Anyone who thought about building their own website heard the term CMS at least once. Rightfully so, as the content management system is the backbone of any webpage these days. And even though you still can build a site without a CMS, the absolute majority of entrepreneurs bet on well-known and trusted platforms or a custom CMS tailored for specific business goals. 

In this article you’ll find out not only about the most popular CMS out there, but will get some useful tips that will make the choice easier. 

What is CMS and why do you need it? 
Content management system (CMS for short) is a software that is designed specifically to provide the users with a simple way to add, modify, and be in control of the website’s content. Pretty straightforward, right?

But even still, one of the most commonly asked questions is “Why do I need a CMS if I can build a website without it?” It is true, you can have a website without a CMS. In this case it’s usually built by the means of HTML/CSS and other technologies. But this approach will shut out the opportunity to easily manage content as on no CMS sites this process is much trickier than on the site with CMS. 

Of course, easy and quick content management isn’t the only benefit a CMS can bring an entrepreneur. Some others include the following

In many cases you don't need any third-party assistance and can build a website from scratch on your own
A wide range of budget-friendly options
The development process is faster
Support of addons and plugins that will perform specific tasks (e.g. help with analytics and SEO)
Support either from the provider or the large community (or both)

Top 5 most popular CMS in 2021    
If you’re wondering how many CMS brands are out there, the short answer will be “hundreds.” Some are world-famous and have a long history, the others are  common in a certain country or are industry-specific (for example, e-commerce CMS or including CRM functionality). Not to make things confusing, this article will focus only on the top 5 most popular CMS in 2021 as of a report by Statista. They are WordPress, Shopify, Joomla, Wix, and Squarespace. 

The most popular CMS in the world and a market titan that left all of the competitors biting the dust. Just compare: WordPress’ market share is 65,2% while its closest competition — Shopify — has only 5,9%! 
What makes WordPress so special and loved by the general public? A wide range of assets! The key benefits include:

The largest number of plugins and themes available
Ability to get domain and hosting
Affordable pricing

WordPress will celebrate its 20th birthday in 2023 and most likely it will stay the market leader by that time. This one of the most easy-to-use CMS with intuitive interface, numerous tools for customization, ability to buy domain name and hosting, specific plugin for e-commerce (WooCommerce), and a supportive community. 
WordPress is perfect for the first business website, as it can be tailored to fit any industry (from an online shop to healthcare hub or a blog). It also provides convenient options for data portability if you’ll decide to move your website elsewhere. 

Shopify may not be as famous as WordPress, but it’s still one of the fastest growing CMS in the world. Unlike #1 on this list, Shopify isn’t exactly versatile as it’s built to cater to e-commerce business. 
Perfect for online shops and marketplaces
Support is available in case of any tech difficulties
SEO and mobile-friendly

There are other ecommerce-oriented CMS brands, but they’re not as successful as Shopify. This cloud-based SAAS CMS has literally everything an online-shop or a marketplace may need: payments, managing products, in-store sales support, discount management, sales channels and more! 

Besides, it’s an all-in-one CMS, which means you don’t have to worry about hosting, security, updates, SSL, backups etc. You just pay a monthly fee and get the most out of your website. 

In many ways, Joomla! Is exactly like WordPress. It’s a well-established brand with a long history (started in 2005), it’s also an open-sourced software, and it also offers many different extensions to tailor the website to fit the owner’s needs. 
Adaptable, not hooked to a certain industry
A great choice for more complicated websites 
Multiple languages support

But why if Joomla! And WordPress have so much in common, they’re not equally popular? The thing that stops Joomla! From being higher on the rating, is its complexity. Joomla is not as straightforward as other platforms. In fact, it often requires professional developer’s assistance to make everything work perfectly. 

At the same time, it’s a CMS known for its scalability, flexibility, and higher level of security (WordPress, on the other hand, is often called “hacker’s dream”). But there are so many simple content management platforms out there that entrepreneurs usually don’t want to deal with any complications, even if it implies certain limitations.

A classic “so easy, a 5-year-old can use it” CMS. Wix is known to be a prime example of a user-friendly CMS that “takes away all the problems” related to website development. No wonder, the popularity of this platform grows exponentially! 

Simple drag & drop building principle
Ability to add additional features using plugins
Blogging and ecommerce functionality provided

Wix is a CMS that is often perceived as “the best option for the first website” due to its extreme simplicity. This platform works for small businesses or solo entrepreneurs as it allows them to build a nice-looking business website that is packed with all the necessary information. 

However, Wix is never used when it comes to growing companies or large enterprises. The main reasons being problems with SEO, limited options for customization, complex data migration process, no options for hosting except Wix. So, as you can see, this particular CMS may be very tempting at first glance but hides a lot of hidden dangers within. Is it worth it? Everyone decides for themselves. 

In a way, Squarespace is the twin of Wix. Same drag & drop interface, same built-in hosting, same limited blogging and ecommerce functionality, even the same level of popularity (both platforms are at 2,6%!)

Simple to use even for the first-timers 
Clean elegant design
Can be used for ecommerce

Squarespace is especially popular in the US (not least due to the thought-out marketing campaign) where it’s highly appreciated by startupers and small business owners. This CMS provides you with an opportunity to create a website in a matter of minutes, but it’s vital to remember that the customization process as well as 3rd-party integration maybe difficult and in some cases even impossible. 

It sure isn’t a CMS for complex bespoke websites, but there are cases when it may be the perfect choice (especially if you need a nice-looking site right here right now but don’t have money to hire a developer).