DNN (DotNetNuke) vs. Other CMS Options

Pros and cons of the top CMS platforms: DNN vs WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
DEVELOPER-FRIENDLY .NET OPEN-SOURCE AND PAID CMS

The DotNetNuke (DNN) CMS: Overview

What is DNN? DNN Evoq (formally referred to as DotNetNuke) is one of the best open-source content management systems (CMS) available. Even better, it comes in paid license versions with additional features and technical support. Clarity has built more than 1,000 DNN websites over the last 15 years, and as far as a developer-friendly CMS, DNN is our first choice. So, whether you need an out-of-the-box website or a heavily customized one, DNN delivers. 

When it comes to managing your website system, DNN consistently proves to be a top-level performer. So, how does DNN compare to other CMS systems? The most common question we get is, "Which is better when considering DotNetNuke vs. WordPress?" Clients wonder about the other popular CMS platforms as well. We’re going to dive into the DNN content management system and compare it to three of the industry's most popular CMS platforms.

  • Some of the best sites on the internet have been created using a DNN CMS framework, thanks to its robust features and top-notch security (i.e., the DoD and NSA use it). Security groupings, access, and role assignments for assigning dynamic content — for either access or editing — make DNN the easiest and most flexible of all CMS platforms. Our entire staff of developers are DNN experts, so you have access to our team that can be integrated into your team as needed (i.e., per project, hourly, for training, consulting, etc.). 
  • Another competitive advantage the DNN content management system presents is the ability for the administration tools to fully integrate into a DNN website. This makes it easier to make modifications from a single login, whereas other CMS options force you to separate administration areas to make changes. You can edit text inline without launching another or window, and you’ll need fewer refreshes since layout pre-view is the default editing view. DNN has over 23,000 helpful modules that allow individuals to easily customize their websites or assign granular editing rights to pages (or parts of pages) to other team members or outside partners.   
  • DNN is built on the .NET stack, and every computer science major graduates from college knowing .NET. Since .NET is Microsoft's core technology stack, you have a winner of a development platform with tons of tools and knowledgeable developers able to improve your site. Any questions developers have can quickly be sorted out in DNN forums. 
  • DNN's modules are similar to WordPress plugins but written in C#. This makes them more robust and secure. Once installed, they're available to all sites-portals within the DNN installation and you can simply drag and drop them into the page you want them to appear on. This makes them fast, flexible, and extensible, plus they can be granularly controlled with permissions (i.e., you can place a module containing HR docs onto a page and, with one click, set the permissions so that they only display for employees). The permissions, scoping, and access control with DNN is second to none for every web admin. 
  • DNN and WordPress are both great platforms and together make up the majority of CMS used online. However, usage generally comes down to your site's purpose. DNN is preferred for medium to enterprise companies, while WordPress is preferable for smaller, local businesses. Companies must also consider the WordPress and DNN Evoq price differences. 

DNN Content Management

The DNN CMS is incredibly versatile and robust. Clarity's experience can make it even more so.

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Have you been asking yourself, “what is DNN, and should it be the content management system my company chooses?” Let's take a deeper comparative look at some of the top CMS competitors. You can also jump directly to the DNN FAQs & Resources

Popular Open-source PHP blogging CMS

DNN vs WordPress

while WordPress is easier to use. Historically, WordPress was easier to install; this is no longer true after the implementation of the DNN Evoq version 9, and the Cloud Edition made it even easier. Both DNN and WordPress prove to show incredible speed. WordPress uses PHP and MYSQL, while DNN uses .NET and SQL (MS-SQL, SQL Express, Postgres, etc.). They both use WYSIWYG content editors. DNN's is inline and on-page, making it faster and easier to use. 

  • WordPress is mainly utilized for blogging and small to mid-level marketing websites. Quite frankly, some people consider it a blogging platform with web page extensions more than a true CMS. It does have thousands of themes at very reasonable prices (templates, skins, whatever your favorite term) and most of them are now responsive and very robust. Theme switching, updating plugins, and building menus are easier in WordPress. For smaller, marketing websites this can be an advantage to helping you keep your website design fresh, as it's inexpensive and easy to preview each theme. You do, however, need to be careful of blindly accepting all plugin updates, as it can crash your site. If you can afford it, we recommend having a staging site where you can "preflight" anything you want to push to production. 
  • WordPress has been around longer, has a much larger install base, more plugins, community support, etc. 
  • Some individuals feel that WordPress is organized more neatly compared to the DNN CMS. We disagree because WordPress hasn't changed much in many years, causing you to bounce back and forth between the dashboard and site, while DNN makes huge strides with every version and is natively integrated into the actual page you're editing (via the built-in toolbar across the top of the page with view, edit, and layout modes, full- and partial-page cloning built in, and tons more). DNN is based on .NET, WordPress on PHP. .NET is a first-tier developer's platform, meaning that every college CS major can develop and customize the site. While both platforms have tens of thousands of plugins/modules available, DNN is easier to develop for integrations and customizations. Let us show you why. 
  • If you're a startup or small company looking for a simple marketing site, then it's very hard to beat WordPress. You can build a beautiful, responsive marketing site for less on WordPress than any other platform. 
  • If you're a startup or small company looking for a simple marketing site, then it's very hard to beat WordPress. You can build a beautiful, responsive marketing site for less on WordPress than any other platform. 
  • Despite its positive attributes, WordPress is notorious for crashing and getting hacked. There’s an update to some third-party plugin on your site nearly every day. While WordPress makes it a breeze to click a button and stay up to date, that one click could crash your site. As these plugins get updated, the developers use different code libraries, such as JavaScript, and if you update a plugin that loads a newer version of that library than the site or another plugin uses, it commonly crashes the site and you're stuck unable to log in at all to fix the issue. You then need to call your development company, who will have to FTP in, restore to a backup, and disable all the plugins. Then they must re-activate them one at a time until the culprit is found. After that, the problem has been fixed but the solution to get the plugin to cooperate is still in question. Bottom line, of the 1,300+ sites we've launched, only WordPress sites have been hacked and it's due to past clients not keeping their sites up to date and secure. 

Conclusion:

When comparing DNN vs WordPress, WordPress can be a good easy-to-use option for bloggers and very small businesses. But when you consider security and robust crash-resistance, DNN websites are the easy choice for an enterprise company. Work with Clarity [RFQ POP UP] to secure your website and reduce downtime. 

The WordPress vs DNN Question

If you've made your decision on DotNetNuke vs WordPress, let's talk.

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Developer-friendly Open-source PHP CMS

DNN vs Joomla

It’s a little more difficult to choose between the Joomla and DNN content management systems, as Joomla is built for developers more than marketers. Joomla continues to improve as a CMS, but Magento ramped up and stole most of its thunder just as Joomla was gaining momentum. They even stopped offering technical support. As of last year, however, they had more than 50 million downloads and owned 3% of the CMS install base, second only to WordPress. 

  • Since 2003, Joomla has been an open-source, PHP-based CMS that developers grabbed onto and ran with. The community is fairly strong, though it's been on a slow decline for the past five years. 
  • Like most CMS options, it has plugins called extensions. There are roughly 8,000 extensions currently available, split into dozens of categories like marketing, social, toolkits, content editing, etc. 
  • Like WordPress, Joomla has a built-in blogging function making it an easy choice for blogging sites. 
  • Joomla has had time to build up a large and helpful community. With this community comes many options for user-based technical support, updates, and other types of help. Joomla’s community is responsive with needed security patches, updates, and the like. 
  • Joomla does not work well with Windows, a significant problem considering that most global businesses utilize the Windows operating system. Like WordPress, Joomla is written with PHP and utilizes MySQL. It excels by working in congruence with Linux. 
  • Though powerful, Joomla’s administration functions can be tricky to use. The advantage is that things you'd typically need a plugin for are built into the system. The security group settings are shakier compared to DNN or WordPress. However, there are some third-party modules that will help you with this small issue. 
  • Joomla is a completely adequate tool that is comparable to the DNN CMS. It just depends on which system you’re using and whether you choose a tool where the community is growing rapidly (DNN) or one that has been declining. Joomla still has a loyal following, and that community has many more developers in it than WordPress' community, so your answer tends to be more technical and accurate.

Conclusion: 

Though Joomla’s community is helpful and extensions are plentiful, it’s difficulty meshing with Windows and lack of company support makes choosing DNN a more reliable and universal option. If you’re currently using Joomla and want to know what your options are moving forward, let’s talk.

Joomla vs DNN

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PHP-based Open-source CMS

DNN vs Drupal

Drupal is another PHP-based CMS. It has more than one million sites deployed on it, although its adoption has been on a steady decline since 2015. One of the major selling points of Drupal is its ability to create and manage a variety of content types, such as videos, polls, blogs, podcasts, and statistics. These options make it the CMS most like WordPress. 

  • Users often find DNN works more efficiently with Internet Explorer than Drupal does. This is important because that particular search engine is more prevalent in government and manufacturing. Drupal tends to work a little bit better in Firefox. 
  • Drupal and DNN are similar in that they are both have open source and free versions that are both robust. 
  • Most Drupal users use Drupal core, which has all the basic features of a CMS system. Although Drupal is one of Clarity's supported development CMS platforms, we see less than 1% of our client base using Drupal. 
  • The Drupal community has contributed over 16,000 modules and plugins, making Drupal very flexible and extensible. 
  • It offers integration with social platforms, feeds, is SEO- friendly, and includes API for deeper integration with line-of-business applications. 
  • Drupal is also written in PHP and distributed by GNU. According to w3techs.com, “Drupal is only used by 2.0% percent of the websites in the world.” Similar to WordPress, Drupal is commonly used for personal blogs and government websites. We find it falls somewhere between Joomla and WordPress; it is easier to use and has more extensions like WordPress, yet it’s not as developer-friendly as Joomla. 

Conclusion: 

Drupal is a solid CMS with plenty of modules and plugin. But its lack of popularity means that finding developers might more of a challenge than finding DotNetNuke developers to build and fix any DNN errors that show up. Clarity can work in either and deliver the DNN website you’re looking for. 

Drupal vs DNN

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Web Development Experts

Custom DNN Website and Module Development

DNN, being written on .NET (thus the formerly known as name DotNetNuke), allows C# developers to write their own custom DNN modules and extensions. While at first glance this may seem easy, after 15 years, more than 1,000 DNN sites and thousands of custom modules, it is not. There are numerous issues to consider when you undertake a custom DNN module. Here is a list of just a few:

  • DNN versions. What happens to your module when DNN is upgraded? Do you have multiple DNN portals? How easy is it to fix DNN errors? Are they all the same version or are some still on DotNetNuke? Are you trying to sell or post your module for general availability? If you said yes to any of these, things just got a lot more complicated. You'll want to ensure that you've set up the different environments and tested your module across all platforms. Even the way DNN manages and updates modules have changed many times over the years, and you'll need know-how beyond regular DNN forums to support the different scenarios. 
  • Localization. If you want to release your module available, many other companies may be running different localized content. Have you tested the module with special or double-byte characters? DNN introduced localization support back in 2012, so it's been around for a long time. Here's a short video we've put together to discuss the four ways to build a multilingual DNN website
  • DNN website installation. DNN can be installed in either the default root directory or sub-directory. If your custom module interacts with the DNN sub-system or file system, you'll need to be able to handle these custom installations. 
  • Multi-portal configuration. One great feature of DNN CMS is the ability to have multiple portals, which are easily spun up from the core DNN installation. This multi-portal environment may pose interesting challenges for you. Most DNN modules installed into DNN are made available to all portals within the system. The issue is that not all the portals should or may not have access to the information in any of the other portals. You need to ensure that your module is multi-tenant (multi-portal) aware and secures the data to the local file directory that it's run on. 
  • MSSQL. Almost all installations of DNN are set up to use the Microsoft SQL database. We've configured it for others such as Oracle, Postgres, SQL Express, and the like — but 99% of the time it is Microsoft SQL. That said, there are some differences between the versions of SQL server that you may need to be aware of. Test across as many versions as you can. Almost all versions (except SQL2000) usually run without much problem, and our clients have upgraded and not seen any real issues. You'll just want to make sure you've tested across the versions yourself. 
  • Custom DNN (DotNetNuke Module Development) module development allows programmers like Clarity to extend and create any new functionality that the CMS doesn't provide. Clarity has developed more than 1,000 custom modules at a DNN Evoq price point our clients love, providing functionality for things like: AI-learning to serve up related content personalized for each visitor; SEO administration UI modules; custom CTA modules; advanced marketing analytics; custom locator maps; and many more. 
  • Testing, testing, testing. What happens if someone installs a new version of your module over the top of an old version? Does the CMS allow this, or will DNN errors show up? Can it be done manually? What happens when your module is uninstalled? Is it clean? Does it work across different versions of DNN? Does your module get affected by other 3rd party modules, such as new skins? Clarity can address all these questions and fix any DNN errors that arise. If your module interacts with the UI, then you'll want to grab at least the most popular skins — such as Porto or EasyDNNThemes — and install them, switch between them, and test to see if it affects your module. 

If you're still not sure which CMS you need or want more information on the DNN content management system, feel free to reach out. We can talk DNN Evoq price, we can talk features. We want to know what you need. If you need a partner who can design, build, launch, and support your DNN website, Clarity's team of DNN specialists can help.  

What is DNN going to do for you? From simple marketing sites to custom portals, B2B eCommerce marketplaces, integrations to your back-office applications, SEO and CRO consulting, graphics, and video development, we have the experience to ensure your project gets done…and done right. No matter which CMS you decide to use, Clarity can help you customize any web software for the purpose your company needs. 

Is DNN Right For You?

We'd love to show you how DNN content management can help with your eCommerce project what we have done for hundreds of other DNN CMS clients.

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Most Trusted Modules by Developers

Top Recommended DNN Modules

Clarity, as a DNN development shop, supports the websites we build. When clients come to us to upgrade their DNN site to a newer version, all the modules that we've used on their site must support the newer version as well, tasks that can’t be accomplished by simply visiting the latest DNN forum.  

We have found the few DNN module development companies that keep up with DNN support, so we use them on nearly every site we build…and we've built over 1,000 DNN portals. 

Here is our list of the DNN modules we use every day: 

  • DNNSharp Action Forms
  • DNNSharp Action Grid
  • DNNSharp MyTokens
  • DNNSharp Search Boost
  • DNNSharp Sharp Scheduler
  • Bring2Mind DMX Pro
  • EasyDNN News
  • DNNDev XModpro
  • Seavus Products GDPR Cookie Consent
  • Mandeeps Essentials
  • Mandeeps Porto5 (theme)
Clarity Ventures DNN Experts

Other DNN Articles & Resources

DNN FAQs

  • What is DNN (DotNetNuke) used for?

    The DNN CMS, was formerly known as DotNetNukebefore 2014, is a .NET based Content Management System for building websites, portals, intranets, and extranets. It supports multiple portals from a single installation, and the DNN Store has many themes and more than 20,000 modules (often called plug-ins or extensions).

  • Is DNN Free?

    DNN comes in four flavors. The base one, called DNN Platform, is an open-sourced and free version of the platform. The other versions have a yearly fee associated with them.

  • Is DNN Open Source?

    DNN® Platform is a free, open source web CMS and the foundation of every professional DNN® solution. DNN content management has updated the DNN Platform to the .NET Foundation. They continue to develop and enhance the Evoq Basic, Content and Engage versions of DNN, which are all paid versions.

  • How much does DNN cost?

    DNN platform is free (open-source), DNN Evoq price for Basic starts at $2,999 per year. DNN Evoq price for Content (addition of Liquid Content) starts at $7,999 per year. DNN Evoq price for Engage (includes Social, publishing solutions) starts at $19,999 per year. Here is a link to DNN's version comparison page. There is a features matrix letting you know what features are included in each version on DNN’s site. DNN is a software application within the DNN Prime library. This library contains other software applications, similar to Microsoft’s MSDN library. Also like the MSDN licensing, depending on the level of Support you pick with your license, you gain access to 1 (Standard Support), 3 (Gold Support) or Unlimited (Platinum Support) any of the applications within the Prime library. For a complete and updated list, visit the DNN Prime page.

  • What is DNN Evoq Content?

    DNN Evoq Content is DNN’s entry into the Enterprise Content Management Solution arena. Armed with many content editing and publishing features, such as: workflow engine, forms builder, publishing module, content version control, personalization, content analytics, integrations with Dropbox, Marketo, Google Tag Manager (and others), and finally the crown on top, Liquid Content. Liquid Content is a global asset management tool, where from any page and different display visualizers, the DNN website can access and display content (i.e. Doctor’s contact information displayed on a directory or locator page, whereas the full BIO is displayed on a details page, etc.).

  • What is a DNN site?

    DNN, as a CMS is used to build websites, often referred to as portals in the DNN CMS. The reason for this is that you can have many websites all built on a single installation of DNN. So, similar to a WordPress "multisite" installation, DNN uses multi-portal installations. So a DNN site could be a single website or a group of DNN portals running on the same installation, however, most commonly everyone uses "site" to mean a single website.

  • What is a DNN Module?

    Modules (similar to extensions, plug-ins, add-ons) extend the functionality of the DNN installation. As DNN is architected in a modular fashion the term "modules" makes sense as a module represents a set of re-usable code that can be installed into any DNN website and / or version. Once installed into DNN modules can easily be dragged and dropped to a page. There are free and many for-fee modules in the DNN store, or you can always get a certified DNN partner, like Clarity, to build you a custom module.

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