Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

For any aspiring business, a healthy and professional digital presence is instrumental to its success in the modern marketing landscape. Luckily, it no longer takes a degree in software development to build an engaging and efficient website for your business. Top CMS platforms step in to do the job.

Whether you’re a startup CEO or a project manager in charge of e-commerce platforms or digital products, website management is one of your core concerns. What CMS should you choose? Should you opt-in for a premium or free CMS website builder software?

Look no further – here’s your guide to everything you need to know about content management systems running on PHP frameworks. But first, let’s catch up with the basics.

What is a CMS platform?

In a nutshell, a content management system (CMS) is software that allows you to manage digital assets. This encompasses anything from content and graphics to design and code. As a webmaster, you’re going to use the CMS for your website every day, which is why it’s vital to pick a top CMS platform to suit your needs.

How many types of content management systems are there?

  1. Open-source. An open-source CMS is free to use and does not require upfront fees or licensing. However, you might need to hire an expert to get you up and running with the technical setup. Some of the most popular open-source content management systems are WordPress, Magento, and Joomla. Once installed on your web server, you can easily enhance an open-source CMS platform with useful plugins and add-ons. In fact, CMS customization opportunities are virtually endless.
  2. Proprietary. A proprietary CMS system is designed by a software development company. Typically, it involves license fees and subscription-based pricing. The most well-known CMS in this category are the IBM Enterprise Content Management system and Shopify CMS. Like an open-source CMS, a proprietary content management system can also be extensively customized. However, this can turn out to be quite costly, which is why it’s important to invest in a robust, feature-rich out-of-the-box CMS platform right from the start.
  3. SaaS. When it comes to a cost-effective content management system, software as a service platforms get all the spotlight. These CMS are particularly popular among small and mid-sized businesses. A SaaS CMS provider usually offers a CMS itself, technical support, and web hosting. As a content management system user, you can opt-in for a fully or partially cloud CMS depending on whether you own a web server or not.

Essential features to look for in your CMS platform

Outstanding CMS tools written with PHP latest technologies take the content management process to a new level. If you want to manage your information smoothly and efficiently, these are some of the must-have features to look in your content management system:

  • customized content templates;
  • user-friendly interface, or a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get);
  • advanced content organization (content taxonomy and hierarchy);
  • permission-based access to content;
  • content workflow and version control;
  • multi-lingual support;
  • compliance with web development and SEO requirements;
  • easy team collaboration tools.

Based on your unique requirements, you might also want your content management system to integrate with your CRM system.

CMS requirements: the handy checklist

The fundamental questions you should be asking yourself about your CMS are:

  • Do I employ a large team in need of advanced collaboration features?
  • What’s the frequency of my content updates?
  • Do I need version and workflow control of my content?
  • Do I need content templates?
  • Do I need to customize my CMS heavily?
  • What skills do I need to run this specific CMS? Would I have to hire more support staff?
  • What are the total costs of using this content management system?

And once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions, you can resort to this handy checklist before making any commitment (remember to add any unique action points relevant to your specific CMS requirements):

  • an easy-to-use admin area for your team;
  • website integration with other tools in a modern marketing and sales stack;
  • safe, password-protected CMS accounts for website users, e.g. suppliers, affiliates or customers;
  • functionality to manage online payments and handle orders (for e-commerce businesses);
  • comprehensive real-time analytics to monitor website performance;
  • advanced CMS features such as personalization and product recommendations, advertising, dynamic content, etc.

As well as that, you should also factor in future requirements and upgrades you will be needing. Migrating from one CMS to another can be an expensive task so planning ahead surely pays off.

That being said, let’s move on to the top content management systems running on Symfony and Laravel as well as a quick CMS comparison.

Top 5 PHP CMS platforms powered by Symfony Framework

1. Fork

Fork CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Fork is a free open-source PHP CMS packed with useful features. One of the most outstanding is a user-friendly admin area. Fork CMS enables its users to create and edit websites without resorting to actual coding.

Fork CMS key features for websites are:

  • an intuitive interface equally handy for newbies and pros;
  • multiple built-in apps (e.g., banner campaigns, guestbook, form builders, image compression and more);
  • multiple website themes;
  • Google Analytics integration to display website analytics directly in your Fork PHP CMS dashboard;
  • Campaign Monitor integration to run email campaigns from your Fork CMS dashboard.

2. Bolt

Bolt CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Bolt is a free CMS website builder software that has everything to help you build a compelling personal or commercial website. Based on PHP, it delivers an open-source architecture and a whole pack of great features:

  • a responsive content management system that both looks and works great across a variety of devices;
  • Twig templates that do not require knowledge of PHP;
  • multiple content types to display on a website;
  • changelog and file manager;
  • a fast CMS with reasonably low memory usage;
  • all code hosted on GitHub (a useful feature for website developers).

All in all, Bolt is one of the best-looking CMS with powerful benefits for content editors. Not only this CMS is fast, secure and flexible, it’s also lightweight and modern.

3. Sulu

Sulu CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Sulu is an open-source, PHP-based content management system with a lens on flexibility. Whether you need to build a website or app, Sulu provides the multi-lingual, multi-channel, and multi-portal infrastructure to enable your website.

Key Sulu CMS features:

  • integrates data from external resources;
  • web-based, no installation or download required;
  • fast and user-friendly interface;
  • content editing available across mobile, tablet, and desktop;
  • live content preview of website content.

On top of that, Sulu CMS allows you to enhance your website or app with custom modules (bundles). Full PHP Symfony stack ensures that the website development process is flexible and orderly.

4. Sylius

Sylius CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

An open-source content management system, Sylius specifically targets e-commerce websites. Not only is it one of the best looking CMS PHP tools, it also comes with an impressive portfolio of features for e-commerce stores:

  • cross-device compatibility;
  • integration with business tools: CRMs, email service providers, ERP, PIM and inventory management solutions;
  • invoicing, order processing and multiple payment options including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and more;
  • customizable and flexible checkout experience;
  • product management;
  • shipping, refunds and taxes, and much more.

A customizable admin area of the Sylius content management system allows website owners to build a familiar and easy-to-use area that doesn’t turn daily activities into a chore.

5. Pimcore

Pimcore CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Pimcore rightfully claims its place among the top content management systems on the market. It designed a robust and feature-rich CMS platform that is also open-source and free for all. Pimcore CMS framework is powered by PHP-based Symfony.

Pimcore CMS key features are tied into its products:

  • product information management (PIM) solution which harmonizes sales, marketing, and technical data;
  • master data management (MDM) solution which brings all of your data records, documentation, attributes, and more under one umbrella;
  • digital asset management (DAM) solution which consolidates all of your digital media resources and eliminates data silos;
  • website content management (WCM) solution which incorporates everything from content ideation to analytics and workflows;
  • digital commerce platform which offers exceptional support for B2C and B2B marketplaces.

Top 5 PHP CMS platforms powered by Laravel Framework

1. October

October CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

October CMS is a free CMS website builder software powered by the popular PHP Laravel framework. It comes with 700+ plugins and themes to give your website a unique look and feel.

The key features of October CMS:

  • elegant and simple Twig templates;
  • a component-based website page structure and easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor;
  • content delivery network (CDN) support and file management;
  • out of the box free Translate plugin for multi-lingual website support.

October content management system strives to make its interface as uncluttered as possible. Its core functionality encompasses creating and publishing website pages. To add anything else, you’ll have to resort to its large collection of plugins.

2. Lavalite

Lavalite CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Another one of the top content management systems, Lavalite CMS relies on the PHP Laravel framework. It positions itself as a simplistic and modern CMS. This developer-focused content management system is also open-source and free to use.

The key features of Lavalite CMS are:

  • responsive layout;
  • lightweight and simple user interface;
  • ready-made packages for real estate, e-commerce, classifieds, job search websites, automobile classifieds and yellow pages;
  • custom taxonomies;
  • multi-lingual website support.

The team at CMS delivers round-the-clock support which will get your business covered at all times.

3. Photon

Photon CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Photon CMS claims to do half of your website development work with its platform which is based on the PHP Laravel framework. Its self-hosted content management system is well-suited to manage a variety of digital assets and is quite developer-friendly.

The key features of Photon CMS are:

  • team project sync;
  • responsive control panel;
  • 20+ field types to customize admin area modules;
  • complete RESTFUL and internal APIs;
  • generator validation and change reporting and more.

Photon features extensive CMS and API documentation on its website. It also hosts dedicated GitHub and Slack discussion forums. Pricing starts at $49 for personal websites with wordmark attribution. Pricing for commercial websites starts at $199 per website.

4. Atlantis

Atlantis CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Atlantis is a free CMS website builder software powered by the Laravel PHP framework. Atlantis content management system works well for marketers and agencies as well as PHP developers.

The key features of Atlantis CMS are:

  • integrated SEO tools;
  • page creation and editing does not require any coding skills;
  • instant graphics optimization for mobile devices;
  • real-time version control;
  • visual, user-friendly admin area with layouts, menus and templates;
  • support for custom website themes;
  • extendable architecture thanks to Atlantis modules.

Overall, Atlantis does a great job of simplifying the CMS user experience for developers and content editors alike.

5. Coaster

Coaster CMS - Top 10 Open Source CMS Powered by PHP Frameworks Laravel and Symfony

Coaster CMS is a free open-source content management system based on the Laravel PHP framework. Among other features, Coaster CMS has a strong focus on SEO. In particular, it automatically generates an XML sitemap and performs 301 redirects. Other prominent CMS features include:

  • beacon compatibility;
  • OOP framework;
  • version control and publishing system;
  • built-in contact forms;
  • multiple menus;
  • developer-friendly and secure.

When it comes to the content management system comparison, Coaster outperforms Joomla and WordPress in terms of SEO and basic functionality. Being an open-source CMS platform, it’s a viable choice for many businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which PHP framework is better, Laravel or Symfony?
If you're asking this, it sounds like you need a low barrier of entry, so we would recommend Laravel. It's easy to pick up and get started in, and rather simple to transition to something safer and more isolated later, if needed.
Is it worth learning a CMS such as WordPress when I already know Laravel and Symfony?
Yes, we believe so. For example, more than 455 million sites in the world use WordPress. And, with over 2 million downloads every year, WordPress usage continues to rise steadily.
Which way to build a custom CMS is better - using pure PHP or Framework?
We believe that there is no right or wrong approach between Pure PHP and PHP Frameworks.

However, frameworks cannot be ignored anymore. This is a thing now. Clients will specifically ask you for your experience in a particular framework which their company already uses. Such as Laravel, YII, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Phalcon and many other less known systems.

How to choose the right CMS

With so many options on the market, it’s certainly not an easy question to answer. This quick recap of the key criteria will help you out:

  1. Security;
  2. Costs;
  3. Flexibility;
  4. Ease of use;
  5. Default out of the box features;
  6. Type of the CMS platform (SaaS, open-source or proprietary);
  7. The need to hire someone to manage the CMS platform;
  8. Customization, i.e whether it’s easy to make tweaks specific to your business/website.

Armed with all of this knowledge, you are now one step closer to making an educated decision on which content management system is right for you.

Remember, though, that even the most flexible and customizable CMS platforms may not fully address your unique business needs. In this case, it makes sense to develop a custom CMS platform uniquely tailored for your business, or design standalone website solutions that can be integrated into your existing content management system.

Using some other great CMS powered by PHP?

We’d love to hear from you. Do not hesitate to share your insights in the comments below!

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I am a freelance writer and marketing enthusiast with a keen interest in emerging technologies, IT landscape and software products that make our world a better place.
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li-url Ira Chopovska

Digital Marketer

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3 years ago

Think Spinub CMS ( must be here as well. The Spinub CMS is released a year ago and is growing fast. Spinub is a SaaS CMS that connects to the database of the application. In Spinub you define your users, clients and your database mapping, and the data stays on your application server.

2 years ago

What about Statamic (Laravel)?

2 years ago
Reply to  Michael

Thanks, Michael. Statamic looks good. We will try to add it soon.

Alessandro Marotta
Alessandro Marotta
2 years ago

What about Twill and TypiCMS as Laravel CMSs? They are very popular.

M. H
M. H
2 years ago

I’m trying atlantis now .. (I don’t see any cart on them).

thank you.. you are pretty..

2 years ago

Any tutorials about migrating from wordpress to any of those CMS?

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