September 23, 2022

Shootout at the CMS Corral: Sanity vs. Contentful vs. Strapi

Let’s be honest: these days, to make your website stand out, it needs to perform well, and content needs to load before you can say, “WordPress is no longer good enough!”

Enter stage left: headless content management systems. They give your website a performance boost at a fraction of the price of managing your WordPress setup.

With that in mind, let’s look at three key contenders in the headless CMS space: Sanity, Contentful, and Strapi.

(Before we go any further, a quick note: At Mawla, modern, next-generation websites are our bread and butter. So, when comparing these three platforms, we’ll look at features, pricing, and scaling potential.)

Sanity Headless CMS


Sanity’s list of customers includes everyone from Nike to Figma, Cloudflare, Condé Nast, and more. And with that pedigree, it's unsurprising that it’s one of the best headless CMS on the market.

As you’d expect, it comes with everything you could wish for in a CMS.

For instance, with Sanity, you can structure content how you like to provide exceptional digital experiences. You can collaborate in real time, which means no more jumping between tools while, at the same time, having a full version history. With first-class API support, Sanity integrates with all the tools you already use.

And don’t forget, Sanity is no slouch when it comes to SEO.

Ultimately, Sanity gives you a powerful tool to build better marketing websites.

How Much Does Sanity CMS Cost?

Sanity offers a range of pricing plans that suit every budget, including a free plan. With this plan, you get a generous usage quota, a hosted, real-time content database, free admin users, and 3 non-admin users. And you can always add new functionality and resources with the pay-as-you-go option.

For example, we currently pay $250/month and host 10 websites, many of which have tens of thousands of users per month. With Sanity, there’s no need to worry about scaling.

(And that’s not even mentioning the great developer experience, no matter what plan you choose.)

Is Sanity Easy to Use?

Out of the box, Sanity offers increased flexibility and deep customisation options. It also features open-source support, a range of plug-ins. Being built in React means developers can create custom components and add more functionality when needed.

However, while Sanity gives you the freedom to create exactly what you want, it does require some technical skills to set up the platform.

Can Sanity Scale?

You bet Sanity can scale!

With first-class API support, your website can scale up or down when your needs change while maintaining exceptional performance and speed. No more headaches when you need a new feature (and your dev just knows your website can’t take it).


Contentful Headless CMS

Contentful does not see itself as a CMS but rather as a content delivery system. This is because it’s an API-driven system that focuses on the back end and offers content delivery to the front end.

As a result, developers get more freedom because they can use the frameworks and programming languages they prefer.

With Contentful, you have a central hub for content authoring, management, and editing, plus extensive customisation and collaboration features. As a bonus, you can also easily create and manage content in the web application from any device, and it integrates with external services seamlessly.

How Much Does Contentful Cost?

Contentful offers three pricing plans, including its free Community plan ideal for personal sites, philanthropic projects, or just testing the platform. Unfortunately, from the free plan, there’s a big jump to the Team plan, where pricing starts at $489 per month.

Luckily, you can get started for free and then upgrade based on your needs and requirements.


Is Contentful Easy to Use?

With its intuitive editor interface, enhanced developer freedom, and the ability to create and manage content from almost anywhere, Contentful is easy to use, both for amateur and experienced users.

No wonder it’s considered one of the best CMSs for small businesses.

Source: SoftwareAdvice

Can Contentful Scale?

Because Contentful is API-first and fully extensible, you can scale it effortlessly to meet your needs, whether you want to use it for eCommerce, multichannel, customer experiences, mobile apps, or dynamic websites.


Strapi Headless CMS

Unlike many headless CMSs, Strapi is not a SaaS platform but an open-source, self-hosted CMS.

With the tool, you get an easy-to-use admin panel, which makes it ideal for content editors, and you can create a RESTful API within minutes of installing the software. Being open-source and having a massive community means that your customisation options for making your data available are limitless.

Strapi lets you define the content-type structure you’d like, edit the API based on your unique needs, create and execute customer workflows, and even generates documentation for you.

In addition, it also offers a range of integrations and plugins. Keep in mind, though, that some users have experienced some issues with array data types and the drag-and-drop interface.

How Much Does Strapi Cost?

Like many other open-source solutions, Strapi is free. Remember, though, with this free plan, you’ll have a limited number of roles and users. But, you can always pay a monthly subscription, starting at $9 per month, to unlock enterprise features and services.

Also, a hosted option is in the works if you’re not keen on hosting the solution yourself.

Is Strapi Easy to Use?

You can set up a new project in Strapi quickly and easily. The platform is built in JavaScript, so it’s exceptionally developer-friendly. Since it’s built in JavaScript, it integrates seamlessly with most front-end frameworks.

Can Strapi Scale?

With its customisation options, Strapi is ideal for developers and content editors, and you can easily add new features and functionality. So, it is scalable. Remember that because it’s an open-source solution, you’ll need to work harder to set it up.


The Final Verdict: Strapi vs. Sanity vs. Contentful

So, which of these three headless CMSs is best?

If it were us, we’d choose Sanity. In fact, we already do. Since it already has the key functionality, Sanity allows us to start JAMstack website projects at 70% completion and focus on tailoring the features to your needs.

However, any headless CMS you choose will be better than a traditional monolithic solution. Give yourself a break and hop on to the hCMS side!

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Are you ready to launch a website that lasts? Mawla builds next-generation JAMstack websites with optimised performance, workflow automation, and beautiful delivery to increase your revenue. Get in touch with us.

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