An all singing and all dancing CMS (who uses all of there features anyway?) is not always the best option for every web design project, sometimes all you need is something with a little less punch, something with a smaller learning curve and something that is really, really light.
All of the CMSes below can be regarded as ‘light’, that’s not to say they are lightweights, but what they are is a simpler system, for you and your clients, to manage content.
And best of all? All of these CMSes are open-source.
Frog CMS simplifies content management by offering an elegant user interface, flexible templating per page, simple user management and permissions, as well as the tools necessary for file management.
Frog is unique because of its simple templating code. Because it uses PHP directly, there is no need to learn yet another scripting language.
Frog requires PHP5, a MySQL database or SQLite 3 with PDO, and a web server (Apache with mod_rewrite is highly recommended). It is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 3.
Frog CMS Homepage
GetSimple is an open source CMS that is loaded it with features that every website needs, but with nothing it doesn't. It utilizes the speed and convenience of XML, a best-in-class UI and with one of the easiest learning curve of any simple CMS out there.
GetSimple is an open-source project licensed under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE.
Stacey is a very very lightweight content management system. It needs no database setup or installation files, simply drop the application on a server and it runs. The content is managed by creating folders and editing text files, so, no login screens, nor is there an admin interface.
Stacey stores all of its content using flat text files & folders rather than a traditional database. So installation is as simple as copying the application files onto your server. No install file, no database setup and it will run on any standard php server.
Symphony leverages open standards like XML and XSLT, and good old XHTML and CSS. Even the admin interface employs the widely-used jQuery library, so extension developers don’t have to learn a whole new framework when extending the back end.
Symphony is open source software, adopting the ultra-permissive MIT/X11 license.
Pixie is not out to compete with any other site management tool, there main goal is to keep Pixie so simple that even your Grandma could use it!
It uses the latest web standards so whatever site you build, it's accessible to all your visitors and is search engine friendly and you will love the fact that all you need to know is CSS to customise your site.
Pixie has been released under the GNU General Public License v3.
Radiant is an open source CMS designed for small teams that has been built from the ground up to be as simple as possible, featuring an elegant administrative interface that centers around three key components: pages, snippets, and layouts.
It has a special macro language (similar to HTML) called Radius which makes it easy to include content from other pages, iterate over page children, and display content conditionally.
Radiant CMS Homepage
SkyBlueCanvas Lightweight CMS is an open source, free content management system written in php and built specifically for small web sites. It has been custom-built for those instances when more robust systems like Joomla, WordPress and Drupal are too much horsepower.
SkyBlueCanvas includes a lot of the same basic abilities as more robust systems but in a simpler form. The software is not meant to be all things to all users but it does offer features you expect like a familiar Plugin API, Extensibility and skinnability.
sNews is a completely free, standards compliant, PHP and MySQL driven Content Management System. It is extremely lightweight, simple and customizable. It's easy to install, and easy to use via a simple web interface. sNews consists of only one core engine file, one independent template file and its accompanying CSS stylesheet file, plus an .htaccess file that makes all URLs search engine friendly.
Zotonic is a fast, easy to use and open source CMS. Its extensible, flexible and has been built from the ground up with rich internet applications and web publishing in mind.
It can also work as a framework that is easy to extend and adapt for your specific use.
Zotonic is released under the Open Source Apache2 license, which gives you the possibility to use it and modify it in every circumstance.
CushyCMS is a Content Management Systems (CMS) that is truly simple. It's free for unlimited users, unlimited changes, unlimited pages and unlimited sites.
It's built from the ground up with ease of use in mind – for both content editors and designers. It's such a simple CMS that it takes less than 3 minutes for a web designer to implement. No PHP or ASP required for this CMS. If you can add CSS classes to HTML tags then you can implement CushyCMS. It's also a hosted CMS, so no installation or maintenance is needed either.
CMS Made Simple is an open source ( GPL) package, built using PHP that provides website developers with a simple, easy to use utility to allow building small-ish (dozens to hundreds of pages), semi-static websites.
PageLime is a hosted Content Management System (CMS) for designers, web agencies, and web developers. It allows you to manage text, images, and documents on your site by logging into a web-app that's hosted on our servers. The best part is that it doesn't matter where your site is hosted, it doesn't matter whether you use PHP, Java, or ASP (or no scripting platform), and you don't have to make a single change to your site architecture.
It is free to use for up to three registered sites, for anything more it costs $19 (50 sites) and $69 (unlimited sites).
CMS from Scratch is a quick, easy, and open-source solution that lets web designers give their customers a web site they can edit themselves.
With CMS from Scratch you can turn a flat HTML page into one that your client can update in minutes – with absouletly no database or programming knowledge. It has been designed to let you chop up existing pages, or templates, saving chunks as includes, which the Editor may edit, without being able to mess up core markup. Some includes will only appear on one page, whereas others may be re-used on several pages. CMS from Scratch makes it easy to create all kinds of includes.
Zimplit is extremely lightweight, simple, customizable and open-source. It's very easy to install, and easy to use via a simple web interface and it consists of only one core engine file.
It has no admin area, all you have to do is log in and you can live edit on-site. Simple as that!