TYPO3: why use it?

There are many good open-source CMSs for web development. TYPO 3 is one of them. Although it is considered to be a really powerful CMS, but does it mean it serves well? Will it be appropriate for your website? Why use it and not some other CMS? To answer all these questions let’s try to understand if it is the right choice for you and why it is so.

TYPO3 is a powerful open-source, enterprise-class CMS Platform based on PHP, designed specifically with the needs of both enterprise and corporate clients in mind. Many CMSs are intended for specific types of websites. For example Magento is great for e-commerce web sites when WordPress is ideal for blogs. As for TYPO3, virtually it fits any website type: home pages, blogs, newspapers, blogs, e-commerce, educational, etc.


• The first and probably most powerful advantage of TYPO3 is that it is a universal system. There exist over 2000 extensions to TYPO 3. When you install these extensions, you add corresponding functionality to TYPO3 at the same time keeping the power of the TYPO3 core and functionality added by any other extension. It means you can have for example a blog, a shop, support section and many more all at once. This is true universal solution. And it is all manageable using TYPO3 Backend. If you need something new, you just install an extension and you get the functionality. You don’t need to install WordPress or Magento on top to add some kind of shopping to your blog. You do not have to login to blog and shop separately like in case of WordPress and Magento. With TYPO3 you login once and you have access to everything you need. You can even refer from your blog to your products. If you rearrange pages, TYPO3 will automatically ensure that links still work.

• Another advantage of TYPO3 is a very flexible user system. Many systems allow only one administrator user. But with TYPO3 it’s possible to have as many administrator users as you want. You have access control over everything that is really important. Users can also be assigned to groups-“Editors” or “Reviewers”-so you may assign user rights to the whole group. Every user can be assigned to as many groups as you wish, which makes TYPO3 incredibly flexible.

• In TYPO3 you have real pages. Not just a flat list of pages where you have to invent titles and later search for a long flat list. With TYPO3 you have a real page tree where you can group pages as necessary, reuse parts of the page tree from other parts through shortcuts or mount points.

• TYPO3 comes with lots of types of content that you can create. These types are optimized for the best presentation of the content. For example, you can create a text, or text with image. Image can be opened in a separate window when it is clicked making a very easy enlarge-on-click feature. And editors do not have to bother about it much: they just turn on a check box that enables this feature. It is that simple! Tables, forms, multimedia – all is available with lots of tuning possibilities. It is an incredible degree of control over web site look.


• First of all, TYPO3 is large. So it needs a good hosting. If you run a company you can afford it, so it is not a great disadvantage. TYPO3 can run on a shared hosting too, though it is not the best hosting case for it. So need for a good hosting is a price to pay for a good system.

• Another often heard disadvantage is that TYPO3 is difficult to learn. But it depends. TYPO3 can be used by three types of people: editors, administrators and programmers. Learning becomes harder with each next group. It is easy for editors to learn TYPO3. Not as easy as WordPress (because WordPress is a very simple blogging-only tool) but still easy. If you are administrator, you need to manage TYPO3, write TypoScript, install modules, etc. This requires learning. It may take from several weeks to 2-3 months depending on your learning ways and enthusiasm. But the result is always rewarding. If you are a programmer, it is the longest learning curve. Knowing how to program in PHP does not mean that you can write a good TYPO3 module. But if you compare it to other systems, it is not different. Every system will require learning, so this is not truly a disadvantage. So, yes, it will take time to use TYPO3. But it is worth the result.

• Sometimes people say that being open source is a disadvantage. Open source is often driven by a group of enthusiasts and there is no support. Fortunately, there are lots of very professional companies, who can provide TYPO3 support for you. So, if you can’t do something “in house”, you always can get help and learn how to make it.

So, advantages are obvious and huge, when disadvantages are minor and temporary until you learn.

TYPO3 CMS is used by over 300,000 web sites, ranging from corporations and universities to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Some of the users of TYPO3 include: Volkswagon; New York Times; Lufthansa; Ford; Samsung; Stanford University; General Electric. Will you be the next to use it? 🙂 Do you agree that this CMS is really worth learning and using it? As always, eager to hear your comments!