Umbraco was developed back in 2000 as an open source content management system that has the flexibility to run anything from small brochure sites to big and complex applications.
Umbraco offers a great value and features for a CMS based on a .NET platform. It is for people that don't want to pay high licensing fees that come with some other systems. It offers great functionality that comes with a full-fledged CMS and it is known as a great option due to its customisability and functionality.
Umbraco prides itself on the thriving developer community plus it is also backed by the Umbraco HQ that offers support, add-ons, and training. There are some big websites using Umbraco, including Peugeot, Heinz, Sandisk and more. Currently, the supportive Umbraco community consists of over 220,000 people. Unlike some other CMSs, Umbraco is not a turnkey solution right after installation.
Umbraco is an open source CMS so it is free to download and use. The company behind Umbraco offers several commercial products and support packages that can be purchased if needed, but none of these are required to run Umbraco. The Starter package is $30/month which includes the hosting and features such as:
- Hosting with unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Automated upgrades
- Umbraco Cloud support
- Umbraco TV
- And more
The Professional package is $470/month which inlcudes everything in the Starter package but also full support with response time within 24 hours, 99.9% uptime, unlimited team members, and more.
Ease of use
When you install Umbraco, you'll get a blank slate. Some other CMSs provide templates and limited design options, but Umbraco can be adapted and tweaked in any way that you like. As it was built with ASP.NET, it provides the ability to build great custom apps. You can also find a variety of free and open source plugins.
Umbraco has a pretty good interface for managing content. Its editor is great and they are constantly improving it.
You can find over 11,00 packages in different sizes and price points that you can use to further enhance your Umbraco site. For example, Merchello and uCommerce are e-commerce packages that you can use to build your own online store on Umbraco. Umbraco is fast and has a built-in media library that automatically scales your photos and offers responsive design. Umbraco can also integrate with any 3rd party tool so you can effectively leverage external data and content.
One thing to keep in mind is that Umbraco will require Microsoft hosting and this option can be more expensive than Linux.
Umbraco Cloud gives you all-in-one hosting solution with a high degree of flexibility. It enables you to work with code and content in parallel which redueces to market. This fully managed Azure hosting will remove the need for repetitive tasks in project creation, version upgrades, and queuing deployment. Umbraco Cloud starts from $30 per month for the Starter version and the Professional version is $470 per month. Umbraco Cloud has automatic upgrades for your site which will make all security fixes and the latest features available without any work on your part. With it comes unlimited storage and bandwidth.
An Umbraco site will perform fast if it's well-built. It provides built-in caching for content and you can also integrate it with content delivery networks if you are looking for extra performance. You can also simply configure it to run on auto-scaled cloud services such as Azure App Service and others.
Umbraco Cloud is an all-in-one Microsoft Azure hosting solution that is eliminating the need for manual upgrading and complicated deployment. It offers hosting for three different environments and a content migration process. It also automatically upgrades to the latest version of the CMS.
Umbraco enjoys the core security benefits from the .Net framework, Microsoft stack and Windows servers but it also builds upon that.
Umbraco is open source and the highly engaged development community ensures that any security issues are patched quickly, plus Umbraco itself is fully committed to ensuring that the platform remains as secure as possible.
With that said, Umbraco is a growing platform with a relatively small user base. Estimates say at last count is powered around half a million websites. Compared to more widely used CMS platforms that power 10's of millions of websites, it may not garner the same amount of attention from either developers OR hackers, and so conceivably has not had its security tested or refined to the same extent. As Umbraco continues to grow, it'll likely attrack more attention and possibly more security issues may arise, but that is the case with any CMS. Developers are always working on patches and are submitting them so every user can benefit. All of this is in addition to the security measurements offered via Microsoft servers that Umbraco uses.
Another thing that Umbraco team is doing is removing vulnerable old code to future-proof its security. This way any loopholes in old code are removed and it makes the code cleaner and easier to identify future problems. After all, the elephant in the room here is the Microsoft history of software security issues. Also, recently they moved to Umbraco Cloud which additionally puts the focus on security.
Umbraco is completely free and open source. You'll like the completeness of Umbraco. It uses friendly URLs, it allows you to quickly define 404 pages, plus it has a good template system. Its rich text editor works perfectly out of the box and it is easy to use.
There are plenty of accessible extensions at the official site and you're in full control of the site appearance. It is designed to run websites from small local business sites to huge corporation websites.
There are still many bugs in Umbraco. You may notice templates getting duplicated for no reason and unreliable caching under heavy load. Even on a new site, you'll get errors when trying to save something in the admin panel from time to time.
API and other documentation can be much better and not everything is properly documented. Resource link frequently give 404 error because Umbraco changes their URLs often enough.
Many people will find it very challenging to use Umbraco right after installation. It was intended for developers and it requires major customisation for a specific website before users should see the pages and perform actions such as content editing. Even though you can choose a starter package while installing the CMS (it'll install an initial structure for a blog or a site), you still need to customize it.
You will need to hire a developer familiar with Umbraco because otherwise he or she would need to spend lots of time studying this CMS before being able to perform any work. It will be Challenging for new users with no development experience.