With so many web development technologies in the market, deciding what to use is a hassle many startup companies and business owners face.
This article will compare Umbraco with WordPress based on the core standards and features companies and startup business owners look for when selecting a solution for their web projects.
Here are the factors we’ll compare both WordPress and Umbraco against:
- Ease of Use / Usability
- Content Management
- Performance & Scalability
- Community, Documentation, and Support
But before the actual comparison, let’s briefly look at both CMSs and how they work.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows anyone to create and manage a website without needing extensive technical knowledge.
WordPress is built on PHP, so most development is done in this language. WordPress can also be used as a Headless CMS, which makes it quite extensible as you can use it to power mobile apps and powerful custom applications.
With WordPress, you can be a total newbie to website building or a full-fledged developer with years of experience and still find the development experience reasonably easy.
This is because WordPress caters to everyone.
Don’t know how to code? Cool, you can use a no-code drag-n-drop pagebuilder like Elementor or Divi to build your entire website.
An experienced developer? WordPress has one of the best open-source codebases in the world, with years of dedication poured into documentation.
WordPress also features themes that allow users to quickly spin up beautiful websites based on premade templates and plugins allow users to add more functionality without any knowledge of code.
With WordPress, non-technical business owners can create a website, blog, or e-commerce store and manage their content, including text, images, and videos, all in one place.
And even if, as a business owner, you ultimately decide to rely on an agency or freelance developer to build a custom solution with WordPress, working with the CMS is far easier than going completely custom.
Umbraco CMS is an open-source content management system designed for developers. It is built using Microsoft’s .NET framework, specifically ASP.NET, and written in C# programming language.
Umbraco provides developers with an extensive amount of control over the functionality of their web projects.
Based on ASP.NET Razor Views, Umbraco’s templating system enables developers to integrate dynamic CMS content into their custom-built frontend pages seamlessly.
Additionally, its user-friendly dashboard, the Backoffice, makes it easy for editors and other website users to add content to a website.
Umbraco is considered very modular and has clean code, making it suitable for more complex projects requiring flexibility.
Note: Umbraco, the CMS, is not to be confused with Umbraco, the company, as the company offers other paid products like Umbraco Cloud and Umbraco Heartcore alongside maintaining the codebase of Umbraco CMS with the open-source community.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Ease of Use / Usability
WordPress has a reputation for being easy to use, especially if you’re a beginner. After watching a 10-minute tutorial video, most users can already create and edit content.
Setting up WordPress is also easy as many hosting providers like Bluehost offer One-Click installation with a 24/7 support team willing to help at no extra cost.
Managing a WordPress site also requires no technical know-how. The dashboard makes navigation simple, and with a platter of additional plugins, you can make things even more accessible.
Umbraco, on the other hand, is suited for developers. Without a developer, it is virtually impossible to set up an Umbraco-powered website.
There’s no one-click installation support, and even figuring out the best way to host the CMS can be a problem for newcomers.
Aside from setting up Umbraco, maintaining the CMS is another hassle requiring a full-time developer on your team.
Unlike WordPress, which you can upgrade to newer versions from the dashboard, Umbraco CMS needs a developer to run specific command line queries each time there’s a new update available.
It is also more challenging to implement new features or make massive non-content changes without a developer, something WordPress caters to via plugins and themes.
On the positive side, there’s Backoffice, Umbraco’s dashboard which is quite simplistic and makes navigation easy for non-dev users.
The only aspect of Umbraco that is considerably easy to use is its content management post-development (more on this in the next section).
WordPress is far easier to use than Umbraco. WordPress can be installed quite easily with all major hosting providers and also features a user-friendly dashboard that anyone can learn to use in just 10 minutes.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Content Management
When it comes to content management, WordPress is clearly one of the most prominent players in the game.
Having existed for over two decades, it has received enough user feedback to evolve beyond anything in the open-source market, featuring all the bells and whistles that content teams dream of.
With its state-of-the-art block builder, Gutenberg, an average content writer, can create great content pages filled with custom layouts and media types.
Even with its Classic Editor, you can create amazing content out-the-box with thousands of plugins to streamline the experience further.
Everything from basic content types like posts and pages to taxonomies like categories and tags are instantly available with WordPress.
You don’t need to hire a developer to configure any of these. Just install WordPress, and everything will be in place.
Umbraco, in contrast, offers a more flexible, but bare-bones solution when it comes to content management.
Depending on your project’s requirements, a developer must create all content types and taxonomies from scratch using Umbraco’s system. While this does allow you more control over your content, it also adds to the total time and cost required to set up a website.
Another downside to Umbraco’s content management system is its content editor. Compared to WordPress, Umbaco’s content editor lacks a lot of features.
Umbraco’s rich editor has just a few formatting options, which limit how you can represent content on live pages.
Both WordPress and Umbraco have a considerably solid content management setup, but WordPress offers a more robust experience and a ton of valuable features Umbraco lacks.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Cost
WordPress and Umbraco CMS are open-source, making them free to use. The only cost you incur is hosting them on a server.
WordPress is widely adopted, and as a result, many hosting providers support it. This also makes it cheaper to host WordPress sites since there are more options to choose from.
Furthermore, the vast ecosystem of WordPress developers and users has developed many free plugins and themes that you can use to add functionality and change the design of a website.
This abundance of resources and support makes WordPress a cost-effective option by making it easy to find support and troubleshoot any issues that may arise without breaking the bank.
On the other hand, Umbraco has fewer options for hosting and deployment than WordPress as it is an ASP.NET-based CMS, while WordPress is written in PHP.
This means that Umbraco typically requires a Windows-based hosting environment (such as Microsoft Azure), which can be more expensive than WordPress’s Linux-based hosting options.
Some Umbraco users rely on Umbraco Cloud, a paid in-house hosting service that Umbraco, the company offers.
While Umbraco CMS is free, it also offers a more powerful version complete with support and consultation called Umbraco professional, which costs £9,600/year.
The equivalent for WordPress is Managed WordPress Hosting, which also provides deep customer support for business owners and costs less than Umbraco Professional.
Umbraco also requires users to pay for access to certain features like Umbraco Forms (£225/Domain) and Umbraco Heartcore (£35/Month).
WordPress is more cost-effective when compared with Umbraco. From hiring a full-time developer or being on an expensive agency plan to paying for simple features that WordPress offers for free, Umbraco quickly stacks up a lot of costs.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Performance & Scalability
In terms of performance, both Umbraco and WordPress can deliver high-performing websites. Still, the approach to achieving optimal performance is different.
WordPress, being a popular and widely used platform, has a large community of developers constantly working on improving performance through various caching and optimisation techniques. This allows for a smooth user experience even with high traffic and large content.
With plugins like WP Rocket and Autoptimize, non-technical users can quickly improve the performance of their websites through caching technology.
On the other hand, Umbraco is geared toward developers and requires a more hands-on approach to performance optimisation.
A developer must manually set up caching and optimise the code to achieve optimal performance.
That being said, Umbraco is built with Microsoft’s .NET framework, which is known for its performance and scalability. Since ASP.NET is compiled, it performs better when scaled compared to the interpreted WordPress’s PHP.
This is one area where Umbraco has the upper hand over WordPress. For complex websites involving a lot of heavy usage and functionality, Umbraco performs and scales better. When properly optimised and configured, a Umbraco website can easily handle large amounts of traffic and content.
When it comes to Headless solutions, WordPress offers Headless capabilities out-the-box and completely free with its built-in REST API. On the other hand, Umbraco offers a subscription-based Headless feature called Umbraco Heartcore (starting at £35/month per site).
Using WordPress as a Headless CMS has an easy setup process, and even an average developer with no PHP experience can set it up.
That’s not true for Umbraco Heartcore, as it requires considerable knowledge in C# to implement fully. Once implemented, though, it does offer more flexibility when it comes to being a Headless solution.
Umbraco and WordPress can deliver high-performing websites, but the approach to achieving optimal performance differs. WordPress offers a more user-friendly approach through various caching and optimisation plugins. At the same time, Umbraco requires a more hands-on approach by a developer to achieve optimal performance.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Security
WordPress, at its core, is a secure CMS. Tt wouldn’t be powering more than 40% of websites online if it wasn’t. The problem with WordPress security stems from the actions of inexperienced users.
The key to keeping WordPress secure lies in proper maintenance, i.e. keeping all themes and plugins up to date and regularly creating backups.
As long as you avoid poorly coded and nulled themes and plugins, your WordPress site should stay secure.
Most hosting providers also feature server-level firewalls that further prevent attacks on WordPress.
Additionally, using a plugin like WordFence that features a WAF (Web Application Firewall) adds an extra layer of security to WordPress.
As far as WordPress Login security recommendations go, using a strong password combined with 2-factor authentication is the best way to keep intruders out. Most free security plugins offer 2-factor authentication.
Overall, it is almost impossible for attackers to break into a well-maintained WordPress website with all security measures put in place.
Umbraco, just like WordPress, is secure by default. One of the key elements of its security is its use of the Microsoft .NET platform, which provides an additional layer of protection through Code Access Security (CAS).
Furthermore, Umbraco has an identity-based security system, which allows for a high level of security. However, it’s important to note that while Umbraco itself may be secure, the overall security of a website using Umbraco critically depends on your developer’s ability to implement necessary security measures.
Umbraco and WordPress are secure by default, but a website’s overall security using either CMS depends on proper maintenance and implementation of necessary security measures.
With that said, WordPress is simpler than Umbraco when it comes to security implementation and maintenance.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: SEO
WordPress is a popular choice if you’re looking for strong SEO (search engine optimisation) because Google tends to favor the structure of WordPress websites.
By default, WordPress has features like taxonomies (categories and tags) that help keep content organised and maintain proper page markup. With the addition of a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Maths, you can gain supercharged control over every aspect of implementing SEO.
WordPress SEO plugins make setting up search engine optimisation easier by providing a simple setup wizard, you just click through each step and activate the features you need.
While Umbraco is also a solid SEO option, it requires more development work to set up and optimise than WordPress.
You will largely depend on your developer to implement even the simplest SEO features. There’s no easy way to make changes.
The problem with taking the Umbraco route is the cost and time it takes to implement new SEO standards. Google, for example, releases several updates every year, with some requiring website owners to change their existing SEO architecture. With WordPress, you can easily react to these changes by updating your SEO plugin from the dashboard.
Another angle you could see this from is Umbraco gives more flexibility when implementing SEO, especially for complex and unique websites.
Most WordPress SEO plugins use more of a general approach when it comes to SEO which might not apply to certain kinds of projects.
Umbraco allows you to create your own site SEO architecture without limitations. However, if you have developers on your team, this is also feasible in WordPress.
WordPress is clearly more suited for SEO when compared with Umbraco. WordPress makes it easy to implement SEO and make massive changes instantly without the need for technical knowledge. Umbraco, on the other hand, does have SEO features but is best suited for complex websites that require unique SEO architecture.
Umbraco Vs. WordPress: Community, Documentation, and Support
WordPress and Umbraco were released around the same time (2003-2005), making them almost the same age.
The clear difference between the two lies in usage, as WordPress powers more than 43.2% of websites (according to W3Techs). As a result, WordPress has garnered a larger community of users compared to Umbraco.
While WordPress powers a significant portion of websites (43.2%), Umbraco powers a much smaller percentage, at just 0.1%.
This is because Umbraco is designed primarily for developers. In contrast, WordPress is user-friendly and easy for the average person to install and work with.
Despite this, the Umbraco community is still active and growing, boasting over 220,000 active members who contribute by submitting pull requests and helping other users maximise their platform use.
In terms of support, WordPress also has an official support forum and several other community-powered forums on Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and Facebook, where users can get questions answered and problems resolved.
In most cases, when it comes to resolving WordPress issues, you’ll be relying on your hosting provider’s support. When you opt-in for managed WordPress hosting, you get quality technical support for WordPress at no extra cost.
There’s also a huge pool of WordPress talents available for hire on platforms like Upwork, and Fiverr that can resolve almost any issue for a low fee. Additionally, there’s plenty of development and design agencies providing specialised WordPress services.
For Umbraco, you’ll either need a full-time developer or be on the Umbraco Professional plan, which costs £9,000 per year to access quality support. You would still need a developer to implement most of their instructions.
Umbraco also has a dedicated forum where you get most of your questions answered, but it’s mostly development-focused.
Umbraco’s community-powered forums and groups are spread through major social platforms but are not as mature as WordPress’s.
Documentation-wise, WordPress has one of the most detailed documentation in the open source community. First, there’s learn.wordpress.org which has free courses and tutorials for users of any experience level.
Then there’s the WordPress Codex, an online repository for accessing learning material on every aspect of WordPress.
On top of that, there’s also separate documentation for developers with detailed code examples and well-explained implementation guides.
Even though WordPress is so well documented, it hasn’t stopped the community from creating even more informational content around the CMS.
A quick search on Youtube for a solution to a WordPress issue will bring up hundreds of videos. Umbraco, on the other hand, only has a handful of independent educators, which makes it harder to learn or resolve issues visually.
Umbraco is also well-documented, but their content is mostly tailored for developers. For an average non-technical user, there’s no separate dedicated documentation.
However, there are a few pages that try to dumb things down for non-technical users, such as the Umbraco Editors Manual.
Compared to Umbraco, WordPress has more detailed documentation that caters to each level of experience. WordPress is also easier to maintain and work with as there are various channels you can rely on to fix issues, even as a non-technical user. Most of WordPress’s perks are due to its larger and more active community, as they have continually contributed to software improvement for years.
Both WordPress and Umbraco are powerful content management systems with mature features that companies and business owners can utilise to create their digital solutions.
Overall, WordPress offers far more benefits from a cost and ease of use point of view. Umbraco relies heavily on the skill set of an expert developer to implement and maintain. Hiring a full-time developer isn’t a small investment, especially for companies that are just getting started.
When you’re trying to build a complex web project with high usage expectations, Umbraco does offer a leaner and more efficient infrastructure to accommodate it, but that’s not to say WordPress can not scale equally as well.
On a final note, with WordPress, you have access to a massive community and support channels, plugins that provide existing solutions to most problems any business is looking to solve digitally, and a user-friendly and feature-rich content management workflow.