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What is SilverStripe Hosting?

When you are looking to host a content management system (CMS), you have a lot of choices. For many, SilverStripe is a compelling choice and ultimately the platform they choose. SilverStripe is an open-source content management system (CMS) which enables you to quickly build websites, Web applications, and private online networks.

This free open source CMS and Framework not only allows for creating and maintaining web sites, it does the same for web applications and provides a web-based administration panel where everything is configured. There is a ‘What You See Is What You Get’ (WYSIWYG) editor for the website built in as well. The core of this platform is the SilverStripe Framework, which is a PHP Web application framework.

A CMS is a computer program which gives you the tools and raw materials necessary to build, publish, and share Web content. Whether you’re designing your website, creating an online shop, or forming a network to share with your colleagues, a CMS can help. These applications allow you to go beyond the overly-simplistic customization tools of publishing platforms and take matters into your own hands. Instead of choosing from a limited selection of pre-made color schemes, layouts, and templates, a good CMS gives you the freedom to handcraft everything to your own specifications.

SilverStripe has been around since about the year 2000. It was developed by a New Zealand group that has won a host of awards for their efforts. Their most recent win was the 2008 Most Promising Open Source CMS award. SilverStripe achieves these high marks by offering a user experience that can be as straightforward or as intricate as you like. While beginners can use modules and extensions to get started right away and fill in the gaps of their programming knowledge, seasoned PHP programmers can dive right into directly editing content’s code instead of attempting to manipulate it through a cumbersome user interface.

The Experience

There are a number of reasons why SilverStripe may be the choice you make for your next CMS projects. The tool is well developed and as mentioned, extremely easy to use. The SilverStripe community is excellent in responsiveness, is very active and that’s always a great advantage.

  • Developers love Silverstripe for its cleanliness. It is built on the backbone of an object-oriented PHP5 web framework called Sapphire. This allows for the easy separation of code from logic, making the platform extremely flexible and modular an allowing for the portable use of code.
  • Silverstripe also stands out for its customizable features, which means the CMS can be extended easily due to the database relationships that can be configured between data objects and pages. With the knowledge of just a few basic lines of code, the databases are actually built by the system.
  • SilverStripe also uses an intuitive site tree that has a logical site hierarchy structure that it follows. It makes it very easy to navigate to the exact page you want to edit as you can easily find, collapse and expand pages in the site tree that it provides. Pages can be easily moved throughout the tree as well with drag and drop ease.
  • At the end of the day, SilverStripe is designed to be easy to work with. It has a quick learning curve, so if you’re apprehensive, don’t be. The developers of this great platform have made sure that getting up to speed on how to develop a nice SilverStripe website is a relatively quick process. Again, the SilverStripe community is extremely active and on their site, the documentation is well thought out and clear. It includes things like recipes, tutorials and all the documentation you need.
  • That sort of extreme versatility isn’t just limited to the bare-bones coding of your content, though. SilverStripe ensures that you’ll be in control of everything that happens to your content after it’s been created, too. With tools for queuing up content to be published (or deleted) at a later date, delegating management tasks to other members of your team, adding meta data to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), and sharing your content across a range of platforms from a single control panel, SilverStripe truly has all the bases covered.

    Since SilverStripe is open source, it is free to download. It is capable of running on any platform and works with almost any Web browser. That said, before you begin building and managing your content, check with your Web hosting provider to make sure your hosting plan supports content created with SilverStripe.

    SilverStripe is released under the terms of the BSD License.

    SilverStripe Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

    • How do I install SilverStripe?

      You have a couple of options. You can download the installation files directly from SilverStripe's website and install the software manually. Or you can first install Composer, a package management tool for PHP that will allow you to install and upgrade SilverStripe. Using Composer, you will get more flexibility when it comes to installing select modules, and is the recommended method. It also makes upgrades significantly easier.

    • What are the server requirements for hosting SilverStripe?

      SilverStripe can run on Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, or a virtual machine using Vagrant or Bitnami. For Linux/Unix systems, you’ll need one of the following web servers: Apache, Lighttpd, Nginx. For Windows, you can install SilverStripe directly through the Microsoft Web Platform installer or set up an IIS or Apache/WAMP web server to host the program. On Mac, you can use the built-in web server or an alternative server, such as MAMP or Homebrew.

    • How does SilverStripe compare to WordPress or Joomla?

      These are all CMS systems for hosting web content and can accomplish many of the same tasks, such as setting up websites, blogs, forums, user database, etc. Each is free to download and use. Which tool you choose will depend on your needs, your comfort level with programming, and how much personal customization you want to include. WordPress and Joomla are very easy to set up and customize through the use of thousands of pre-built templates and plugins. However, they both include many features that you will likely never utilize. SilverStripe offers a custom installation, where you select which modules you need, and allows users the freedom to fully customize every aspect of their development. Of course, to do so requires considerably more programming knowledge than WordPress or Joomla. Another significant difference is that SilverStripe is not just a CMS. It is also a web application framework, which allows you build custom web apps.

    • Can I send email or newsletters through a SilverStripe site?

      Yes. You can create and send email through the use of Email and Mailer classes. Emails can be customized with an HTML template. The out of the box mailer utilizes a PHP mail system, but you can also utilize a third party SMTP service like Mandrill or Postmark. You can also setup the newsletter module to send batch emails.

    • Can I integrate other web applications into my website?

      SilverStripe provides the built-in ability to incorporate a CSV import, includes features for gathering external data through the RESTFul interface, and can be configured to export database records as an RSS feed. Instructions for how to set up and configure these services are available on their website.

    • What type of language support does SilverStripe provide?

      SilverStripe provides an internationalization class which can be used to display templates and PHP code in different languages. These can be displayed based on global settings and your website users’ global preferences. There is also a translatable module to translate DataObject and SiteTree records into multiple languages.

    • How do I create website pages?

      SilverStripe includes 4 predefined pages for your websites: Home, About Us, Contact Us, and Page Not Found. Additional pages can be created through the admin panel. After logging in, click on the Page option in the left navigation pane. Pages will default to the site template, while content can be created and changed using the built-in editor, which functions very similar to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word.

    • How do I change my website theme?

      SilverStripe offers several dozen premade themes you can choose from, which can be customized for your business, or you can create your own custom theme. To use an existing theme, you will need to download the selected them from their website and then upload it to the “themes” folder inside your SilverStripe directory. After extracting the package, you can apply the theme by editing the _config.php file in your mysite folder. Guides for customizing themes, or creating your own, are available on the SilverStripe documentation site.

    • Can I add multimedia to my site?

      Yes. You can upload files via the admin panel, and then go the page you want to add the content to. Using the tool bar, you should have no problem adding the uploaded content to your page.

    • What type of support does SilverStripe provide?

      Out of the box support is available through an extensive library of online documentation and an active user community. For organizations looking for personalized support, they also offer a number of paid support and service options, including web strategy, design, website and application development, mobile site development, copywriting, and training.

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