Kentico and Magnolia compete fiercely in the content management software market. We see this in numerous sales processes and tenders, where choosing a CMS sometimes boils down to a tight race between these two products. What are the differences? Which one to bet on? We will compare their most essential features and user opinions briefly.
Both Kentico and Magnolia are popular digital experience platforms for building complex websites and web applications. Of course, they differ technologically. Kentico is an all-in-one .NET-based platform using the MVC framework for development. On the other hand, Magnolia is an open-source CMS based on Java language. Developing them will require specialists with a slightly different set of skills. There is no doubt, however, that the systems compete for the same customer base. If you google "Kentico," you will very likely see an ad for Magnolia at the top of the list, claiming it is "the #1 alternative to Kentico". Surprisingly, there are not as many comparisons of both systems on the web as, for example, in the case of Kentico vs. Umbraco. We have collected and summarized as much helpful information as possible for potential users. Naturally, as a Kentico agency, we are biased here, but we will try our best to present the systems based on the reviews we read, as well as our own experiences.
Both platforms have similar user ratings on the Gartner website, one of the most respected sources of software information in the business world. As of March 2023, Magnolia's overall rating is 4.2/5, and Kentico's is 4.4/5, but with almost seven times more reviews added. Digging into the content of the reviews helps to learn the details crucial for many companies when choosing a platform to develop a website, store, or web application.
EASE OF USE AND OVERALL PERFORMANCE
The primary function of these products is content management. In this regard, users spare no kind words for Kentico and Magnolia. Content managers highly appreciate Kentico's straightforward page builder, which allows for creating very diverse subpages with a simple drag and drop. They praise the user-friendly and intuitive nature of the system, which requires minimal effort to learn and operate effectively.
Meanwhile, Magnolia users say in their reviews that the WYSIWYG editor is also highly user-friendly, and the flexible page layouts offer great versatility. Furthermore, the CMS provides a range of customizable templates and modules that can be tailored to meet the unique requirements of any given project.
In user reviews of Magnolia, however, you can often find complaints about, for example, the inability to publish on several pages simultaneously, content loading errors, or the lack of a set of standard components and the need to develop everything yourself.
Regarding Kentico, there are comments that the multitude of available system functions can be overwhelming for the end-user, and the update process is complicated (the latter should not be an obstacle with a good Kentico development agency in your corner). It is worth noting that out of nearly 200 reviews, many users wrote they had nothing bad to say about the system.
The most significant differences between Kentico and Magnolia are the built-in system features.
Kentico Xperience provides a comprehensive e-commerce solution with built-in payment processing, product catalog management, and order fulfillment features. Magnolia's e-commerce capabilities focus more on creating product catalogs and providing product information.
As mentioned, both platforms offer robust features that allow users to create and manage digital content easily. Kentico Xperience provides a drag-and-drop interface for creating and editing content, while Magnolia offers an intuitive tree-based structure for managing content.
Built-in marketing features, such as email builder or lead scoring automation (about which we recently published an ebook), are what Kentico is most proud of. And with a new version of the Xperience by Kentico the system will soon become a real multifunctional power tool for marketing teams. While known for its flexibility and extensibility, Magnolia does not offer as many native marketing automation features. For example, creating a newsletter for users will require external tools.
Users of both platforms often complain that their online community is not as active and willing to help solve problems as the Umbraco community, often held up as an example. In reviews of Magnolia, however, there are mentions of longer waiting times for the support's response and reactions to possible bugs.
Unfortunately, we can't speak firsthand about Magnolia's support, but as long-time Kentico users, we've never complained about the official support. So bear in mind comments about both systems may be exceptions to the rule here.
Let's face it, Kentico is not a solution for everyone. This product is for larger companies ready to invest tens of thousands of dollars in developing their website. However, the transparent pricing plan provided by Kentico allows you to estimate the costs of such an investment efficiently.
Magnolia, on the other hand, as noted in one of the reviews posted on the Gartner website, does not present pricing plans upfront, and you have to go in-depth with sales to get more information. However, low-code development solutions may mean that the costs of website development will be lower than in the case of Kentico.
For whom Kentico, for whom Magnolia
As noted earlier, we can't objectively declare the winner in the Kentico vs. Magnolia matchup. This is due to our longstanding partnership with Kentico, which naturally leads us to favor the first solution. But, based on the opinions we have read and our experience, we can suggest whom to recommend these two systems.
Magnolia can work well for low-maintenance websites managed by one or a team of several content managers. However, if your website is to be an active marketing tool managed by many people using workflows and serving thousands of customers with their unique customer journeys, we strongly recommend choosing Kentico.
If you're in the process of selecting a platform for your business and are considering these two options, we welcome you to a complimentary consultation. This session will give you a deeper understanding of Kentico's implementation and management.