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Umbraco vs. WordPress — A CMS Comparison

Businesses today have more choices than ever when selecting a content management system (CMS). Each platform has its pros and cons. Two of our more popular CMS options for hosting are Umbraco and WordPress. Both have been around for 20+ years now and offer some great features. 

Umbraco Versus Wordpress

WordPress Or Umbraco, Which is the right Content Management System for your company?

We’ve worked extensively with both CMS platforms and designed hundreds of custom sites. Rather than choose a favorite, our goal is simply to provide you with information about each system so you can make an informed decision. Ultimately, the best CMS platform for your company depends on your needs.

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An Overview of Umbraco & WordPress

Umbraco is a highly customizable open-source CMS built on Microsoft’s .NET framework. It’s prized for its security, flexibility, user-friendliness, and scalability. Umbraco is an ideal platform for creating, publishing, and managing web content for both technical and non-technical users.

Having said that, customization and security do come with a cost. You’ll typically pay more for hosting and development than you would with a WordPress system. That’s because Umbraco sites are designed around very specific needs. Everything must be manually configured and structured, which takes a lot of additional time and labor — especially compared to the plug and play simplicity of WordPress plugins. Customization ensures your Umbraco site operates exactly as you want it to, while third-party plugins frequently require you to make compromises on certain features or functionality. 

WordPress is the most popular and widely-used CMS in the world, which is a double-edged sword. You can almost always find a plugin that does what you are looking for (or comes close).  But because the third-party market is so large, you’ll also find a lot of poorly built plugins. Additionally, because it’s so widely used, hackers frequently target WordPress because they believe they’ll get “more bang for their buck.” In other words, hackers and/or bots do the same amount of work, but end up with a bigger payday.


CMS Snapshot: A Brief Look at Umbraco and WordPress

  Umbraco WordPress
Founded 2005 2003
Founder Niels Hartvig Matt Mullenweg, Mike Little
Commercial Entity Umbraco HQ Automattic, Inc.
Language C# PHP
Operating System Windows/.NET Linux (most common)
Database SQL Server MySQL
Latest Version 13.04.0  (2024) 6.4.3 (2024)
Third Party Software Umbraco Market Place WordPress Plugins
Ecosystem Hosting, Agencies, Developers, Integrators, etc. Hosting, Agencies, Developers, Integrators, etc.

High-Level Umbraco vs. WordPress Comparison

While there is plenty of overlap between Umbraco and WordPress, each CMS caters to different audiences and offers distinct features. 

Target Users

Umbraco is primarily targeted toward developers and content creators with some technical knowledge due to its reliance on the .NET framework and focus on customization. Because of its security, control, and scalability, Umbraco is an ideal enterprise-level solution for companies with large or complex sites and content that multiple users are responsible for. 

WordPress is geared toward a wider audience, including beginners with little to no coding experience, content creators, and developers. While it has the same capabilities for bigger companies with larger sites, getting that level of performance requires extensive configuration and extra plugins. 

Learning Curve & Community Support

When it comes to ease of use, WordPress has a well-deserved reputation for user-friendliness. Even people who aren’t tech-savvy can create and manage content thanks to its intuitive dashboard. A large library of plugins offers additional functionality without the need for coding, making WordPress easy for the average person to install and use. 

While Umbraco offers a straightforward control panel, it was designed primarily for developers with at least some technical knowledge and coding experience. Nevertheless, even those who aren’t skilled web developers should be able to create and manage content easily enough; it’s only when more extensive customization is required that a developing background comes in handy. 

Because both platforms are open-source, each has a dedicated community of users eager to lend their support. WordPress benefits from a huge user base, which translates to a vast amount of online resources, tutorials, forums, and communities. A large portion of the WordPress community revolves around creating plugins and themes, which often come with their own support channels.

Umbraco has a smaller, more niche community compared to WordPress. However, this user base is active and passionate. The Umbraco community is more developer-oriented, so if you’re comfortable with at least some coding, you should be able to find more in-depth solutions and discussions.  

User Experience & Design Flexibility 

Umbraco really shines when it comes to design flexibility. Built for developers, it offers extensive control over website design. You can create custom content types, layouts, and functionalities to build a site that looks and acts exactly the way you want it to. The tradeoff is a steeper learning curve — but if you have some development knowledge and coding skills, you can create a custom website with a unique look. 

WordPress offers a large library of themes, with a huge variety of design options. While there are thousands of pre-built themes available, customization is limited. Plugins can give you more design control, but managing them can be difficult and time-consuming, and compatibility issues can negatively impact website performance.  

Umbraco’s interface offers a powerful but complex set of tools for managing content and configurations. Content editors will appreciate the straightforward layout, which offers in-depth control over content structure and organization. If content types are well-defined, editing specific content elements is pretty simple. However, non-technical users might struggle a bit with some advanced features.

WordPress has a well-designed interface that’s easy for beginners to navigate. Predefined content types (e.g., posts and pages) and a visual editor (WYSIWYG) that allows users to see the page layout as they edit content simplifies the process. However, there is less flexibility for content structure compared to Umbraco. You’re more restricted by the chosen theme and available plugins.   

Scalability & Performance

Umbraco is built on the Microsoft .NET framework, which is more efficient at handling complex data structures and delivering faster load times, especially for high-traffic websites. While achieving optimal performance requires developer expertise in caching and code optimization, once these are set up, Umbraco handles large amounts of traffic and content flawlessly. The platform excels at horizontal scaling, allowing you to easily add more web servers as traffic increases. 

WordPress utilizes the PHP framework; performance varies depending on the theme, plugins, and hosting provider. WordPress relies on vertical scaling, which requires upgrading hosting plans with additional resources. Scalability often depends on plugins for caching and performance optimization, which can add complexity and slow down page load times. Large and complex sites might not perform as well.

Security Updates & Maintenance

Built on Microsoft’s .NET framework, Umbraco benefits from robust security features like identity-based access control and Code Access Security (CAS). It’s considered more secure out of the box, though just how much depends on the developer’s security practices during implementation. The Umbraco community is smaller, so there might be a slight delay in identifying vulnerabilities compared to WordPress, but their emphasis on secure development practices helps offset those risks. 

As the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress is an attractive target for hackers. Its reliance on third-party plugins, which can be outdated or poorly coded, increases its potential for attacks. WordPress releases frequent security updates to address vulnerabilities, and the large community is very active in identifying and reporting issues, which can lead to faster security patches. However, you must be committed to keeping WordPress updated and choosing plugins from reputable sources. 


Integration with Other Tools


Both Umbraco and WordPress offer integration with third-party tools and services, including CRM systems, ecommerce platforms, and marketing automation tools. The difference is in their approach. 

Umbraco caters to developers seeking highly customized integrations tailored to their specific needs. The platform offers robust APIs, as well as a growing body of pre-built packages and libraries, to simplify integration with third-party systems. These enable complex and customized integrations that are highly scalable. They’ll grow and adapt as your needs evolve.

WordPress is dependent upon plugins to integrate with third-party tools. Thousands of options are available, so you’ll have a pretty good chance of finding an integration suitable for your needs. Many of these offer user-friendly interfaces for easy configuration and setup. The drawback? The level of customization and control you desire might be restricted based on the capabilities of the chosen plugin. 

Multilingual & Multi Site Capabilities

Umbraco comes with built-in features for managing multilingual content. You can create different language versions of your website and define separate content and unique layouts for each language. Content is organized in a hierarchical structure with content nodes representing individual pages or elements; each node can be translated into different languages. Multiple websites can be set up from a single installation, each with its own domain name, content, and configuration.

If you want multilingual functionality on your WordPress site, you’re going to have to rely on plugins. Polylang, TranslatePress, and WPML are popular options. These plugins provide features for managing translations and displaying content in different languages, though the exact method varies. Some offer separate post and page creation for each language, while others allow translation within the same interface. WordPress has built-in multi site functionality, allowing you to manage multiple websites from a single installation. Most use a subdomain structure. 

Customization & Extensibility

Customization is at the core of Umbraco and one of the platform’s biggest strengths. Developers can easily extend its functionalities through custom C# code, macros, and partial views. Some pre-built modules are also available. Popular Umbraco extensions (these are known as packages) include Vorto, Nested Content, uSync, SEO Checker, and Skybrud.Social. 

The vast WordPress ecosystem offers thousands of plugins for almost any type of feature you want, from adding contact forms and galleries to integrating with social media and building ecommerce stores. Popular plugins include Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, Gravity Forms, Jetpack, and Elementor.

Cost of Ownership


Both platforms are open-source, so the core software itself is free. But adding desired features to build a website that meets your specific needs costs money. How much varies depending on the level of complexity. 

Umbraco offers various licensing options with different pricing structures. Significant development work is often needed for initial setup, customization, and theme creation. Umbraco hosting is limited to Windows-based platforms like Microsoft Azure or Umbraco Cloud; fewer choices often mean higher costs. Ongoing maintenance might require developer support for bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements. Custom integrations with third-party tools might require additional development effort. Without in-house development expertise, this can be a significant ongoing cost. 

WordPress offers a wide selection of free themes that offer basic functionalities, and premium themes with advanced features and customization options that come with a price tag. The same applies to plugins; many are free, but premium plugins with advanced features cost money. PHP development and Linux-based hosting costs are typically lower. While not always necessary, more complex customization might require a developer. Regular security audits and updates are essential, so if you can’t handle those yourself, you’ll need external resources. 

Generally speaking, Umbraco often has a higher total cost of ownership due to its initial development costs, more limited hosting options, and ongoing reliance on developer expertise. WordPress is considered a more affordable alternative, especially for non-technical users who can take advantage of free plugins and themes. 

Mobile Responsiveness

Umbraco encourages developers to build websites using responsive design principles, so the layout adapts automatically to different screen sizes for optimal viewing across all devices. They can create templates or style sheets designed specifically for mobile devices. Umbraco offers a limited selection of mobile-friendly pre-built themes, but ultimately the developer has full control over mobile responsiveness. 

WordPress is built with mobile responsiveness in mind. The core theme is mobile-friendly by default, and a wide range of available themes are fully responsive. Additional plugins can be used to enhance mobile responsiveness. You should be able to find a theme with a responsive design that closely matches your desired style; the tradeoff is less customization compared to Umbraco.

Content Workflow & Collaboration

Umbraco's content management workflow is geared toward developers who can customize the process to fit specific needs. They can create custom content types with defined workflows (e.g., draft, review, publish) and have full control over user roles and permissions for content management. Content can be scheduled for future publication. Built-in version control allows editors to restore previous content versions as needed. Basic collaboration features, like commenting, are available. 

WordPress offers standard workflow features like post statuses (e.g., draft, published) and scheduling options, though customization is limited. Similar to Umbraco, you can assign user roles (e.g., author, editor, administrator) with different levels of access. WordPress automatically saves content revisions, letting you restore previous versions. Built-in comment features foster collaboration between editors and reviewers; if you’re looking for advanced collaboration tools, plugins are available. 



Umbraco is ideal for complex websites, experienced users with some technical knowledge who prioritize flexibility and customization. It’s the clear choice when you don't want to rely on third-party plugins that "sort of" do what you want and prefer a custom-built site that does exactly what you need, especially if you want it to be .NET instead of PHP.

WordPress is an excellent choice if you are a beginner with minimal technical knowledge who prioritizes ease of use and a large plugin ecosystem, and need a platform for simpler websites or blogs.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs, technical expertise, and project requirements. 


Want To Learn More? Read Our Summary Of DNN Vs Wordpress Here

Local SEO


What are the main differences between Umbraco and WordPress?

Umbraco, a .NET-based CMS, offers extensive customization and is suited for larger organizations with multiple content editors. It provides robust revision control and template/style restrictions for consistent branding. WordPress, a PHP-based CMS, is known for its user-friendly interface and plugin variety, making it ideal for smaller teams or websites. While WordPress allows greater admin freedom, it may require additional plugins for the control level provided by Umbraco. Both platforms typically need a developer for optimal setup in enterprise environments.

Why is an SEO Audit important for my website?

Our SEO Audit is crucial as it primarily focuses on the technical aspects of your website's SEO. This means we delve deep into the underlying structure of your site to identify any technical roadblocks that could hinder your search engine rankings. These can include issues like crawlability problems, site speed, mobile responsiveness, and SSL certificate validity. Unlike general SEO audits that might focus more broadly on content and keywords, our technical audit ensures that the foundation of your site is solid and search-engine friendly. In addition to this, we offer more comprehensive audits, including keyword targeting, content gap analysis, and competitor site structure analysis. These additional audits can significantly contribute to a strategic SEO plan, providing a holistic approach to improving your online presence. We welcome the opportunity to be part of this conversation and help tailor a strategy that suits your needs. Contact us to discuss how we can assist you in achieving your SEO goals.

Can non-developers effectively manage content on Umbraco?

Umbraco can be configured for non-technical users to effectively manage website content. While it is more developer-focused, with a setup tailored for larger organizations, non-developers can navigate and update content with ease. For extensive customizations and initial setup, developer assistance might be required, but day-to-day content management can be handled without a technical background.

What are some common issues found during an SEO Audit?

Common issues include broken links, missing meta descriptions, poor keyword optimization, slow page loading times, and problems with mobile responsiveness. These issues can negatively impact your site's search engine ranking and user experience.

Is WordPress a viable option for large-scale enterprise websites?

WordPress is widely used for various sizes of websites, including large-scale ones. However, while it can be optimized for enterprise-level performance, its reliance on third-party plugins can introduce limitations. In contrast, Umbraco is specifically built for scalability and often preferred for truly enterprise-level platforms. For WordPress to effectively handle large-scale demands, it typically requires significant customization or consideration of alternative platforms like Umbraco that are designed for such scale.

How do Umbraco and WordPress compare in terms of security?

Both platforms can be secure if maintained properly. Umbraco has strong security features out of the box, while WordPress requires careful management of plugins and regular updates to maintain security.

In highly competitive markets, a deeper analysis is essential. Beyond the technical aspects, it's important to focus on content creation and keyword targeting to ensure your website stands out. We offer additional services to develop a comprehensive SEO roadmap tailored to your needs, which includes a content plan, backlink strategy, and more. While the audit provides the foundation, a strategic and holistic approach to SEO, including competitor analysis and ongoing optimization, is key to outranking your competition. Our team is equipped to guide you through this process and help you devise a winning SEO strategy.

Which CMS is better for SEO?

Both Umbraco and WordPress can be optimized for SEO. WordPress has a slight edge with its user-friendly SEO plugins, but with the right setup, Umbraco can also perform well in search rankings.

How does the content editing experience compare between Umbraco and WordPress for teams of different sizes?

Umbraco offers a structured content editing experience with configurable access levels, making it ideal for larger organizations needing tight control over content. WordPress provides a user-friendly interface better suited for smaller teams where fewer people are involved in content management. Depending on the size of your team and website, WordPress might be the preferable choice for its ease of use and accessibility.

Which CMS has a larger community and support network?

WordPress is known for its vast global community and comprehensive support resources, catering to users of all levels. Umbraco, while having a smaller community, is backed by a dedicated development team that continuously improves the code base and enhances security.

Are there any limitations to using the open-source versions of both CMSs?

The open-source versions of Umbraco and WordPress are fully functional, but certain advanced features or premium support may require additional licenses or plugins.

How does the performance of Umbraco compare to WordPress?

Both CMSs can offer good performance when properly optimized. Umbraco can handle large, complex sites efficiently, while WordPress is known for its fast performance on a wide range of hosting environments.

Can both Umbraco and WordPress be used for ecommerce websites?

Yes, both Umbraco and WordPress can be used for ecommerce websites. WordPress is well-known for its ecommerce capabilities, primarily through the use of popular plugins like WooCommerce. These plugins provide a range of ecommerce functionalities, including product listings, shopping carts, and secure payments. However, while WordPress offers a user-friendly approach, it may require extensive configuration and additional plugins to meet specific ecommerce needs.

On the other hand, Umbraco can also support ecommerce websites through custom development. It allows for a more tailored approach, enabling you to create a unique shopping experience that aligns with your brand and business requirements. However, this customization might require more technical expertise and development resources.

Depending on your specific ecommerce needs, NOP Commerce might be a better choice than either WordPress or Umbraco. NOP Commerce is an open-source ecommerce platform built from the ground up with ecommerce functionality at its core. Unlike WordPress and Umbraco, which are primarily content management systems requiring plugins and extensive configuration for ecommerce, NOP Commerce offers a comprehensive set of ecommerce features out of the box. This can include product management, shopping cart functionality, payment integration, and more, without the need for as many additional plugins or customizations.

The experts at Foremost Media can help you analyze your ecommerce needs and find the right platform for you. With our experience in various ecommerce platforms, we can guide you in choosing the solution that best fits your business goals and technical requirements.