Any robust Church CMS using LAMP out there?

I am doing some research for a church I go to. They currently went with a hosted CMS system that is an ALL flash website. I am trying to get them to change to another CSM because the SEO on an all flash website is so bad.

I have been doing reseach on finding another CMS optimized for churches, but I am only finding hosted solutions. There has to be a good package out their that I can pay $100 or so built on PHP/MySQL that I could install on a shared hosted account and have a graphic designer build a good looking template for. I don't want anyone to answer WordPress because the backend for that is way too complicated for these guys and I need a more integrated way for uploading and categorizing sermon audio files that some lame "plug-in."

The deal breaker in any CMS you may suggest is SEO friendly URL's. It can't do any index.php?pageID=123 stuff. Also, it needs to have a web form builder as well. A blog element would be nice, but not necessary.

It would be great if it had most of the elements in this checklist provided by this "review" site

Problem I have is the review site is only talking about hosted solutions with a high monthly hosting fee.

Thanks for any input
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Julian MatzTechnical SupportCommented:
I know you said not to suggest WordPress, but in my opinion, it's exactly what you should be looking at. It's one of the most flexible CMS system out there and it basically has everything you need. Themes are really easy to develop because of the great template system. It's standards-compliant, extremely search engine friendly, and I have to say it - this is one of the easiest content management systems to operate. If you think WP is too complicated for your clients then I'm not sure there's much other choice. I've used WP for clients that barely know how to use e-mail, and they're coping just fine.

One of WP's great features is the ease of customisation. It would be very simple for someone with a little knowledge to make an audio gallery, and to make it simple to use (upload, etc) is also fairly easy.

Apart from that, have you looked into Drupal CMS?

You can also check out this list perhaps:


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Ray PaseurCommented:
Your choices, if you want to stay in the mainstream, are Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla.  If these are too complicated in some way, that is unfortunate because they are the simplest and most flexible tools available.  For better or worse, building an online interactive application like a church web site is still a manifold task.

At my church, we have a large number of custom scripts that do the kind of things you need, and in my experience we rely more on process than on programming to make the site come to life.  Example: Whenever we have an audio recording of a sermon, we name it with the ISO8601 date-time string and upload it to a specific directory on the server.  The engineer that prepares the audio understands the importance of getting the directory and file name right.  The scripts on the server look in the directory for a match on the ISO8601, and the scripts use the files they find to build the web pages.

On a separate note, SEO friendliness is overrated on church web sites.  We use exactly this kind of URL design: sermon.php?d=2010-04-04 and it works great.  Our most important things are the page titles, the H1 tags and the meta-data.  For legacy reasons we use Atomz for the local site search engine (but today a Google site search would do nicely).

Our site is hosted at on a shared server.  We have had almost zero trouble with them over several years, and I am glad to recommend them.

Best of luck with it (and you're doing the right thing to get away from Flash), ~Ray
I am a joomla developer, so I am biased. But I know that there are scores of third party extensions for Joomla that will be helpful to you. I think there is one called "sermon maker" (I may be wrong, but search for Sermon in the JED (Joomla extension directory at

Drupal is also a fine choice and Wordpress is not so bad either. I don't understand why you would not want WP but in my experience a lot of people form bad impressions of one or more of these Open Source scripts based solely on their inexperience and do not take the time to explore the possibilities they offer.

Every OS Script can have "bad days" or can present problems if not properly configured. All of them are pretty easy to install and configure but there is definitely a good and a bad way to do it for each.

Also, remember that the strength of these systens is not so much in what they offer out of the box but mostly in what they have available in terms of add ons and community support.

Even the best CMS one can imagine without expansion possibilities and a solid community would not be my choice.

BTW, take a look at "concrete5" as well. I am just starting to use it and it's pretty nice.

Good luck.
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