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EPiServer VS Umbraco

EPiServer VS Umbraco

Content of the article

EPiServer or Umbraco

What is the article about?

Being a software house working both with EPiServer and Umbraco, we got numerous questions from customers about the differences between the two CMS platforms.  If Umbraco free and Episerver is costly, why some clients still choose Episerver? Which platform is better for editors? Which could be the ideal choice for the project?

The article is not supposed to be a detailed comparison of each CMS features. It is a subjective analysis based on our experience.

Is Umbraco and Episerver equiparation possible?

Despite EPiServer and Umbraco are both created on .NET, and are built with a hierarchical page structure stored with a relational database, these two products are very different.

To compare them we can draw an analogy between a licensed ocean liner to an experimental watercraft.

Both water-carriers could perform great in their own field, but they’re suitable for different purposes and requirements.

In spite of not a full match of this symbolism, it still provides the core ideas: the experimental boat is agile and could be affordable even with a tough budget, the owner can change the craft, but it is already pretty couth. Just like Umbraco. The ocean liner is almost infallible, it’s maintained by a solid manufacturer with all possible guarantees, is steadily checked and improving and it looks great. But, it is rather more expensive to obtain, maintain and operate.

Thus, the question is not about which platform is better, but which does fit your requirements and needs better?


Umbraco or EPiServer. The user's perspective

As we've mentioned, Umbraco CMS is open source and cost-free. It is developed fast and constantly by the core team and its big development community. The community is quite helpful if you face any difficulties. But, despite continuous improvements and updates, Umbraco can't brag on being as solid and stable as EPiServer.

The user interface of Umbraco is simple and easily customisable with page properties. But the customisation and perfection seem not as smooth as EPiServer's. Though the functionality of Umbraco covers all the Episerver's features, the user experience with EPiServer is far more enjoyable.

But it doesn't mean that EPiServer is better than Umbraco? The preference of choice depends on the project, costs and requirements. Each CMS is easy to edit and has great APIs and configuration options for development.

Umbraco is powerful but mostly every feature of Umbraco EPiServer performs a little better. And there’s nearly nothing Umbraco can do that EPiServer can not.

view looking down on boat at sea_4460x4460

Then, why to choose Umbraco?

First and the most important reason is budget. Umbraco can be used for business for free, while. EPiServer CMS basic usage subscription starts with  €10 thousand and more. It is not reasonable to spend on EPiServer if you are not going to do high-cost development and get the profit of it.

Having a project budget for €20k - €30k it is better to lean on a free CMS tool.

Main differences for developers

Templates, stylesheets, scripts, and more in Umbraco are all managed via Umbraco UI. EPiServer is based around a standard ASP.NET website or web app project  

Editing template markup through the Umbraco UI

  • Umbraco uses one site structure per language, EPiServer maintains language versions of pages
  • EPiServer offers versioning for its built-in file and document management, Umbraco doesn’t
  • Umbraco WYSIWYG editor is TinyMCE, EPiServer uses a self-engineered one which requires Internet Explorer.
  • There are for Umbraco provides several website “packages” for a new user, EPiServer offers a single and very basic, website template
  • Umbraco is open source, EPiServer is proprietary
  • Umbraco supports page type inheritance natively
  • EPiServer has a more extensive plugin system for extending and adapting the CMS User Interface.
  • Umbraco projects versioning and collaboration
  • EPiServer is based on .NET standard concepts, and all logic and markup can be edited with Visual Studio. It simplifies collaboration and versioning with Team Foundation Server and similar systems.

Working on Umbraco project you need to separate website files and a Visual Studio project. To copy user controls and binaries to the Umbraco website location your VS project needs to contain some form of post-build script or equivalent.

Standard versioning usage (such as TFS or SVN) is a bit difficult it such model.

  • Umbraco
  • Episerver
  • CMS Development
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