This story was first published on 10th June 2021. It has been updated to capture minor amendments like broken links. Although we have not updated the time-based content to keep the story flow in place. Enjoy!

As partners to Umbraco and Kentico Xperience, we’re well-placed to share the differences. The decision will largely depend on what you want to achieve and when.


At a glance

  • When choosing a CMS, shortlist those that are secure, easy for marketers to use, and flexible for content creators
  • Umbraco is an open-source CMS that integrates easily with other marketing tools.
  • Kentico Xperience is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) comprising a CMS within a full suite of marketing tools.
  • Umbraco suits marketing teams who only need a CMS and wish to integrate with other marketing tools.
  • Kentico Xperience suits those marketers seeking a professional all-in-one, plug-and-play marketing platform including a CMS.

These two keep getting bigger.

If you’re a CEO or Marketer looking for the right platform and partner to build or re-platform your website, you must pick your winner. You need a healthy return on investment and knock-out marketing results that fuel further business growth.

“A host of Fortune 500 companies uses Kentico Xperience, while Umbraco powers nearly a million websites.”

But which heavyweight to choose?

There are many “top ten” CMS lists online. While several former contenders have limped off the battlefield over the years, Kentico Xperience and Umbraco have steadily jostled their way to the front of the pack for increasing companies. Many Fortune 500 companies use Kentico Xperience, while Umbraco powers over a million websites globally in healthcare, government, finance, and other sectors. Both Xperience and Umbraco have taken their lion’s share of industry awards. For many companies, there is no top ten list; it comes down to Kentico vs Umbraco.

It’s important to mention that both solutions are deployed on ASP .NET, an open-source, cross-platform web development framework created by Microsoft, which is widely trusted.

As for the right implementation partner, learn more about GrowCreate and our client-friendly, growth-fuelling approach to website design. Our quest is to make campaign-agnostic websites easy for clients to use and a pleasure for visitors to navigate and engage with.

Sizing up Umbraco CMS

Umbraco is an open-source CMS that’s free to use (unless you choose Umbraco Cloud) and its source code can be inspected, modified, and enhanced by anyone. Umbraco has a global community of enthusiastic “ Umbracians who generously share their Umbraco experiences and tips.

We champion Umbraco for several reasons. It’s highly scalable, meaning an Umbraco website can grow from small to large to formidable with relative ease, keeping pace with new product or service lines and other expansions. Because it’s open-source, Umbraco has no limitations on customization, making it highly flexible to build with.

Umbraco is SEO-friendly and renders websites that work as well on mobile phones as they do on PCs. It is “the friendly CMS” because it’s easy to use and has an enthusiastic global fan base. This proactive community helps Umbraco continually evolve and keeps a vigilant eye on its overall security.

Umbraco releases new versions regularly, the latest being v8.13.0 (April 2021). Version 9 is currently in beta mode and will soon be unleashed upon the world.

Taking stock of Xperience content management

In contrast to Umbraco, Kentico Xperience is not open-source. You pay an annual license fee to use it. Like Umbraco, it offers a highly scalable and versatile CMS for clients and developers. Like Umbraco, it is built with ASP.NET Core MVC, the lightweight, open-source, and cutting-edge development framework. Kentico’s CMS has great security, powerful SEO tools, mobile readiness, and fast loading times.

Kentico Xperience is much more than a CMS because it comes with all the tools a marketer needs around their website and doesn’t need to integrate with external marketing tools, except perhaps a CRM.

Marketers rally to Xperience because it delivers just about everything; they don’t need to shop for ancillary marketing tools. Most marketers find its CMS easy to use, with its WYSIWYG Editor (What You See Is What You Get), which lets you easily edit pages and see changes on the page in real time.

They also like that professional 24/7 support is available to Kentico subscribers and that regular software updates across the platform — CMS and other tools — are capably handled by Kentico.

Kentico Xperience releases new versions regularly, the latest being (June 2022). Refreshes will continue in the coming years, keeping Kentico healthy and robust.

Umbraco and Kentico: comparing the alphas

So, Kentico vs Umbraco: both are impressive beasts. Ultimately, your decision may come down to whether you ‘just’ need a CMS or more — an “Xperience”; whether you’re happy using open-source software or prefer closed, and cost considerations. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Umbraco and Kentico across several criteria:

Umbraco CMS


  • Free, open-source CMS; highly customizable and scalable. Integrates easily with other marketing tools like Mailchimp, Marketo, and Salesforce.
  • Regularly releases security patches. Being open-source can present a risk as the source code is open to all, but Umbraco strives to keep its core — CMS, Umbraco Cloud, Forms, and Courier — as secure as possible.


  • An external security company performs thorough penetration testing of Umbraco CMS and Cloud twice yearly.
  • Umbraco acts quickly on reported security risks from its user community.
  • For credit card transactions on your website, you’d need to pay for a CMS extension or develop a custom solution to handle transactions.

Marketing Features

  • Easy content management
  • Edit content directly from Microsoft Word, online or offline
  • Content apps, incl. Google Analytics can be integrated into the content editor
  • “Infinite Editing” enables content creation by team members without disrupting the editor’s workflow
  • Templates can be uploaded as HTML or CSS
  • Media library (documents, images, and video)
  • Scheduled publishing
  • Preview before publishing
  • Versioning
  • Platform-friendly (web, mobile, tablet)
  • Package available to add Google Analytics to Umbraco
  • Customizable search functionality
  • Built-in approval workflow
  • Able to translate in 15 languages -multilingual content and editor capabilities for editing content side-by-side
  • Open-source e-commerce modules and applications available


Microsoft .Net Core


Umbraco CMS — is free, but hosting isn’t included, and you may need to install external marketing tools, packages, or plugins, which may incur additional costs.

Umbraco Cloud — from $39/month, hosting included; added features and improved developer workflows.


Global community support — and if your website is built by us, as your Gold Partner, you’ll get dedicated support from us and Umbraco HQ.

Kentico Xperience


  • Licensed SaaS Digital Experience Platform (DXP) incorporating a highly customizable and scalable CMS. There is little need for other marketing tools, although it can integrate with them if needed.
  • Regularly releases security patches. Every released version of Kentico CMS contains the latest security features.
  • All production code is reviewed by a Technical leader, the CTO, and a Security Expert.


  • An internal security team regularly searches for security flaws in Kentico CMS code.
  • Any security vulnerabilities found in production code are fixed within seven days.
  • Kentico comes with Authorize.Net, a payment-handling service for secure payments on your website.

Marketing Features

  • Easy content management — WYSIWYG Editor
  • Edit content and see the changes in real-time
  • Media library (documents, images, video, audio, files)
  • Scheduled publishing
  • Preview before publishing
  • Versioning
  • Platform-friendly (web, mobile, tablet)
  • Embedded data analytics
  • Customizable search functionality
  • Built-in approval workflow
  • Automated translation in multiple languages
  • Out-of-the-box e-commerce into which PayPal etc., can be integrated
  • Email marketing with automation
  • A/B testing
  • Content personalization — target content depending on visitors’ actions
  • Lead qualification
  • Social management
  • Online forms and surveys


Microsoft .NET Core


Kentico Business — annual license fee from £9,000; content management and commerce tools.

Kentico Enterprise — annual license fee from £15,900; content management, commerce, and digital marketing tools.


Dedicated support from us, and Kentico HQ.

“Both have near-legendary reputations amongst their fan bases, a track record of successful evolution and the power to build a secure, scalable, easy to update and easy to navigate site.”

How do you see the ending playing out?

Choosing a victor between Umbraco and Kentico is not black and white. Both have near-legendary reputations amongst their fan bases, a track record of successful evolution, and the power to build a secure, scalable, easy-to-update, and easy-to-navigate website. To summarise Kentico vs Umbraco:

Ease of Use

Umbraco is very simple for marketers to use, they need little or no developer support to use it, as long as the developers have built the website correctly.

Xperience is a bit more complicated. Most marketers would need a developer to get it up and running optimally and provide ongoing support and maintenance.


With Kentico Xperience Enterprise, you get an out-of-the-cage, ready-to-rumble marketing platform able to swing into action. Once your Kentico website is on its feet, you can harness the marketing tools immediately.

With Umbraco, you’ll be able to integrate with best-of-breed MarTech solutions from CRM to Email Marketing, to create a digital titan every bit as powerful.


Be assured that both platforms' vitality, stamina, and capability will be supported for the long term.

Umbraco has announced that from Umbraco 9 release in mid-late 2021, every fourth major version (released every two years) will be Long-Term Supported. This means you’ll be able to stay on your version of Umbraco for much longer, reducing future costs.

Meanwhile, Kentico is moving towards a future where no further versions will be released. Instead, there will be regular refreshes to Kentico Xperience 13, ongoing evolution, rather than substitution.

Both will continue to hold their place on your big screen for new generations of enthralled fans.


Umbraco’s ‘basic’ option is free — remember that hosting isn’t included. Depending on what other marketing tools you already have or don’t, you may also need to factor in the budget for external tools, packages, or plug-ins.

Kentico Xperience Business is available from £9,000 per year for “flawless websites and shopping experiences”, and Kentico Xperience Enterprise from £15,900 per year if you want the premium “Xperience” complete with marketing tools.


Xperience has powerful content personalization functionality that lets you create touchpoints that serve unique content to different visitor personas or dynamically change what they see according to actions they perform on your site. You define and control the personalization specifications; Kentico’s A.I. does the rest.

Umbraco Personalisation Groups can achieve similar results, but this comes with Umbraco Cloud or Uno, not the free version. That said, we have often implemented personalization functionality for other clients and can do the same for you.

The ability to offer visitors a more responsive and relevant experience every time they interact with your website or marketing campaigns can mean the difference between lead conversion and drop-off.


Umbraco’s CMS is open source, so the core code is open and accessible to everyone. However, Umbraco HQ works to ensure that the core of its CMS, Umbraco Cloud, Forms, and Courier, stays as invincible as possible. When any vulnerability is discovered, Umbraco fixes it quickly and puts out manual fix updates to the Umbraco community, in a timely and secure manner.

Kentico continually integrates security into its SDLC (software development life cycle). All developers and testers like us are continually trained to write secure code. A Technical leader, the CTO, and a Security Expert review the code. Kentico has a dedicated internal security team that periodically searches for security flaws in Kentico CMS code and its functionality. All security vulnerabilities found in the production code are fixed within seven days.

If either of these two goliaths has an Achilles heel, we’ve yet to find it.

Roll credits

So, is there a clear winner in this Kentico vs Umbraco rumble? It’s all about your business goals and the initial cost and setup. We always start with what you want to do or achieve, and over what time frame and then advise you on the best platform.

Choosing Umbraco saves money upfront and allows you to budget more flexibly. There’s some work to choosing third-party tools and plugins and ensuring they sync seamlessly with Umbraco. Some enjoy the freedom of that challenge, and an Umbraco Gold Partner like us will give you support.

Kentico Xperience involves paying upfront for a year, but then you benefit from a fast start, with all the inbuilt marketing tools.

We won’t spoil the end of Godzilla vs Kong or the contest between these heavyweight CMSs. Our opinion? We’re agnostic. We love and build on both platforms, so we’re ideally placed to help you decide which is best for your business. If you’re unsure about which to choose, we’ll help you get clarity. Talking through some example case studies might be helpful. Feel free to call or drop us a message here.