Review: Top 5 Laravel-based CMSs

When talking about Frameworks vs CMSs, we usually compare one to another. But in fact there are quite a lot of CMSs that are built on top of frameworks! Laravel isn’t an exception and there are a few popular CMS projects which deserve attention. So I decided to look at the market and do a quick testing of those. Let’s see what I’ve found.

1. October CMS

URL: https://octobercms.com/
GitHub: https://github.com/octobercms/october
By far the most popular Laravel-based CMS on the market. And it deserves the popularity – from the CMSs I’ve tested this was the only one fully-production-ready: documentation, ease of use, plugins, themes, just take it and use it.

The first pleasant thing is a web-based installation process, which allows even to choose from three installation options: blank, theme or ready-made.

0316_cms_october_01

I’ve chosen a theme-based option and here are some of the themes available by default.

0316_cms_october_02

And then – installation goes on, downloading files from the internet.

0316_cms_october_03

This is the visual result of installation – here’s how a default homepage looks like:

0316_cms_october_04

Now, the admin area is quite nice as well. Theme consists of pre-made structured pages (to be exact, Twig templates) which you can edit from back-end.

0316_cms_october_admin_01

And yes, by saying “edit from back-end”, I mean literally that. You can edit the code and click Save. Wow, CMS for developers.

0316_cms_october_admin_02

In addition, there are a few useful settings, I particularly liked mail preferences – you can not only choose mail driver from back-end (PHP Mail, Mailgun, Mandrill etc) but also have ready-made email templates to edit.

0316_cms_october_admin_03

Also I can say nice words about “marketing” part of the whole October CMS infrastructure, which is as important as core CMS itself.

Look at this – docs are well-written:

0316_cms_october_docs

There are hundreds of plugins already, including Paid ones – so developers can make money on this:

0316_cms_october_plugins

Also there are about 50 themes, some also Paid:

0316_cms_october_themes

And another strong piece of good impression about October CMS is that there are even jobs on Upwork which require specifically that system. That totally means maturity or October CMS:

0316_cms_october_upwork

And finally – CMS is mature (started in October of 2013, now you understand the logic behind the name?) and is still strongly maintained, the last commit to Github was less than a month ago.

So definitely check out October CMS, meanwhile – let’s go to review the alternatives.

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2. Asgard CMS

URL: https://asgardcms.com/
GitHub: project – https://github.com/AsgardCms and core platform – https://github.com/AsgardCms/Platform

Relatively new project, started in 2015, but already really strong. But this CMS is aimed more at developers, even install should be done from command line.

  1. First you can get the code using the following command:
  2. Finally, run the install command to get you started:
  3. Done! Enjoy your freshly installed website. You can login to the back by going to the /backend URI.

Installation command asks you a few questions:
0316_cms_asgard_01

And then you login to back-end which is really simple and nice, pages are editable like this:

0316_cms_asgard_02

Default front-end homepage is really really simple, but I guess the thought behind it that you can easily extend it.

0316_cms_asgard_03

Asgard CMS is also actively maintained, last commit on GitHub was within the last month. So I can recommend Asgard CMS as a valid simple option for Laravel-based CMS.


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3. Lavalite

URL: http://www.lavalite.org/
GitHub: https://github.com/LavaLite/cms

Also a developer-focused project with impressive Laravel 5.2 version and typical command-line install:

  1. composer create-project LavaLite/cms –prefer-dist website
  2. Enter your database details in .env file on root folder.
  3. Run php artisan migrate –seed to setup your database.

And after installation I can say Lavalite is both simple and usable. Admin area looks like this:

0316_cms_lavalite_admin

Front-end template is simple but you can customize it however you want.

0316_cms_lavalite_home

And Lavalite is really strongly maintainable: the last commit was just hours ago.


And now we move to contestants which are not production-ready or I had troubles using, but still makes sense to review them.


4. PyroCMS

URL: https://pyrocms.com/
GitHub: https://github.com/pyrocms/pyrocms

This one has an interesting history – it was re-built from CodeIgniter (PyroCMS versions up to 2.x) to Laravel (version 3.x), with latter having a new main committer and still in beta. Maybe that’s why installation wasn’t successful for me – here are the screenshots.

Visual installer, cool:
0316_cms_pyro_01

Update: more detailed overview of this CMS you can find in this fresh article.


5. TypiCMS

URL: http://typicms.org/
GitHub: https://github.com/TypiCMS/Base

This one is totally for developers. All the information and documentation is directly on GitHub. It seems like there was a separate Laravel 4 version of this CMS, and now it’s migrating to 5.2 (not 5.1 or 5.0, sounds impressive!).

I succeeded at installing the system, but since I was testing on my Windows machine with XAMPP and TypiCMS requires Node.js and Gulp – I didn’t succeed at compiling front-end stuff. This is how it looked:

0316_cms_typicms_01

All good, right?
Then the error – npm install…

0316_cms_typicms_02

But in the end – installation succeeded, and the homepage loaded successfully, just without assets.

0316_cms_typicms_03

I also managed to login to the back-end admin area, which looks pretty nice and simple (though without front-end assets either):

0316_cms_typicms_04

So, to use TypiCMS you totally need Homestead or something like that, but overall seems like a really serious project with good documentation.


Overall conclusion

There are quite a few CMSs based on Laravel, with October CMS being a clear market leader. Personally, I’m not a fan of this solution (cause you have to maintain CMS on top of framework and constantly upgrade both), but if you do need this kind of architecture – just pick one of the above!

Notice: I’ve also found some abandoned or just started projects which I haven’t mentioned, but maybe in the future there will be more contestants for this TOP 5.

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26 thoughts on “Review: Top 5 Laravel-based CMSs

  1. I also wanted to mention http://quarx.info.

    One thing I keep noticing is the lack of drop-in CMS packages that can be added to an existing project. Most, if not all, require you to spin them up as their own project, then build your functionaity around them. have you seen any that could be used as drop-ins?

    1. Good point Mike, and yeah – Quarx is worth taking a look. Just wasn’t on the first pages of Google under “laravel cms”

      Regarding those drop-in packages, I haven’t seen those, but it’s hard to imagine a universal CMS package for YOUR particular project. Or do you mean that you have some kind of a database already, and then some external package would build an adminpanel with CRUDs for those? Isn’t it kinda “artificial intelligence” to understand your existing project and build a CMS for it?

      1. Bumble CMS is worth a look, it’s far from a full fledged CMS but it’s a good drop in package that gives you a GUI to manipulate models. Still needs some polish but I think the concept is very good.

          1. My problem with Pyro is that were it once was a bonafide CMS, today it is no more than a collection of building blocks. No cms to be found.

  2. I would also like to share CMS Canvas http://www.cmscanvas.com

    CMS Canvas is something I have done on the side as a hobby and takes a slightly different approach to content management than the others listed. In CMS Canvas all content are entries which can then be turned into a page if desired. This makes it easier for both end users and developers when dealing with content in complex layouts or when building things like blogs, news feeds, rss feeds, etc. Also, it is package that can be added to existing Laravel projects.

  3. I think your editor joined double dashes into one for the command for installing lavalite (maybe others too?)
    The parameter prefer-dist is lead by two dashes instead of one.

  4. there should be a cms for api , so user can simply add the data using a cms and then able to get it using front end JavaScript or in mobile

  5. I didn’t know there were so many Laravel CMS options. I was deciding between Canvas blogging platform and Backpack but they are not mentioned here. Both are built off Laravel so plenty of options to choose from here

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