When you start planning on creating a new site one of the first questions you may have to answer is which technology or Content Management System (CMS) to use. Although there are tens of different CMS' out there, some of them won't be as good as others in helping you achieve your goal. Here I will compare a couple of CMS that I use, WordPress and Umbraco, which may be helpful to you.
What are WordPress and Umbraco?
WordPress is a CMS built using the PHP programming language. The CMS itself first started out as a blogging platform which was only able to create blogs but with it's popularity it pivoted and started implementing many features that a modern CMS should have. Over the years these new features were well accepted by developers which made WordPress the most popular CMS out there.
Umbraco is also a CMS although with a very different background than WordPress. It is build using the Microsoft backed .NET framework and was designed and developed from scratch as a CMS solution, which makes it a favorite between developers that use the C# language and the .NET framework.
Do you want a simple Blog or a complex Website?
This is an important question to ask before you start. If you want a blog or a simple site with a simple design and not many pages in it, then WordPress could be a better choice. It allows creating simple sites and blogs relatively fast and easy. This is one of the strongest sides of WordPress. The CMS itself is built using the PHP programming language and uses a MySQL database. There are plenty of free or premium themes that you can use to give the site a modern look and feel. There are also plenty of plugins that are available for WordPress which will allow your site to have slideshow galleries, contact forms, SEO optimizations, caching, comment boxes, spam filtering, you name it for free or a reasonable price.
If on the other hand you need a website which is more powerful and complex, with lots of pages, ability to sell products or services on it, good level of security, reliable and fast, then a better fit may be a site built using Umbraco. This is possible because Umbraco was designed as a CMS from it's beginnings. Because of this, Umbraco has a stable code base which is secure, easy to extend and use by other developers. Also, not to forget to mention, it is open source which makes the code available for review by other developers and allows the community to report potential vulnerabilities and submit fixes.
Both of these CMS solutions are free to use. The real cost is in the hosting and the development time needed to make the website look and function they way you want it to. There are plenty of WordPress hosting solutions, the cheapest of which cost around $5 per month. WordPress is hosted on Unix servers which are more common and a bit cheaper than the Windows servers on which Umbraco is hosted. The hosting providers which support Umbraco are also numerous and the monthly cost of them could be as low as $6-$7 per month. It is important to mention that most of the time you would want to pay a little more money for hosting than that if your website or blog is more complex or it has many visitors per day. If you host your site on some of the less expensive hosts and it gets many visitors during the day or the site does some complicated processing of data then it will crash and show errors to the visitors. That's why I prefer not to go the cheapest route when it comes to hosting.
Another cost to consider is the money spent on customizing the website so that it looks and functions the way you need it to. For this you would need a .NET developer for Umbraco and a PHP developer for WordPress. Most .NET and PHP developers charge the similar rates if they roughly have a similar skill level and there are plenty of them since both languages are very popular.
Umbraco has the edge when it comes to security. WordPress has many free third-party plugins and themes which is great when you want to add functionality quickly and cheap but that comes at a cost of lower security. You have no control over the code in these third-party plugins and it's easy for one or two of them to introduce a back-door into your site which can be exploited by attackers. To minimize this risk you need to update these plugins all the time and even then it may be too late. Attackers love WordPress cause it powers almost a quarter of all websites on the web. And discovering an exploit in a popular plugin can give them access to millions of websites. That is why WordPress is the most popular target for hackers.
If your website handles sensitive data or you want it secure for other reasons, then Umbraco is the right choice here.