What is Umbraco?

Umbraco is an open source .NET CMS - or content management system - which is built on Microsoft’s .NET (dot NET) framework using ASP.NET and is written in C#. Umbraco offers developers high flexibility, security, and scalability. Also known as “the friendly CMS”, it gives users and content editors an easy-to-use interface and an intuitive editing experience.

Umbraco is maintained by a team of experts at Umbraco HQ, the company behind the CMS. But its open-source nature means Umbraco is developed by a dedicated global community and everyone can contribute to the CMS. The Umbraco community has more than 220000 active members who submit pull requests to the CMS and help other users get the most out of Umbraco.

Currently, Umbraco has more than 700000 active installs and has over 1200 free packages available.

In its open-source form, Umbraco was created in 2005 by Niels Hartvig. The main headquarters of Umbraco is in Odense, Denmark, and in 2020, Umbraco opened a US headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

What is Umbraco used for?

With its flexibility and scalability, Umbraco CMS is suitable for both freelancers and small agencies, and major corporations. With minimal training, you can create anything from simple blog posts to responsive campaign websites.

You can use Umbraco to build projects of different kinds and scopes - there are no limitations to what Umbraco can be used for:

  • Websites
  • Webshops
  • Intranets
  • Headless solutions

Why use Umbraco?

Developers, marketers, agencies, and end clients alike use Umbraco because it truly is the friendly CMS.

Umbraco CMS gives you the freedom to build websites or apps exactly the way you want with a flexible platform allowing you to structure your projects based on your needs, and with endless ways to extend the CMS.

Whatever extensions you need for your Umbraco project - your e-commerce platform, your CRM, a 3rd party personalization engine, or your on-premise legacy business systems - you can just add them in. And what about marketers? They'll love knowing that they can integrate their tech stack seamlessly with Umbraco. On top of that, Umbraco is an SEO-friendly CMS that gives you a solid technical foundation to grow your organic traffic.


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Why does Tim Howes from The Scylla Group use Umbraco?

Umbraco’s intuitive editing experience will make content editors happy because it allows them to get their content out much simpler and faster.

With Umbraco’s editor-friendly features, you’ll get a fast and intuitive way to the content of your dreams. You’re in control of your content - schedule when your newest update should be published and preview how it will look on multiple devices. You’ll be on top of your media with an organized library and Umbraco Image Cropper that will automatically resize and crop images to fit any device. With Umbraco, you’ll also get a built-in setup for creating and managing multilingual content. And if you change your mind, Umbraco always allows you to roll back to an earlier version with an infinite undo button.

Do you want to get the most out of Umbraco? Then our Umbraco Cloud solution will take the efficiency to the next level. With secure hosting on Microsoft Azure and automatic security updates and bug fixes, you can focus on creating exciting projects - and Umbraco will take care of the rest.

When using Umbraco, you will never be alone - instead, you will become a part of a strong Umbraco ecosystem. While being open-source, the CMS is maintained by Umbraco HQ so you can be sure that the system is always supported, organized, and kept up-to-date by a professional organization. At the same time, a developer community with over 220000 active members around the world uses their skills and experience to make Umbraco better every day.

The history of Umbraco

Created by Niels Hartvig, Umbraco was born in 1999, and Umbraco version 1.0 was announced in 2003. It became a fully open-source CMS with the release of Umbraco 2.0 on February 16th, 2005. The latest major version, Umbraco 9, was launched on September 28th, 2021. Umbraco 9 saw a transition from ASP.NET to the .NET Core framework.

In 2005, Umbraco started hosting Codegarden, the official Umbraco developer conference which is held annually. It evolved from 23 developers attending the first conference into an industry event for business owners, creatives, and developers alike - in 2019, 750 Umbraco users from all over the world gathered for Codegarden in Odense, the home of Umbraco HQ. In 2021 Codegarden was held online, for the first time ever, and attracted more than 2000 attendees from all around the world.


Umbraco HQ employees group picture

Umbraco launched a dedicated Umbraco Community site - Our Umbraco - in 2009. It serves as a platform for the online developer community to find technical documentation about Umbraco products, exchange knowledge, or ask other developers about Umbraco-related questions.

In 2013, the Umbraco source code became available on GitHub, making Umbraco more open-source-friendly and making it easier for the global community of developers to create issues and make pull requests.

Besides the free CMS, Umbraco's offer of products expanded in 2015 to include Umbraco Cloud, a product providing secure and updated hosting through Microsoft Azure. Umbraco Heartcore, the headless CMS solution released in 2019, is running on Umbraco Cloud.

Umbraco HQ, the company behind Umbraco CMS, got its first full-time employee in 2007 and has grown to have an international team of over 90 people.


If you want to know more about the history of Umbraco, head on over to our complete timeline of Umbraco.

The Umbraco products

It all started with the open-source CMS, which is free to download and use. With the open-source CMS at its core, we've since expanded with 2 new products: Umbraco Cloud, and Umbraco Heartcore.

Below is a short description of the 3 products, and a link to learn more details about each.

Umbraco CMS

Umbraco CMS is the free, open-source version of Umbraco - a flexible, secure, and scalable content management system. Besides being maintained by Umbraco HQ, the CMS is constantly updated and developed by a dedicated online developer community. 

Umbraco’s high degree of flexibility gives developers the freedom to create websites, apps, and other projects in a custom way. Thanks to the intuitive editing experience and friendly user interface, content editors can create and edit content with ease.

Read more about Umbraco CMS

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Umbraco Cloud blue icon

Umbraco Cloud

Umbraco Cloud is a solution that gives you all the features of Umbraco CMS - but also provides secure hosting on Microsoft Azure. Cloud will take care of the installation, infrastructure, and security of your site for you - this means that your website will automatically get all new security features and bug fixes. 

With Cloud, you get access to the Cloud Portal where you can manage permissions, project access, and user settings for your project. This will give you the perfect tool to manage your team and all your projects in one place. It also gives you a ton of additional features like Baselines, ContentFlow, and seamless deployments across environments.

Read more about Umbraco Cloud

Umbraco Heartcore

Umbraco Heartcore is a headless SaaS solution (Software as a Service) that is running on Umbraco Cloud. Built on top of Umbraco CMS, the headless solution is created for omnichannel delivery - the product helps developers extend the projects to other architectures and integrations.

Heartcore allows users to create and manage content in one place for multiple platforms. With Heartcore, all content and media are automatically exposed through a REST API. Heartcore also comes with Content Delivery Network (CDN) abilities using Cloudflare, as well as built-in GraphQL functionality.

Read more about Umbraco Heartcore

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How to get started with Umbraco?

Did you hear enough about Umbraco - and now you’re eager to get started?

Take a guided tour of all four Umbraco products with one of our free webinars! Watch a live demo of Umbraco CMS, Umbraco Cloud, and Umbraco Heartcore in time zones suitable for Europe and North America, or take an on-demand peek into Umbraco Uno.

If you would rather dive into the technical details of the Umbraco products yourself, head over to Our Umbraco and read up on detailed documentation about everything from getting started with Umbraco to extending it according to your needs.


Take a free 14-day Umbraco Cloud trial

Get a feel of the developer experience of building a custom website with full flexibility with Umbraco Cloud

Try Umbraco Cloud


Or try our Headless CMS

If a headless approach is what you are after, you can’t go wrong with trying out Umbraco Heartcore

Try Umbraco Heartcore

Loved by developers, used by thousands around the world!

One of the biggest benefits of using Umbraco is that we have the friendliest Open Source community on this planet. A community that's incredibly pro-active, extremely talented and helpful.

If you get an idea for something you would like to build in Umbraco, chances are that someone has already built it. And if you have a question, are looking for documentation or need friendly advice, go ahead and ask on the community forums.

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