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Craft CMS Vs Pagekit - Which Is Better?

10 min read
Craft CMS Vs Pagekit

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is crucial for any website. In this article, we compare two popular options—Craft CMS and Pagekit—to help you determine which better suits your needs. We examine key factors like flexibility, security, pricing, and more. You'll gain insight into the pros and cons of each platform, empowering you to confidently select the best CMS for your next project.
With over 500,000 sites and 5,000 new users monthly, Craft CMS leads Pagekit in adoption and market share. However, Pagekit's free open source license provides immense value over Craft's paid model at $299-$699 per domain annually. Ultimately, Craft offers greater capabilities and reliability while Pagekit provides more affordability and customization

Understanding Content Management Systems

Defining Content Management Systems

A content management system, commonly referred to by its acronym CMS, is software that provides tools and capabilities to manage and publish content. At its core, a CMS is a centralised platform that allows non-technical users to easily create, edit, organise, and distribute content without needing to know how to code.

The main purpose of any CMS is to separate the process of content creation from content presentation. Content refers to all the text, images, documents, videos and other media organisations produce. The CMS software handles how this content gets displayed on the front-end of a website or application through the use of templates and theming. This allows users to focus solely on producing great content.

There are a huge variety of CMS platforms available today, both open source and proprietary. WordPress and Drupal are examples of widely used open source CMSes. On the proprietary side, Adobe Experience Manager and Sitecore are popular enterprise-level options. While CMS platforms can differ greatly, they all aim to provide intuitive tools for managing content workflows.

Key Capabilities of CMS Platforms

Modern CMS platforms offer a wide set of capabilities that enable users to efficiently build, manage, and deliver engaging experiences. Here are some of the core capabilities and features common across most CMS options:

Content Authoring: The CMS includes a WYSIWYG editor and other tools to easily create and format content like text, images, and videos without needing to code. These could include plugins for galleries, embeds, etc.

Workflow Management: Tools to set up an approval process for content before it gets published live. This allows enforcing consistency and quality control.

Responsive Templating: Separate presentation from content by using templates and layouts that automatically adapt sites for mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.

Personalisation: Use visitor data to deliver targeted, dynamic content and experiences tailored to individuals.

SEO Optimisation: CMS platforms provide SEO best practices out of the box like URL management, metadata, and integration with analytics.

Extensibility & Customisation: Ability to extend system capabilities and customise look and feel through add-ons, plugins, APIs and themes.

Multi-Channel Publishing: Publish across multiple channels like web, mobile, social, print, etc. from a central CMS.

Multi-Site Management: Manage multiple websites and domains from a single CMS instance.

These capabilities allow developers to quickly build fully-featured websites while content editors can easily publish and update engaging content. The separation between presentation and content enabled by CMS platforms is the key value driver.

Reasons To Use a CMS

There are several compelling reasons companies and developers choose to use CMS platforms as the foundation for building, managing, and delivering their websites and applications:

Easy Content Updating: Empower non-technical users to instantly make changes to content without needing to edit code or republish sites. This results in huge time savings.

Omnichannel Content: Reuse content across multiple channels like web, mobile, etc. avoiding silos and duplication.

SEO Optimisation: CMS platforms incorporate SEO best practices out of the box improving discoverability and traffic.

Agility & Efficiency: Quickly make changes, launch new sites, and test content to adapt to changing business needs.

Scalability: Seamlessly manage growing content volumes and heavier traffic without impacting performance.

Security: Leading CMS platforms provide hardened security to protect from threats.

Lower Costs: Reduce reliance on developers for making content changes thus lowering costs.

Engaging Experiences: Leverage CMS capabilities like personalisation to deliver more relevant, dynamic experiences improving conversions.

Community Support: Open source CMS options have huge communities providing documentation, resources, and extensions.

For modern digital experiences, a CMS provides the robust set of capabilities required to build, manage, and deliver engaging omnichannel content cost-effectively. The separation of presentation and content enabled by CMS platforms is the biggest value driver for organisations.

Overview of Craft CMS

History and Creation of Craft CMS

Craft CMS is a content management system that was created and launched in 2013 by Pixel & Tonic, a web design and development studio based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The founders, Brandon Kelly and Brad Bell, set out to build a CMS focused on making it enjoyable for web professionals to build and manage content-driven websites.

After growing frustrated with the complexity of other major CMS options, Brandon and Brad wanted to develop a system that delivered a refined, user-friendly editing experience. Their philosophy with Craft was to strip away unnecessary bells and whistles and provide a clean, intuitive interface that just "makes sense" to web designers and developers.

After roughly two years of internal development and testing, Craft CMS 1.0 was officially released to the public in April 2013. The initial version focused on delivering a straightforward content editing environment and flexible framework for building all types of sites. Since then, Craft has seen regular major updates adding features and enhancements.

Users and Adoption of Craft CMS

While relatively new compared to platforms like WordPress and Drupal, Craft CMS has quickly gained popularity, especially among web design agencies, digital creative firms, and enterprises.

Some notable companies using Craft include Chipotle, NBC Sports, People Magazine, Major League Soccer, University of Texas, and Dave Matthews Band.

Here are some key stats on Craft CMS adoption:

  • Over 500,000 sites currently use Craft CMS as their content platform.

  • Craft enjoys strong growth with over 5,000 new sites launching monthly.

  • The Craft User Group community has over 4,500 members worldwide.

  • Market surveys suggest Craft CMS has roughly 2-3% market share of all CMS platforms.

The primary adopters of Craft are mid-sized to large agencies building sites for clients across various industries. Craft also sees significant use among media companies and publishers managing high volumes of editorial content.

Technical Foundation of Craft CMS

From a technical perspective, Craft CMS is built on top of the Yii PHP framework. Yii provides common web development functionality for rapidly building applications.

Craft leverages Yii's libraries and components for core capabilities like:

  • Object-relational mapper (ORM) for database access

  • MVC architectural pattern

  • Caching and performance optimisation

  • User authentication and authorization

  • Testing tools

  • APIs and web services

Building on top of the mature Yii framework allows Craft to focus on being a finely tuned CMS while benefiting from Yii's robust capabilities and extensibility.

For the front-end, Craft incorporates Twig templating allowing seamless integration with JavaScript and CSS. The combination of Yii and Twig offers Craft CMS flexible and powerful foundations to enhance its content management capabilities.

Overall, Craft's use of modern, proven technologies like Yii and Twig provides it with the rock-solid technical base required for a high-performance CMS able to handle complex sites at an enterprise scale.

Overview of Pagekit CMS

History and Creation of Pagekit

Pagekit is a modern open source content management system that was created and launched in 2015 by the developer Annyce Davis. Based in Germany, Annyce had a vision to build a lightweight and user-friendly CMS focused on speed and flexibility.

After working on other popular platforms like WordPress and Joomla, Annyce identified a need for a more agile and frontend-oriented CMS solution. This led to the creating of Pagekit and focusing its design around modern web development workflows.

The initial 1.0 version of Pagekit CMS was released in 2015 after about one year of development. It emphasized an intuitive admin interface and integration with Node.js and npm for extending functionality. Since its launch, Pagekit has seen regular updates and adoption growth within the CMS market.

Users and Adoption of Pagekit

Pagekit CMS has proven popular mainly among small to medium businesses, digital agencies, developers, universities, and individuals. Some key facts about Pagekit usage:

  • Over 70,000 websites currently use Pagekit as their CMS.

  • Typical Pagekit sites get nearly 150,000 monthly visits on average.

  • Pagekit has over 5,000 stars/followers on GitHub showing developer interest.

  • The Pagekit marketplace features over 300 different plugins and themes.

  • Pagekit has a relatively small but engaged community user base.

While its market share is still low compared to CMS giants like WordPress or Drupal, Pagekit enjoys a loyal following, particularly among developers needing a lightweight and customizable solution.

Technical Foundation of Pagekit

Under the hood, Pagekit CMS is built on top of the Vue.js JavaScript framework. Vue provides reactive components for building user interfaces and single-page applications.

Pagekit leverages Vue.js for capabilities like:

  • Highly responsive and dynamic interfaces

  • Fast rendering and transitions

  • Component-driven development

  • Reusability of components

  • State management and reactivity

By basing itself on Vue rather than traditional server-side frameworks like PHP, Pagekit achieves much faster performance and great flexibility for enhancing the frontend experience.

Pagekit also incorporates other modern web technologies including:

  • Node.js runtime environment

  • npm package manager

  • Webpack module bundler

  • Elasticsearch for search

The use of JavaScript and Vue.js allows Pagekit to focus on delivering an optimal editing and site experience for users. Pagekit's technical foundations provide it agility and strength in frontend-focused workflows.

Overall, Pagekit's lightweight, JavaScript-based architecture maximizes its capabilities as a user-centric CMS focused on speed and customization. The platform offers developers a highly extensible foundation for building performant sites.

Comparing Philosophy and Values

Craft CMS Philosophy

Craft CMS was created with a philosophy focused on providing maximum flexibility for developers to build custom sites and content models. The platform prioritizes deep customization capabilities over ease of use.

Some key aspects of Craft's philosophy include:

  • Empowering developers to build any site or structure they can imagine without constraints.

  • Offering a flexible toolkit and extensible framework rather than an out-of-the-box system.

  • Providing granular control over content modelling, fields, and frontend display.

  • Focusing functionality on power users like developers and content editors vs casual users.

  • Promoting web design best practices like separation of concerns and Headless CMS.

  • Enabling integration of modern or legacy frontend stacks like React, Vue, Angular etc.

Overall, Craft CMS aims to deliver a versatile toolkit and API-driven platform focused on flexibility versus a bundled turnkey product. While it has a steeper learning curve, Craft provides unmatched customizability for developers. If you're looking for a Craft CMS Developer, get in touch with us today.

Pagekit Philosophy

In contrast to Craft CMS, Pagekit was created with a philosophy focused on ease of use and providing a ready-made CMS solution. The platform prioritizes user experience over customizability.

Some key aspects of Pagekit's philosophy:

  • Providing an intuitive admin interface and editing experience out of the box.

  • Emphasizing convention over configuration - sensible defaults requiring less setup.

  • Offering a bundled solution with integrated components vs a raw toolkit.

  • Catering to casual users and clients vs just developers and power users.

  • Focusing on speed and performance using a lightweight JavaScript-based stack.

  • Promoting standards like plain HTML markup and Vue.js for the frontend.

Overall, Pagekit CMS aims to deliver an easy-to-use system that works well for basic use cases without extensive configuration. The focus is on providing a complete solution with rich features instead of just a framework.

Philosophy Contrast

In summary, Craft and Pagekit exhibit very different philosophies:

  • Craft values developer flexibility and control above all else. Pagekit values ease of use and out-of-box experience.

  • Craft offers an extensible toolkit aimed at power users. Pagekit offers an integrated solution for any user.

  • Craft enables deeply customized solutions. Pagekit enables easy but more standardized solutions.

  • Craft has a steeper learning curve while Pagekit is easier to pickup.

Neither approach is inherently better - it comes down to the use case and who the CMS is intended for. Craft gives developers ultimate flexibility while Pagekit gives an easy turnkey CMS solution.

Comparing Licensing and Pricing

Craft CMS Licensing

Craft CMS pricing utilizes a paid commercial licensing model. Users must purchase a license to use Craft CMS on client projects or for commercial websites.

Craft offers licenses on a per-domain pricing structure. There are 3 license plans available:

Standard - $299 per domain

The Standard license allows the use of Craft CMS on a single production domain. It receives all minor updates and 6 months of support.

Pro - $699 per domain

Pro provides access to Craft CMS on a single domain including dev/staging sites. It includes 1 year of updates and support.

Enterprise - Custom pricing

Enterprise licensing is for unlimited Craft CMS use across multiple domains. It includes dedicated onboarding, premium support, and custom contractual terms.

Paid licenses provide legal use of Craft CMS, updates, patches, technical support, and hosting permissions. You cannot use Craft commercially without purchasing a license.

Annual renewals are required to maintain updates and support. For multiple sites, licenses must be purchased separately for each domain. Overall, Craft CMS monetizes through required paid licenses typical of commercial software.

Pagekit Licensing

In contrast to Craft CMS, Pagekit is licensed under the open source MIT License meaning the core platform is completely free to use.

The MIT License is a permissive license allowing the reuse, modification, and distribution of Pagekit's code. Key aspects:

  • Download and use Pagekit CMS for free without any payment.

  • View, modify, and distribute the source code according to license terms.

  • Use Pagekit CMS commercially for client projects without paying.

  • No ongoing fees for updates, support, or hosting permissions.

The open source model provides tremendous freedom and flexibility. However, the drawback is Pagekit lacks the funding model to guarantee continued development. The project relies on community contributions and donations rather than paid licenses.

Licensing Contrast

In summary, the licensing approaches differ significantly:

  • Craft CMS is paid commercial software while Pagekit is free open source.

  • Craft licenses provide legal usage, updates, and support while Pagekit offers no guarantees.

  • Craft's funding ensures ongoing improvement while Pagekit relies on voluntary efforts.

  • Craft requires per-domain fees annually while Pagekit has zero mandatory costs.

  • Craft offers premium commercial-grade software and services. Pagekit offers community-driven software without service commitments.

The choice ultimately depends on priorities. Craft's paid model funds refinement and reliability while Pagekit's open source model provides free usage but less certainty. The best option depends on the specifics of the project and budget.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Andy Golpys
- Author

Andy has scaled multiple businesses and is a big believer in Craft CMS as a tool that benefits both Designer, Developer and Client. 

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