Nefe James Nefe is a frontend developer who enjoys learning new things and sharing his knowledge with others.

Best Node.js CMS platforms for 2022

5 min read 1636

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Strapi v4 does not support MongoDB

Introduction

The digital experiences we can create, and the content we can deliver to our target audience, have never been so important. Individuals, businesses, and corporations invest heavily in content — not just in its creation, but also its delivery.

Content management systems (CMS) enable people without a strong technical background to publish content. We can use CMSs to manage our content and its delivery. There are different type of CMSs that perform different purposes and come with different features.

In this article, we will learn about some of the best Node.js CMSs to use in 2022, and hopefully can serve as a guide we can use to choose the best CMS that fits our requirements.

What is a content management system?

A content management system is a software application that provides a graphical user interface with tools we can use to create, update, manage, and publish content.

The content is stored in a database and displayed to one’s target audience through a presentation layer or frontend layer the CMS provides – usually in the form of website templates.

Types of CMS

There are different types of CMSs, but the most common are:

Traditional CMS

A traditional CMS is a monolithic and tightly-coupled system. With traditional CMSs, the content and the frontend layer or “head” are tightly linked. Traditional CMSs provide the frontend layer where the content will be displayed.

A traditional CMS has a low entry threshold. It provides templates, a drag-and-drop interface, and a WYSIWYG editor, enabling non-developers to create websites without having programming or technical knowledge.

Headless CMS

A headless CMS is a backend-only and API-first content delivery system. It does not come with the restrictions a traditional CMS has.

Unlike a traditional CMS, a headless CMS doesn’t provide a presentation layer. Rather, it acts as a cloud-based storage for your content. The content is decoupled from the frontend display.

Developers access the content they need to display to the user through the API the CMS provides, whether REST or GraphQL.



Being API-based, developers are free to choose the tools, programming languages, and frameworks they prefer working with.

Hybrid CMS

A hybrid CMS blends the traditional and headless CMS experiences. It gives developers and marketers the best of both worlds.

It is a combination of the API-first approach of a headless CMS with the template system of a traditional CMS.

A hybrid CMS gives markets and content writers the familiar interface and experience of a traditional CMS, and developers the API access they need to deliver content across several channels.

Node.js-based CMS

A Node.js CMS is a CMS built with Node.js; however, this does not mean developers are restricted to using only Node.js.

Let’s look at some of the best Node-based CMSs in detail. These are CMSs that are active and up-to-date for 2022.

Strapi

Strapi is a popular, flexible, and open-source headless CMS that enables us to create rich digital experiences. Strapi provides REST and GraphQL APIs developers can use to access the content stored in its repository.


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We can customize Strapi to fit our needs through its adjustable setup and admin panel. We can also extend Strapi’s features by installing plugins developed by the community.

Strapi supports a variety of databases such as SQLite, MySQL PostgreSQL, and MariaDB.

Strapi provides a community plan that is free forever and other paid pricing options based on users’ requirements.

Features

  • Fully customizable
  • REST and GraphQL APIs
  • Plugin marketplace
  • Internationalization support

Ghost

Ghost is a powerful publishing platform trusted by the world’s leading writers, creators, and professional content teams.

Ghost focuses on simplifying the online publishing process for publishers, entrepreneurs, and developers. Simply put, Ghost makes blogging and publishing web content simple.

We can stay productive when using Ghost because it provides integrations for the common tools professionals use daily.

Ghost provides a REST API developers can use to retrieve the CMS data and display it to the target audience.

It is first an open source software, so we can clone the repo and deploy an instance to our servers for free. However, Ghost offers different paid plans, and its base plan is $9 per month.

Features

  • SEO
  • Third-party integrations
  • Theme marketplace
  • REST API
  • Internationalization support
  • Audience engagement analytics
  • Email marketing
  • Feature-rich editor with a focus on content
  • Built-in subscription and membership management

Sanity

Sanity can be used for much more than conventional web experiences. Sanity finds its applications in everything from portfolio and company websites to ecommerce applications.

Sanity provides a GraphQL API developers can use to access the content stored in its repository.

Sanity provides a wide range of plugins and third party integrations we can use to customize our workplace and extend its functionalities. It offers a free tier and has other pricing options.

Features

  • GraphQL API
  • Internationalization support
  • Adaptable and versatile – can have different applications beyond traditional web experiences
  • Growing community – wide range of guides, plugins, and code samples

ButterCMS

ButterCMS is an API-driven CMS and blogging engine for rapid website development that caters to the needs of both developers and marketers alike.

As an API-driven CMS, it is developer-friendly. However, with features like built-in SEO, previewing, revision histories, and scheduling, Butter enables marketers to do their best work.

Butter takes media management to the next level. Aside from storing and optimizing images, Butter provides a built-in image editor we can use to transform, crop, resize, apply filters, and much more.

Butter has a free developer plan for non-commercial usage. Its base paid plan is $83 per month.

Features

  • REST API
  • Built-in image editor
  • Internationalization
  • SEO

Apostrophe CMS

Apostrophe CMS bills itself as “a powerful and flexible website builder platform for digital agencies, SaaS companies, higher education, enterprise, and more.”

Apostrophe is built with technologies such as Node.js, Express, MongoDB, and Vue.js.

Apostrophe has an extension and integrations system that provides a variety of extensions for use cases such as SSO, forms, marketing, SEO, design, security, and much more. It also provides drag-and-drop functionality that we can leverage to build out the frontend structure of websites.

Features

  • Custom plugin support
  • REST API
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Internationalization

Prismic

Prismic is a headless CMS for editing online content. We can use Prismic to build everything from simple, editorial, and corporate websites to ecommerce stores.

Prismic has a feature, content slices, which we can use to group the pages of our website into different sections. We can use content slices to create reusable custom components and build dynamic layouts for landing pages, micro websites, case studies, and testimonials.

Prismic provides REST and GraphQL APIs developers can use to access the content stored in its repository. It also provides SDKs for different programming languages such as C#, JavaScript, Ruby, and Java.

Prismic is an affordable and low-cost CMS, and it has a free community plan.

Features

  • Internalization support
  • REST and GraphQL APIs
  • Revision history
  • Scheduled publishing
  • Dynamic layouts with content slices

Tina

Tina is a free and fully open-source headless CMS that enables developers to add editing functionality to Next.js sites. It provides a visual editing experience for content stored in Markdown and JSON.

Tina supports MDX, which enables developers to create dynamic, interactive, and customizable content.

Tina provides a GraphQL API we can use to query and fetch our content. There is also a Cloudinary package we can use to optimize and manage our media files.

Features

  • Great live editing experience
  • MDX support
  • GraphQL API

Keystone

Keystone is an open-source programmable backend that allows you to create a highly customized CMS and API in minutes.

We can use Keystone to build the most basic websites or more complex applications like ecommerce stores.

With Keystone, we describe a schema for our content, and get a GraphQL API and beautiful management UI for the content.

We can create custom reusable components in Keystone for different sections of our websites.

Features

  • GraphQL API
  • Custom React components
  • Flexible relationships
  • Powerful filtering
  • Database migrations

Payload

Payload is an open-source, self-hosted headless CMS built with Node.js, Express, React, and MongoDB.

Payload provides REST and GraphQL APIs that are autogenerated based on the content collections defined in the configuration file. There is also a local API we can use with server-side frameworks such as Next.js.

Payload comes with built-in email functionality. We can use this to handle password reset, order confirmation, and other use cases. Payload uses Nodemailer to process emails.

Payload has a free plan and other pricing options. It is completely free for development purposes, but once we want to push a project to production, we have to choose one of the available licenses even if we use the free tier.

Features

  • REST and GraphQL APIs
  • Email functionality
  • Content localization
  • Security
  • No restrictions in terms of available features in any of the three plans

Directus

Directus is an open-source headless CMS for managing custom SQL databases. Directus also has an intuitive admin app for non-technical users to manage content.

Directus offers both a RESTful and GraphQL API to manage the data in the database.

We can use the database of our choice as Directus supports PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, OracleDB, MariaDB, and MS-SQL databases.

Directus offers a self-hosted free plan; paid cloud plans are also available. Core team support is only available for cloud-managed projects.

Features

  • Authentication
  • Content internationalization
  • Free and open-source
  • Supports any SQL database
  • Zero vendor lock-in

Conclusion

CMSs enable developers, marketers, and content writers to produce and publish content rapidly. Having the right CMS in our toolbox makes a tremendous difference in our workflow and productivity.

In this article, we looked at some of the best Node.js CMSs to use in 2022, and I hope it was helpful in your search for the best content management system for your team.

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Nefe James Nefe is a frontend developer who enjoys learning new things and sharing his knowledge with others.

3 Replies to “Best Node.js CMS platforms for 2022”

  1. You may want to remove mongodb information for Strapi from this article, Strapi v4 won’t support MongoDB natively, and no connector will be available.

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