Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: keyplyr & mack

Message Too Old, No Replies

cms vs template vs site builder vs css

plz someone explain to newbie

3:13 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 2, 2005
votes: 0

Well can some good soul or angel be kind enough to elaborate what is the difference between

"Content Management System" and "Website Template" and "Web Template" and "Template" and "Site Builder" "themes" "styles" "css"

I mean all of these terms have some close resemblance but my sixth sense says that they are also different.

also what is the advantage of all of these over creating pages simply in frontpage and uploading them via ftp...

I would really really appreciate if someone can elaborate in sufficient detail with as much
practical exmaples as possible.

thanks in advance


4:40 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Moderator This Forum from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 15, 2001
votes: 29

hi sunandoghosh,

A Content Management System is a software application that you install on your website. It allows you to control your site via a web browser. Generaly you access an admin page
within the CMS to make changes. These systems can be very usefull for developing a site without needing any direct knowledge of web design.

A Website Template is basicaly a page or site that someone else has built. You can then edit them to hold your text images etc.. Is is just a way to speed up development. A web template will be the same thng.

As for site builder.. Many free hosting providers offer a site builder. In many ways it is similar to a CMS. Yahoo geocities is a good example of a site builder.

Themes is a bit vauge, it may refer to the apperance of a page.

styles and css are related. CSS is cascading style sheets. This is a technick that allows you to keep your html and design seperate. For example you may have an html page containing nothing but your raw information. You can they alter the apperance of this info my using an style sheet. The style sheet can be used to style different elements of the page.

Hope this helps


9:14 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 2, 2005
votes: 0

Hi mack thanks for the reply,

it was really helpful.

however can u plz explain also as to what is the difference between cms and website template then.

i mean should i use a cms or not OR should i use website template considering that i am a bit new to website design.

what are the relative merits and demerits.

any reference to good source would also be appreciated.

thanks sunando

3:29 pm on Apr 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Moderator This Forum from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 15, 2001
votes: 29

cms and website template...

A cms is something you install on your web server. (content management system) they can be very usefull tools for running a website without actualy having to know how to write web pages. You simply log in and use forms to build your pages.

A template on the other hand is more or less a design that has already been done by someone else, you can then edit it to suit your needs.

A cms is really suitable for anyone to use. A web template on the other hand will still require some knowledge to edit.

A template is more or less designed to speed up development time, you edit the templates and upload them to your site.


3:34 pm on Apr 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 8, 2005
votes: 0

Could I throw in another clarification question on CMS? I've seen them offered as a way for a website to be set up by someone who "knows what they're doing," and then allow the client, various departments, etc., to add their own content. When you say that a CMS can be used by anyone, does that mean after the beginning set-up, or are there some now that do so much of the work that all you really need to do is install it on your server?

And, also, this may be a really broad question, but what exactly are CSS capable of? The program I use (see below) can do some things as far as page layouts/styles and navigation, but I have the feeling "real" CSS can do a lot more.

One thought on "themes": If you're using FrontPage, its themes seem to be basically the same thing as what some other programs might call styles. That is, they give you banners and headers and buttons and color schemes, etc., automatically for whichever theme you choose. I don't normally use FrontPage but have had to take some classes in it for my day job, and I think I understand it that far.

I've seen the word "template" used for this same kind of thing, but templates in general seem to go further and give a complete page layout as opposed to just the separate elements. Some site templates even start you out with multiple pages set up in a specific configuration.

As Mack said, templates are usually set up by other people, to be filled in by someone else. But I do make my own page layout templates so I can save them and use them again.

I feel like I should put a paper bag over my head before I say this on this website, of all places, but there are site-builders that aren't online, and I use one of them regularly to build my sites; I don't use it to build sites for other people--as in clients who pay me for the work--but some users do.

I gravitated to it because its FTP function is built in (unless you do something complicated), and you can use it without knowing HTML (although as you learn more HTML there's more you can do with it). When I was first starting, FTP drove me crazy and I didn't want to wait until I learned HTML to get a site up. Now I'm expanding from those beginnings, but I still use the site-builder program and am pretty active in its users forum. There's a lot you can do with it when you know how.

Its advantages over online site builders are that it can be used with any webhost and it has a lot more functionality, options, and possible customization. The disadvantage is that it's not accessible by browser, so isn't really made for multiple people to work on one site.

----I just wanted to add that to say that not all site building programs are online.

10:51 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 14, 2004
votes: 0

I don't know if it's about how good the CMS is as to whether you can just install it and the website is what you want it to be.

There are so many factors involved in all of these options that you must take a step by step approach to know what is useful or practical for you. What I see as the biggest difference between all of the options that have been mentioned and a CMS is:

With all of the other options the end result is always a set of html pages.

With a CMS it could be a database of content or a variety of other storage mechanisms producing the html pages (mostly in real time) to the end user.

CMS's will use templates but in a different sense than you have mentioned. In a CMS, your template will basically determine the page layout for entire sections or the entire site...with areas of dynamic content indicated in the template.

This certainly makes is easier to change the look and feel of your website quite quickly and easily(?).

But it all really boils down to maintenance of the content and whether you will in the future have multiple people working on the content. Maintaining pages in html directly whether it be WYSIWYG or notepad....bites... There are so many ways to put a site together based upon so many factors....

There are a myriad of features included in a CMS that don't have much to do with laying out pages of content. Like work flow.

Workflow would involve things like:

PHB wants secretary to write up the company vision to go on the website/intranet. But ofcourse he does not trust her to do his work and publish it too....

So she is able to write the content inside of the site and submit that content to the PHB for approval. The PHB can then publish the content or reject that content back to the secretary with revisions for her to incorporate before submitting again. The content is not visible on the website until it's state is published.

Workflow can get as complicated as you want it to....including email notifications upon certain states of the content etc....