WordPress or Typo3 – Which CMS should you choose?
To operate and update your website successfully, you need a good content management system (CMS). WordPress and Typo3 are both popular choices for business. They each come with their own pros and cons, which will be presented below. A tabular comparison for a quick overview is included.
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What is a CMS used for?
A content management system allows you to manage the content of your website. The CMS adds a back end to your website. While your clients are browsing the front end, you and your colleagues can access the back end. This will allow your online marketing team to manipulate the content and design of the website behind the scenes in real-time.
The CMS makes updating the content of your website easier, even without programming skills. With minimal amounts of training, employees can change articles such as blog posts or news directly, just like the editors of an online magazine. The access to sensitive technical areas within the website is limited to the administrators. A good CMS excludes accidental changes of essential code sections as far as possible.
WordPress vs. Typo3 – What makes them special
There is a plethora of CMS on the market. However, WordPress significantly predominates: Almost 40% of all websites on the globe are running on WordPress. A little less than that have no CMS at all. Typo3 is competing with providers such as Joomla, Drupal, Wix and Squarespace for the rest of the market share. Each CMS has its own special properties, but many companies are focused on making their choice between WordPress and Typo3.
WordPress has grown as a blog CMS, and even today it is still structured like a blog. The content in WordPress consists of posts, categories and pages. In addition, there is a media browser. WordPress offers a wide variety of templates and user-friendly plugins for extra features. It is an allrounder CMS.
Typo3, on the other hand, is a very secure choice for the content management of enterprise-level websites. The back end is structured like a tree, which lets you navigate to the different pages and subpages. This logical structure makes it easy to expand the website.
Figures on WordPress and Typo3 in Germany
Here in Germany, WordPress is the most popular content management system at 46.32% market share, followed by Typo3 at 13.23%. This major drop from position #1 to #2 may be surprising. However, you need to consider that WordPress is an attractive choice for businesses and private individuals alike – which is a larger target audience than purely B2B. In contrast, Typo3 is a popular CMS for companies because it is said to offer a lot of protection against cyber-attacks. Moreover, Typo3 seems to be well-suited for complex websites in particular. For this reason, and because a lot of websites don’t employ any CMS at all, the 13.23% are not as insignificant as one might think.
The market shares of the different CMS were split as follows in Germany in 2019:
- WordPress: 46.32%
- Typo3: 13.23%
- Joomla: 11.42%
- Contao: 3.99%
- Drupal: 3.19%
- Remaining websites: 21.85%
In Germany, the market shares are split differently than internationally, where Typo3 is lagging behind competitors such as Joomla and Drupal.
Typo3 and WordPress are dominating the German CMS market. In general, both content management systems can be a good choice. However, you need to think about which choice best fulfills the requirements of your business or organization.
WordPress and Typo3 – These websites are leading the way
Before you decide for a CMS, you should screen the market and make a list of websites you like, that have good design elements or functionality. This tip may be useful for your research: In the footer or imprint, many websites are indicating which CMS they are running on. Using whatcms.org is another convenient way to check which CMS a website is employing.
The following websites are running on WordPress:
These websites are using Typo3:
The user-friendliness of the CMS
A first question is: What is it like to use the CMS on a day-to-day basis? The blog structure of WordPress is very popular, since it facilitates the onboarding of new online editors. The back end is very accessible, even for non-developers. In our experience, even for complex websites, two half-day WordPress workshops should be enough to master all of the basics and many of the quirks. The tree structure of Typo3, on the other hand, is a little more complex and more difficult to comprehend, but it is easier to scale up later on. Depending on the complexity of the website, learning content management in Typo3 will take several days or weeks.
The editor, which slightly resembles a Microsoft Word document, allows you to modify the content: WordPress has a modern “What you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editor. The visual representation facilitates the content management a lot. Even small design and functionality updates can be implemented by online editors without advanced coding skills. Typo3 also comes with a WYSIWYG editor. However, in Typo3, design and functionality updates require the work of a developer.
An important consideration in choosing a CMS is the editorial process. WordPress offers several options: Create a draft, a post scheduled for publication at a future date, a private (hidden) post, or a post for immediate publication. After publication, you can implement content updates in real-time whenever you like. A version history will be stored in the back end. In Typo3, you get a “workspace” intended for future migration to production. This makes the workflow less dynamic, but it may help prevent the accidental publication of possible errors.
WordPress vs. Typo3: Important features in comparison
In your choice of a CMS, aside from the user-friendliness, you should also consider factors such as security, technical maintenance, multilingual website handling, search engine optimization and e-commerce readiness. Keep reading to learn more about these considerations, and others.
The security of a CMS is an important factor. Since most websites run on WordPress, hackers like to specialize in attacking this system. Typo3 does not have the same relevance internationally, which makes it less interesting to hackers, too. At the same time, there are less developers tending to the security of Typo3. WordPress has a very active community of developers, who constantly search for possible weak spots, improve the CMS and share best practices on how to make its websites more secure.
The technical maintenance of the CMS is another important variable. WordPress has frequent CMS and plugin-updates, most of which are installed automatically or in just a few clicks. This does not usually require a website relaunch. Typo3, on the other hand, tends to do major version leaps which could force you to relaunch once every few years. Regardless of the CMS you are employing, if you need to relaunch your website, we recommend working with an online marketing agency such as svaerm, who can handle your relaunch project professionally and holistically.
Many businesses require a multilingual website. In WordPress, you can internationalize your website through the plugin WPML (WordPress MultiLingual). More than 40 languages are supported in the default install. Alternatively, you can set up a multisite, which gives you more control over the media library and prevents accidental media duplicates. In our projects, multisites tend to work out better than WPML (exceptions apply). Typo3 comes with an inbuilt multilingual setup; hence, no extension is required for it.
Expanding the website
Consider the difficulty or ease at which you can expand the website. Especially for large corporations, this is particularly relevant. With its tree structure, Typo3 is well-suited for the expansion and growth of websites. WordPress is not quite as user-friendly in the creation of subpages, subcategories, filters and other structuring components.
To integrate an online shop into your website, WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin work wonders. WordPress with WooCommerce is the e-Commerce setup with the greatest market share worldwide. Alternatively, you could switch to another CMS such as Shopify or Magento. Typo3 is not well-equipped to support e-Commerce. If you are an online shop manager, you should employ a different CMS.
Search engine optimization
The search engine optimization should be another pivotal determinant in selecting your website’s CMS. WordPress, as well as Typo3, can both facilitate the management of fundamental SEO-relevant content. However, WordPress offers a larger selection of SEO plugins. The popular tool Yoast SEO can run on both platforms, but its WordPress version has more features.
svaerm insider tip: The best WordPress plugin for SEO is the Rankmath SEO Tool. It is not as well-known as the market leader Yoast SEO, but it has better functionality. However, keep in mind that even a perfectly configurated CMS cannot replace a holistic SEO strategy. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the basics of SEO. In addition, we recommend hiring an SEO agency to benefit from economies of scale and focus.
Another factor is the loading time of the CMS. The various themes and plugins in WordPress can slow down your webpages. By tendency, Typo3 is a little faster than WordPress. But, both CMS have a very wide spectrum from very fast to very slow websites. In the end, the loading time of your website mostly depends on how it has been implemented.
The installation of your CMS should be as quick and easy as possible. WordPress is comparably easy to install, and some hosting providers even offer a 1-click-installation. By contrast, Typo3 is more complex to install. Depending on your provider, the setup may require basic programming skills.
Plugins and extensions
Similarly, plugins and extensions should be easy to install. WordPress offers a plethora of plugins. In Typo3, plugins are called extensions. There is a range of pre-built extensions with useful features, but to install them, you need to know the Typoscript coding language. Depending on the exact version, Typo3 offers around 1,000 extensions, while WordPress offers 55,000 plugins. Poorly configured WordPress plugins can slow down your website. Good to know: Typo3 has its own SAP interface.
Responsive web design
A modern CMS must support responsive web design to display websites on mobile devices without problem. Both CMS offer advanced possibilities in this field. When it comes to innovative web design, WordPress appears to be ahead of Typo3: New design elements, such as the parallax scroll effect, were first seen on WordPress-based websites. Due to their development history, Typo3 sites often have a lot of text. Make sure that your website’s design improves the readability of your content and presents wordy pages in an attractive manner – especially on mobile devices.
User access permissions
To let an entire team work with a CMS, user access permissions are required. WordPress keeps things simple. User access can be limited to certain layers of the back end and content can be hidden behind login panels. The inbuilt user rights management in Typo3 lets you fine-tune the access permissions more. For example, editorial sections of the back-end can be designated to certain user groups.
The most important business considerations: International relevance, certification, costs
Consider the international relevance of the CMS. WordPress is well-known and well-documented all over the world. Typo3 has a reputation as an enterprise-level CMS, but most of its developers are located in Europe. The CMS originated in Denmark, and it is especially popular in Germany. Internationally, it has little relevance – which may be an obstacle for working with developers outside of Germany.
Certifications exist to document the competency of service providers who work with the respective CMS. WordPress does not have its own certifications, but third parties do. Typo3 developers usually have a Typo3 certification.
Finally, you should factor in the costs of the CMS in your considerations. WordPress, as well as Typo3, are open source software, i.e. freely available without license fees. Both have paid plugins and extensions. Most of the time, working with Typo3 is more expensive than WordPress, as the website development takes longer, requires experts specialized in Typo3 and custom-made extensions. Such extensions are made by Typoscript developers, who have a rare expertise and therefore, high daily rates. WordPress experts, on the other hand, are usually less expensive by comparison.
Tabular comparison of WordPress and Typo3
To facilitate your decision between WordPress and Typo3, you can refer to the following table which highlights the most important properties of both CMS in a direct comparison.
|Costs||Less expensive||More expensive|
|Content management and handling||Brief onboarding period, beginner-friendly||Long onboarding period, requires technical knowledge|
|Updates||Many tasks can be handled in-house, hence less complicated||More expensive, requires a Typo3 agency or in-house expert|
|Security||More vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the risk increases with more plugins||More secure, as it is not a common cyber-attack target and quite robust|
|Data load and stability||Blog structure can become cluttered, high data load can slow it down||Tree structure is more suitable for high data load|
|Customization||Very wide selection of plugins and themes, which can be customized further||Various extensions and customizations, although some extensions have to be custom-made from scratch|
|Multilingual websites||Viable with a multisite approach (recommended) or WPML||Viable without extensions|
|Search engine optimization||Good SEO plugins available||Smaller selection of SEO plugins with less features|
|Community and support||International community and large selection of suppliers||Smaller and less international community, mostly centered around Germany|
Conclusion: The choice for a CMS is always a case-by-case decision
Not surprisingly, the answer to which is better – WordPress or Typo3 – is: It depends. WordPress is versatile and widely spread, even internationally. However, some businesses opt to benefit from the stability and expandability of Typo3 with high data load.
A few years ago, online marketers would recommend WordPress for blogs as well as simple, lean websites, and Typo3 for complex, enterprise-level websites. However, this old rule of thumb no longer applies: WordPress has extremely evolved since then and can compete very well with Typo3, even for enterprise-level websites.
At svaerm, we usually recommend WordPress over Typo3, as it is less expensive, more accessible, more versatile and more international. If you choose WordPress, you do not make your business depend on a small number of Typo3 providers, but instead, build on the expertise of the large international WordPress community. For online shops, Typo3 is not viable. However, some exceptions apply.
Would you like to benefit from the support of a professional WordPress agency in the development of your website? Here at svaerm, you can obtain all services related to WordPress under one roof. We manage your project handling, conceptualization, web design, development, content creation and marketing. Get in touch with our WordPress experts!