Netlify vs Strapi Overview: Complete Comparison 2022
By Mariana Demchuk, Volodymyr Bystranivskyi | July 04, 2023 | Web Development
Every year, Headless Content Management System (CMS) is used more and more often. Instead, traditional CMSs are increasingly losing their relevance because they are limited in functionality and are not always able to flexibly adapt to business needs.
Headless CMS contains a simple and accessible API for implementing functionality on the server-side without any external interface. Headless CMS allows you to work with data in a very flexible and convenient format for you. The developer can independently model the entire structure of the site, organize data storage, improve user interaction, integrate any third-party service, and scale the CMS as needed.
There are about 100 different Headless CMS in the market. They can be divided into two types - API driven and Git-based. In our article, we've reviewed two of the most popular Headless CMS - Netlify (Git-based) and Strapi (API-driven). Keep reading on to better understand the key differences between them and choose the best solution for your project.
Netlify Platform Overview
Netlify is an all-in-one platform, that allows you to create and deploy engaging websites and apps with maximum performance. This service simplifies the life of users through automated tools for testing, building, and hosting web projects on the Internet.
Netlify combines several products and services to speed up and simplify web development. These products could be used separately but if used together could provide a more robust solution to user needs.
Netlify Products and Features
Netlify CMS is released under the MIT license. The system is built like a single-page React application. You can add custom previews, widgets, editor plugins, etc., as well as server-side parts to support various Git platform APIs.
In reality, Netlify CMS is a kind of "customization" over the existing git platforms, as the content is saved in the selected git repository, and the authorization and user management system is engaged there as well.
Netlify CMS Key Features:
- Convenient and intuitive user interface;
- Configuring access to the CMS;
- There is a possibility of delayed publication;
- Automatic updates from Github and Gitlab;
- HTTPS support;
- A ready-made template is provided for a quick start.
This is the basis of the project, super easy-to-learn hosting for websites and web applications. The logic of Build works in two simple steps:
- We connect the git repository to the hosting.
- We push the application code to our repository.
Almost everything else is taken care of by Netlify. You may have to additionally specify the directory with the already “built” project and the build command itself (usually npm run build or npm run generate).
After that, Netlify will automatically rebuild your project and publish it on your domain every time you push the code to the selected repository.
Netlify also provides an API for managing the build of a project through other software, A / B testing system, Pull Request Preview functions, and a powerful command-line utility.
A Netlify premium service that provides customers with their CDN. This is a network of servers that allows you to significantly speed up the loading of the site and keep it up and running regardless of your actions.
When a site is hosted on Netlify Edge, it is automatically sent to multiple servers. First, it makes it easier to download web applications because the user will "download" data from the server closest to geolocation. Secondly, if you make changes to the site, they will automatically arrive on each server.
It is an alternative to the Dev servers used to develop applications and websites in a local programming environment. Netlify Dev includes Build and Edge logic, allowing you to use all the features of the services offline even at the product development stage.
The main advantage of Netlify Dev is the ability to write backend code, frontend code, the logic for the CDN platform, serverless code, etc. in parallel. Everything is committed to one repository, tested under conditions as close as possible to production conditions, and then sent to Edge via Build in one click.
In addition to the three key branches of the Netlify project, it has several add-ons that expand on and complement the core service.
A mini-platform for publishing individual functions that run on top of the Netlify backend.
Using the Netlify Forms, you can manage existing forms with an easy update. No need to reconfigure an already finished project and think about how best to collect information about users. Netlify Forms completely automates the process.
Built-in data collection and analysis system. It directly collects information from Netlify servers and presents it in visual dashboards in the user's account.
Netlify is a free, fully open-source CMS. But if you need a customized cloud with prepared infrastructure, you'll have to sign up for the Netlify platform and choose one of the subscription plans.
- Starter - from 0 USD/month (there is a fee for increasing the limits and for some functions), the features are suitable only for fan projects.
- PRO - from 19 USD per month. Some limits are increased, but you can count on technical support by email.
- Business - from 99 USD/month. Full functionality of the platform, 24-hour technical support, and SLA.
- Large corporate customers can expect custom rates.
As mentioned, Netlify CMS is an open-source CMS supported by a growing and helping the community. They have pretty good documentation, but if you have trouble installing it or using it, the only way to get help is through their community channels:
Live community chat for all things Netlify CMS related in Slack.
Ask and answer questions on the designated Netlify CMS channel in the Netlify community forum.
In GitHub Issues, you can report bugs, request features, and comment on existing issues.
- Netlify reduces development effort. Many default features are available for free.
- Suitable for non-professionals and small development teams.
- Significantly speeds up and simplifies the process of maintaining small-page sites and mobile applications created using popular builders (Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll, etc.).
- A revision/change tracking system is provided (Git versioning is implemented by real developer platforms such as GitHub).
- The basic functionality can be extended by installing plugins.
- Netlify takes over some of the admin duties (providing the domain, SSL certificate, and other necessary components).
- Netlify CMS has no HTTP API, it works with files in Git repositories.
- Needs specific hosting (there's free from the Netlify platform, but it's only suitable for small personal projects).
- Netlify CMS has a low entry threshold, but beginners and content management teams are unlikely to figure out how to install and configure it.
- Netlify cloud platform tariffs have strict limitations on many parameters (space requirements, application build time, etc.), and if they are exceeded, additional fees are required.
Strapi CMS Overview
With 48.5k stars on Github, Strapi has become one of the favorite Headless CMS in the Jamstack ecosystem due to its versatility and scalability. Also, the idea of having full control over the application you create, without any API restrictions, is very tempting.
Strapi is an open-source system built on Node.js and React that allows you to use the database of your choice. It currently supports SQLite, MongoDB, MySQL, and Postgres. It's no secret that Strapi positions itself as an alternative to WordPress.
Strapi has an intuitive admin interface for both users and developers and editors. Anyone can download and install CMS, subscription packages are needed more to get professional technical support from the team of official developers.
You can use Strapi to build anything you want, from a simple website to a large e-commerce app. On the official website, you can find many resources to learn how to integrate Strapi with the most popular frameworks like Gatsby.js, Next.js, Flutter, and more.
Strapi User Interface and Main Features
The admin dashboard looks very intuitive. You can quickly access the features you want to use. Special thanks for getting the start page with all the useful links you can access in case you need any help.
So basically you have these sections in the dashboard:
- Collection Types / Separate Types: This is where your content API model lives. Editors can access it here to fill in the data to be sent to the website/app.
- Plugins: Here you can see the currently installed plugins. One of them is very important: the Content Type Builder because it allows the developer to create content types for the API.
- General: Go to plugin market, install new ones and access the -global toolbar and plugin settings.
When you install Strapi for the first time, you will find that some of the plugins are installed by default, which provides great features for your project, and others that you may want to install.
If you don't see a feature/plugin that you might need for your particular use case, you can build one by getting to know React.js and Node.js a bit, since Strapi is built with those technologies.
Strapi, as mentioned earlier, has open-source, so in the basic version, you can get most of the powerful features free (forever), and host it on your server.
But if you want to expand the features at the enterprise level, you can do so. They offer several plans to unlock these features and get basic/extended support from them:
Strapi has a growing community in Discord, Slack, Github, and Strapi Community Forum. This is great because whatever question you have, you can be sure that one of their communities will answer it.
For enterprise support, you can check out their Enterprise Support Platform and post tickets to get a response from them.
You can also visit their Resource Center to find lots of things to help you create with Strapi, such as starters, tutorials, the Strapi Academy, etc.
Strapi has an excellent functionality to create and update existing CMS-data configuration via User Interface (without manual coding). Unlike Netlify CMS where if the data model has changed - you must manually update the configuration in the codebase.
Other Strapi benefits are:
- Free and open-source;
- Fully customizable;
- Media Library, you can manage your assets and connect your media library to any of the storage providers;
- Choose between RESTful or GraphQL APIs;
- Marketplace for plugins;
- Internationalization support;
- Ability to create own roles and permissions.
- You need basic DevOps knowledge to run it in your environment;
- Poor support for migrating or deploying data changes between different environments;
- The admin interface is not very responsive and needs a better user experience;
- Basic support for advanced text formatting.
Both Strapi and Netlify are powerful platforms for creating amazing products and have many advantages due to a headless approach to development. They help entrepreneurs and programmers forget about setting up a huge number of internal aspects and implementing their server solutions. Each of these CMS has its advantages and disadvantages, therefore, when choosing a site management system, it is necessary to consider what tasks are planned to be solved with its help.
If you are interested in creating a successful project based on one of these platforms but are still unsure which one to choose, do not hesitate to contact Seedium for help. Our team has deep knowledge and all the necessary skills to create successful cases using both Strapi and Netlify. Our extensive experience will help you choose the optimal solution for your business goals.