It's been about 1 year since I migrated from Wordpress to OrchardCMS for my personal website and blog and I developed 2 additional websites using Orchard CMS for my clients, so I want to share my experience how it went and if I can recommend Orchard CMS vs Wordpress.
I worked with Wordpress prior to Orchard CMS for a long time, and usually it was my default CMS for new websites. But unfortunately it does not support proper programming language, and for me as C# developer, PHP is not good enough. I tried a number of different CMS developed in .NET, each of them have their strength and weaknesses, and even developed my own CMS (AtomicCMS), but so far I found Orchard CMS is the best free Content management system for .NET Developer which I used.
Orchard CMS is great CMS with a lot of features, but comparing to Wordpress it still missing a lot of functionality. The major disadvantages of Orchard CMS comparing to Wordpress are following:
Orchard CMS vs Wordpress: Plugins
The number of plugin for Orchard CMS is too low, and most of the plugins are pure quality. This is probably biggest issue with Orchard CMS, if you need some additional functionality which is not supported, you have to develop it yourself. Orchard Gallery contain a number of plugins, but some does not work with latest versions of Orchard at all, some give error during execution
Orchard CMS vs Wordpress: Documentation
Luck of documentation for Orchard CMS. Yes, there is a documentation section on Orchard CMS website, but it is not enough, the community around Orchard CMS is too small, so beside official documentation, it is not too much blog posts / articles explaining how to work with it or develop for Orchard CMS. In most cases you have to learn it yourself.
Themes for website
Hundreds of thousands professional themes for Wordpress and hundreds (best case) for Orchard CMS. Yes, if you develop a website you have to very limited number of themes to choose from, or you have to develop theme yourself.
But there are a number of items where Orchard CMS wins comparing to Wordpress:
Wordpress vs Orchard: Performance
I was never able to make Wordpress website perform the same way as Orchard CMS, the average load time for a page was around 2 seconds, even caching was not saved the situation for me. Orchard CMS, on the other hand was giving me around 500ms just out of the box, the guys who developed Orchard CMS did a very good job there.
Wordpress is blogging platform, not development platform so create a new website which require a lot of development is not a good idea using Wordpress. Developing new features on top of Orchard CMS on the other hand is very easy, you just develop your own module, setup url where it will be available and that is it. I have my first module running on my website Web developer tools
Creating your own content items
With Wordpress you have only one type of content "web page" where you define such properties as "title", "body", "meta keywords"... But it is not enough in some cases when you want to extend your page or make different types of pages. Orchard on the other hand allows you to create different types of content, for example, you can have content type "Page" which will have some standard properties for your page, and your can create new content "Press Release" which will have unique properties for press release, such as "headline", "location", "company information"... and when displaying this content item you can put each property in correct location on the screen.
It is very easy to find what exactly happening with Orchard CMS right now and how development goes just by watching their weekly podcast. Also all development happens on github, so anybody can file a bug, help with fixing defects or submit change request, comparing with Wordpress Orchard CMS community is more open.
So, which one to choose Wordpress or Orchard CMS?
Based on my experience, I can suggest Wordpress if:
- you need just a blog, nothing more
- you are not .net developer
- you do not need to develop any extra features in the future
- you need less expensive solution (themes, modules... almost everything is free)
and I can suggest Orchard CMS if:
- you are .NET developer looking to build something on top of your website
- you can develop theme for your website yourself or can spend money to hire professional
- you need to post custom content, not just web page, for example press release
- you enjoy working with Microsoft products
- you looking for better website performance