Which Content Management System is Popular in the US Universities and Colleges?

Nowadays, colleges and universities are making their digital presence; this means that they have a better understanding of the tasks that the visitors aim to perform. This is possible only through the means of sophisticated and reliable content management systems. Moreover, in higher education, these CMSs not only support digital communications and marketing but also convey the digital requirements of faculty, students, staff, and others.

This is the reason why we have investigated the homepages of about 2,000 colleges and universities in the US to have a better understanding of which content management system they are popularly using for meeting their needs of content publishing.

Data Collection

According to the survey conducted, we have categorized the degree programmes in the IPEDS or NCES database. This selection criterion has been chosen for conducting CMS surveys. It has been found according to the initial data that there are about 2,500 educational institutions that have unique NCES numbers. 

But after data scrubbing with the help of utilizing CMS detection software and testing the homepage of each institution, we have found a final data of only 2,330 institutions.

Open-Source vs. Commercial CMS

After testing the homepages of around 2,039 colleges and universities, 61 different content management systems have been revealed. Out of 2,039 websites, 60% of them were published on open-source CMS, like WordPress or Drupal. However, 20% of the websites used to run on any of these three commercial CMSs; OU Campus, Cascade CMS, or TerminalFour. 

Thus, after thorough research it has been found that about 90% of the US educational institution websites run on these 10 popular CMSs: Joomla, Sitefinity, dotCMS, Adobe, Expression Engine, DNN, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, Episerver, and Kentico.

CMS Popularity Depends on the Institution Size

The popularity of the content management systems varies extensively with the size of the institution. To conduct the survey, we have categorized the students of 2,309 institutions into four categories: Group 1 consists of very few students, just about 625; while Group 2 includes students less than 2,125 and more than 625. Henceforth, Group 3 consists of students between 2,126 and 6,400; while Group 4 represents about 6,400 enrolled students.

  • WordPress, along with Drupal dominates the Group 1 students and overall it represents a share of 90.2% of all the institutions
  • The trio of commercial CMSs dominates the Group 2 students and accounts for an overall share of 7.8% of all institutions
  • Group 3 reflects the profit share by commercial suppliers which has a collective market share of 26.3%
  • Group 4 has a slightly greater market share with the largest 510 institutions.

Thus, we can draw a conclusion that the popularity of the CMSs on the main website of the US institutions largely depends upon- the product vision that fits the market of higher education; the communities of practice along with online discussion and networking; focus on the solutions portfolio and predictable evolution of new product versions.

This statistical data has been based only upon checking of the main websites of the US institutions. Apart from this, there can be some subsidiary websites that might use different content management systems.

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