Content Management Systems and Wikis – Size Matters

There are a lot of great Content Management Systems (CMS) and Wikis available to help you easily manage your website or online documentation.  Sometimes you’ll want the gigantic bus of a system, but most often, I bet, you’ll want the small, zippy motorcycle.

Some CMS and Wiki systems have a great number of features, and are very popular, such as Drupal, WordPress, and MediaWiki.  However, all three of these use a database server as a back-end.  A database usually ends up being the best solution for a large site with a lot of content due to the efficient manner in which a database can look up data and its ability to handle concurrent users.  A file based storage solution can quickly grow beyond the capabilities of the file system for large data sets.

However, for small websites with minimal content (most of us fall into this category), a file based storage solution may be the better solution.  A file based system is less susceptible to failure due to it being less complex and not relying on the database.  It also uses less RAM because it does not rely on a separate database server.  Also, without a database server, it’s much easier to install, backup, and copy.

So, not only can file based systems be much smaller, some actually strive to be smaller.  They have smaller memory, storage, and CPU footprints.

RazorCMS is a rather new, very small footprint, file based, CMS system.   RazorCMS performed very nicely, tested on an old Pentium system running Ubuntu and Apache with only 384 MB of RAM.

dokuwiki2

DokuWiki is a file based Wiki system.  I haven’t tested this one yet, but it seems to be the most popular file based wiki system.  It has plenty of features and a feature rich syntax. DocuWiki would be great for that small to medium sized online documentation project.

It’s okay to go without a few features for the sake of simplicity and performance. Think about overkill and ask yourself if what you want is really what you need. When it comes to performance and maintenance, size matters, so think about keeping it small.

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