Liferay DXP is a powerful technology that can help you create various enterprise-grade applications in record time and without straining your resources – we know because we’ve used it quite a lot at Pretius. In this article, I’ll tell you how Liferay works, what are its true costs, and describe the most prevalent business scenarios you can use it in. I’ll also highlight some competing tools and compare them to Liferay.

What are CMS systems?

Before we introduce Liferay, let’s define key terms you’ll need to understand this article: Content Management System (CMS) and Digital Experience Platform (DXP). 

I’ll start with CMS. Content Management Systems are tools that have revolutionized the creation and management of websites. Before their dawn – back in the 1990s – website creators had to create sites from scratch. Nowadays, creating, managing and editing websites is much easier. 

Administrators can use CMS to manage elements such as text, photos, videos, textures and any other elements posted on a page. They can also assign permissions and responsibilities based on roles – such as authors, administrators, and regular users – to manage workflows easier. 

The first CMS system was PRISM, created in 1995. Currently, there are plenty of powerful options, like WordPress, Joomla, and Liferay. Many famous companies and organizations have used these systems. Some examples are NASA, Tesla, The Emmy Awards, Twitter, Stanford University, Harvard University, and eBay. ​

CMS systems – biggest advantages

  • Ease of use – The main draw of using a CMS is that it allows you to manage websites easily and without specialized knowledge or coding skills.
  • Price – Many content management systems are open-source and free to use (though you still need to implement and configure them, which may incur costs).
  • Flexibility – The most prominent CMS offer plenty of plugins and integration options, so you can extend their functionality and connect them to your other systems.

CMS – problems and drawbacks

  • Website performance – Due to the size of the code that allows you to manage content and other aspects, websites built with a CMS may be slower than a classic static site.
  • Security risks – The constantly growing number of plug-ins and their updates means that new threats and loopholes that can potentially threaten the website’s security are constantly emerging. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor information about the appearance of such threats and update the pages as patches are released.
  • Server performance – Some CMS (like Joomla) can overload the available server resources, especially if configured without knowledge of the consequences of installing subsequent extensions.

🔐 Worried about the security of your CMS? Find out how we managed to make WordPress secure for our clients

What distinguishes DXP systems

Another useful term to know is DXP – Digital Experience Platform. It’s an integrated set of core technologies that support the creation, management, delivery and optimization of personalized web applications. DXP can be a single product or a software package with multiple integrated applications. These solutions allow you to support activities related to web analytics, simplify cooperation within the company and with external entities, and thus improve the flow of information at individual levels.

DXP platforms are particularly useful for supporting marketing and sales processes within companies – you can collect and organize customer data to derive real value from it. For example, a retailer can use a DXP to provide a personalized experience that includes shopping, loyalty programs, and relevant content. Customers can interact with the platform in the way that suits them best. The more they engage with it, the more the experience becomes tailored to their preferences.

Another advantage of DXP is that it allows you to “digitize” business operations. This is why so many tools allow for easy integration with other systems and for integrating processes, often out of the box. The workflow management tools, custom content, automated processes, etc., can also serve this purpose.

Digital Experience Platforms unify and evolve the functionalities of Content Management Systems and Website Experience Management Systems. In truth – as Patryk Rutkowski and Bartłomiej Jajkowski highlighted in their DXP vs. CMS comparison: How to manage content and digital assets in 2023? article –  the boundary between a CMS and a DXP can be quite blurry, and some technologies bridge that gap and go from one camp to the other as they change and evolve. Liferay is a great example of this.

What is Liferay?

A screen showing Liferay logo.

Liferay is a powerful programming tool written in Java that allows you to build complex web applications easily. Although it’s not the newest tech – the first version of the Liferay Portal CMS was released in 2000 – thanks to constant updates and adapting it to users’ needs, Liferay holds a strong position in the market (not a leading one, though).

Over the years, Liferay has undergone many changes, evolving from Liferay Portal CMS to a full-fledged Liferay DXP system. The platform is a solid choice, especially for large companies that need reliable, stable, secure and adaptable solutions. It found use in various organizations such as the Indian Infosys, the Japanese Fujitsu, the American eBay and the University of California. 

Liferay advantages

Liferay has several advantages:

  1. Open-source and free nature – The system has a free variant developed as open-source software, which helps reduce licensing costs.
  2. Flexibility and scalability – Liferay is highly scalable and flexible, thanks to great integration options. You can tailor it to your company’s individual needs.
  3. Intuitiveness –  Liferay guarantees an intuitive and uncomplicated development environment. The platform takes advantage of low-code principles and can be used by anyone, even people without technical expertise.
  4. Stability and support – The platform is developed using Open Source methodology by various people worldwide, giving it high stability.

Liferay features

Liferay DXP is very configurable and offers several features a traditional CMS system doesn’t:

  1. Liferay DXP allows you to deliver personalized, contextual and effective customer experiences at the enterprise level. It enables organizations to create and manage content and deliver personalized digital experiences. 
  2. You can integrate Liferay with popular systems such as CRM, ERP and PIM. Some examples include Salesforce, Google Drive and Office 365. This allows you to easily transfer data between various systems, which enables communication using various standards, such as SOAP, REST, GraphQL, RSS and your own API.
  3. Liferay DXP also allows you to remove data silos (repositories of useful data that are controlled by one department and isolated from the rest of the company) by capturing data from users via forms and automatically updating information in backend systems such as CRM or ERP. 
  4. There is also the option to use Liferay Connected Services (LCS) – a comprehensive collection of tools and services crafted to supervise and manage your Liferay DXP instances. Within LCS, you can streamline activities like installing fix packs, monitoring performance, activating instances, and managing subscriptions.

If you want to learn more about Liferay’s various features and widgets – such as Knowledge Base, Blogs & Webinars, Images, and Documents – check out the video showcase created by my colleague Patryk Rutkowski. You’ll see how easy it is to create a specific type of system – a customer portal – using this technology.

Liferay – true costs of using the technology

Despite Liferay’s free, open-source nature (if you opt for the Community version – more on that below), implementing the platform in an organization involves certain costs that must be considered and assessed from a business perspective. Below are the key aspects that should be taken into account.

Licensing and implementation costs

  • License costs: The Liferay digital experience platform is available in two versions – Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The first one is completely free and available under the GNU license. The Enterprise Edition is intended for enterprises and offers a stable platform with a subscription support package. Although the CE version contains the latest features and is regularly updated, a paid subscription to the EE version offers better stability because updates to diagnosed vulnerabilities and errors are introduced immediately. The cost of the license depends on many factors, including the selected package, the number of users, the size of the project and the purpose of the organization.
  • Implementation costs: Liferay implementation requires appropriate preparation of the IT infrastructure, integration with existing systems and adaptation of the platform to the organization’s needs. Implementation costs depend on the project’s scale and complexity level. Although many functionalities, especially the basic ones, are provided to the user out of the box, meeting more individual and specialized needs requires adding custom code.

🤔 Interested in customizing Liferay? Check out our tutorial on using Service Builder, Dynamic Queries and Custom SQLs in your Liferay application

Costs of training and technical support

  • Staff training: It may be necessary to train employees in using Liferay and the implemented functionalities. This is normal when implementing a new system, but thanks to the specific way the Liferay platform functions (its low-code nature, for example), subsequent websites built using it will share certain similarities. Thanks to this, training people with previous experience with Liferay-based systems can be cheaper, potentially.
  • Technical support: Again, you always need to consider this when implementing new systems. However, with Liferay, it’s possible to purchase the Enterprise Edition and provide your organization with the additional technical support offered by the platform’s creator. Support costs depend on the selected plan and scope of services. This gives you more choice than in the case of websites created from scratch or using free CMS software.

Maintenance and update costs

  • Server maintenance costs: Whenever you’re creating a new system, it’s necessary to provide appropriate server infrastructure for the application. This involves costs related to maintaining servers and ensuring appropriate performance and availability. Liferay is no different in this regard.
  • Update costs: Regular application updates are essential to ensure system security, stability and availability. This incurs additional fees. As with technical support, you can opt for the Enterprise Edition and get this taken care of for you. This may be a better option cost-wise, and it ensures your applications are constantly protected against any emerging vulnerabilities and errors.

Integration and customization costs

  • Costs of integrating existing systems: Liferay implementation may require integration with existing databases and systems such as CRM or ERP. Integration costs depend on the complexity of the integration and the number of integrated systems. Fortunately, the current version of the platform offers over 60 applications and tools (mostly free), many of which support integration processes with other systems. Additionally, numerous guides comprehensively describe integration processes with other platforms.
  • Customization and expansion costs: Sometimes, it’s necessary to adapt or expand application functionality to meet new, evolving organizational requirements. Customization costs can be high, especially when you encounter an error that affects the entire application’s operation. Fortunately, with its portlet approach, Liferay minimizes this chance. You can deliver new functionalities in the form of separate, completely independent portlets displayed anywhere in the application. This means that not only can they be developed separately, independently of other work performed on the system, but also, in the event of an error, it shouldn’t affect the operation of other parts of the website.

💡 Want to know more about the portlets? Here’s my article on using Liferay portlets in front-end development

Liferay digital experience platform – most popular alternatives

In the era of digitalization, choosing the right content management platform (CMS) is crucial for the success of every organization. In this chapter, we will compare the most popular CMS platforms according to data from Wappalyzer – a popular website offering statistics on technologies used on websites. 

According to the report for 2023, the most popular platforms are Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. Each has unique features and benefits that can bring value to a specific type of organization. Remember that there is no “best” choice to meet all needs – what is best for your organization depends on your specific needs and goals.


A screen showing WordPress logo.

WordPress is currently the most popular content management system in the world. 43% of websites were created and are managed with it. Its popularity results not only from the intuitive interface but also from the wealth of customization options. It’s no longer just a blogging platform but a comprehensive tool that is able to meet almost any challenge posed by modern online trends.

WordPress simplifies content management, enabling people without deep technical knowledge to create and edit websites hassle-free. Its flexibility allows you to adapt the website’s functionality to the most sophisticated requirements, from simple blogs to online stores and advanced social media platforms.

Moreover, WordPress has a huge community of users and developers. Thousands of available themes and plugins allow you to add new features and a unique look to your website in just a few clicks. Additionally, thanks to built-in search engine optimization (SEO) mechanisms, WordPress allows you to improve your website’s visibility in search results.

How WordPress compares with Liferay?

Compared to the Liferay DXP platform, WordPress is an alternative that focuses on ease of use and a wide range of available solutions, which can be crucial for organizations looking for a flexible and easy-to-use content management system. However, it does not offer Liferay’s ability to integrate various systems and resources into one coherent platform. Liferay also prevails in terms of advanced personalization functions, data analysis, reporting and the ability to create complex workflow processes. 

Moreover, Liferay was designed to be responsive by default, meaning it is optimized for various devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In the case of WordPress, it depends on how the selected theme has been adapted. There are also potential security risks to consider – WordPress has plenty of new vulnerabilities detected each year, and many of them have medium/high severity (here’s a roundup that highlights issues from December 2023 alone). Sure, there are ways to make an enterprise-level CMS based on WordPress secure, but it may be easier just to choose a different technology. 


A screen showing Joomla logo.

Joomla, like WordPress, is one of the most popular content management systems. For many years, it held the title of WordPress’s main competitor (it had the second-highest market share). Joomla is also known for its flexibility and scalability, which allows it to be adapted to a wide range of user needs and requirements.

A simple and intuitive user interface facilitates content management, and a rich library of extensions supports the implementation of advanced functionalities tailored to the needs of individual users. Joomla is a multilingual platform, making creating websites in different languages easy. Like Liferay, It’s also responsive by default (meaning it looks equally nice on your laptop and on various smartfones – so users can access it no matter their location or device) and offers support for search engine optimization – SEO.

Joomla has several advanced features, especially in the latest version, Joomla 4, that make it stand out from other CMS systems. For example, the native support offered for Bootstrap 5 makes creating modern animations and designs easy. The new and improved command line interface (CLI) is also handy, as it allows you to perform maintenance tasks without logging in to the website, for example. Recently, the platform received support for creating workflow processes and a new multimedia manager that makes managing multimedia files much easier. Joomla also has its own theme library, and changing your website’s look is as easy as finding and downloading a template that suits you.

How Joomla compares with Liferay?

Joomla may be more suitable for organizations that need more advanced features and customization. However, like WordPress, Joomla does not offer the advanced integration features of various systems and resources. Liferay also outperforms Joomla regarding advanced personalization features, data analysis, reporting and the ability to create complex workflow processes.


A screen showing Drupal logo.

Drupal is another popular content management system, set apart from the competition by its advanced content and user management features. It also offers detailed options for managing permissions – you can create complex permission hierarchies. The platform is a great choice for websites requiring advanced user and permission management and companies that want to build a strong community around their brand.

Drupal is also known for its incredible flexibility and scalability. A simple and intuitive user interface facilitates content management, and its rich library of modules allows for implementing advanced functionalities tailored to individual user needs. Like Joomla, Drupal is multilingual, making creating websites in different languages easier. Also, Drupal is responsive by default and offers native support for SEO optimization.

How Drupal compares with Liferay?

When comparing Drupal with Liferay, it’s important to recognise their superior flexibility and scalability compared to platforms like WordPress and Joomla. Notably, both Drupal and Liferay excel in supporting complex workflow processes, making them preferred choices for organizations requiring advanced community management features. However, while these platforms share many similarities in their focus on robust workflow capabilities, there are notable distinctions between them. Liferay gains a significant edge through its advanced integration features, offering seamless integration with various systems and applications. Drupal lags behind Liferay in terms of advanced personalization, comprehensive data analysis, and reporting functionalities.

Examples of business scenarios implemented using the Liferay platform

An image showing a group working on laptops.
Image source: Pexels.

Thanks to the portlet approach, Liferay offers wide possibilities for adapting and personalizing the created portals to customer requirements. Thanks to the features offered by the platform, it’s possible to create solutions that cover a wide range of needs. Due to the number of available functions, I will focus on the most popular use cases of this platform

  • Customer portal

Customer portals demand a platform capable of meeting both business expectations and user needs. Liferay enables you to create personalized experiences for each customer and type of user, adapting the portal’s content, layout and functions to their needs and preferences. Moreover, you can integrate Liferay with many other systems and applications to enhance the experience further. 

The platform supports multiple languages and mobile devices and provides advanced security features such as authentication, authorization, auditing and data encryption. It also provides ready-made security mechanisms that work out of the box. This significantly simplifies security management and protects against threats.

  • Intranet for employees

Liferay is an effective platform for building an intranet for employees. Thanks to the wide range of features, employees can easily access the necessary tools, resources and information crucial to performing their daily duties. With Liferay, you can create and customize various types of content –  documents, HR forms, project management tools, collaboration platforms, etc. – to meet the needs of your specific organization. 

Additionally, real-time collaboration tools such as chat, discussion boards, and document sharing facilitate employee communication and collaboration. The platform provides tools supporting the automation of business processes and offers the ability to adapt the user interface to the individual employee’s and the organization’s needs. 

Moreover, you can integrate Liferay with the systems and applications the company already uses, which is crucial to ensuring a consistent employee experience. For example, Liferay’s native reporting tool can be integrated with JasperReports – a Java-based solution that can receive data from any source. You can easily download an extension that sets JR as the default reporting tool in Liferay. This enables you to monitor and measure the performance of processes in the application.

  • System integration using Liferay

Liferay can serve as a central access point to all tools and resources used within the organization, and the integration of Liferay-based applications with other systems is simple, flexible, and very beneficial – it can increase work efficiency, automate processes and eliminate redundancy. A good example is integrating a customer relationship management system (CRM) with the Liferay platform, which allows immediate access to customer data from one central place. Thanks to this, employees can quickly obtain information about purchase history, preferences and contacts with customers, significantly facilitating customer service and enabling more personalized interactions.

On the other hand, integration with the HR system allows employees to directly access their personal data, forms or vacation plans on a single platform, without having to log in to several different systems. Liferay allows you to create personalized dashboards that aggregate data from various systems and present them in one easily understandable view.

  • Liferay in e-commerce

Liferay offers numerous e-commerce features such as product management, shopping cart, payments, delivery and taxes. This is mainly possible thanks to integration with external systems, a key e-commerce element. Liferay enables easy integration with various payment systems, customer relationship management (CRM), and supply chain management (SCM) systems. Thanks to this, organizations can easily manage their online stores and ensure a smooth shopping experience at various stages of the purchasing process.

Liferay offers tools for customer personalization and segmentation, as well as the ability to personalize offers for customers, which allows for more effective reaching of individual customer needs and increasing conversions. Additionally, built-in sales data analysis tools enable detailed analysis of customer behavior and effective optimization of sales strategy.

  • E-learning platform

An e-learning platform built with Liferay can allow you to create and manage courses, training modules and educational resources. This includes adding content, creating lesson plans, and tracking student progress. The platform also allows you to create online tests that can be automatically graded and tracked. 

Liferay offers advanced tools to monitor participants’ progress and assess their achievements. Course administrators can track student activity, such as time spent studying, the number of modules completed, and test scores. 

Additionally, they can access reports analyzing participants’ progress based on the collected data. – allowing administrators to assess the effectiveness of the training and identify areas for improvement. The student personalization and segmentation tools allow for the provision of personalized learning paths and relevant materials. Liferay also allows you to create discussion forums to facilitate interaction between students and teachers.

You can integrate Liferay with various learning management systems (LMS), such as Moodle or Blackboard. There are also other useful modules, such as an intranet for employees or a human resources management (HRM) system, enables comprehensive management of training processes in the company. 

Real-life Liferay project implemented by Pretius – A customer portal for a Polish FMCG chain

Those were some nice use cases – but now let’s focus on a real-life case study. As it happens, we’ve used Liferay to develop a few enterprise-grade solutions for our clients here at Pretius. One of them was a customer portal for a leading Polish FMCG company operating over fifteen thousand stores.

The client needed an internal platform that would allow their employees to publish information for franchisees – industry news, bulletins, contests, etc. The solution also needed a reporting module that would provide franchisees with professional tools to collect useful statistics and employee data, create financial reports, etc.

The key thing was that the system had to be available to people without technical knowledge and without involving software developers each time there was a need to update it.

For these reasons, we created a portal based on Liferay, supported by web and mobile apps and Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. The solution allowed users to publish content easily via an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. The platform also contains a reporting module that fetches information from Microsoft Power BI and allows franchisees to collect and compile data within the system – with no more than a few clicks. 

Liferay allowed us to create a truly intuitive, easy-to-use system. The platform received a warm reception and is currently used by more than 1k franchisees, which is probably the best proof of its capabilities.


Liferay DXP is a comprehensive and powerful digital content and experience management platform and also a tool that enables organizations to manage their digital ecosystems effectively. With rich functionalities, integration with other systems, advanced data analysis tools and a high level of security, Liferay equals and – at least in some aspects – exceeds the competition, including popular platforms such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

You can integrate Liferay with a wide array of other systems and adapt the platform to specific needs in various scenarios thanks to powerful portlets. Some potential benefits of using Liferay DXP include significantly increased efficiency, improved communication and cooperation, and lasting relationships with customers and employees. 

Thanks to its scalability and flexibility, the platform will not only let you meet today’s business challenges but also anticipate and adapt to the changing needs of both the market and users. If you’re interested in this technology, check out our other related articles:

  1. Liferay tutorial for CTOs: Business-friendly features and more advanced functionalities
  2. Liferay development for experts: Service Builder, Dynamic Queries and Custom SQLs
  3. Liferay portlet for front-end development – An introduction to different options in 2024

Although Liferay DXP is undoubtedly one of the best solutions on the market, it should be remembered that it is not a universal tool. While you can use such an advanced tool to create a simple portal with a clearly defined single goal, it’ll be a good example of shooting a sparrow with a cannon – there are better tools for that (including a few CMS systems described in the article above). Liferay truly shines when you want to build a multi-level system for a medium or large business – one that helps various types of users, provides them with many functionalities, and integrates other external systems. For that, however, you’ll likely need some custom development. 

If you’re interested in the advanced possibilities offered by Liferay and want to find an adequate partner for your project, reach out to us (or use the contact form below). Pretius has plenty of experience building Liferay-based applications, and we’ll be happy to help you. We’ll respond in 48 hours, and initial consultations are always free.