Magnolia vs dotCMS

Are you looking for an open source Java based CMS?

dotCMS is one of the best open-source alternatives for companies considering Magnolia. Due to its hybrid architecture and extensive APIs, dotCMS gives both marketers and developers the flexibility to build amazing user experience at scale.

What's the Best Hybrid headless CMS?

Hybrid headless CMS solutions like dotCMS are growing in popularity in the content management space. Another on the list of hybrid headless vendors is Magnolia CMS, a solid contender used by enterprise companies with a solid foothold in the CMS market.

However, user reviews in technology comparison sites such as G2 Crowd, Capterra, and GetApp see Magnolia as a sometimes-clunky CMS whose many features can at times be too much of an overkill.

dotCMS represents an excellent alternative to Magnolia CMS as it is a hybrid platform that’s less expensive and easier to set up.

That being said, if you want to migrate to dotCMS from Magnolia or you’re simply window shopping and comparing Magnolia CMS with other CMSs, you’ve come to the right place.Read more and find how these two hybrid CMSs differ and why dotCMS represents the most hassle-free alternative.

Magnolia CMS Overview

Founded in Basel, Switzerland in 2003, Magnolia CMS is an API-first, cloud-based PaaS tool aimed at enterprise businesses. Magnolia CMS aims at bridging the gaps headless CMSs leave when it comes to managing and publishing content. Users are supported through multisite development and omnichannel content delivery that decouples authoring from publishing.


  • Java-based
  • API-based, Platform as a Service
  • JCR content repository
  • OOTB search
  • LowCode support
  • Apache Jackrabbit
  • Headless architecture

Main Features

  • SPA editor
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Approval workflows
  • Role-based security
  • Multisite management
  • Omnichannel content delivery
  • Component and page-based personalization

dotCMS Overview

Founded in the US in 2003, dotCMS is an API-first, open-source platform that offers Content-as-a-Service. Due to its hybrid architecture, dotCMS can act as either a headless CMS or decoupled CMS, giving both marketers and developers the flexibility they need to create, search, and reuse the content across multiple formats and channels.


  • Java-based
  • API-based, Content-as-a-Service
  • Hybrid architecture
  • Content Indexing using Elasticsearch
  • NoCode/LowCode
  • RESTful and GraphQL content search and access
  • Static publishing and replication to remote instances
  • Integrated CDN

Main Features

  • Open-source
  • Enables the best-of-breed approach
  • Built-in SEO
  • Granular user roles
  • Edit Mode Anywhere SPA editor
  • Multisite management
  • NoCode functionalities
  • Omnichannel content management

G2 Ratings

Side-by-side comparison of dotCMS vs. Magnolia based on preference data from user reviews.

  • Reviewers felt that dotCMS meets the needs of their business better than Magnolia.
  • When comparing quality of ongoing product support, reviewers felt that dotCMS is the preferred option.
  • Reviewers felt that administration of both products was equally easy, and preferred doing business with dotCMS overall.
dotCMS (62 Reviews) Magnolia (30 Reviews)
Meets Requirements
Responses: 50
Responses: 21
Ease of Use
Responses: 50
Responses: 21
Ease of Admin
Responses: 35
Responses: 12
Quality of Support
Responses: 49
Responses: 21
Ease of Doing Business With
Responses: 35
Responses: 12
Content Authoring
Responses: 38
Responses: 15
Enterprise Scalability
Responses: 35
Responses: 14
API / Integrations
Responses: 34
Responses: 13
Responses: 7
Responses: 6
Unlimited Environments
Responses: 9
Responses: 8

Highly Rated and Recommended

We're rated Excellent 4.2/5 stars on G2 - with 60+ verified reviews


Why TELUS Chose dotCMS

TELUS, the Canadian telecommunications giant, chose dotCMS to host its intranet and employee portal. Their previous intranet, a legacy system, couldn’t keep up with the ever-growing needs of TELUS and its subsidiaries, which called for a new intranet solution that could support a growing enterprise.

Thanks to dotCMS, TELUS strengthened its business's employee experience and gave employees of different stores and subsidiaries across Canada quick access to customer data, marketing and training materials in multiple formats and languages.

Learn More