Contentful CMS Review: All You Need to Know

Contentful CMS Review: All You Need to Know

If you own a tech company, there are many instances where you'd want to publish content across several digital channels at once—for example, your website, mobile app, IoT device, etc.

Using a CMS like WordPress wouldn't be very efficient as it can't publish content on a mobile app. It means you'll have to publish the content as many times as the number of digital channels you have.

Contentful, a headless CMS, solves that challenge.

What is Contentful?

Contentful is a headless CMS or, as the company calls it, a content platform that allows content creators to build digital experiences to scale. It enables teams to create content in a single hub, restructure, and publish it on any digital channel.

So if you have other digital devices apart from a website, you can use Contentful to create, manage, and publish your content across them all. The platform integrates seamlessly with several other tools through APIs that allow you to render and post content anywhere.

How it works

Contentful offers well-organized, adaptable data models that support an array of data types and content editors.

As the company describes it, Contentful is not just a headless CMS but a content platform that can do everything a traditional CMS can do and more. That's because it has a hub (the backend where content is created and managed) and easily integrates with tools to publish the content.

For example, the Contentful Images API allows you to crop, resize, and convert images into different formats and upload them into your mobile apps directly, something a traditional CMS can't do.

With Contentful, you can quickly distribute content to any device type, be it a smartphone, wearable, app, or browser. All you need is an API. So no matter what platform you're developing for, you can always render the content as JSON instantly. You don't need to first install a plugin or module to be able to send JSON data, as it is with traditional CMS like WordPress.

Once you have the content, you as a developer determine how it appears on the device. This is unlike WordPress, which restricts you to WYSIWYG.

Typically, Contentful is API-centric as opposed to page-centric. This means that developers get to work with APIs to retrieve content data, unlike traditional CMSs that rely on-page formats.

Who is Contentful designed for?

Contentful is one of those things that are never one-size-fits-all. Contentful won't be your ideal CMS if all you need is to create a web page quickly.

So if you're a blogger or regular business owner selling products or services, WordPress or Drupal will serve you perfectly.

Contentful is essentially for tech-savvy users who need to distribute content across digital channels other than a web browser. And in that case, there must be developers fetching the data using APIs and rendering the content to those channels.

The most common users of Contentful are Enterprise organizations and the Education Management sector.

Contentful Features

  • Dedicated API endpoints for writing, previewing, and delivering content

  • RESTful & GraphQL APIs with Global CDNs

  • Fully customizable content structure and management UI

  • Language and framework agnostic with 8 SDKs

  • Scheduled publishing, teams, tasks & comments

  • Powerful app framework with open-source editors and design system

  • Localization with fallbacks

Web content creation features

  • Code generated by the WYSIWYG editor is clean and validates according to W3C standards.

  • The admin page is easy to use

  • It allows users to set up a custom workflow and update the website

  • It has a version history so that users can restore a previous version of the website when a problem arises.

  • Contentful allows users to create m-dot and responsively designed pages that work well with mobile devices.

  • Can schedule content to be published later

Web content management features

  • Users can use the search index to locate content

  • SEO support

  • Bulk management

  • Contentful has built-in ecommerce and shopping cart functionality

  • Allows users to build web pages that function well on most browsers

Platform and infrastructure features

  • The application programming interface (API) connects the content creation platform with third-party systems for data creation, removal access, etc.

Security features

  • Role-based user permissions

  • Version history

  • Multi-factor authentication

  • Simple roll-back capabilities

Programming language features

  • PHP

  • Java

  • Python

  • .NET

Contentful Pros

  • Clean and uncluttered interface. Users can focus on content without being overwhelmed by other functionalities

  • It is highly scalable

  • Can be easily extended and provides access to dynamic content

  • Provides organized, flexible data models that support several data types and content editors like raw text, WYSIWYG, and form fields

  • Intuitive UI

  • Keeps history and draft states so users can revert and update whenever the need arises

  • Easy to manage image content

  • Users can customize content however they want

  • Can duplicate forms easily

  • Supports API auto-configuration


  • Steep learning curve. You can get lost if you don't know what you're doing

  • Best for developers and tech-savvy content creators

  • It sometimes takes about 15 minutes for changes you made to take effect

  • You won't know the structure of a page you're currently creating or editing until you're ready to publish

  • Price is on the high side

  • Can't be installed locally

  • Proprietary solution/code

  • Doesn't work well with Grammarly, so you may have problems with spelling and grammar

  • Internal search isn't always smooth. Poor filtering

  • Unable to fetch the field data in GraphQL without adding the placeholder in Contentful

  • Not suited to handle general-purpose marketing websites


  • Community - free for up to 5 users

  • Team - $489/month (60-day free trial available)

  • Enterprise - Contact the company for a Custom Quote.


Obviously, Contentful will not be a great choice when working on a general-purpose marketing website. Although it comes with impressive content management functionalities, you're better off using a traditional CMS for your blog or business website.

However, enterprises, tech companies, and developers involved with content will find Contentful an invaluable content management tool.

Sean Kerr

Sean Kerr