Kentico vs Umbraco: how to choose


Kentico and Umbraco both offer robust, flexible .NET Content Management Systems (CMS). So what really differentiates them? We took a closer look.

25 Feb 2020
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Ben Franklin - Technical Director



Kentico is a licensed CMS (which means you pay for the software), and Umbraco is open-source (which means you don’t). Both deliver to a similarly high standard of functionality if deployed properly. Parsing the details of that deployment and getting to grips with user experience are what are going to be the deciding factors for most clients.  

Umbraco attracts a lot of interest from budget-conscious companies, and with good reason. Licensing fees can be a big upfront expense to a CMS project. Not having to allocate so much of the budget to the licence right at the beginning of the project means more funding can be resourced toward the website build.

But while spending a chunk of money all at once at the outset is off the table with Umbraco, it’s not necessarily the case that Umbraco is cheaper than Kentico in the long run. It really depends on your needs. 

Buying In

When you buy a licence from Kentico, you’re getting more than just access to the software. Each Kentico licence includes an SLA guaranteed support package, for example. This safety net means you can go directly back to Kentico to find solutions to issues. With Umbraco, you either have to rely on community support or else you have to pay separately for their in-house support package.

Additionally, Kentico bills itself as ‘fully featured.’ This is particularly true if you opt for its EMS level license or above, which includes its excellent marketing suite. This is a tried-and-tested, full toolkit that works perfectly as one unit. 

With Umbraco, to get the same performance in functionality, you may need to install external plugins, some of which may cost. On the other hand, you have the option of choosing each tool individually to suit your exact tastes. That has the potential to create something equally powerful, if less streamlined than Kentico. 

Linking Up

When it comes to actually using these platforms, Umbraco gets high marks for intuitive user interface. It is easy to learn how to use it, simple to see how all the content relates to each other, and quick to edit. 

Kentico definitely has a higher requirement for training to get users up to speed. Webpages are linked together, but other types of content, such as user profiles, are stored separately, which makes connecting them a bit of work. On the upside, Kentico functions like a real-time editor, so you can see exactly what the frontend is going to look like as you update. Whereas Umbraco has content fields, which then have to be previewed separately.

Staying On

When it comes to security patches and upgrade releases, both Kentico and Umbraco release them in a similar fashion. Upgrading Umbraco versions is often slightly easier, simply because there is less to upgrade. But there is always a risk that any external plugins may not have upgraded alongside and may lose functionality. Both systems leverage .NET security to very good advantage, but security is as much the responsibility of developers and website managers as it is the CMS’s.

It comes down to this. With Umbraco, there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of seeking support, choosing third party tools and plugins, and ensuring that everything will seamlessly function as one. The upshot is that you have the freedom to choose from a pick-n-mix of the best software on the market. And no licensing cost may mean your company can spread the

With Kentico, there’s an upfront cost to consider, which varies quite a bit depending on your needs and choices. But that cost includes full functionality and an SLA-backed support package. This means that whenever you’re relying on Kentico’s own built-in features, everything will integrate very smoothly. And Kentico has a great reputation for reliability and well-designed features.

At Quba, we know choosing a CMS isn’t just a numbers game. There are people to consider, too. The users have to be comfortable working with the product, and management has to feel confident in the service. We always make our recommendations after we gather our clients’ requirements, based on the individual project. Not on any preference we have for one technology over the other.

If you’d like to talk more about Kentico or Umbraco, contact Technical Director, Ben Franklin.

Ben Franklin

Technical Director

Listed in:  CMS platforms