A Quick Review of the 7 Best ASP.NET Content Management Systems

ASP.NET seems to have more and more quality options regarding extensible content management systems with each passing year. Depending on your needs, there are excellent options available both with commercial licenses or open source code.
PHP may be king of the web, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some stellar ASP .NET CMSs that can not only give you the power you need to develop gorgeous, high-concept websites with a strong backbone but will also give you experience working with the ever-popular .NET platform used in business. Whether you’re looking for a commercial solution or something born out of the open source community, these top seven ASP .NET CMSes can give you the functionality and the support you need to get the job done.

Top 7 ASP.NET CMSs

1. DotNetNuke

DotNetNuke

Of all the ASP .NET CMSes out there, DotNetNuke is probably the most well known and popular. One of the reasons for the popularity of this CMS is due to its multiple versions which allow for the flexibility to accommodate a beginning web developer, a small to medium sized business, or even a large enterprise. It has enjoyed a busy development since before 2003 that continues to this day.

For those that don’t need much support other than what the open source community can provide, there’s the DotNetNuke Community Edition offered under the BSD License. It contains most of the features which comprise the other editions, but the support is left up to the community. The Professional Edition gives you support from the DotNetNuke Corporation along with a few more features, and for a (much) increased price, the Enterprise Edition gives you a few more features along with phone support.

This CMS has been around for a while, so it’s very stable and there’s a plethora of add-ons in the community, so it’s definitely the first stop if you’re looking for something that’s proven.

2. Telerik Sitefinity CMS

Sitefinity

Telerik Sitefinity CMS delivers powerful content management without complication. The CMS platform empowers marketers with a self-service approach to optimizing content and measuring results. Online marketing tools speed the path to conversion goals with personalization, marketing automation, social media and contextual analytics that provide actionable insight to content performance. A single intuitive interface allows you to leverage CMS data to create responsive and mobile websites or build native and hybrid mobile apps.

Telerik Sitefinity is an innovative ASP.NET CMS that provides many out-of-the-box features to help developers deliver compelling web experiences in less time. It is flexible and extensible, allowing for custom content creation, increased functionality, control over presentation, and integration with enterprise solutions. With one of the largest 3rd party .NET communities and a rich marketplace for add-ons, developers will find all the resources and guidance to create a truly engaging online and mobile customer experience.

3. Orchard

Orchard

Provided under the New BSD License, Orchard CMS is Microsoft’s hand in the open source world. The Orchard Project is based on a community, backed by full-time developers from Microsoft, that develop components and scripts that are open tools for developers to create applications, and their primary focus at the time is Orchard CMS. Despite some slow development in the beginning, Orchard has struck a chord with the open source community, and the number of contributors is growing every day.

While some of the things you’d expect in a more robust CMS might be missing, there’s several fantastic back-end features which will delight anyone who is looking for a young project to support that has a great prospect of growing in the future.

4. Kentico

Kentico

Another CMS offering multiple licensing options is the Kentico CMS. The free license requires you to keep the logo and copyright information on your page, but the commercial versions offer support and allow you to work without the branding. It’s designed to be easy to use for even novice users, so web development should go fast with someone who is experienced.

Kentico’s focus lies in three areas: Content Management, E-Commerce, and Social Networking. That broad base makes it an excellent choice for a wide variety of technology ventures. If the company’s success, showing a three year growth of 553%, is any indication, this is a CMS to keep an eye on.

5. Umbraco

Umbraco

As an open source project, Umbraco isn’t going to break your budget, and it has really come alive over the past few years. It was first released in 2004 but it took a little while for it to gain traction. Lately, though, it has become very popular with designers due to the open templating system and ability to build in guidelines that automatically format the content writers provide. Also, it uses ASP .NET “master pages” and XSLT, so you won’t have to work with a heaped-together templating format. It’s written in C# and is happy to work with a variety of databases, so hosting shouldn’t be a problem for you.

In 2009, CMS Wire dubbed Umbraco as one of the best open-source .NET CMS options available. In 2011, it was averaging close to 1000 downloads a day via Codeplex and is highly ranked amongst top downloads via the Microsoft Installer.

6. mojoPortal

mojoPortal

mojoPortal is another open source CMS option based upon the .NET framework. It has a very active developer group and is consistently being updated. While it is free to download and use, there are a number of commercial add-ons that are used to help fund the project. When it comes to developing your own applications, many people prefer mojoPortal because it can act as a starter kit for advanced .NET sites or portals.

mojoPortal is also considered to be very strong as a standalone CMS. It is easy to learn and very simple to use. It includes a variety of different tools such as blogs, photo galleries, chat, newsletters, pools, forums, and much more. It also has a very strong community which makes troubleshooting extremely simple.

7. Composite C1

Composite C1

A relative newcomer to the ASP.NET market, Composite C1 was originally sold as a commercial CMS in Northern Europe until September 2010. Now, it’s a free and open source CMS in version 3.0 that’s offered under the Mozilla Public License. It’s focus is for web developers working on corporate websites, so its learning curve is most likely too steep for the neonate. The 3.0 version, released in December 2011, was only downloaded a little over 1000 times from codeplex, but despite it’s dark horse status, it continues to be a well designed CMS for the more experienced developer that wants their CMS to be more functional than it is beautiful.

There are enough free community and commercial add-ons for you to plug in the functionality you need quickly, so Composite C1 is worth checking out if you want to get your hands dirty.

ASP.NET seems to have more and more quality options regarding extensible content management systems with each passing year. Depending on your needs, there are excellent options available both with commercial licenses or open source code. In order to determine which one is best you, it entirely dependent on what features you want included. While there are other options available, these Top 7 ASP.NET CMS options are all excellent choices.