What is TYPO3?

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Professional content management for your website

TYPO3 CMS is a free, powerful and flexible web-based Content Management System (WCMS). I.e.: You are able to maintain the content on your website yourself, even without technical knowledge.

TYPO3 is a free software ("Open Source"). This means that anyone (private or commercial) can use it without having to pay license fees. 

TYPO3 is also called Enterprise CMS because of its great functionality, which we will explain below. In fact, there are many reasons why TYPO3 is an optimal solution, especially in the professional sector (companies, NGOs, NPOs, etc.) and is preferable to other applications such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. The most important are:

  • very many functions (e.g. multisite management, multilingualism, workflow functions, search engine optimization) are already delivered with the core system and do not have to be made up for by installing third-party solutions or extensive reprogramming. In addition to a considerable reduction in costs, this means: more security and simpler update procedures.
  • a very extensive user management allows to limit the access for editors according to their tasks.
  • TYPO3 is very flexible. an initially small website can become very large without performance problems or loss of overview in the backend
  • the TYPO3 Association puts special emphasis on security. The CMS is subject to a constant security audit. Security gaps are quickly fixed and updates provided

If you want to get a quick overview about TYPO3, it is best to read our FAQ about TYPO3.


Safety first

If you use TYPO3, make sure to use a current LTS version. 

You can get a download (incl. installation instructions) on the official TYPO3 website start.

If you are already using an older version, we recommend to update.

In any case you should apply the latest security patch (see last number of the three-part version number) for each main version (no matter if LTS or ELTS).

At the moment the following versions are current:

  • TYPO3 11.5.12 LTS (free LTS until 2024-10-31), last security update: 11.5.11, no breaking changes so far
  • TYPO3 10.4.30 LTS (free LTS until 2023-04-30), last security update: 11.4.29, no breaking changes so far
  • TYPO3 9.5.35 ELTS (ELTS with costs until 2024-10-31)
  • TYPO3 8.7.47 ELTS (ELTS with costs until  2023-03-31)

You can learn more about TYPO3 versions here.


Extending TYPO3

With so-called extensions TYPO3 can be extended almost arbitrarily. These are software modules that anyone can develop themselves or download from the TER(TYPO3 Extension Repository, see https://extensions.typo3.org/) or GitHub.

There are basically three different types of extensions:

  1. Plugins extend the functionality of the website ("frontend"). Examples: News Ticker, Calendar, Cookie Consent Box.
  2. Modules extend the functionality of the backend(i.e. the possibilities of the TYPO3 user/editor). E.g. the extension direct mail extends TYPO3 with a powerful newsletter software.
  3. SitePackages are reusable components, e.g. layout templates, which have been completely programmed for TYPO3 and only need to be adapted to your own needs.

For many important use cases that are not part of the TYPO3 core, there are extensions that can be used without hesitation. These include news for news tickers, direct mail for newsletters and gridelements or mask for flexible layout displays.

Basically, however, the fewer extensions you need, the better:

  • Compared to the TYPO3 core, extensions are not checked as intensively for security vulnerabilities.
  • You have to wait with a TYPO3 update until there is a compatible version for all extensions used in the system (or switch to alternatives).
  • If extensions are no longer maintained (because the developer has no more time/desire), you have to find an alternative and - with effort - implement it.

For the sake of completeness it should be mentioned that there are also system extensions. E.g. felogin for protected areas. However, these are technically part of the "core", which is why they are not critical with regard to the above disadvantages.


TYPO3 release strategy

Since version TYPO3 4.5 there are the so-called Long Term Support (short: LTS) versions. An LTS version is considered stable and is supported for a period of 3 years. After that, it is possible to continue to operate the version within the framework of an Extended Long Term Support (ELTS) version (for which a fee is charged). ELTS versions are maintained for another three years, so that a TYPO3 version is (theoretically) supported for six years (i.e. receives security updates).

Every 1.5 years, a new LTS version is released (as a result of several Sprint Releases). There is no immediate need to always use the latest LTS version. However, new versions usually bring attractive improvements in terms of usability, functionality and performance.

In principle, it can be assumed that the use of a version that is no longer supported represents a security risk and a breach of the European data protection directives (GDPR).  

Information about release schedules can be found on the official TYPO3 website at: https://typo3.org/cms/roadmap/


Advantages and disadvantages of TYPO3

The advantages and disadvantages for the use of TYPO3 CMS can be summarized as follows:

Advantages

  • there are no license costs for TYPO3 CMS
  • with TYPO3 CMS there is no dependence on any vendor (and their pricing policy!)
  • due to the standard requirements (e.g. LAMP system) you are free to choose your provider. A change to another provider is usually quick and easy. A change to TYPO3 CMS usually does not require a change of provider.
  • The support and development of TYPO3 CMS is now offered by a relatively large number of service providers, which is why there is a certain degree of independence here as well.
  • TYPO3 CMS has a high level of functionality, flexibility and extensibility. Individual requirements, which are not yet offered by the system as standard, can be implemented by programming own modules.
  • further development is ensured due to the large developer community
  • TYPO3 CMS is easy and intuitive to use via a web browser
  • TYPO3 CMS places high security demands on developers. An own TYPO3 security team monitors the further development and reacts promptly with security updates in case of problems.

Disadvantages

  • Open source offers many advantages. But as the name implies: open source code is visible and analyzable for hackers. Regular updates are therefore indispensable for website operators.
  • TYPO3 can do a lot. Due to this power, however, the system also brings with it a complexity that leads to chaotic and thus no longer maintainable source code when websites are implemented non-professionally. Therefore, we recommend to hire only agencies with certified TYPO3 developers.