Journalism is an industry that needs high-quality content, which follows rigorous rules. And the same goes for how effective you display your news as well.

So, what CMS should you choose, and how much experience do you need based on your choice?

Join us, as we go through the most useful CMS for news websites, splitting ends, and discovering the underneath of each. 

Quick view of CMS and why you need one

Before we can see examples of popular CMS for news websites, let’s see what a CMS is, and why you need it.

CMS comes from Content Management System, and it’s the software which allows you to store, create, and manage content. Some of the CMS that we’ll see might involve or not dealing with code when creating your news website. 

Most of these softwares are very simple and intuitive to use. And often, the most complicated part about building a website on them, is to find a proper domain name. Which you’ll have to do on a third-party website (such as: godaddy, namecheap, mailchimp, bluehost, etc.)

But which CMS should you choose, based on your experience level? Check out our top, organized from the easiest and most intuitive, to the most challenging to use.

Top 5 CMS for News Websites

These 5 CMS evolve based on the services and specialized help that you will need in order to launch your website with them.


PropellerAds - WordPress CMS
Image source: WordPress

WordPress is the right CMS for absolute beginners. But they also include many features and upgrades that make this CMS the best choice for professionals as well. 

They offer a lot of niche themes that you can use for your news portal or website. And moreover, you can also customize every theme to match your preferences in a couple of hours. 

Don’t be fooled by outdated reviews that might claim this CMS is a bit unfriendly. Because WordPress has changed a lot in the past years, becoming very intuitive. Also, they include many tutorials and guides that thoroughly explain any task.

In fact, WordPress is so popular that it’s used by 43% of all the existing websites. That is over 30 million sites from around the globe.

This might also be due to the fact that it includes many plugins that can help you make your website perform even better, be more SEO friendly, and simpler to use. And of course, there’s also a PropellerAds Plugin in case you missed it.

Read more about WordPress plugins

What big news websites use WordPress

Among many other big news websites that rely on WordPress’ CMS, you will also find:

  • Vogue
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News Website using WordPress CMS; Image source: Vogue
  • Time Magazine 
  • CNN’s Blog – CNN Press Room
  • Techcrunch 
  • Wired
  • Variety
  • New York Post

Costs of running a WordPress website

  • Free version available with
  • Pre-made Themes: $0 – $200 (one time only)
  • Domain name: $9 – $15/ year
  • Hosting: starting from $ 2.75/month
  • Plugins: $0 – $1,000 (one time only)
  • Security: starting from $50

Average Costs: $650 (first month)

  • WordPress VIP – $5,000 – $25,000/month


PropellerAds - Joomla CMS
Image source: Joomla

This is yet another free, open-source CMS. But different from WordPress, it’s not recommended for newbies.

It can be best used by people who already have knowledge of operating content management systems. Yet, they also provide regular updates and many tutorials.

Joomla also offers a free hosting service, with up to 500MB storage space, and far more customizations available. Amongst which:

  • over 8,000 extensions 
  • many layouts ideal for dynamic pages 
  • positivity to use a different template for every web page 
  • various content editing tools
  • powerful SEO tools

The harder to use is the backend editor and its dashboard that you will need to build and maintain your site.

You will likely want to get a freelancer to help set up your Joomla website unless you have an in-house developer. Also, first, you’ll need to create categories, and then content to place in them.

Need to outsource some services? Here you can find help

But they almost remedy this by including their built-in security, featuring SSL certificates on their site (no extension needed). And for extra security measures, they provide their own extension, inclusive of anti-spam and Captcha plugins. Additionally, they also offer a testimonial extension.

All these make Joomla the 4th largest CMS by usage share – 2.44% globally. And they help over 1.5 million sites. 

What big news websites use Joomla

A very representative news website using Joomla is iTWire:

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News Website using Joomla CMS; Image source: iTWire

But you will also find:

  • The Harvard University
  • The Hill
  • Guggenheim
  • MTV Greece
  • The Fashion Spot

Costs of running a Joomla website

  • Free version available on launch.joomla
  • Pre-made Themes: $0 – $250 (one time only)
  • Domain name: $0 – $199/year
  • Hosting: $ 2.75 – $506/month
  • Plugins: $30 – $350 (one time only)
  • Built-in Security: $7 – $17

Average Cost: $750 (first month)

Superdesk (by Sourcefabric)

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Image source: Superdesk

Here comes a little challenge. This CMS is specifically designed for newsrooms. It allows you to create, produce, store, and curate content. As well as to publish it everywhere. It comes equipped with many open-source journalistic tools, amongst which: 

  • text editor and version control
  • review, revision, and approval functions 
  • editorial workflow managements 
  • an option to check what reporters are filling or what trending topics have been covered
  • and it also offers custom workspaces for private edits, with personal dictionaries, and abbreviation libraries

Moreover, it includes some of the most useful journalistic technologies, such as: Elasticsearch, RESTful APIs, MongoDB. All for better search, indexing, and content storing.

Amongst their other main features, users praise their customer support. Superdesk is specifically created by journalists, for journalists. Although at the moment they seem to be expanding their purposes.

This open-source web-based software integrates with various systems and third-party applications. And it also allows you to create your own, custom templates. It is a great list-creating software. 

However, they seem to slip on releasing new features regularly, and featuring a fixed price. Yet, it’s custom-made for newsrooms, offering both flexibility and a lot of features to handle content properly – with full multimedia capabilities.

What big news websites use Superdesk

Very big names in the journalistic industry use this CMS for their content needs. Amongst which:

  • ANSA – the Italian news agency
PropellerAds - Ansa Superdesk CMS
News Website using Superdesk CMS; Image source: Ansa
  • The Canadian Press
  • Nepali Press
  • Brasil 24/7
  • ZeitOnline

Costs of running a Superdesk website

  • Free version available with the Self-Starter package
  • Pre-made Themes: Undisclosed
  • Domain name: starting from $1
  • Hosting: starting from $ 2.75
  • Plugins available: Undisclosed
  • Enhanced Digital Security: Undisclosed

Average Cost (for the paid version): $250 – $2,990+


PropellerAds - Drupal CMS
Image source: Drupal

This is the ultimate open-source CMS platform, and the best choice for experienced publishers and website owners that handle a lot of data.

Although Drupal supports a lot of famous news websites, keep in mind that you will need a developer in order to work with it.

And here comes the hard part – on an average, it will take between 150-200 hours to build your website. Keep that in mind, especially if you’re thinking of outsourcing this service.

Despite all the above, publishers that keep their websites on Drupal describe this service as easy to set-up. Yet, based on the statistics, it accounts for only 1% of the worldwide websites, which is still more than half a million.

Nevertheless, once set up, this CMS is supposed to be very intuitive, with clearly defined and user-friendly sections (thanks to a crafty developer). They also put an accent on security, and their websites are usually pretty hard to hack. 

Moreover, Drupal also features many SEO modules, or other security, and social media integrations. Since it’s very powerful, this CMs is also very reliable. It doesn’t crash, gives limited errors, and bugs are fixed almost immediately. 

Need more SEO tips? Check out this article

Most of the publishers using Drupal choose it for its advanced statistics and search options. But also because it comes with many modules (a group of modules works like WordPress plugins), and complex navigation.

What big news websites use Drupal

Important news agencies and websites use Drupal as their trusted CMS:

  • BBC
  • NBC
  • Entertainment weekly
  • Economist
  • Forbes
  • Nasa
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News Site using Drupal CMS; Image source: Nasa

Costs of running a Drupal website

  • Drupal is free by default
  • Themes: Undisclosed
  • Domain name: starting from $1
  • Hosting: starting from $ 2.53
  • Modules available: Undisclosed
  • Heightened Digital Security: Undisclosed

Average Cost: Dependent on the developer (approx. $30,000 –$40,000)


PropellerAds - Quintype CMS
Image source: Quintype

Quintype is the CMS of choice of many popular Indian newsletters. And this is not by chance, as the company’s also headquartered in India. So we can just assume that they know their target audience very well. 

However, keep in mind that this is primarily a headless CMS – back-end-only content management system. Making content available only via API. This means that you will most definitely need a back-end developer. Maybe front or full-stack developers as well, based on your needs.

Yet, they also offer a customizable standard design, which they vouch can be ready to go live within a week. Without the need to use any further plugins, hiding complex integrations, with their integrated SaaS.

Quintype split their services based on the main needs of the target audience:

  • New and modern publishers – fully-managed service, with user-friendly front-end (layout) management and widgets, compatible with screenless devices. They also feature SEO score check and optimization, push notifications sending, and automated distribution on social media.
  • Magazine publishers – to simply turn your print digital and monetize your digital magazine. They also help develop news apps, and promise to put an end to coding and endless reviews. 
  • To increase and monetize traffic – by creating content for various formats and platforms, distributing it to 3rd party news aggregators, and auto-posting stories. They also offer Meetype commenting solutions, and a live feed of top trending stories. All possible by scaling to Bold CMS.
  • For developers – to create and customize the website front-end. Also coming with API content delivery and various 3rd party app integrations. But also the possibility to increase page speed, and optimize the website.

What big news websites use Quintype

There are a lot of media or news websites relying on this CMS, like:

  • Fortune India
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News Website using Quintype CMS; Image source: Fortune India
  • Bloomberg Quint
  • Free Press Journal
  • Sakal Media Group
  • Vikatan

Costs of running a Superdesk website

  • Pricing: starting at $99/ month
  • Pre-made Themes: Undisclosed
  • Domain name: starting from $1
  • Hosting: starting from $ 2.75
  • Plugins available: Undisclosed
  • Enterprise Grade Security – all websites HTTPS: Undisclosed

Average Cost: starting from $103

How do you choose the right CMS for your website?

As you might’ve gotten already from the above description, the best way to choose a CMS is by starting with your experience level and front-end, back-end, or full-stack developer.

But, there are also other criteria you need to consider, when making your decision.

The most important are:

  • Your SEO needs – the proper content management system, needs to help you ease up the Search Engine Optimization task. If there’s no built-in plugin solution available, this can get pretty complicated.
  • The number of plugins and themes available – although these might cost, you need to be able to handle your website and customize it. Otherwise, your site might not be UX-friendly enough for your target audience.
  • Easily customizable design – you need to be able to change the design of your website, especially if you’re opting for free themes and templates. Otherwise, you risk duplicating other sites from around the web.
  • Simple creative integrations and content editing functions – great and prime-time news are not enough to always catch the attention of your readers. When you’re working with content, you need to have the liberty to creatively position multimedia material and text, so that it catches the attention of your users.
  • Custom set-ups and display – maybe you want to launch offers only for certain GEOs. Or maybe you only want to re-target users. Or launch at specific times. Being able to customize your content based on users’ needs is essential. 

All the CMS that we shared with you include the possibility to share your content on social media and support multiple languages on your website. And they also support multiple editors and developers. 

Ad integration is also another important role that CMS must include. However, nowadays, this is a norm. However, if you opt for a different CMS than these 5, you’ll also need to check that these are available.

What you should get from this?

No matter your publishing needs and capabilities, there are many CMS that can keep up with modern readers. Just make sure to do your research. Or just check out our blog, and you’ll find all the answers you need. 

Need more info that we didn’t include in this article? Drop us a line in the comment section below, and we’ll be glad to help. 


This copywriting enthusiast has an experience of over 8-years in creating engaging online marketing content for various verticals and formats. Out of passion for copy, she devoted 4 years to master the art of sales. Her journalisms-instilled active listening, combined with the sales-bound charm give her the superpower to break boundaries and establish emotional connections with the users.