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How does Umbraco work?

Are you wondering how Umbraco works? We think it’s the best Content Management System available, and we love designing websites on the platform. As an expert experienced B2B web design and web development agency, we’ve tried and tested many alternatives over the years but we keep on coming back to Umbraco. Our opinions are based on years of extensive experience in Umbraco website design. If you’d like to know exactly why we rate it so high, read on to discover why we believe it wins in the all-important Umbraco CMS vs WordPress stakes.


How does Umbraco work?

If you’ve never heard of Umbraco, it’s one of the most popular Content Management Systems and web design platforms out there. Because it’s an open-source content management system, it’s free to use as well as supported by a team of dedicated developers who keep things bang up to date. The platform harnesses the wonders of rock-solid Microsoft technology and was first released in 2005, intended to compete with other dynamic websites development platforms like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. 

Here’s a simple description of how Umbraco works. Your site content is kept in a database, usually run on either SQL Server or SQL CE. Once it’s published, the content is stored in an XML file. The database itself mostly handles all the crucial back-office operations, holding content in the memory and serving it up fast. Every time you update the content, the config file is updated. You don’t even need to know code, it’s a no-code system.


What are the features of Umbraco?

Here are the main key features of Umbraco.

Content management features

  • WYSIWYG editor – Content creation is made easy thanks to What You See is What You Get editing.
  • No-code content creation – Making it an excellent tool for people who don’t understand code.
  • Create drafts and schedule content easily, in no time.
  • Multilingual content editing lets you manage several languages at once, saving time and hassle.
  • Preview your work on multiple devices with the CMS’ multi-device preview mode, saving a lot of time and hard work.
  • Auto-crop images in an instant.


Web design features

  • Customizable templates mean you can achieve stunning designs with most of the hard work done for you.
  • Pre-built themes do the same thing, a faster way to make beautiful designs with confidence.
  • Mobile friendly by nature, your result will display perfectly on every device.
  • Custom fonts and colours make creating ‘unique’ a simpler matter than it has ever been before. And it makes it super-easy to stay on-brand at every design point.
  • Save essential elements to use again and again with Global Elements.
  • Control your markup closely, with total freedom to play with HTML, CSS and Javascript.


Integration and extensibility features

  • A huge collection of extensions means you can expand Umbraco’s already amazing capabilities in a multitude of exciting ways, easily.
  • You can tailor the editor experience so it suits you perfectly.
  • A respected best-of-breed CMS, it has stood the test of time for years, enjoying an enviable reputation.
  • Tailor-made for Ecommerce, it makes short work of fully-functioning shops of every size, shape and flavour.
  • Enjoy the potential of open APIs, fully customisable and beautifully extendable via open API layers for the frontend and back office. 


Performance features

  • Clean code comes as standard, giving the web’s underlying technologies everything they need for excellent performance. Most of the conventions and patterns you love from ASP.NET Core are also the best way to do things in Umbraco.
  • Built-in caching means the content is retrieved super-quick, for top-class resource management and wonderfully fast loading.
  • Powerful search via the tool’s search engine is easy to use and customisable.
  • Love the platform’s Solution Health Check, which helps you get ready for launch and identifies potential problems for you. 


Security features

  • Excellent password security comes as standard, perfect for ecommerce and ideal for every security need.
  • Run a regular Security Health-check directly from the back end.
  • Support for HTTPS.
  • Know that the open source code under the bonnet is audited frequently, internally and externally in-depth, pinning down issues fast before they become problems. 
  • Customise your user roles with ease.
  • Handles security breaches confidently with a clear plan.
  • Be impressed by fast fixes and transparent communications.
  • Enjoy member management designed to keep things safe and secure. Control access levels to your content and design permissions, and customise the data stored for each member.


Marketing features

  • The platform makes easy work of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), allowing you to maximise the potential and keep up with the latest SEO trends.
  • Social media tools give you full control over shared content – and you can automate everything if you prefer.
  • Personalization at an impressive level supports an intelligent and highly effective content strategy.
  •  The unusually powerful search engine is easy to implement and just as simple to customise.
  • Build complex web forms without knowing how to code.
  • Achieve brilliant marketing automation.


Web accessibility features

  • WCAG Compliancy means you’re free to comply with any of the three vital WCAG standards: A, AA or AAA.
  • You get control over all colours, making it easier to achieve the vital contrast you need for great user accessibility.
  • Add image ALT text with ease, then store it in the Media Library to ensure accessibility – however, you add it to your page.
  • You own your data.
  • More than 220,000 dedicated community members mean the developer community is strong, keen, active and very helpful. 


What Makes Umbraco Different to Other Content Management Systems?

Here are some of the major features and capabilities that make Umbraco so different to its alternative platforms.


High security

  • Umbraco is one of the most secure CMS around, an essential benefit when hackers and mischief makers are on the rise and increasingly sophisticated. It’s a lot safer than WordPress, with a codebase that’s regularly penetration tested and audited by third parties. If there’s an issue, Umbraco updates every possible version, including really old legacy versions.
  • Umbraco comes with valuable extra security functionality to project setups, all part of the platform’s Cloud offering. For example, it makes certain your site always runs on the platform’s most up-to-date and stable version.
  • Because Umbraco is built on ASP.Net, you get a wealth of developer security features compared to PHP for WordPress.


Active developer community

  • Umbraco is updated and supported by a huge dedicated team of worldwide developers. Because they’re so active and collaborative, the core system and support packages always work beautifully and are constantly bang up to date.


Umbraco is easy to learn and use

  • A famously simple CMS interface, plus loads of top-class documentation, training videos, and the helpful Umbraco community all make life easier.
  • You get support for multi-lingual sites built in, with the capability to edit multiple languages at the same time.
  • You manage every media asset from just one location.
  • You can easily scale and crop images directly inside Umbraco.
  • Set up the system to automatically publish and un-publish content at any time you like.


Great for site designers and developers

  • Open, flexible architecture means integration with any existing system is easy.
  • Everything held in the Umbraco CMS, all conveniently in one place.
  • Built-in image and content caching mean a Umbraco site is always as fast as lightning, which delights users.
  • There are no restrictions or set frameworks in the front end, which means designers have the ultimate freedom to go create magic.


Now you know what’s what, you can make the perfect choice

This is a summary of the main benefits offered by Umbraco, and there are plenty more to discover in your journey to explore Umbraco CMS vs WordPress. We’ve provided the insight you need to be able to make the most intelligent choice around the platform your site sits on, and the way you manage the content. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned web designer, Umbraco ticks the essential boxes and goes further to tick many more you might not have imagined – making it a real pleasure to use.

The short answer to the essential question of how Umbraco work is just as simple as the tool itself: it works brilliantly! Can we help you build an Umbraco website your audience will adore using? And host it for you, too?

Get in touch by phone on 01844 888 777, by email at, or use our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.