Liferay vs. MODX: A Comprehensive Comparison of Leading Content Management Systems

Liferay vs. MODX: A Comprehensive Comparison of Leading Content Management Systems


Welcome to this comprehensive comparison of two popular Content Management Systems, Liferay and MODX. As digital leaders and decision-makers, choosing the right CMS for your organization is pivotal. In this guide, we will delve into the various features and functionalities of both Liferay and MODX to help you make an informed decision. Whether you are looking for a CMS that provides optimal design capabilities, advanced content management capabilities, or robust collaboration and user management features, we've got you covered. So let's get started and explore the key aspects of these two powerful CMS platforms.

Foundations of CMS

When it comes to the foundations of a CMS, both Liferay and MODX offer solid frameworks that allow you to build and manage your digital content effectively. Liferay is built on Java and uses open standards like Java Servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), and Portlet API. It provides a scalable and secure foundation for enterprise-level websites. On the other hand, MODX is based on PHP and MySQL, making it suitable for smaller to medium-sized websites. It offers a flexible and intuitive platform for content creation and management.

Both CMS platforms have active communities and provide regular updates and security patches. Liferay has a strong focus on enterprise-grade solutions, with a wide range of out-of-the-box features tailored for businesses. MODX, on the other hand, offers a more lightweight and developer-friendly approach, allowing for greater customization and extensibility.

Overall, the choice between Liferay and MODX will depend on the size and complexity of your organization, as well as your specific technical requirements and expertise. Consider the scale of your website, the level of customization you need, and the size of your development team before making a decision.

In the next sections, we will dive deeper into the specific features and capabilities offered by Liferay and MODX, enabling you to compare and contrast the two CMS platforms with more clarity.

Design & User Experience

Design and user experience play a crucial role in the success of any website. Liferay offers a robust set of design tools and templates that enable you to create visually stunning and user-friendly websites. Its drag-and-drop interface allows for easy customization of page layouts and widgets. Liferay also provides responsive design capabilities, ensuring your web pages look great on any device.

MODX, on the other hand, takes a more flexible approach to design, giving developers full control over the front-end. It allows you to create custom templates using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, providing complete freedom when it comes to design customization. MODX also offers a seamless integration with popular front-end frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, making it easier to build modern and responsive websites.

Both Liferay and MODX have intuitive content editors that make it easy for non-technical users to manage and update website content. Liferay's content management features include versioning, workflow management, and multisite support, allowing for efficient collaboration and content governance. MODX provides a user-friendly backend interface with drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy to create and organize content.

In terms of design and user experience, Liferay's out-of-the-box features make it a strong choice for businesses that require a polished and enterprise-grade website. On the other hand, if you value flexibility and have a development team that can handle customizations, MODX provides a more tailored experience to suit your specific needs.

Content Management

Effective content management is a critical aspect of any CMS. Liferay offers advanced content management capabilities, making it ideal for organizations with complex content requirements. It provides a centralized content repository, enabling content creators to collaborate efficiently. Liferay also offers features like content versioning, content approval workflow, and metadata management, allowing for streamlined content governance.

MODX, on the other hand, provides a simple yet powerful content management system. It allows you to create and manage custom content types, making it easy to structure and organize your content. MODX also supports multilingual websites, making it a great choice for organizations with a global audience.

Both Liferay and MODX offer search functionality, allowing users to find content quickly. Liferay's search features are particularly robust, with support for faceted search, fuzzy search, and relevance-based sorting. MODX offers a built-in search, and with the help of third-party extras, you can enhance the search capabilities further.

Ultimately, when it comes to content management, Liferay's extensive features make it suitable for large-scale and complex content needs, while MODX's simplicity and flexibility cater to organizations with more straightforward content requirements.

Collaboration & User Management

Efficient collaboration and user management capabilities are essential for organizations with multiple contributors and user roles. Liferay provides powerful collaboration features with its built-in document management system that allows users to securely upload, share, and collaborate on documents. It also offers sophisticated permission management, allowing administrators to define fine-grained access control for different user roles.

MODX, although it doesn't offer a built-in document management system, can integrate with third-party tools like Google Drive or Dropbox for document collaboration. It also provides flexible user management features, allowing you to create custom user roles and permissions to control access to different sections of the website.

Both Liferay and MODX offer social collaboration features like blogs, forums, wikis, and messaging, enabling users to engage and collaborate within the platform. Liferay, being an enterprise-focused CMS, offers more comprehensive social collaboration capabilities out of the box.

When it comes to collaboration and user management, Liferay's enterprise-grade features make it well-suited for organizations that require robust document management and extensive user role configurations. However, if you have specific collaboration software preferences or value more flexibility in managing user roles, MODX provides a solid foundation for customization.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance, scalability, and hosting are crucial considerations when choosing a CMS. Liferay's architecture provides excellent performance and scalability, making it suitable for large-scale websites with high traffic volumes. It utilizes a clustering mechanism and supports horizontal scaling, allowing for seamless expansion as your website grows. Liferay also offers caching features and CDN support to optimize page load times.

MODX, being a lightweight CMS, offers excellent performance even on shared hosting environments. It allows for caching and can integrate with CDN services to enhance performance. However, it may require additional configurations for high-traffic websites and might not scale as well as Liferay for extremely large websites.

When it comes to hosting options, both Liferay and MODX provide flexibility. Liferay can be self-hosted or hosted on dedicated servers, cloud platforms, or managed hosting services. MODX can be hosted on any PHP-compatible hosting environment, including shared hosting, cloud hosting, or dedicated servers.

Ultimately, if your organization requires high performance and scalability, especially for large-scale websites, Liferay is a suitable choice. However, if you have more modest performance requirements or prefer a lightweight CMS that performs well even on shared hosting, MODX can be a great option.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization is often a top priority when selecting a CMS. Liferay provides a vast array of out-of-the-box customization options, allowing you to tailor the CMS to your business needs. It offers a comprehensive set of developer tools and APIs, facilitating extensive customization, extension, and integration possibilities. Liferay marketplace provides a wide range of ready-made extensions, themes, and plugins.

MODX, by its nature, is highly customizable and developer-friendly. It allows you to create custom templates, snippets, and plugins using PHP and its own templating language, MODX Revolution. MODX also has an active community, offers a centralized extension marketplace, and provides convenient update and distribution mechanisms for extras developed by the community.

In terms of ecosystem and community support, both Liferay and MODX have vibrant communities. Liferay's community focuses more on enterprises, while MODX has a strong developer community and provides extensive developer documentation and resources.

If you require a CMS with a wide variety of out-of-the-box customization options and an extensive marketplace, Liferay is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you have a development team that prefers more control and flexibility over customization, MODX offers a more suitable ecosystem.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing, and monetization capabilities are crucial for the success of any website. Liferay provides built-in SEO features, allowing you to optimize your website for search engines. It offers features like customizable URLs, meta tags, sitemaps, and friendly URLs. Liferay also provides built-in marketing automation tools, enabling you to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized user experiences.

MODX provides SEO-friendly URLs out of the box and allows for easy metadata management. It also integrates with popular SEO plugins, providing additional SEO capabilities. MODX offers flexibility when it comes to marketing and monetization, allowing you to integrate with various marketing and e-commerce platforms of your choice.

Both Liferay and MODX offer analytics integration, enabling you to track and analyze website performance. Liferay provides built-in analytics features, while MODX can integrate with popular analytics tools using third-party plugins.

When it comes to SEO, marketing, and monetization, Liferay's built-in features make it more suitable for organizations that require a comprehensive solution. However, if you have specific marketing tool preferences or need flexibility in monetization options, MODX provides a more customizable platform.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance features are critical considerations for any organization. Liferay has a strong focus on security and provides extensive built-in security features. It includes user authentication, role-based access control, data encryption, and protection against common web vulnerabilities. Liferay also has compliance features that aid in meeting industry-specific regulations like GDPR and HIPAA.

MODX, while it provides basic security features, may require additional configurations for advanced security measures. However, being a less targeted platform, MODX is less likely to face frequent security vulnerabilities. Administrators can employ best practices and implement security measures like secure server configurations and regular updates to ensure a secure environment.

Both Liferay and MODX have strong communities and provide regular security updates and patches to address any vulnerabilities that arise. It is crucial to stay up to date with the latest versions and security recommendations issued by the CMS vendors to maintain the security of your website.

Consider your organization's specific security and compliance requirements when selecting a CMS. If you operate in a highly regulated industry or require extensive security features out of the box, Liferay is a solid choice. However, if you have the resources and expertise to implement additional security measures, MODX can provide a secure platform as well.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migrating to a new CMS, receiving ongoing support, and performing regular maintenance are important factors to consider. Liferay provides migration tools and support to help you seamlessly transition from other CMS platforms. It has a dedicated support team and offers various support plans to cater to different customer needs. Liferay also has a strong partner network that can provide additional services and support.

MODX has migration tools available as well, allowing you to migrate from other platforms or previous versions of MODX. However, the migration process may require more technical expertise. MODX has an active community that offers support through forums and documentation. There are also professional MODX partners available to provide support and assistance.

In terms of regular maintenance and updates, both Liferay and MODX provide frequent updates and bug fixes. Liferay has a detailed release process and offers long-term support (LTS) versions, ensuring stability and easy upgrade paths. MODX also provides regular updates and encourages users to stay up to date with the latest version for security and stability.

When it comes to migration, support, and maintenance, Liferay's comprehensive support options and established partner network make it a safe choice for organizations requiring extended support and professional assistance. MODX, on the other hand, provides a more community-driven support approach, making it suitable for organizations with in-house technical expertise or those who prefer a more self-reliant support model.


In conclusion, both Liferay and MODX are powerful CMS platforms with their own unique strengths. Liferay provides a feature-rich, enterprise-grade solution with extensive out-of-the-box capabilities, making it ideal for large-scale websites with complex content and collaboration needs. MODX, on the other hand, offers flexibility, customizability, and a developer-friendly framework, making it suitable for organizations that value control and customization options.

To make the best decision for your organization, consider your specific requirements, such as the size and complexity of your website, the level of customization needed, and your technical expertise. Assess factors like design and user experience, content management capabilities, collaboration features, performance and scalability, customization possibilities, SEO and marketing capabilities, security and compliance, and migration support and maintenance.

By thoroughly evaluating these aspects and matching them with your organization's needs, you will be able to make an informed decision and select the CMS that best aligns with your objectives. Both Liferay and MODX have vibrant communities and a wealth of resources available, so whichever CMS you choose, you can feel confident that you have the support and tools necessary for success.


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.