The Content Management System TYPO3 is considered by many to be cumbersome, sluggish, slow, difficult and perhaps even a bit stale. Furthermore, it is not used so much worldwide. In Germany, however, TYPO3 is very widespread. AND: LfdA implements the majority of its websites with TYPO3. In this short article, we take a look at the criticism of TYPO3 from a current perspective. And we say: TYPO3 is good!
TYPO3 is a CMS with which almost any website can be realized. The strengths of TYPO3 lie clearly in very large, complex websites with a lot of content, multiple editors and multilingualism.
In recent years, TYPO3 has undergone a fundamental overhaul and in our opinion, in many cases, is still the best choice among CMS systems when it comes to high performance and functionality. Criticism of TYPO3 remains, but this is probably mainly due to the fact that many programmers and agencies do not dare to use the system.
A CMS with a (difficult) history
TYPO3 is an Open Source project. The Content Management System has been around since 1997. In 2001 Version 3 was released and since then the CMS has been called TYPO3.
Anyone who started working with TYPO3 in the past had to fight their way through linguistically questionable documentation – which was probably mainly due to the Danish origin of TYPO3. As an Open Source Project, the code did not get any better over the years: more and more additions led to a not quite stringent code base.
At the same time, TYPO3 was the Content Management System of choice when it came to implementing larger and more complex websites. And: there were not so many alternatives.
The entry barriers for TYPO3 are – compared to other CMS – high. Difficult installation, elaborate setup and then a separate (programming) language: as a simple user, it’s not so easy to get started with TYPO3. In contrast, TYPO3, unlike other solutions, offers a high degree of flexibility and, especially for larger websites, clarity and good performance.
TYPO3: The German professional CMS
In 2019 TYPO3 only had a 1.2% market share worldwide. In Germany, however, 9.4% of all websites are implemented with TYPO3. Incidentally, the situation is similar with “competitor” Drupal: worldwide Drupal has a 3.1% (2019) share of the market, and in Germany it is 5.4%. The Germans like their high-quality and stable websites.
What we unfortunately observe again and again: The pages are updated far too seldom and are not maintained very often. Instead of regularly modernizing a website, relaunch projects become very time-consuming and therefore cost-intensive after a few years. Anyone who says that TYPO3 projects are expensive probably belongs to the group that only modernizes their website every 5 to 7 years, which is of course correspondingly expensive.
TYPO3: advantages and disadvantages at a glance
- High Performance System
- high performance
- good customization possibilities of the backend
- multiple websites with one installation
- easy support of multilingual websites
- configurable through Typoscript
- good overview of many contents and pages through the page tree
- high flexibility
- forces editors to work properly if the backend is configured accordingly
- Extensions mostly free of charge – and as a special solution even extendable
- Possibility to develop your own, special extensions
- large, qualified developer community for Extensions/Plugins
- recently completely renewed code base
- good backend performance for editors
- overall steep learning curve – the beginning is difficult
- complex setup – no “out of the box” solution
- TYPOScript knowledge required
- Changes to the system always require specialists
- there are comparatively few specialists for TYPO3, but in Germany there is a larger community of developers
- few built-in functions and features, but a solid base
- partly inflexible operation for editors
- no pre-installed standard extensions, extensions must be installed and customized
Why is “WordPress” actually not an issue for us?
Even though this article is about TYPO3, many of you may wonder why we and other professional digital service providers never talk about WordPress, and why we and other professional digital service providers do not offer this worldwide widely used “CMS” for our projects, even though we could. The answer is simple: for us WordPress is a very specialized “Blogger” system, which has been further developed over the years, is relatively accessible and has many plug-ins for functions – but it is not a professional Content Management System. Granted: WordPress is the leading tool worldwide and also in Germany for the implementation of websites, but it is not a suitable content management system for very complex websites, websites with individual functions and those for which several editors are responsible.
Why and when we recommend TYPO3
As a digital agency we create web applications and websites. In some cases we recommend django CMS (based on Django and Python), which offers a number of advantages (e.g. frontend editing) – but in most cases we recommend TYPO3.
This happens not least because our customers know TYPO3 or their previous websites are based on TYPO3. But we also recommend TYPO3 because there is hardly any other CMS that runs more stable and performs better. TYPO3 is simply ‘rock-solid’.
The core of TYPO3 has been completely renovated in recent years, so that the CMS now has an even more stable code base. TYPO3 does not offer quite as many plug-ins as WordPress, for example.
In contrast, TYPO3’s extensions are “Open Source” and therefore free of charge. They can be extended by professional programmers and customized for the intended purpose. The possibilities offered by existing extensions (called extensions in TYPO3) are often much more far-reaching than the functionalities of e.g. WordPress plug-ins. So when it comes to complex, large websites with many functions or many editors, TYPO3 is our choice.