Backdrop vs. SilverStripe: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful CMS Platforms

Backdrop vs. SilverStripe: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful CMS Platforms


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between Backdrop and SilverStripe, two popular content management systems (CMS) that can empower your organization's digital presence. In this article, we will delve deep into the various aspects of these CMS platforms so that you can make an informed decision regarding which one suits your organization's needs best.

Both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer robust features and have their own strengths and weaknesses. By understanding their foundations, design and user experience, content management capabilities, collaboration and user management features, performance, scalability, hosting options, customization options, SEO and marketing tools, security and compliance measures, as well as migration, support, and maintenance offerings, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of how these CMS platforms can support your organization's goals.

Foundations of CMS

When it comes to the foundations of a CMS, both Backdrop and SilverStripe provide a solid base for building and managing your website. Backdrop is an open-source CMS that is based on the popular Drupal CMS. It retains many of Drupal's powerful features while offering a simpler and more user-friendly experience. On the other hand, SilverStripe is also an open-source CMS with its own framework, allowing for maximum flexibility and control over the website's structure and functionality.

Backdrop's foundation is built on the PHP programming language, while SilverStripe uses both PHP and a custom-built framework called Sapphire. This framework enables SilverStripe to provide a highly modular and extendable architecture, allowing developers to create complex web applications effortlessly. Ultimately, the choice between Backdrop and SilverStripe's foundations depends on your organization's technical expertise and the level of control required in website development.

In terms of ease of use, both CMS platforms offer intuitive user interfaces. Backdrop focuses on simplicity and ease of setup, making it ideal for those who want a user-friendly CMS without compromising functionality. SilverStripe, although more developer-oriented, has made significant strides in improving its user experience and has a modern and sleek administrative interface.

Furthermore, both CMS options have active developer communities that contribute to the platforms' continuous improvement. Backdrop has a passionate community dedicated to its development and support, while SilverStripe has a strong developer network and offers comprehensive documentation and tutorials to help users get up to speed.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer flexibility and customization options. Backdrop provides a selection of themes and templates that cater to different industries and design preferences. Its integration with the Twig templating engine makes it easier to create and modify designs. Additionally, Backdrop offers a responsive design out-of-the-box, ensuring that your website looks great on various devices.

SilverStripe, on the other hand, offers a more comprehensive approach to design. It allows for the creation of custom templates and themes using its built-in templating language called "SSP" (SilverStripe Platform). This feature gives developers full control over the front-end layout and design, making it a preferred choice for organizations with more specific or unique design requirements.

Both Backdrop and SilverStripe focus on providing a user-friendly experience for content editors. Backdrop's admin interface offers a clear and intuitive content editing experience, while SilverStripe's CMS provides a rich-text editor along with the ability to create custom content blocks for greater content flexibility. Both CMS platforms also provide versioning and revision control features, ensuring content editors can collaborate effectively and track changes made to their content.

In terms of accessibility, both Backdrop and SilverStripe adhere to web standards, making them suitable choices for organizations that prioritize inclusivity and compliance with accessibility guidelines. Both CMS platforms enable the creation of accessible websites out-of-the-box and provide features like alternative text for images and semantic markup for screen readers.

Content Management

Content management is the core functionality of any CMS. Backdrop and SilverStripe excel in providing powerful content management features that help streamline the creation, organization, and publishing of content.

In Backdrop, content is organized using taxonomies, which allow for the creation of structured content relationships. This enables content editors to create complex content hierarchies easily. Backdrop also offers flexible fields and content types, allowing organizations to define unique content structures that align with their specific needs.

SilverStripe's content management capabilities are equally impressive. It offers a hierarchical page structure that allows for the creation of multi-layered websites with ease. Content editors can define custom fields and templates for different page types, providing ultimate flexibility in content creation. Additionally, SilverStripe's CMS features a media library that simplifies the management of images, videos, and documents for seamless integration into content.

Both CMS platforms also offer content scheduling and workflow management functionalities. This allows content editors to schedule content publication in advance and collaborate on content creation and review processes. These features are particularly useful for organizations with multiple content contributors and complex publishing workflows.

Collaboration & User Management

Efficient collaboration and user management capabilities are essential for organizations with multiple team members working on their websites. Backdrop and SilverStripe strive to provide features that simplify collaboration and streamline user management.

Backdrop allows for the creation of multiple user roles, each with different permissions and access levels. This allows organizations to manage content editors, administrators, and contributors seamlessly. Backdrop also supports third-party modules that enhance collaboration, such as the Workbench module, which provides a unified interface for managing all content editing tasks.

SilverStripe offers a similar approach to user management. It allows organizations to create custom user roles and assign specific permissions and access levels. Additionally, SilverStripe supports content staging, which enables content contributors to work on and preview content changes in a separate staging environment before making them live.

Both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer integrated commenting and discussion features, making it easy for team members to provide feedback and collaborate within the CMS itself. These features enhance communication and ensure efficient workflows when managing content and making website updates.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

When it comes to performance, scalability, and hosting options, both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer reliable solutions that can handle the needs of small to large organizations.

Backdrop is known for its performance optimization features. It leverages caching mechanisms and provides built-in support for Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to minimize page load times. Furthermore, Backdrop's server requirements are relatively modest, making it a cost-effective option for organizations operating on a limited budget.

SilverStripe also focuses on performance and scalability. Its framework allows for efficient database queries and offers caching mechanisms to enhance website speed. SilverStripe supports horizontal scaling, making it suitable for organizations with high-traffic websites or high-demand applications. In terms of hosting, both CMS platforms are compatible with a wide range of hosting providers, giving organizations the flexibility to choose a hosting solution that meets their needs.

Cloud hosting is a viable option for both Backdrop and SilverStripe. They can be hosted on popular cloud platforms like AWS or Google Cloud, providing scalability and reliability through auto-scaling and load balancing capabilities. Organizations can also choose managed hosting solutions offered by reliable hosting providers, ensuring optimal performance and peace of mind with automatic backups and updates.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization options and a vibrant ecosystem of extensions and plugins are important considerations when choosing a CMS. Both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer customization capabilities to tailor your website to your organization's unique requirements.

Backdrop's modular architecture allows for easy extension through modules, which provide additional functionality to the CMS. The Backdrop community actively develops and maintains numerous modules that cater to various needs, including e-commerce, SEO, and more. Additionally, Backdrop offers a built-in layout manager that simplifies the creation of custom page layouts.

SilverStripe's customization capabilities are equally impressive. Its extensible framework enables developers to create custom modules to enhance the CMS's functionality. SilverStripe also boasts an extensive library of existing modules, including e-commerce solutions, SEO tools, and social media integrations. The availability of these modules contributes to a robust ecosystem and reduces development time and costs.

Both CMS platforms allow for the creation of custom themes and templates to match your organization's branding and design requirements. They support HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, offering developers the flexibility to create unique website designs and user experiences.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

When it comes to SEO, marketing, and monetization features, both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer a range of tools that can help organizations boost their online visibility and generate revenue.

Backdrop offers built-in SEO features, including customizable URL structures, meta tag management, and XML sitemap generation. These features help improve search engine rankings and ensure that your website is easily discoverable by search engines. Backdrop also supports various marketing automation tools and provides integration options for popular email marketing platforms, allowing organizations to run effective marketing campaigns.

SilverStripe also provides robust SEO capabilities. Its CMS allows for the customization of URL structures, metadata, and schema.org markup to optimize your website for search engines. SilverStripe also offers tools for A/B testing and content personalization, empowering organizations to create tailored experiences for their website visitors. In terms of monetization, SilverStripe provides built-in e-commerce functionality through its "SilverShop" module, enabling organizations to sell products or services directly from their websites.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when selecting a CMS, especially for organizations that handle sensitive data or operate in regulated industries.

Backdrop takes security seriously and provides built-in measures to protect websites from common threats. It incorporates secure coding practices, offers regular security updates, and has an active security team that promptly addresses reported vulnerabilities. Additionally, Backdrop has a dedicated security page on its website that provides information and guidance on maintaining a secure website.

SilverStripe also prioritizes security. It follows secure coding practices and regularly releases security patches to address any identified vulnerabilities. SilverStripe's CMS also provides features such as role-based access control and user permissions to ensure only authorized individuals can access and modify sensitive data. Organizations operating in regulated industries can leverage SilverStripe's features to maintain compliance with data protection regulations.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migration from one CMS to another can be a daunting task. Both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer resources and support to facilitate smooth migrations.

Backdrop provides migration documentation and tools that simplify the process of moving from other CMS platforms, such as Drupal or WordPress, to Backdrop. The Backdrop community is also known for its helpfulness, providing support and guidance throughout the migration process.

SilverStripe offers migration documentation and tools as well, ensuring a smooth transition from other CMS platforms. Additionally, SilverStripe provides professional support services, including technical assistance and expert guidance, to help organizations navigate the migration process and resolve any challenges they may encounter.

When it comes to ongoing support and maintenance, both CMS platforms have strong support options. Backdrop's community-driven support forums and documentation provide a wealth of resources for users to find answers to their questions. Backdrop also offers professional support and maintenance services for organizations that require more dedicated assistance.

SilverStripe offers a range of support options, including a dedicated support team that can assist with technical issues and provide guidance. Additionally, SilverStripe boasts a comprehensive knowledge base and user-friendly documentation to empower users to find solutions independently.


Choosing the right CMS for your organization can significantly impact your digital presence and content management capabilities. Both Backdrop and SilverStripe offer powerful features and customization options, catering to different organizational needs.

If you prefer a user-friendly CMS with a simpler learning curve, Backdrop may be the ideal choice. It provides a solid foundation, intuitive user interfaces, and extensive support from the Backdrop community.

On the other hand, if your organization requires maximum flexibility and control over website development, SilverStripe's custom framework may be the better fit. It offers an advanced level of customization, extensibility, and scalability, making it suitable for organizations with more complex web applications or design requirements.

This comparison guide has explored various aspects of both Backdrop and SilverStripe, equipping you with the knowledge to make an informed decision. Consider your organization's specific requirements, technical expertise, and long-term goals to determine which CMS will be the best fit for your needs.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.