Discover the boundless potential of Contao, a free and open-source CMS that combines seamless web development with stunning design. Learn everything you need to know about Contao and witness its enduring legacy in the realm of web development.

Contao, an open-source content management system (CMS), has been quietly revolutionizing the way websites are crafted, empowering developers and designers to bring their visions to life with unparalleled elegance and functionality. With its unwavering focus on accessibility, both in the back-end and front-end, Contao has set itself apart by delivering a user-friendly experience for developers and users alike. In a competitive landscape teeming with CMS programs, Contao has been constantly evolving to meet specific needs while remaining consistently user-friendly.

But Contao is more than just a CMS – it is a trailblazer that has shaped the very fabric of the industry. From its inception to the present day, Contao has played an instrumental role in the development and growth of CMS technology. To truly appreciate the remarkable efforts and abilities of Contao, let’s dive into everything you need to know about this long-standing CMS program. Explore its rich history, marvel at its awards, and discover how it stacks up against its renowned counterpart, WordPress.


History of Contao

Contao made its debut in 2006, introduced to the world by Leo Feyer under the name TYPOlight. However, this choice of name caused confusion, as it led people to mistakenly perceive the advanced database as a slimmed-down variant of the well-known CMS, TYPO3. Such a comparison failed to capture the true capabilities of Contao, which has the power to handle projects of any size. Consequently, in 2010, the CMS underwent a name change from TYPOlight to Contao. Although it shed its TYPOlight identity, traces of it can still be found in the database, with all tables beginning with tl_.

Despite arriving after other prominent CMS programs that currently dominate the industry, Contao aimed to provide a more user-friendly version without compromising on its sophistication. Throughout the years, Contao has released updated versions and introduced additional features to stay competitive in the CMS industry. Today, Contao continues to deliver SEO-ready, versatile, and secure websites through its robust CMS database.

If you haven’t come across Contao before, don’t worry. It may be because it originated as a German-speaking project. Although Contao offers English options and has users in English-speaking countries, it boasts a vibrant German community and regularly hosts events in the DACH countries.


Awards and Recognition

Contao’s excellence was acknowledged early on, as TYPOlight secured the prestigious title of “Most Promising Open Source CMS” at the Packt Publishing Awards in 2007. This accolade not only showcased the immense potential of Contao but also marked its promising trajectory in the CMS landscape. Furthermore, in Germany, Contao emerged as the 4th most popular CMS in the Open Source category, underscoring its widespread adoption and acceptance within the German market. On a global scale, Contao attained the impressive ranking of the 11th most popular CMS used on the Internet in the Open Source category, a testament to its wide-ranging appeal and growing prominence in the CMS realm.


Well-Known Companies That Use Contao

Contao’s remarkable versatility shines through its impressive roster of renowned websites that rely on it as their trusted CMS. With an impressive track record of over 175,000 websites built, Contao has successfully served a wide array of industries. Its client portfolio encompasses diverse sectors, spanning from agricultural machinery and construction engineering firms to dynamic mobile and technology companies. The reach of Contao’s CMS services extends beyond borders, with satisfied customers hailing from Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and various other countries worldwide.

What sets Contao apart is its ability to cater to the unique needs and requirements of different industries, making it a trusted choice for businesses across the globe. Despite its versatility, Contao remains user-friendly and easily accessible, allowing individuals with varying levels of technical expertise to quickly grasp its functionalities. Among the notable companies that have leveraged Contao’s power and flexibility in their web development endeavors, the following stand out as prime examples:

  • T-Mobile
  • Shell
  • AGCO
  • Siemens
  • Scout24
  • Altrad Group

With a client base encompassing such prominent names and a global presence, Contao continues to expand its role as a leading CMS provider, empowering businesses worldwide to establish and maintain an impactful online presence.


Contao vs. WordPress Comparison

While Contao excels in developing sophisticated and intricate websites, it has not achieved the top position among CMS platforms globally or in any specific country. This can be attributed to the presence of highly successful competitors like WordPress. When comparing Contao and WordPress, it becomes apparent that WordPress enjoys a significant advantage in terms of popularity, flexibility, and community support. While both CMS platforms have their merits, WordPress has emerged as the preferred choice for a vast number of users due to its extensive features, user-friendly interface, and robust ecosystem.

Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each CMS to provide a comprehensive comparison:


Contao Pros:

  • Solid Foundation for Building Websites: Contao provides a reliable foundation for building websites, offering features like content management, user management, and access control.
  • Good Security: Contao has a robust security framework that includes measures like encryption, role-based permissions, and protection against common vulnerabilities.
  • Layout and Design Options: Contao offers a variety of layout and design options, enabling users to create visually appealing websites.


Contao Cons:

  • Smaller User Base and Community: Contao has a smaller user base and community compared to WordPress, resulting in fewer available resources, plugins, and themes.
  • Limited Third-Party Integrations: While Contao supports integrations with third-party services, the available plugins and integrations may be more limited compared to WordPress.
  • Potentially Steeper Learning Curve: Contao may have a steeper learning curve, especially for users who are not familiar with its specific features and workflows.
  • Less Extensive Documentation: Due to its smaller community, finding comprehensive documentation and tutorials for Contao might be more challenging compared to WordPress. Additionally, this makes it more difficult to find information about the program online outside of the Contao website.


WordPress Pros:

  • Popularity and Community: WordPress boasts a massive user base and an active community of developers, designers, and enthusiasts. This extensive community contributes to a vast selection of themes, plugins, and resources, making it easier to find solutions, support, and inspiration.
  • Limitless Customization: With WordPress, the possibilities for customization are boundless. It offers a diverse array of themes and plugins, empowering users to create websites ranging from simple blogs to complex e-commerce platforms. Its flexible architecture allows for seamless customization of layouts, designs, and functionality to cater to specific needs.
  • User-Friendly Interface: WordPress prides itself on an intuitive dashboard and a user-friendly interface that simplifies website management and content creation. Its straightforward navigation enables even beginners to quickly familiarize themselves with the platform, saving time and effort.
  • Range of Plugins and Integrations: WordPress supports an extensive range of plugins and integrations, enabling seamless connections with various services, such as e-commerce platforms, email marketing tools, and social media networks. This wide plugin ecosystem enhances the functionality and efficiency of WordPress websites.
  • Extensive Documentation and Resources: The popularity of WordPress has led to an abundance of documentation, tutorials, and forums available online. Users can easily find answers to their questions and access valuable resources to enhance their WordPress experience, ensuring they are well-equipped to tackle any challenges.


WordPress Cons:

  • Learning Curve for Advanced Customization: While WordPress shines in its beginner-friendliness for basic website setup, diving into advanced customization, such as modifying themes or developing custom plugins, may require a solid understanding of coding and web development. This learning curve can be a hurdle for those seeking extensive customization options.
  • Security Considerations: Due to its popularity, WordPress websites can be targeted by hackers. Maintaining website security necessitates regular updates, strong passwords, and the use of security plugins. Being proactive and vigilant in safeguarding a WordPress website is crucial to mitigate potential security risks.


While Contao has its own strengths, including its solid foundation and good security, WordPress emerges as a more popular and feature-rich CMS. WordPress’s extensive customization options, user-friendly interface, large community support, and vast ecosystem of plugins and themes make it a preferred choice for many users. However, the ultimate decision between Contao and WordPress should be based on individual needs, technical requirements, and personal preferences.


Reviews and Testimonials

In order to provide a comprehensive perspective on Contao, it is essential to examine both the positive and negative aspects of the CMS. While Contao may have a smaller online presence compared to more popular CMS platforms, we believe it is important to include a range of reviews to present an unbiased view. Despite the limited number of online reviews, gathering insights from users can offer valuable insights into Contao’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • “Contao has more documentation in the German language than in English.” Review by Andrea Bizioli
  • “No per-defined structure, so we can build our website from the first time of use itself. No limit in creativity: we can build our website exactly as it was designed, using just HTML and CSS.” Review by Nidhin C.


Contao Training Resources


Websults | SEO Agency Located in Clearwater, FL

At Websults, we primarily develop our clients’ websites through WordPress, but we can offer support for Contao websites depending on the situation. We enjoy working directly with our clients and allowing them to learn about the process along the way. WordPress is an easy option for our clients to make quick changes and for our team to develop a solid website.

If you are having trouble updating an old Contao website or want to transfer your website over to WordPress, then please let us help you out! Websults wants to help you have the best experience possible when it comes to everything in the web design, hosting, SEO, and digital marketing world. As an experienced web development, SEO, and eCommerce agency, Websults will listen to your needs, ask probing questions to help identify opportunities and risks, and will work hard to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. Contact Websults for a free website consultation.

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