I am building a small to medium sized website for a potential business.

In the first phase, I would like the site to have the following features:

  • Users with login/passwords. The users will have data associated with their accounts.
  • Page flows, many of which will appear similar to each other.
  • Quick response time.
  • Running on freeware.
  • The coding framework should not have too large of a learning curve (I do not have any PHP experience with a framework).

In the second phase:

  • "Manager" accounts, whereby the managers can see the data relating to individual users.

If not too difficult, I would the ability for administrators to be able to publish content without editing any back-end code. However, this is optional and should not come at the expense of any other requirements.

I am able to use PHP 5.5+, preferably for Unix.

  • Maybe bolt.cm is a good solution for you. It supports Twig templates and is PHP based. – Matthias Dec 23 '14 at 13:13

Using WordPress simply as backend content management is an option and I think it matches all your conditions to the first and second phase. I know of three ways of using WordPress in the frontend without using WP to display the content:

  1. Add a couple of lines to your PHP files and use WordPress functions to pull content:

    define( 'WP_USE_THEMES', false );
    require( './wp-load.php' );
    // WordPress functions are available here  
  2. Install a plugin like JSON REST API and pull the data into any kind of app (mobile, desktop, web).

  3. Use XML-RPC to add/delete/retrieve data (not sure about mobile).

Maybe some Micro-CMS could do the same job, but can't recommend anything. Worth noting that WP admin can be heavily reduced and customised.

  • 1
    I will have to do some more research before I mark your answer as accept, but this certainly looks like a good place to start. Thanks! – patstuart Oct 26 '14 at 1:02
  • @pat, updated answer, you can research for Micro-CMS as well, looking for a way to do 1, 2 or 3. – brasofilo Oct 26 '14 at 1:11

You can use Drupal with Views module. It has an out-of-the-box support for user profiles, custom content types with own properties, roles and permissions. It has plenty of modules too and it is very fast with caching enabled.

  • You probably should have mentioned Rules, LoginTobogin, Panels and DisplaySuite as well. – pacmaninbw Jun 9 '16 at 23:13

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