WordPress Alternatives: 5 Platforms to Keep an Eye On

President of WebFX. Bill has over 25 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry specializing in SEO, UX, information architecture, marketing automation and more. William's background in scientific computing and education from Shippensburg and MIT provided the foundation for MarketingCloudFX and other key research and development projects at WebFX.

Even though WordPress is the most dominant CMS on the market, there are still powerful WordPress alternatives out there for you to choose from.

41% of websites run on WordPress, including both large corporations and family-owned companies, but that still leaves 59% of the market open.

In this blog post, we’ll list five alternatives to WordPress that help make up that 59% of the Internet.

Want the quick summary?

5 WordPress competitors you should know

  1. Ghost
  2. Jekyll
  3. Statamic
  4. Craft
  5. Perch

These are certainly not the only other CMS platforms out there, but we’ll break them down in the remainder of this blog post.

Why look for WordPress alternatives?

There’s a lot of buzz in the web design community about other CMS options besides WordPress.

There is a lot of talk about flat-file CMSs, micro CMSs, and static site generators — fresh takes on the age-old content management problem.

For some, WordPress has become bloated and overly complicated, especially for small-scale sites that might be better served by simpler CMS options.

If you’re looking for the latest WordPress alternatives, the following options are some great ones to consider.

5 spectacular WordPress alternatives

1. Ghost

Ghost WordPress alternative

Historically, WordPress started out as blogging software. Now, it’s grown into a full-fledged CMS that can run any type of site — it’s capable of being the publishing platform of online stores, photo galleries, online directories, and any other variety of sites you can think of — which, for software, spells bloat, complexity and excess features you don’t need if you simply want to run a blog.

This is where Ghost comes into the picture.

This WordPress alternative’s beautifully simple UI allows bloggers to compose their posts without being distracted by menus, widgets, settings, and tools not related to writing.

Ghost is built with JavaScript using Node.js, a web development platform optimized for performance and scalability due to its non-blocking I/O model. This could offer Ghost huge speed improvements over the PHP-based WordPress, with one case revealing Ghost to be 678% faster than WordPress.

Compared to WordPress, however, it’s much harder to find a budget shared hosting service that can run Ghost due to its Node.js dependence. In contrast, WordPress and its required web server technologies PHP and MySQL are commonly available on a vast majority of web hosts.

But if you’re using a VPS, dedicated server, or shared hosting that has Node.js installed, then you’re good to go.

2. Jekyll

Jekyll alternative to WordPress

If you want a fast-loading site then you can’t do any better than serving plain static HTML documents. And if you want to do this more easily for content publishing, then Jekyll is the answer.

Jekyll is a static site generator — a system that takes text files and stitches them together to create a static HTML site.

Jekyll was created by Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of GitHub.

To use Jekyll, you must be unafraid to get your hands dirty using the command line, so it’s best suited as a WordPress alternative for hackers.

You can host your Jekyll site for free using GitHub Pages, since Jekyll is static and doesn’t require server-side programming, unlike WordPress.

If you’re a developer who would rather work with pure code than mess around with a UI, if you want an extremely high-performance publishing solution and the option to host your site for free, Jekyll is definitely worth trying.

3. Statamic

Statamic WordPress competitor

Statamic is a flat-file CMS that mixes static and dynamic elements. (The name Statamic comes from the words static and dynamic).

With Statamic, your pages are rendered on the fly just like WordPress, but it does so without a relational database management system (e.g. MySQL) by storing content in a simple directory structure using flat files.

Just because a site uses flat files doesn’t mean it can’t do dynamic things.

Besides Statamic, Kirby and Pico are worth checking out as well if you want to give flat-file publishing platforms a try.

4. Craft

Craft CMS

Created by well-known ExpressionEngine add-on developers, Pixel & Tonic, Craft is a new CMS that aims to bring simplicity to managing content.

Craft was built from the ground up to focus only on the core features that a CMS truly needs. The software’s goal is to avoid the bloat that comes with trying to include every possible feature and fulfill every single use-case.

Craft has a unique business model where the core features are free, so you can get a basic site set up without having to purchase anything.

However, if you need additional functionality for your site, you can buy packages. An example of this is the Localize package, which you can purchase if your site needs multi-language capabilities. Another package you can add to your Craft site is the Cloud package, which provides support for popular cloud services like Amazon S3 and Google Cloud.

Craft has a growing community behind it, which is essential for any new CMS wanting to be a viable alternative to WordPress.

5. Perch

Perch WordPress alternative

Perch describes itself as a “really little CMS”. With this publishing platform, you can build your site however you want and then add in CMS functionality and dynamic components later on. So you don’t need to build your site around Perch from the beginning, which is great for existing sites that just want a few pages to be editable and dynamic.

Perch has a control panel with a clean and simple UI that makes it an excellent CMS to hand off to your non-technical clients.

Company sites and “brochureware” sites managed by non-tech site owners seem to be the market for Perch. The platform has add-ons available that could make it a nice solution for larger sites as well.

Ready to choose your alternative to WordPress?

If you’re already committed to WordPress and have no major issues with it, then it might not be a good idea to just dive into one of the above alternatives for your next big web project.

There’s no sign WordPress is on the decline. But if you have a small web project, if you have qualms with WordPress’s development direction out of being just a blogging platform, if you want a different approach to content management, or if you simply want to explore what else is out there, then spend a little bit of time playing around with Ghost, Jekyll, Statamic, Craft or Perch.

You might just discover your new favorite CMS in the process.