Word and Outlook into its setup, thus making it far easier for experienced tech-savvy users to set up and edit content quickly.

Overall, both Craft CMS and Umbraco provide great user experiences and content editing tools - it all comes down to your technical proficiency and preferences. If you’re a beginner or want something easy to pick up, Craft CMS may be preferable; if you are experienced with coding concepts then Umbraco may suit your needs better.

Now that we have looked at the user experience and content editor from each platform, let's delve into the next key aspect – setup and migration.

Setup and Migration

When it comes to setup and migration, the question of which CMS is the better choice becomes even more relevant. Craft CMS offers an intuitive administration interface that simplifies installation and makes it easy for users to get up and running quickly. With its drag-and-drop interface, content can be moved, duplicated, and rearranged in an intuitively organized way, making it easy for users to update their website whenever necessary.

On the other hand, Umbraco offers streamlined setup with a focus on getting users up and running quickly with fewer steps involved. However, Umbraco requires a more technical approach when it comes to migrating content from other systems, creating extra work but offering greater flexibility. Umbraco also requires developers to have a deeper understanding of the system in order to properly migrate data and keep sites up to date.

When compared side by side in terms of their setup and migration processes, both Craft CMS and Umbraco offer advantages that could fit different types of users. Both are relatively easy to set up while providing more flexible migration options than other CMSs. Ultimately, it comes down to preference when deciding which CMS is right for you based on this criteria.

Moving forward into the cost section, we’ll evaluate the financial implications of choosing either Craft CMS or Umbraco as your CMS.


When deciding between Craft CMS and Umbraco, cost is always a factor. Initially, there’s no price tag attached to either product as they are both free and open source. There are certain elements of both products that come with an additional cost, however, such as hosting and plugins.

Hosting for Umbraco requires an internet connection and a web server platform, meaning you’ll have to rent or purchase a dedicated server in order for it to perform properly. This can add up depending on the size and scope of your project. Additionally, you may have to pay third-party developers for their specialized plugins in order to extend the functionality of your site.

Craft CMS does offer managed hosting to simplify the setup process but it does come with a fee depending on your individual needs. However, once the basics are taken care of, any third-party plugins are generally available at no charge since developers don't need to be paid for them. And unlike Umbraco which has a long list of recommended hosted providers with high price tags associated with them, Craft works with a variety of budget-friendly hosters as well so finding an option within your budget could be easier.

So when looking at cost, while the software itself is free regardless of platform selected, the complexity of setup and installation combined with potential costs associated with each platform must be taken into consideration when deciding which one is right for you.

Next we will delve into the pros and cons of selecting Craft CMS or Umbraco in order to make an informed decision on which is better for your specific project needs.

Pros and Cons of Craft CMS and Umbraco

Comparing the pros and cons of Craft CMS and Umbraco is important when determining which CMS is right for you. Craft CMS provides a modern take on content management, thanks to its focus on creativity and flexibility. Its user interface employs a simple drag-and-drop design that is non-technical and easy to use. The simplicity of Craft's interface allows for quick authoring without sacrificing quality. However, because of its focus on creative features, there are certain technical tasks that may be more difficult or time consuming than with other CMSs. Additionally, unlike some other CMSs, Craft does not currently support multilingual sites, restricting its global appeal.

In contrast to Craft’s focus on creativity, Umbraco emphasizes scalability, enabling users to quickly build highly customized solutions tailored to specific needs—from enterprise level websites down to small brochure sites. The platform offers strong community support and numerous plugins, making it ideal for more complex environments where more powerful capabilities are required. On the downside, Umbraco’s setup process can be more challenging than other CMSs and it lacks some of the modern “on-page editing” functionality offered by systems like WordPress and Craft.

Overall, Craft CMS and Umbraco each provide different benefits that make them well-suited for certain applications. Before deciding which one works best for your business or project, it is important to evaluate your specific needs in order to determine which platform will serve your project most effectively.

Now that we have explored the pros and cons of Craft CMS and Umbraco, let's turn our attention to their available versions and database options in the next section.

Available Versions and Database Options

When debating which CMS is right for you, it's important to consider available versions and database options. Craft CMS is known for its wide range of content management options, allowing users to choose from an array of databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite3. This makes it ideal for larger sites or those requiring more intensive storage solutions. Additionally, Craft offers a few different licensing tiers that are tailored to specific use cases like the Craft Personal license for small business owners who need basic editing functions, the Craft Pro license for those who want advanced editing abilities, and the Craft Client license designed for teams who need to work collaboratively on a project.

Umbraco has a slightly different setup with its cloud version, Umbraco Cloud, which is built on Microsoft Azure and can support Azure Cosmos DB as its database. This cloud-based system also supports continuous delivery of websites, optimized scalability and flexibility, improved page load times and other features tailored specifically to enterprise level solutions. Alongside Umbraco Cloud there are two self-hosted versions available - Umbraco Heartcore (which requires a subscription) and Umbraco CMS (which is open source). The latter offers similar features as Craft Pro with additional integrations such as QuickBooks Online and Facebook Ads Manager but no access to Azure Cosmos DB without upgrading to Heartcore.

Both platforms offer their own unique advantages in terms of available versions and database options based on a user's needs and business goals so it's worth considering these factors when making a decision about what CMS platform might be best for you. In the next section we'll look at exactly how each one stacks up against each other in terms of their respective documentations.

Versions Available and Documentations

When selecting a CMS, one of its important factors is the versions available and documentation. Craft CMS and Umbraco both have different approaches to their versioning strategies.

Craft CMS has a unique versioning system which it terms as “major release” and “minor releases”. Major release contain large-scale changes and fixes to the CMS, about once a year, but with no guarantee on which features it will contain. The minor releases can occur at any time, containing small bug fixes and other minor features that may update frequently without user discretion. Craft recommends being conservative in deploying major releases and upgrading minor releases as soon as possible because of the unspecified features in each version.

On the other hand, Umbraco follows a traditional versioning system where they release numbered versions that increase incrementally. As such, users have an understanding of what changes have been made from one version to the next since files are easily tractable between versions. This is useful for people who are more familiar with traditional software lifecycle frameworks. Moreover, updates for Umbraco tend to be released more frequently than Craft updates as it does not follow the major/minor release structure.

Both Umbraco and Craft CMS provide comprehensive documents which range from installation instructions; to frontend editing tutorials; to technical solutions to user issues which provides answers quickly when troubleshooting code fails or takes too long. Additionally, they both have dedicated communities where experienced developers share tutorials, blog articles, example projects, and even create pieces of modules that may be necessary for certain applications or scenarios.

In conclusion, both CMSs have different approaches to their versioning systems as well as robust documentations. Installation and included tools are crucial aspects in providing smooth development experiences so let's take a look at them next!

Installation and Included Tools

Installing Craft CMS is a straightforward process, requiring minimal technical knowledge; with clear guides, it gives you the freedom to set up your website quickly. Once the files are uploaded, there is also an easy-to-use section in the Control Panel where you can create users, configure multi-environment settings, modify permissions, translate pages and install plugins. The additional included tools can help build powerful content blocks and improve site performance.

On the other hand, Umbraco has been around since 2004 and has a more established reputation. It's an open-source CMS that users can easily download and install without any external support or experience. While experienced developers may find the installation easy enough, people new to web development may require additional guidance due to its complexities. Additionally, the inclusion of various tools and templates makes setting up a website much faster.

The choice for "Installation and Included Tools" between Craft CMS vs Umbraco will come down to the user's own level of technical expertise and needs from their content management system; however both provide adequate options for installing their sites easily.

Moving forward, your choice between Craft CMS and Umbraco may still be difficult given the many features each offers; so let's explore both in greater detail before we decide on which platform is best suited for your website in the next section: "Choosing The Right Platform For Your Website".

Choosing the Right Platform For Your Website

When it comes to selecting a content management system (CMS) for your website, there are many factors to consider. It is important to take into account the complexity of the system, its ease-of-use, the features and functionalities offered, and its scalability. Two popular CMSs are Craft CMS and Umbraco – both of which present unique benefits and drawbacks.

The first factor to consider when selecting between Craft CMS and Umbraco is ease-of-use. Craft CMS focuses on presenting an intuitive user interface, with an emphasis on providing an enjoyable user experience. The platform is built on modern technology that allows for easy customization and high levels of flexibility. That being said, the platform also has a steep learning curve that most users may find difficult to navigate. On the other hand, Umbraco offers a straightforward approach to website building, with tools designed for those who lack technical knowledge or code development experience. The platform allows for customizations without complex scripting or code editing – but does not provide as much flexibility as Craft CMS does.

The second factor to consider is scalability – that is, whether or not the CMS can dynamically adjust itself based on the content being managed. Craft CMS offers scalability through its “field selector” feature that allows users to choose from predetermined settings or create custom settings when managing content structure. Umbraco, however, lacks any scalable solution aside from manually adding additional fields in order to handle more complex page layouts. As such, while both platforms offer some scalability options, Craft CMS has a more comprehensive solution.

Finally, when selecting between Craft CMS and Umbraco it is important to look at the features and functionalities offered by each platform. While both offer basic features such as drag-and-drop page elements and SEO optimization tools, they differ in certain areas like template designs and plugins available; Craft CMS provides a range of stylish templates along with several third-party plugins while Umbraco offers fewer template options and fewer plugins to choose from.

It can be difficult to decide between two powerful CMSs such as Craft CMS and Umbraco – both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks for different types of website owners. To make your decision easier, carefully review each platform’s level of complexity, ease-of-use, scalability options and feature availability before deciding which is best suited for your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions Explained

How does the cost of Craft CMS compare to that of Umbraco?

The cost of Craft CMS and Umbraco can vary depending on the needs of your project. Both systems offer a range of options, including self-hosted versions, plans designed for small teams, and enterprise packages. Generally speaking, Craft CMS is less expensive than Umbraco for basic installations but may require more customization depending on the size and scope of your project. Additionally, both systems will incur fees if you outsource maintenance and support services. Ultimately, it’s important to consider all the factors before committing to either system: what are your budget constraints, what level of sophistication do you need in your website or application, and other factors like scalability.

What features does Umbraco have that Craft CMS does not?

Umbraco has a few features that Craft CMS does not. One of the most notable is its support for multiple languages. Umbraco allows users to select the language they would like the content in; it will then automatically translate the content. This feature is particularly beneficial for larger, international websites looking to expand their reach.

Additionally, Umbraco boasts some unique templating capabilities. It provides a "masterpage" design option which enables all pages on the site to share the same structure and formatting as well as “razor” code displays that can simplify complex programming tasks. Lastly, Umbraco offers drag-and-drop page organization which makes managing a website's hierarchy much easier than other content management systems.

Are there any specific industries that are better served by one CMS over the other?

The short answer is yes. The main industries that tend to be better served by Craft CMS over Umbraco are Publishing & Media, E-commerce, and Creative Agencies. Craft CMS offers a host of features tailored for these industries, including flexible content management, robust user roles and permissions, custom fields and relationships, media library asset management, and intuitive dashboard design. By contrast, Umbraco tends to cater more towards smaller businesses or organizations looking for an easy-to-use content management system with basic features such as blogging and image galleries.

For the Publishing & Media industry in particular, Craft CMS has a number of advantages over Umbraco. First, Craft's multi-site capability allows users to create and manage multiple sites from one install with great ease. Additionally, Craft's powerful content-structure capabilities make it easier to organize complex data into logical hierarchies. It also provides excellent tools for creating detailed templates and layouts specific to various content types like articles and video. And if you are looking to have authors or journalists contribute content to your website, Craft’s user roles and permissions make managing authorship a breeze.

In the world of E-commerce solutions, Craft CMS can offer some compelling advantages over Umbraco as well. For starters, Craft makes it incredibly easy to add multiple product variations such as sizes and colors with just a few clicks. It also comes with powerful search capabilities so customers can quickly find what they are looking for in your store catalog. Additionally, Craft benefits from its robust integration with Stripe which allows you to easily accept payments from customers without much hassle.

Craft CMS also has an edge over Umbraco when it comes to serving creative agencies such as marketing firms or advertising agencies working on client websites or campaigns. Its intuitive drag-and-drop builder is ideal for quickly creating custom layouts tailored for all types of media or content types - from blog posts to landing pages - without having to write any code at all. Meanwhile, Craft’s built-in reporting tools provide quick insight into how visitors interact with your website so you can refine your digital strategy accordingly.

Overall, while both platforms boast wide sets of useful features suitable for many different projects and industries, there are some clear strengths which serve certain ones better than the other. For example, if you are in the Publishing & Media space, then you should certainly consider the advantages offered by Craft CMS before making a decision on which CMS is right for you.

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Matt has been designing for the web since 1999. He loves mountain biking, watching Formula 1 and making music.