If you’re looking for software to manage your website on a Windows server, the options can be a bit limited. Umbraco is one of the most popular choices not only because it’s free and open source, but because of its ease of use and extendibility.
What Is Umbraco CMS?
Umbraco is a content management system (CMS) for Windows servers. It’s built on Microsoft’s .NET Framework using ASP.NET technology. The core is written in C#, and stores the website data in a database, usually Microsoft SQL Server.
Why Use Umbraco?
While WordPress originated as a blogging tool, Umbraco is a more general-purpose, flexible CMS for creating everything from simple websites to fully-featured web applications.
Umbraco is easy to learn and set up. Because it keeps content management and development separate, it’s ideal to hand over to content editors who don’t want to have to deal with coding or the technical aspects of site management. It’s also easy for C# developers to learn.
Umbraco is fully-featured for building simple websites out of the box, but it’s also easily extendible with official and third-party plugins. There’s also a very active growing community of Umbraco users and developers to help you along the way.
If you need to build a website with a complex structure or built-in .NET features, then Umbraco could be the right CMS for you.
If you’re ready to use Umbraco, here are a few resources to learn more and get you started on the right path.
Overview and Demos
Want to find out if Umbraco is for you? Learn more with these basic overviews and hands-on demos.
- Umbraco Web Demo: every other week, Umbraco runs a 45-minute web demo of the software, where you can watch and ask questions about the software.
- Why Umbraco? — an overview of the benefits of using Umbraco for site owners, developers, and designers.
- Umbraco vs WordPress: What to Choose When? — a basic comparison of the features of Umbraco and WordPress by Indian IT company Software Associates.
- Manao Umbraco 7 Demo: a free demo where you can login and check out how the back end of Umbraco looks and works.
Get started by checking out the official documentation and installing your own version of Umbraco.
- Installing Umbraco 7 (Part 1) — Setting up Visual Studio: a tutorial on installing Umbraco using Visual Studio 2013 and NuGet Package Manager.
- Umbraco Documentation: the official Umbraco documentation, including tutorials, on GitHub.
- Umbraco Tutorials | uQuickstart: a series of tutorials that will walk you through installing Umbraco to setting up your first website.
- Getting Started with Umbraco: a 5-part tutorial series on creating an entire Umbraco site from scratch.
- When should you use Umbraco as a Service? — not sure whether you should install Umbraco, or use the cloud-based version? Here are the main differences.
If you’d like to start developing for Umbraco, check out these more advanced tutorials.
- Umbraco 7 and MVC Practical Examples: ready to get started? After learning the basics, check out these practical examples of projects like setting up contact forms, banner carousels, or sitewide search.
- How To Quickly Implement a Blog in Umbraco 7: adding a simple blog to your Umbraco website is easy. Here’s how.
- How to Report Issues and Bugs in Umbraco: if you come across any bugs while using Umbraco, it’s helpful to report them in a constructive way. Here’s how.
To see Umbraco in action, watch these videos from official and third-party sources.
- Umbraco.TV: over 150 official in-depth video tutorials with supplementary written documentation, Umbraco.TV also includes an active community and badges to track your progress. Available for a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
- What is Umbraco CMS: a quick introductory video that goes over the main concepts and features of Umbraco.
- Umbraco — 1 — How to Install Umbraco: this video walks you through how to install Umbraco using Nuget Package Manager.
- Umbraco Tutorials: a YouTube playlist of useful Umbraco tutorials, from installing the software to creating and structuring your website content.
- Umbraco Advanced Page Layouts Using Grid: how to use Umbraco to customize your page layout using grids.
For more in-depth information than you’ll find in online tutorials, there’s one Umbraco book that’s the ultimate resource:
- Umbraco User’s Guide (2011) by Wahlberg and Sterling: This book walks you through the entire process of using Umbraco, whether you’re a content manager or developer. It includes plenty of code examples, best practices, troubleshooting tips, and more.
Professional Groups and Events
Whether you’re looking for in-person training, or just want to meet fellow Umbraco enthusiasts in your area, there just might be a community near you.
- CodeGarden: an annual gathering of the global Umbraco community in Odense, Denmark, including 3 days of sessions, workshops, training, and social events.
- Training: the official Umbraco developer certification program, available in various locations in the United States and Europe, or as on-site training at your business location.
- The New York Umbraco Meetup: a Meetup.com networking group for anyone interested in Umbraco.
- umBristol: an in-person Umbraco networking group in Bristol, UK.
- Belgian Umbraco User Group: a central meeting point for the Umbraco open-source ASP.NET CMS community in Belgium.
Online Communities and Forums
No meetup group near you? If you want to discuss Umbraco CMS online, check out these forums.
- UmbracoCMS Subreddit: the discussion is a bit lacking, but this subreddit is updated often with the latest news and resources related to Umbraco.
- Umbracians Slack Group: chat about Umbraco online in this Slack group.
- uHangout: a weekly Google Hangout show all about the Umbraco community.
- Stack Overflow Umbraco Tag: have questions about Umbraco? Post them to Stack Overflow using the Umbraco tag to tap into the community.
Start Building Your Umbraco Site Today
One of the great things about Umbraco is how easy it is to get started. Follow one of the tutorials above to install the software on your own server, and build your own Umbraco website today.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to website maintenance and development:
- Microsoft Visual Basic / Visual Studio: this is our basic primer on Visual Studio with a focus on Visual Basic.
- SQL Resources: your first step in becoming a SQL expert.
- C# Resources: as one of the most popular languages in the .NET firmament, C# is very helpful to know.
The Ultimate List of Webmaster Tools A-Z
Umbraco may make managing a site fairly easy, but there is a lot more to a website than just a content management system. Check out our The Ultimate List of Webmaster Tools A-Z for a lot of help in doing your work.