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Get Simple CMS: The Best Easy Content Management System for Creating a Simple Website

Updated on May 16, 2013

Overkill. We humans just can't seem to help it. We over-complicate, over-engineer, and over-design almost everything. Maybe that's why Japanese art has retained its popularity for centuries: its focus is on simplicity.

If there's one thing we over-complicate, it's technology. Particularly if it has ANYTHING to do with computers. The elegantly simple software company 37 Signals says, "We believe most software is too complex. Too many features, too many buttons, too much confusion."

Raise your hand if this makes you think of content management systems (CMS). It sure does for me.

An Easy Content Management System from Get Simple CMS

The development team at Get Simple CMS has done for content management what 37 Signals did for collaboration software. They made it really, really easy to use. It's the best CMS for creating simple websites I've ever seen, and I've been around CMS since 2005.

Just the basics
You don't need anything fancy. You don't want a blog, an e-commerce site, a forum, or social media platform. You just need a basic 10 to 15 page site that's easy to navigate and easy to change. Get Simple CMS does this very well by focusing on the following:

Get Simple CMS dashboard
Get Simple CMS dashboard
WordPress dashboard
WordPress dashboard

Intuitive user interface
Compare the dashboard admin screen for Get Simple with the one for WordPress. Not to rip on WordPress, but which interface is easier to grasp? Right. Get Simple because there's only 5 different choices.

Free, open source software
Get Simple is an open source software platform. Like WordPress and many other popular content managers, that means anyone can download and install it for free.

Get Simple is released under the GNU General Public License. Nice, right?

mySQL database not required
One reason Get Simple CMS is...well...simple is because it doesn't use a database. That means no extra layer of software to install or support. Most other open source content management systems use the mySQL database but this one doesn't require it.

Easy to install
Another advantage of not using database software is that Get Simple is easy to install. I had it set up in literally 10 minutes.

Good documentation and user community
I found the supporting documentation for this easy content management system to be pretty comprehensive. And easy to find, which is not always the case with free software.

Get Simple has a small but active user base. I was using it at "expert level" within a couple of days thanks to their support Wiki and user forums. Only one question has come up so far that wasn't clearly documented.

Already use a content management system? Which one?

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Decent CMS theme system, but no built in theme options
All content management systems use "themes" or templates (design and layout elements common to every page). Themes for some CMSs are complicated and broken into multiple files. Get Simple's theme system is straightforward and all contained within one file.

Get Simple comes with two pre-installed themes, Innovative and Cardinal. Both are classy but somewhat generic, although suitable for general business sites. There are no theme options within the admin area like background, header, or color. Any customization of themes must be done manually by an experienced web developer.

Native backup system
One of the coolest features of the Get Simple CMS is you can backup and download your website from within the admin area. This is not a feature I've seen supported natively within any other CMS; you generally have to install an extension to do backups. Get Simple does it right out of the box. Very handy!

Great for Creating a Simple Website...With a Few Limitations

If you want an easy content management system to create a simple website, Get Simple is your best bet. It's very straight ahead and the learning curve is gentle. However, it does come with some limitations:

  • Lack of plugin extensions. To do anything beyond very basic stuff requires plugins, which are few and far between with this CMS. Only a few of the ones that are available were actually useful, so make sure your website really isn't going to need advanced functionality.
  • No theme layout / design options. You can control some design elements like color, font, header, and background in a CMS like WordPress without being a developer. This is not possible with Get Simple. Design themes can be customized, but only by someone fairly experienced in web development. Any custom alterations have to be done manually. This requires hand coding of the theme file(s).
  • Intermittent glitches. I've experienced some glitches with Get Simple, particularly while uploading images and other files. Placing images within page content was also buggy and didn't always work as expected.

Get Simple's mission statement claims their market share is "the small 1 to 15 page brochure site for the average small business owner." They've hit that target extremely well, in my opinion. This easy content management system is a perfect "starter" CMS for someone new to the world of managing their own website.

Advanced users with sites requiring more than basic functionality should look elsewhere, but for creating a simple website, Get Simple CMS is the best content management system out there.


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    • profile image

      Oleg Svetlov 2 years ago

      There are new responsive themes for GetSimple CMS

    • DrivingPeace profile image

      Greg Weber 4 years ago from Montana

      Correct. It's really great for simple, quick websites - not so great for anything complicated.

    • profile image

      STF 4 years ago

      GetSimple DOES NOT use MySQL at all. All data is stored in XML files, alternative to MySQL database.

      There is no installation of GetSimple, just a simple set up form with site name and username for login.

      I am using GetSimple now and its the best CMS I have ever used.

      It, however, does not provide a huge range of plugins, therefore this CMS is only really good for basic websites, not e-commerce etc websites.

    • DrivingPeace profile image

      Greg Weber 5 years ago from Montana

      Hi expertscolumn,

      CMS Made Simple DOES use mySQL, but this hub is about Get Simple CMS, which does not use it: vs.

      It's easy to get the 2 confused! lol

    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 5 years ago from New York

      I believe CMSMadeSimple does use a mysql database, during installation, a mysql db info is required, no?