Choosing a content management system for your business website can be overwhelming. The right CMS can help you bring your website vision to life and make content management a breeze (while also coming in under budget).

Umbraco and Kentico are two content management systems that have some similarities at first glance. Both use Microsoft’s .NET framework and are written in C#. They both offer a host of features for smooth content management.

So which is better for you, Kentico or Umbraco? We’re here to help you decide.

We previously compared Umbraco to another .NET CMS, Sitecore. Read the blog post here.

What is Umbraco?

Umbraco is an open-source content management system built on the .NET framework and written in C#. It was first created in 1999 by Niels Hartvig in Denmark and became a fully open-source CMS in 2005. It now has more than 700,000 active installs and a global community of more than 220,000 active members.

Read more about Umbraco and its benefits.

What is Kentico?

Like Umbraco, Kentico is a .NET-based CMS. It has been around almost as long as Umbraco, having launched in 2004. Kentico was founded by Petr Palas and is based in the Czech Republic. It powers over 35,000 websites.

Umbraco vs Kentico: a quick comparison

Kentico and Umbraco share many of the same helpful features. For example:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Content templates
  • Preview mode
  • Versioning, rollback, and audit trail
  • Multilingual content editing
  • Security features

In addition, Kentico has many built-in tools.  For example, it has digital marketing tools including social and email marketing, a customer data platform with features like personas and lead scoring, and an ecommerce solution.

Umbraco is known for its flexibility and customizability. It doesn’t have as many built-in tools as Kentico, but due to its composable architecture and open API layers, you can choose the best third-party digital tools for your business and put them together in a fully custom solution. Recently, Umbraco announced Umbraco Commerce, a subscription service which brings native ecommerce features to Umbraco.

Kentico vs. Umbraco licensing and costs

Umbraco is open source, meaning you don’t have to pay for the software. Kentico, on the other hand, is a licensed CMS. Its Business plan starts at $12,500 per year and its Enterprise plan starts at $$22,300 per year. The subscription license includes source code access to the web project and administration interface, but not the full software source code.

Kentico is meant to be an all-in-one solution—you pay the subscription costs each year, but for the price, you get a suite of features like the customer data platform, digital marketing tools, and analytics.

An Umbraco license is free, but it doesn’t include as many out-of-the-box features. Rather, you can customize Umbraco to be anything you desire.  That means you’re more likely to end up paying for extras, but it means that the functionality can be specified to meet your exact need (although Umbraco does boast hundreds of free extensions created by members of the Umbraco community.)

Which CMS has the best time to ROI?

So if you’re paying more upfront for Kentico to get more built-in features, while Umbraco is free but requires some add-ons, which investment will pay off sooner?

Luckily, software review site G2 has looked into this for us in its extensive comparison report. Kentico users feel like they achieved full payback in 19 months on average, while Umbraco takes the win at 15 months. That timeframe also puts Umbraco ahead of other content management systems like Optimizely, Sitecore, Contentful, and Progress Sitefinity.

Umbraco vs Kentico user friendliness

Umbraco is known as “the friendly CMS” and is well loved for being intuitive and easy to use. Kentico also gets high marks for user-friendliness—higher than many other CMS options like Joomla and Drupal.

However, in G2’s comparison, Umbraco was the top scorer in ease of use, ease of setup, and ease of admin, taking the lead over Kentico as well as Optimizely, Sitecore, Contentful, and Progress Sitefinity.

When it comes to user friendliness, you can’t beat Umbraco.

Kentico vs Umbraco support

Kentico’s 24/7 customer support is built into the licensing fee. This includes access to version upgrades and security fixes.

Umbraco also offers support, but you’ll have to pay a separate fee. If you don’t subscribe to Umbraco Support, you can get lots of help and advice from Umbraco’s active and passionate community of users at Our Umbraco.

Better yet, work with our team of Umbraco experts here at Emergent Software for ongoing support and continuous development.

Which CMS is better: Umbraco or Kentico?

Both content management systems have a lot to offer, but at Emergent Software, we have a clear preference for Umbraco. We recommend Umbraco to many of our clients.

Why not Kentico? We believe that Umbraco offers the flexibility and customizability that our customers need while still coming in at a lower lifetime cost than other solutions. G2’s comparison report confirms this, ranking Umbraco over Kentico in most categories.

To see what Umbraco can do, check out a few examples of our work:

Emergent Software is one of the few web development firms in the U.S. to achieve Umbraco Gold Partner status and we’ve even won an Umbraco Award for Best Editing Experience.

Interested in an Umbraco website for your business? Contact us.