During a popular local Drupal meetup, we had volunteers present CMS's as alternatives to Drupal, comparing them using Drupal terminology. (Review the background on the comparison.)

None of these evaluations are exhaustive. This is just documentation from what was discussed at our meetup.

MODX Revolution

When we tweeted about this meeting and mentioned "MODX", we were promptly contacted by a MODX rep who offered to attend our meeting virtually. As you read below, keep in mind that he was the author of the following comments, so it really describes the CMS with a good deal of authority.

To help facilitate a frank discussion of features provided by MODX, one of Monarch Digital's developers Caleb Thorne lead a demonstration of a basic test website built with MODX, and we then had a short question and answer session aftward.

  • Learning curve. On average it might take about 40 to 60 minutes to get up and running.
  • Content types and fields. Demonstration collections and "Tagger", a tag management system, plus already provided custom fields.
  • Permissions and access control. Built-in Users, User Groups, Access Policies, Context Access, Resource Groups.
  • Community. Docs, community forums, MODX Slack. (Slack is a popular cloud-based project management app for teams.)


  • Plugin/module development. Can make Snippets or Plugins, and packaging is done via GPM and MyComponent. "Snippets" are MODX's answer to inline PHP code.
  • Theming. "Out of the box" theme-ability and “theme systems”. 
  • Contributed ecosystem. Extras, Modmore. "Extras" for MOX extend its core functionality. Modmore is an online marketplace for premium Extras.


  • E-commerce. There are inegrations for BluCart, SimpleCart, and MoxyCart or FoxyCart.
  • SEO. Search engine optimization was built-in to MODX from day one. Some plugins can enhance the user interface for managing SEO, but functionally it’s very easy to support any meta/micro data in your content.


  • System requirements. Review the official documentation.
  • Scaling. There are multiple caching layers and load balancing is also doable.
  • Other categories. The MODX representative updated and commented on our discuss document at length about security/hardening along with MODX's multi-lingual capabilities.


Caleb just started working with MODX and had a favorable opinion overall. The MODX rep obviously painted a very positive picture above. (I would do the same thing.) MODX Revolution seems like a great solution for site-builders who want a lot of power and customization through the browser interface. On the other hand, backend development for MODX Revolution could be cumbersome as nearly all templates and even PHP snippets are stored in the MySQL database. Install scripts are necessary for plugins and updates could be difficult to manage. One of the folks in the room offered up that they replaced a client's MODX site with Drupal as the client just couldn't get MODX to scale.


MODX Revolution is a great solution for individual site-builders but maybe not for a team of developers.

if you found this analysis helpful, be sure to check out the other CMS comparisons in this blog series.