Umbraco vs WordPress: Everything you need to know

A deeper insight into the key features and comparisons between Umbraco and WordPress.


The right platform for you

Whether you’re looking to build a new website or migrate to an alternative Content Management System, choosing the right platform can be a difficult and often bewildering decision. The two major players that many clients consider are Umbraco and WordPress, both are powerful, customisable CMS systems but how to choose between the two?

Here at Yoyo, we believe the most logical approach when choosing a CMS is to start by asking: “what are my project requirements - and what do I need the CMS to achieve for my business, now and in the future?”

Will it be used by non-technical admins? How secure is it? How will it grow with my business? 

The list is exhaustive and no one size fits all. So, if you’re looking to make a decision between these two major CMS players, we hope this blog will help inform you to make the right choice for your business needs, by setting out some of their key differences.


What are the main differences between Umbraco and WordPress?

Let’s kick off with a brief background of both Umbraco and WordPress before we drill down into more detail of some of the key differences between these two powerhouse CMS platforms:

Dubbed "The Friendly CMS”, Umbraco was created in Denmark in 2000 by Niels Hartvig; the platform now powers over 750,000 websites, listing global multinational clients such as Carlsberg Group, JP Morgan, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Reebok and many more. 

Released in 2003, WordPress started life as a community-based blogging platform before evolving into one of the internet’s most popular content management platforms. It too powers some of the world’s largest brands and boasts a large market share, its popularity due in part to a wide choice of templates and themes.


A CMS is a computer application used for creating and modifying digital content, built on software known as a ‘framework’ and depending on the functionality of that framework, the CMS can be modified using additional user-written code.

Umbraco was built as an open-source CMS on Microsoft’s ASP.NET, a highly flexible framework on which to build dynamic websites, allowing complex forms and data validation to be implemented with ease (for example, integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 to an Umbraco site). This makes (almost!) anything possible during the development of an Umbraco web build, as well as future-proofing it for business growth and site development. 

WordPress is also a free and open-source CMS, built on entirely different technology which uses web technology languages such as PHP, JavaScript, CSS and HTML (which can bring their own limitations when it comes to case uses) and whose features include a plugin architecture and a template system, referred to within WordPress as Themes.

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Web Developers

Web developers like to push boundaries and finding a Content Management System which gives them design freedom and the power to build complex, integrated websites running multiple applications without compromising on performance is rare. What do Umbraco and WordPress have to offer developers in order to create and maintain high-performing websites?

Umbraco’s power lies in its design flexibility which makes creating a world-class website while new features and improvements to the core system are under continual review by its global developer community, ensuring the robustness of the back office. And with help from Umbraco HQ as well as a knowledgeable and friendly open source community of over 225,000 active developers across the globe, they’re never short of technical and creative support.

Thanks to its origins as a blogging platform WordPress is undeniably straightforward to use, quick to set up, and easy to navigate, even for a non-web developer. Managing content using the pre-designed templates can result in a professional-looking website but web developers who want to push those boundaries may find the existing page templates limiting, needing to rely on plug-ins and APIs which come at an additional cost.

Ease of Use

The ability to use a content management system to carry out basic tasks is an important consideration when selecting the right platform. Both Umbraco and WordPress were built as content management systems and many of the world’s largest and best-known organisations use their CMS. But how easy is it for either platform to be used by non-developers and developers?

Umbraco CMS system was designed for developers but is user-intuitive, making it easy for non-technical CMS users to edit and content manage websites, with minimal training and no need for coding knowledge. Rather than relying on plugins and templates which can slow sites down and leave them vulnerable to hackers, Umbraco gives users the ability to customise sites from the get go. Its built-in features also allow backend development work to take place with no extra cost. 

Usability is one of WordPress’s major selling points and thanks to its generous range of templates and plugins, even the most novice users can easily create a professional looking website and update their own page content using pre-designed templates, on a budget and without needing to employ the services of a professional web developer. 


SEO-friendly CMS

CMS customisation

The flexibility to design a website exactly as the client wants it to be, with the features that they know their customers will demand, is most often at the top of most client wish lists. Nobody wants limits set on what they can achieve – and the good news is that, because Umbraco and WordPress are both open-source, they offer good options as far as customisation goes. But there are some differences to consider: 

With Umbraco’s flexible (coded) extension capability and web developer-friendly technology, it’s easy to add new features and customise existing ones. Through its built-in package library, Umbraco users can download and install new features, for integration with third-party systems including eCommerce, event booking systems, and CRMs – efficient and intuitive from both a frontend and backend perspective.

WordPress set out to put the power in the hands of the everyday user, making websites available and easy to use for everyone and is renowned for being highly customisable through custom code, plugins and extensions. These provide a huge amount of functionality and give non-technical users almost infinite methods of customising their website without the need for code. However, this level of customisation can lead to a slowdown in performance and reduced SEO optimisation.


SEO compatibility

Search Engine Optimisation is an essential part of any business marketing plan; by using ranking factors used in search engine algorithms, it’s a way of increasing visibility and traffic that a website attracts from organic search engine results such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Umbraco’s user-friendly framework makes it a simple process to implement and manage a host of SEO-friendly features and while these extensions need to be coded into the backend by a developer, once added they are intuitive and simple to use by web developers and non-web developers alike.

WordPress makes it easy to find an add-on for almost anything, including a host of free Google-approved plugins to help to optimise web pages for search engines and to rank more highly in search engine results. The drawback is that adding free plugins can slow the performance of a website, forcing users away from the website and adversely affecting SEO ranking in search engines.

Growth and Scalability

Scalability has become a buzzword for good reason, and choosing a CMS solution with the flexibility to adapt through growth, that will keep up with new technologies and online trends is essential. Businesses today should look for web solutions that can handle higher volumes of web traffic at an optimal speed and which will support their growth and provide the digital functionalities that may be required in the future.

One of Umbraco’s major benefits lies in its future-proof framework. Scalability is made easy through a range of API integrations, plugins and feature extensions which are fully customisable to meet the needs of the business as it grows. In addition, increasing memory and disk space as the website’s requirements change and the volume of traffic grows are made possible through Umbraco Cloud’s servers.

With the right infrastructure, services and resources, WordPress’s CMS can also be fully customised to meet the needs of a growing business. Built-in search engine optimisation, plugins and custom coding will extend the site while a user-friendly admin interface makes navigating the backend intuitive for all levels of users. Despite starting life as a blogging platform, WordPress is now capable of hosting large-scale corporate sites with high volumes of traffic and is both flexible and upgradeable.


Keeping a website safe from cyberattack is of paramount importance, especially for businesses which hold sensitive information or process secure data such as corporate, e-commerce or governmental content.

Security was built into the .NET platform from its initial development making Umbraco one of the most secure CMS platforms on the market and it takes additional measures to keep its sites protected from hackers. These include the use of HTTPS with an SSL certificate, user account security through the use of passwords, platform updates and third party auditing while Microsoft’s state-of-the-art security arm performs regular penetration testing to scan for common vulnerabilities to identify any potential problems. And with Umbraco Cloud (which is based on Microsoft Azure, passwords are replaced with a secure, single click log-in.

As we’ve mentioned previously, WordPress relies on a large number of third-party plugins and templates in order to give users the most flexibility when it comes to design and functionality. This not only uses a lot of resources which can slow the performance of a website, it can also leave some sites susceptible to cyber hackers, especially if some plugins are badly designed, improperly executed or updated. 

World-Class Solutions

Both Umbraco and WordPress offer world-class open-source CMS solutions, and while we understand that one platform may be better suited to one type of client over another, we love the freedom Umbraco gives us from both a technical and design standpoint. We believe that businesses wanting to build a robust, powerful website with intuitive design flexibility, security and scalability should consider Umbraco for their online presence.

So, if you’re ready to take the next step in your digital ambitions and to find out how we can support your new project, speak with Yoyo today and we’ll see how we can help you on your Umbraco Web Development journey today.

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