Frequently Asked Questions

What is CMS?

In the early days of the web, if you wanted to have a website with multiple pages, you had to do a lot of work to make sure all your pages had a consistent design and layout. And if you wanted to change your site's design later on, you had to change it laboriously on every single page on your site.

A CMS, or Content Management System, is a tool that sits inside the webspace provided by your web host or web server. It separates your site's content from its layout and design, and generates pages dynamically when visitors access them.

What alternatives to FolderCMS are out there?

There are plenty of CMS offerings out there. Many are free, like FolderCMS. One of the most popular free offerings is called Joomla. Unlike FolderCMS, it uses an SQL database to store content. FolderCMS is a lot simpler in its implementation than Joomla - it doesn't do as much as Joomla, but it's simple and efficient with what it does do (which should be enough to meet the needs of many webmasters), and it's easier to set up and maintain.

There are other CMSs which are not free. At least one specialised system has a license fee of more than a million dollars per year for large organisations. If you have that kind of money to throw around, go ahead, but don't expect anything too much better than one of the many mature free alternatives out there.

Does FolderCMS require an SQL database?

No.

Why not?

Many CMS offerings store content in an SQL database. This can make the internal workings of the CMS a little mysterious to people who aren't trained SQL administrators, and makes things a little hard to pull apart if things go wrong.

We thought about what kind of system we needed for our site. We decided that we wanted a heirarchical structure of categories and subcategories, just like many other sites. Did we require a relational database like MySQL to make this happen? No, we just needed the information to be organised in a system of files and folders, just like computers have been doing for decades with their file systems.

Rather than running everything through an SQL database system, which itself uses files and folders to store data behind the scenes, we decided to cut out the middle man and enjoy the performance benefit of a CMS that takes advantage of the computer's natural filesystem.

Is there anything it can't do?

FolderCMS is designed to provide a minimal set of features that still provides you the flexibility to use it as a base for creating powerful websites.

There are several things FolderCMS doesn't do (at least not out of the box), that other CMSs do. You know those drop-down menus that many websites have but users secretly hate? It doesn't do those, because for speed reasons, it will never drill-down to look at content that isn't on the way to the current page. It doesn't provide you with a web interface because it's designed for the webmaster to be able to edit the content files directly. Out of the box, it doesn't provide social functionality.

Is it secure?

Yes (although it still pays to take precautions). FolderCMS doesn't blindly map URL parameters to the filesystem, as these can be specified and altered by any visitor. It picks out valid options first, and only then attempts to match the URL parameters against them. This makes FolderCMS immune to URL injection attacks.