Dotnetnuke / DNN: Brief Overview

DNN CMS and module development comparison with wordpress
DNN Evoq (formally referred to as DotNetNuke) is one of the best open source Content Management Systems (CMS) available, but also comes in paid license versions with tons of additional features and Technical Support. Clarity has built more than 1,000 sites on DNN over the last 13 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?

Some of the best sites out on the internet have been created using a DNN-DotNetNuke CMS framework. Like all software, DNN continues to get better every year. Its skins, default layers and modules are constantly improving, while the skinning engine of DNN is extremely flexible and easy to use. Security groupings, access, and role assignments for assigning dynamic content for either access or editing is easiest and most flexible of all CMS platforms.

Another advantage that DNN presents versus its competitors is the ability for the administration tools to fully integrate into the website. This makes it easier to modify things, whereas for other CMSs you have to go to separate administration area to make changes. DNN has numerous (23,000) helpful modules which 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 and Wordpress are both great platforms with which to build your web presence and together make up the majority of CMS's 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 bloggers, artists, and smaller, local businesses that desire a respectable and stylish web presence. 

Let's take a deeper comparative look at some of the top CMS competitors.

(Click here to read a review on the latest version of DNN Evoq Content.)


DNN vs WordPress

Clarity compares WordPress with DNN (DotNetNuke)When people compare DNN to WordPress, they generally discover DNN is more powerful and in most cases, easier to use. Historically, WordPress is generally easier to install, but this is not true after the implementation of the DNN Evoq, especially the Cloud Edition. Both DNN and WordPress prove to show incredible speed. WordPress uses PHP and MYSQL which gives it great swiftness, while DNN uses .NET and SQL (MS-SQL, SQL Express, Postgres, etc.).

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. My favorite site to review and purchase themes from is Theme switching, updating plug-ins and building menus is 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 the site. If you can afford it, we recommend having a staging site, where you can "preflight" anything you want to push to production.

Some individuals feel that WordPress is organized more neatly compared to DNN. At Clarity, 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 (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 plug-ins/modules available, DNN is easier to develop for integrations and customizations.

DNN vs Joomla

Clarity compares Joomla vs DNN (DotNetNuke)It’s a little more difficult to choose between DNN and Joomla, as Joomla is built more for developers than marketers. Joomla continues to improve as a CMS, but just as Joomla was gaining momentum, Magento interceded and stole most of its thunder. 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.

A minor weak point is Joomla’s inability to work well with Windows; especially, because a majority of global businesses utilize the Windows operating system. Like WordPress, Joomla is written with PHP and also utilizes MySQL. It excels by working in congruence with Linux. Joomla administration functions can be tricky to use, but are very powerful, with many of the things you'd typically need a plugin for, built into the system. The security group settings are shakier compared to DNN or WordPress. However, there are some 3rd party modules that will help you with this small issue. Joomla is a completely adequate tool that is comparable to DNN. It really just depends which system you’re using and whether you choose a tool who's community is growing rapidly (DNN) versus one that has been declining. Joomla still has a pretty good following and that community has many more developers in it than WordPress' community so your answer tend to be more technical and accurate. The best feature of Joomla is the ability to easily add any kind of link to any navigation menu.

DNN vs Drupal

DotNetNuke) by Clarity

Drupal is another PHP-based CMS. It's got more than 1 million sites deployed on it, although their adoption has been on a steady decline since 2015. When people compare DNN and Drupal, they often find DNN works more efficiently with Internet Explorer, which is prevelant among government and manufacturing. Drupal tends to work a little bit better in Firefox. Drupal and DNN are similar in that they are both open sourced and free. Drupal is also written in PHP and distributed by GNU. According to, “Drupal is only used by 2.0% percent of the websites in the world.” Drupal is commonly used for a lot of personal blogs and government websites, similar to WordPress' community.

A majority of 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. 


Clarity Can Help

If you're still not sure which CMS you need, feel free to reach out and we can help. If you need a partner who can design, build, launch and support your DNN site, Clarity's team of DNN specialists can help. 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've got 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 any purpose or goal that your company needs.