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Stands for "Content Management System." A CMS is a software tool that allows you to create, edit, and publish content. While early CMS software was used to manage documents and local computer files, most CMS systems are now designed exclusively to manage content on the Web.

The goal of a CMS is to provide an intuitive user interface for building and modifying webpage content. Each CMS also provides a web publishing tool that allows one or more users to publish updates live on the Web. The editing component is called the content management application (CMA), while the publishing tool is called the content delivery application (CDA). These two components are integrated together in a CMS to streamline the web development process.

Content management systems are available as installable applications and web-based user interfaces. While CMS software programs, such as Adobe Contribute, were popular for a few years, they have largely been replaced by web-based CMSes. Most people prefer a web interface, since it simplifies the website updating process. Additionally, most web-based CMSes are updated automatically, ensuring all users have the latest tools to manage their content.

Several web-based CMS tools are available. The following are some of the most popular ones:

  1. WordPress - free web software designed for creating template-based websites or blogs
  2. Blogger - Google's blogging tool designed specifically for maintaining a blog
  3. Joomla - a flexible web publishing tool that supports custom databases and extensions
  4. Drupal - an open source platform often used for developing community-based sites
  5. Weebly - a web-based platform for building simple personal and business websites
  6. Wix - a collection of web publishing tools for creating a highly customizable website

Some CMS tools are free to use, while others require a monthly fee. Many CMSes provide free basic components, but charge for high-quality templates, web hosting, custom domain names, or other features. Before deciding on a CMS, it is a good idea to review multiple options so you can choose the one that best fits your website goals.

Updated: March 28, 2013

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