OctoberCMS is a fresh and modular CMS-platform based on the popular PHP Framework Laravel. It started in the year 2013 with the claim to get back to the basics.

Startscreen of October CMS

OctoberCMS has been created by Alexey Bobkov and Samuel Georges, two developers from Canada and Australia. With octoberCMS, they put more than 30 years of experience together following the vision to make web development simple again.

With about 50 MB October is not exactly a lightweight system anymore. Anyway, it still feels pretty lean and well designed. It has a smart install process, a clean authoring interface and a marketplace with hundreds of free and paid plugins and themes.

October for Content Managers

OctoberCMS has a well designed dashboard for administrators and content managers. By default, October provides a markdown editor with a classic split screen: The left screen is for markdown syntax and the right screen for the HTML preview. If you don't like markdown, you can install a plugin with your favourite HTML editor.

Content managers will love to work with the advanced media management of October. The markdown editor provides two buttons for links and media. One button leads to the media manager with existing images and links. With the other button the author can upload media files or inssert new links. If you decide for an upload of a new media file, you can use a drag & drop section, that is inserted in the preview screen of the markdown editor.

Markdown Editor of October CMS based on the ACE Editor

The default workflow for publishing posts is a bit awkward, because the publish button (or checkbox) is separated into another editor tab called "manage". So you have to switch to another tab first to publish a post. However, a developer can re arrange all the buttons by editing a YAML configuration files in the plugin folder.

Next to the editing and authoring area, the user interface of OctoberCMS provides a lot more options for administrators in the "settings" and in the "CMS" tabs. One of the great feature is a really intuitive rights management for new users. With this right management you can easily hide all of the advanced features for new content editors and provide a distraction free editing environment.

October for Developers

October is written in PHP and it is based on the popular framework laravel. It follows the well known combination of PHP for developement, YAML for configuration and Twig as a template language.

The installation of October CMS is easily done with a userfriendly installation wizard. The wizard is designed very well and provides everything from a system check to the database configuration.

The theme developement follows well known principles again. It is basically split into pages, partials, layouts, content and asset files with optional subdirectories.

The template files are splitted into configuration code, php code and Twig markup like this:

    url = "/blog"
    layout = "default"
    function onStart()
        $this['posts'] = ...;
    <h3>Blog archive</h3>
    {% for post in posts %}
        <h4>{{ post.title }}</h4>
        {{ post.content }}
    {% endfor %}

A special Feature of OctoberCMS is the CMS section in the admin panel. This is an interface, where developers can directly edit the theme files and add new assets without the need of a separate code editor. I am not sure if you really want to code a whole theme with it, but it is probably quite handy for quick changes and bug fixes.

Code Editor of October CMS

OctoberCMS has a good documentation for developers, so if you like the concept described above, just jump into the docs and dig deeper.

October for Non Coders

Thanks to the number of themes and the easy installation process, OctoberCMS is probably a good choice for non coders to work with. With its concept of an integrated code interface it is probably a good starting point for code newbies. It is quite easy to make some changes on the live system without leaving the cms. Be prepared to work with some abstract layers like Twig and YAML. If you are completely new to web developement, you should usually start with the basics of a language like JavaScript or PHP.


The CMS of October itself is open source, but it has some limitations in the licence. The licence fits to the needs of private persons and to freelancers or agencies, who want to build websites and sell this service to a customer. You can either sell a single website (Regular Licence) or unlimited websites of one implementation (Extended Licence). Read the FAQs about the licening to get an impression of what is allowed and what is not allowed.

OctoberCMS also has a marketplace, where you can buy and sell plugins and themes.

Recommendation: When to use it?

OctoberCMS is very flexible and a good choice for both, simple and more complex websites. You can use it for blogs as well as for static websites, so the use cases are pretty unlimited. Be aware of the default markdown editor. Not all content managers will love it.

OctoberCMS is pretty popular on GitHub with over 5000 stars and it partners with some agencies and freelancer networks. However, there are no galleries of websites built with october.