If you are new on the scene of web development, web hosting, and websites in general, you will face a barrage of acronyms. You have probably asked yourself: What are CMS? Well, if you plan to build a website which includes any content, you will likely be using a content management system – a CMS. This can be a full-featured script with a steep learning curve, like Joomla, or it could be a more simplistic script that can be made as complex as you need it through the use of plugins, such as with WordPress. A CMS can be free or paid, and they are highly adaptable to what you need it for, though the most basic and most useful element of a CMS is its ability to manage your content.

Whenever you want to update your website with news, an article, an image, a change in address, or anything else, you can do this through a user-friendly control panel that is part of your CMS. This is in contrast to the old days when you would have to manually code everything appearing on your page. With a CMS, adding, removing, and editing content that appears on your site is as simple as updating your Facebook status – it is managed through a program. You tell a program what you want your site to include, and the program does it for you. This program is the CMS, and it runs on your web host.

A CMS can do more than manage content, though, which is why they have evolved to manage even the most complex websites. You can switch your website’s layout or “theme” directly through your CMS even without knowing how to design or code. Modern content management systems have whole communities gathered around their platform and offered free downloadable plugins, themes, and scripts. It is important to review your choice of CMS the same as how important it is to review your web hosting provider.

Deciding to use a CMS is deciding to save time and increase efficiency in maintaining your website. Once you have a hang of it, you will never want to go back to the old days of manually updating ever again. With a CMS, you can edit your site in real time, and see how it will look before publishing it. If you were used to going through a web developer to control your content, you could now do it all yourself right from your desk. A CMS works almost like magic as it is the invisible backbone of your entire website, and offers its users instant gratification in site maintenance.