Sitecore or Umbraco?

5th August 2015

Sitecore or Umbraco: Two leading .Net platforms face off

Selecting a .Net content management system (CMS) is often a choice between Sitecore or Umbraco. Sitecore is the leading .Net licenced Commercial CMS platform. The number one .Net open source CMS platform is Umbraco. Both are great products and offer different features and benefits.

We’re the Sitecore experts and one of a very select few Platinum Partners in the UK. If you’ve already made up your mind to get a return on digital investment using Sitecore, get in touch with us today and we can start the process. For a full, fair comparison, read on.

What are the differences between a commercial CMS and an open source CMS?

There are several differences between licensed, commercial platforms, like Sitecore and an open source CMS such as Umbraco.

Opting for a commercial CMS, such as Sitecore, can provide a number of benefits:

  • You will pay an annual license fee that covers support
  • You will have the reassurance of a planned development strategy and roadmap for future developments or enhancements
  • It gives you a fully featured Customer Experience Platform including out-of-the-box marketing automation, personalisation and email campaigns
  • You’ll have vendor support, with support tickets, a helpline and sometimes a service level agreement
  • Full Sitecore accreditation training for developers and users from the software vendor
  • Agencies are often accredited enabling customers to choose a partner who has a proven reputation for producing great work
  • Standardised security with robust API’s for integrating with your other software services (CRM, ecommerce etc)

Deploying an open source alternative, such as Umbraco can introduce a number of factors:

  • Open source software is usually free to use
  • There is no defined roadmap for development which can cause long term issues for support and expansion
  • Grow organically through the effort of the community with extra functionality added through plug-ins created by community members
  • Easy to use for simple websites
  • Expensive if you need customisation or additional functionality
  • The use of the software is open to interpretation and there is no accredited training for developers or users
  • There’s often limited customer support or warranty – although unlike some open source platforms Umbraco do offer support and training packages
  • The platform may split into different products, like Joomla and Mambo

Sitecore and Umbraco features compared

There are a number of features and benefits to be considered when choosing Sitecore or Umbraco. An organisation’s attitude to risk, long term vision and offline technical roadmap can influence the decision to choose one platform over another.

Benefits of Sitecore against Umbraco

The Sitecore Customer Experience Platform can provide a number of benefits. These include:

  • It’s simple for content editors to enter or modify content using the feature-rich user interface with three different modes: Desktop, Content Editor and Page Editor.
  • Simplification of content entry by combing multiple views in the back office. In Sitecore you work mainly from the Content Editor tree view, whereas Umbraco has many different views.
  • Sitecore uses object based content items. This makes it easy to reuse content across the site or multiple sites.
  • Sitecore lets you set up complex validation rules for content entry. Umbraco only offers simple validation rules. If you want to create more complex field validation you need to either create complex regular expressions or develop bespoke data type controls which only creates huge developer overheads.
  • Sitecore’s Page editor is far superior to Umbraco’s Canvas mode. Allowing content editors to easily modify content inline, letting them work faster and more efficiently.
  • Logging in Sitecore writes to the file systems which can be archived off if required. Umbraco logs to the database which can have an impact on the size and performance of the database.
  • Sitecore provides a log file viewer out of the box to assist in diagnosing any problems, whereas Umbraco only offers log viewer as a free additional module.
  • Sitecore has three separate databases Core, Master, Web. The web database stores only published content for the live site. This means that the front end site is much quicker as it only has the content that it needs. It is also more secure as it can be on a separate DMZ. This means there is less risk of user error or a developer including unpublished content on the site before it is ready. Umbraco has a single database which includes all content.
  • Sitecore Community (previously SDN) has a raft of material, whitepapers and sample code for the various Sitecore products. It is more mature than Umbraco and feels more professional.

If you’ve decided to choose Sitecore for a return on digital investment, get in touch with us today and we can make it happen.

Benefits of Umbraco against Sitecore

Opting for the Umbraco CMS over Sitecore could have a number of advantages such as:

  • Large open source community with a small core team of full time developers. This can give more development flexibility than a commercial platform like Sitecore.
  • The Initial installation and deployments of Umbraco are more straightforward.
  • The configuration files in Umbraco are less complex than Sitecore’s thousands of lines. This is probably due to the amount of features Sitecore comes with out of the box, but can make configuration easier.
  • The online community are friendly and helpful. You can easily find FAQs on the forum.
  • Out-of-the-box the UI is very simple. This means you can get up and running much quicker – Umbraco has a shorter learning curve than Sitecore.
  • You can install only the modules that you really need. But you need to know these modules exist and there are often several to choose from for the same task which can lead to complications.
  • Umbraco sell additional support license agreements. This lets you use their additional paid products Courier 2, Concierge & Contour.

Similarities between Sitecore and Umbraco

There are a number of similarities between Sitecore CMS and Umbraco:

  • Both support the latest .net technologies MVC, razor etc.
  • They have similar UIs with most functionality accessed via the content tree view.
  • Both CMSs provide User & Role based security management which use the standard Asp.Net Membership, allowing you to apply high-level or granular security.
  • Both support multiple sites and allow for content sharing across multiple sites.
  • Both provide multilingual support.
  • Both provide workflow for publishing content.

Sitecore or Umbraco – Which should you choose?

Whether you decide to opt for Sitecore or Umbraco depends on several key factors. The number of websites, ability to integrate with offline systems and digital maturity are important considerations. Budget, ambition, size and scalability will also sway your decision.

Sitecore is the stand-out choice for larger organisations: It’s a Customer Experience Platform that lets you connect with your customers across multiple digital channels. If you’re a mid-large tier business looking to talk to and track your customers beyond your website, then Sitecore is a no brainer.

Umbraco better suits smaller organisations or SME’s. It’s pretty easy to use and open source so costs can be kept down for simpler projects. But cost can easily escalate for more complex projects.

Sitecore is our expertise. We’re one of the UK’s leading Sitecore partners. If you want to find out more about information, such as how much Sitecore costs, then either get in touch to book a Sitecore demo or contact us for more details.