Seems like a fitting phrase to describe the amount of passion and participation we saw in our 12th annual CMS Critic People’s Choice Awards.

Yup. We’re a little shocked, and a whole lotta awe. And it’s all thanks to you.

A lot has changed in the decade-plus that we’ve been conducting our annual shindig. In the beginning, there were no DXPs or headless CMSs – just a few APIs and a dream. We also had a smaller cohort of participants.

Sure, some of the same players are still in the mix, and plenty of new ones, too. We’ve even seen a few mergers along the way. But brands aside, what’s really astounding is how content management continues to be relevant after all these years – and we’re still celebrating the innovation and community gravitas these platforms create.

Speaking of community… if there’s one thing our People’s Choice Awards brings out, it’s the people who build with these amazing tools and technologies. Once again, you showed us how much love and loyalty exist in your own ecosystems, and how fierce that loyalty can be. You got the word out – to the tune of thousands of nominations and votes – and it’s inspiring.

It's always bittersweet to see another Awards season come and go, but we have an exciting year ahead with lots of new innovation in the pipeline. So without further ado, here are the winners and the highlights from this year's amazing event.

Umbraco sweeps with 5 category wins

There's usually one big movie that sweeps at the Academy Awards, lurching victories in multiple categories. Things don't always play out that way with our own Awards program – but this year, there was one vendor that came out on top.

It’s no surprise that many platforms fit into several of this season's 16 categories. Many DXPs offer products like a DAM that can be procured separately (and that’s just one example). To that end, we let you – our audience – nominate and vote for the tools you love in each solution space.

This year, Umbraco brought the rain. They swept in five categories: Best Enterprise CMS, Best DXP, Best Headless CMS, Best Composable Solution, and Best AI Solution in a CMS or a DXP.

With the launch of its Umbraco Heartcore headless CMS – as well as an array of AI plugins and integrations – it’s clear that Umbraco’s users are thrilled with its features and came out to support the platform in a big way. Congrats to the Umbraco team and its community for driving home these wins.

Joomla, Statamic, and Shopify score gold in multiple categories

Joomla also made a splash with two category wins for Best Free CMS and Best Open Source CMS. Every year, Joomla’s community gets activated around the CMS Critic Awards, tapping its vast global reach to muster support.

Statamic also scored in two categories: Best Flat File CMS and Best Static Site Generator. The platform has a tenacious following, and continues to be vocal in promoting the Awards across its user community.

Despite a decent cohort of competitors, Shopify won in the Best e-Commerce Solution and Best Headless Commerce Solution categories. Over the last two years, the platform has turned up the headless heat with its ShopifyPlus back-office solution for powering storefronts, giving it a broader platform of offerings and embracing more composable strategies.

Optimizely takes the DAM prize

It was a heated battle in the DAM department, but Optimizely won out with its digital asset management suite – designed to work with leading CMSs, but also with the company’s own content management platform. This includes customizable workflows for maintaining brand compliance across large ecosystems.

In the Best ECM category – the specialized Enterprise Content Management vertical – we had a relative newcomer shake things up. Notion was nominated in the early round and went on to upset previous winners by taking the gold. This includes a few stalwarts that have an almost unshakable dominance in the field.

For Best Website Builder, you loved YOOtheme. A perennial favorite with CMS Critic Awards voters, YOOtheme provides page builder capabilities for both WordPress and Joomla, as well as hosting a marketplace of themes and templates. The enduring loyalty for the Hamburg-based provider is heartening, especially as choice and competition increase in this field.

In the Best DXC (Digital Experience Composition) lane, Netlify outpaced the competition – which has certainly grown over the last year. DXC has been an evolution, and a category that has only just emerged (relative to our established pools). We’ll be watching this space and the growth of orchestration tools as we look ahead to the 2024 Awards.

Finally, you picked Azure as the Best Development/Hosting Platform. While Microsoft continues to expand its foray into search and AI, its cloud ecosystem is providing a solid foundation for building applications and scaling services to meet the growing demands of modern digital experiences.

The Class of 2023

For a quick snapshot of the results, here’s the list of all the 2023 winners. You can also watch this video:



Best Enterprise CMS: Umbraco

Best DXP: Umbraco

Best Headless CMS: Umbraco

Best AI Solution in a CMS or DXP: Umbraco

Best Composable Solution: Umbraco



Best Free CMS: Joomla

Best Open Source CMS: Joomla



Best Flat File CMS: Statamic

Best Static Site Generator: Statamic



Best e-Commerce Solution: Shopify

Best Headless Commerce Solution: Shopify



Best DAM (Digital Asset Management): Optimizely



Best Website Builder: YOOTheme



Best ECM (Enterprise Content Management): Notion



Best DXC (Digital Experience Composition): Netlify



Best Development/Hosting Platform: Azure


Congratulations to all our 2023 Winners

What more can we say? Once again, we’re thrilled to have such a passionate community of readers, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Awards.

At CMS Critic, a big part of our charter is to serve the CMS community. Like you, we’re an assemblage of developers and content professionals, and we want our industry to shine and endure. We also want to attract new talent to our collective ranks, and having your participation helps stoke interest and drive awareness. YOU make this possible, and YOU matter to the movement.

If you didn't get nominated or take home a win, that's OK – there's always next year. Keep an eye out for announcements for our 2024 Awards, so you can start promoting early in the nomination round. It's really anyone's game if you can rally your customers and communities.

We’ll also be featuring some additional events throughout the year, so stay tuned and make sure you’re signed up to receive our emails. It's easy: visit and click “Sign Up” in the upper right corner.

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