What is Umbraco CMS?

Umbraco CMS is a Content Management System (CMS). Traditionally this meant a website where you can manage the content for it using a backoffice or admin section. But since the REST APIs have been produced, it means we can use Umbraco to manage content for all sorts of applications too, so the opportunites are endless.

It was created by Niels Hartvig in Denmark. It was born out of a need for a good content management system for the projects he was working on. He decided to create his own and when other people showed an interest and started to use it too, he decided to develop it further. It went through a few iterations and eventually it went Open Source. Now there is a community of over 220,000 developers who use it on the websites they build.

There are almost half a million websites powered by Umbraco now. It is highly likely that you have visited a site today which has it's content managed in Umbraco.

Here are some big brands who already use Umbraco:

  • Microsoft
  • Peugeot
  • Heinz
  • Costa

I mentioned that Umbraco is Open Source. Open Source doesn't always mean it's free to use, but in this case it is. You don't have to pay a license fee to use it at all. If you know how to, you can download the latest version, built a great looking site and host it, all without having to pay a penny to Umbraco. There are ways to give back to Umbraco, by doing things like joining their Partner Program or doing their certifications to become an Umbraco Master.

Umbraco's back office is built using Angular, which is impressive for a .NET CMS.

If you were to use Umbraco in it's traditional use case where the front end is related to the backend and hosted in the same instance, you would be working with an ASP.NET MVC website.

The data you enter into Umbraco is stored in a database. You have a choice of the following database types to use:

  • MySQL
  • SQL Compact Edition
  • SQL Server

All of the above database types are available to use and host for free.

The Benefits of using Umbraco

There are many benefits of using Umbraco. Here are the 10 main reasons why I think it is the best CMS out there:

  1. You can schedule your content to be published or unpublished at a certain date and time.
  2. The content grid is an excellent interface for creating responsive pages which works with Bootstrap out of the box.
  3. You can sort the content easily by right clicking on a parent item.
  4. It is available as a service in the cloud. You can have a website up and running in under 5 minutes on Umbraco cloud and using one of the starter kits. Watch my starter kit video to see me doing this.
  5. You can organise media into different folders without the fear of the paths changing.
  6. It has a simple and easy to use interface for managing content.
  7. Non-technical content writers/editors can use it without any need to know HTML or CSS.
  8. You can set user permissions, using the individual or group permission settings.
  9. It has a forum with a friendly community of fellow developers who are keep to help you succeed.
  10. There are hundreds of packages available to install, with most of them being free.

How to get started?

If you are brand new to Umbraco, you should go to our.umbraco.org. There you will find all of the documentation and instructions on getting started with Umbraco.

You can sign up for Umbraco TV, which is a paid membership account where you can watch the official training videos for Umbraco.

If you are looking for free video tutorials, they you could take a look at my YouTube channel. I've got 2 free training courses on there which show you 2 different approaches on how to take a static HTML website and turn in into a fully content managed website in Umbraco.

Here are the links to my free Umbraco courses on YouTube:

How to build a site with Umbraco

Series 2 - How to build a site with Umbraco

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About the author

Paul Seal

Umbraco MVP and .NET Web Developer from Derby (UK) who specialises in building Content Management System (CMS) websites using MVC with Umbraco as a framework. Paul is passionate about web development and programming as a whole. Apart from when he's with his wife and son, if he's not writing code, he's thinking about it or listening to a podcast about it.

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