CMS Made Simple review


CMS Made Simple did not disappoint me as a CMS. When I was looking for one to run this site, the requirements were:

1) Not bloated and not single-task-specific, simple

2) But not so simple that it is a single-person project

3) Therefore, it should be mature enough to have good documentation, frequent releases, and a large support forum.

That narrowed the list down from the too-many CMSes on the Internet to about a dozen. CMS Made Simple won based on easy and a non-assuming install, good documentation, and a clean and simple administration GUI/panel.

I do not recommend FTP install from files extracted at your desktop at all. If you cannot install, or do not want to try, from shell, read this page for a possible solution.


There were a few minor issues during the install/tweaking portion that I would like to discuss:

1) The following suggested settings in docs/htaccess.txt will probably crash your server if you enable them:

#php_value upload_max_filesize "10M"
#php_value session_save_path "tmp/cache"
#php_flag magic_quotes_gpc Off
#php_flag register_globals Off
#php_flag session.use_trans_sid Off

See another example in my page on Apache mod_rewrite.

2) Copy/paste does not work with Firefox in the WYSIWYG content editor. Detail instructions on how to enable this are on my Firefox page.

3) Security: While it might sound like a good gesture to mention CMS Made Simple on your website, many bad people will take advantage of it. For good guys, it is both showing that CMS Made Simple powers your site, and for your site to be easily found on Geegle if they search for something like "powered by CMS Made Simple" (for example, to find sample sites, to see how popular this CMS is, etc). However, version 1.2 of CMSMS had an exploitable bug, and therefore all sites that disclose that they are powered by CMSMS will be attacked by a certain method. No matter that the bug has been fixed since, and something like version 1.5 will not be affected. But if you check your log files (like the very useful Visitor Stats module), you will see something like //lib/adodb_lite/$_GET[w]);class%20zZz_ADOConnection%7B%7D//&w=include($_GET[a]);&a=, then it is someone trying to attack your site to see if it is susceptible to the 1.2 bug. You might ignore this, but I am seeing constant and even somewhat increasing traffic from attacks like these. I have decided to still leave the message that the site is running on CMSMS, but make it as a picture to foul the text searches, like so: . As an added measure, I suggest deleting the unused CMSMS logo images like /uploads/images/logo1.gif.

4) Another Firefox issue that is a potential gray-hair maker: after a long time of typing in your page in the editor, more than a few things could happen for all of that work to magically disappear without being submitted. I am now trying to evaluate several Firefox add-ons related to backing up text, and will provide a status update later. And yes, once you submit the first page creation, you can then click the Apply button to periodically save the changes, but too many people try to write the entire page out before the first submission. Note that even pressing the backspace key outside the text area will tell Firefox to interpret it as a back key and dump all of that hard work. I will look for an option to disable this non-sense.

5) List bullets or numbers hide beyond the left section of the editor window. I do not know who is at fault here.

6) It should be discouraged to put any pages under the Home menu heading. First of all, the pages then will have a path of Home>Home>page, which does not make sense. Secondly, having that Home link on the menu by itself is a nice feature as a link to your home page from any area of the site.

7) The reason I installed 1.3 first instead of 1.5.1 may be a cause for laugh, but may be a pitfall for other people, too. I have learned to ignore .bz2 files and similar when browsing open-source software as being "not for Windows" (although I constantly dream of moving away from it). The 1.3 release is the last one that had a zip file.

8) The option to change the site logo image is a good setting for the GUI admin panel, not config.php. Otherwise, people will try funny methods to change it (like trying to overwrite the logo image in uploads/images, which will not work). However, a very quick search on the CMS Made Simple site will of course find the documentation on how to do this properly.

9) Why doesn't the CMS Made Simple documentation wiki use mod_rewrite/pretty URLs itself? (index.php/ is visible)

10) unclear instructions to convert htaccess.txt to .htaccess instead

right under instructions for mod_rewrite it says no file extension. For Windoza users it might be confusing, try saying no filename instead.


Note: features / release notes for each version are included within the installation file in /doc. For your convenience, you can also download them here.


By the way, if you are looking for a small/light CMS other than CMS Made Simple, the following are the minimal requirements you should base your decision on:

  • extensive help, number of forum posts
  • documented install instructions
  • no-error install
  • can be installed in any directory

if what you are looking for does not meet one of these guidelines then DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!

˅˅˅ Additional valuable information is available at one of the links below: ˅˅˅


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Page last modified 20-Aug-12 22:21:07 EDT
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