If you are looking at Sitecore or Umbraco for your content management system, most likely this is due to your organization being comfortable with the Microsoft IIS/Asp.Net stack of technologies. We like both of these technologies, but recognize that they serve different markets.

While you will find some small teams using Sitecore and some Fortune 500’s using Umbraco, we generally think the delineation lies in the size and sophistication of your development team. If you have a smaller development team of less than 5 or 6 developers and supporting staff, we think you will find it easier to start with Umbraco. Whereas larger development teams can gain economies of scale working with Sitecore.

Key Similarities


  • Easy-to use User Interfaces (UI). While we think the Sitecore interface is a little crisper, they both have relatively easy to use interfaces.
  • Customizable Interfaces: Both Sitecore and Umbraco back end user interfaces can easily be customized. Sitecore through the use of its SPEAK framework and Umbraco through the use of angular plugins. 
  • Design layouts are separated from the content. In essence, both offer a type of model view separation.
  • Due to the large open-source Umbraco community and the expert development teams within the Sitecore network both CMS platforms are constantly evolving at a rapid pace.
  • Easily customizable through modules (Sitecore) or packages (Umbraco).
  • With planning, both are capable of delivering very high quality solutions under high performance demands.
  • Support for internationalization out of the box.
  • Support for multiple sites in a single application process.

Key Differences


  • Code Source: Sitecore is proprietary (you can use tools such as Just Decompile to extract and override Sitecore implementations). Umbraco is open source. You can download and modify the source code itself very easily. Note: care should be taken when overriding code of either Sitecore or Umbraco as any such code will need to be reviewed with every upgrade (a costly process).
  • Sitecore: sophisticated pipeline processing - allows for injecting customized processes into the flow of most Sitecore processes without modifying or overriding native Sitecore code. This is a definite advantage for Sitecore, but also requires a learning curve for developers.
  • Sitecore's use of UniqueIdentifier versus Umbraco's use of integer identifiers. This may seem like a trivial issue, but when you want to share content among numerous server / developer environments, the process of packaging and moving available to Sitecore users is a much more reliable process than use of Umbraco's Contour product.
  • Price: While Sitecore is not cheap and Umbraco is pretty close to free, we think other factors are far more important than the licensing fees. Quite simply, if you have a larger development team, you are going to make up for the licensing fees in terms of the resulting long term productivity.
  • Experience / Personalization: if you are looking to provide a customized experience for your customers, especially across platforms (web, email, mobile, print, television, radio), Sitecore truly leads; not just Umbraco, but all CMS vendors. There are some third party tools for personalization available for Umbraco, but they are not nearly at the same level as Sitecore's Experience Platform.

Conclusions


We cannot say it any better than the developer comparison cited below: "No CMS is right or wrong for your business out of the box, you have evaluate them against your own business requirements for the website. Open source may be cheaper to start off with but will have maintenance costs down the line."

Note: this site is built with Umbraco, yet we are very big proponents of Sitecore.