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Godwin A. Ekainu
Technical Content Writer



Git-based vs API-first Headless CMS

Git-based Headless CMS vs API-first Headless CMS

A content management system is a software tool that helps users create and modify content on a typical website without any technical knowledge. This means users can build a website from scratch without needing to write the code from scratch, while the CMS manages the underlying infrastructure for you. Examples of these content management tools that are very popular include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Kirby, Craftcms, and more.

Furthermore, there are two types of CMS :

  • Traditional CMS
  • Headless CMS

What is Traditional CMS?

Traditional CMS was one of the first CMS that was introduced decades ago of which WordPress was popular and powers about 39.5% of the web. WordPress was used to power many businesses when it was introduced as users did not need any form of technical knowledge to develop websites and modify content. In the long run, there was a need for more customization of traditional CMS as they are monolithic which means it had both the frontend and backend coupled together which makes it difficult to customize as eliminating technical knowledge and application was its aim. Traditional CMS also had other limitations that included poor reliability, poor security, poor performance, inability to scale to other platforms, and costs.

The advent of headless CMS was the solution to these previously stated limitations with the traditional cms

What is Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a content management system that has its backend decoupled from the frontend and content is delivered to the frontend over an API. Headless CMS gives you the ability to choose the appropriate frontend for your project while the CMS handles all underlying infrastructure.

There are two types of headless CMS which include:

  • API-First CMS: An API-based CMS is “Headless,” meaning it removes the rendering portion of a traditional CMS and replaces it with an API.

  • Git-based CMS: A git-based CMS distinctively uses a Git repository and works with files stored in the repository to manage content.

API-first CMS


The API-driven CMS allows users to seamlessly create awesome content like media, relational tables, authentication, and many other features held by the backend. The API-based CMS involves critical planning and layout to be able to draw out what content categories and content fields you need for your software as it is dynamically written. This means API-based CMSes are really confusing if you are not experienced using one.

Furthermore, more frontend technologies have evolved than backend stacks. By separating the frontend from the backend, both ends are built completely independent of the other, what's more, intriguing is that the backend can be used for any platform using any stack without issues. This means platforms ranging from desktops, billboards, mobile phones, wristwatches and more can be powered by one backend.

Pros of the API-first CMS

  • Easy to use content across multiple front ends The API-driven CMS makes it completely easy to use the content on different clients seamlessly.
  • It is Ideal for dynamic sites Dynamic sites can be developed as our frontend can usually work with API.
  • Easily build your own CMS For very specific designs, developers can leverage the API to build their own CMS.

Cons of the API-first CMS

  • Storage limits
  • Fewer formatting options
  • Very dependent on developers

Git-based Headless CMS


Git-based CMSes like Contentrain are built on git version control systems which gives a very familiar sense to developers, as they are conversant using GitHub, GitLab, and other products built, on the version control system. The beauty of this type of CMS is that your work and history of change are stored in a repository which makes it easy to track issues if they arise. With git-based CMS, you can migrate from one git-based CMS to another if the previous one does not meet your requirements, seamlessly. Your content is managed through git functionalities and/or git powered editors right inside your CMS, then on selected changes, the CMS processes new or updated content and immediately builds your frontend which could either be web, and this is done with the git integration using large service providers like GitHub and GitLab.

You do not need to store your data in databases and access it through APIs. In Git-based CMS, you store your content in text-based files practically Markdown, HTML, CSV, and YAML.

Enterprises have to pay huge amounts of money for practically storing large data and securing them which even the API-based cms did not solve but with the git-based cms, you can use third-party storage like AWS S3 bucket to store your data which makes your sites even more secure as even your backend does not have a database completely coupled to it and securing it is easier by simply putting the cms behind a firewall since it only communicates with your repository.

The frontend as well is completely bulletproof because they are static and do not have any affiliation with the backend, plugins, or dynamic server software which can be open to code injection for hacks.

Contentrain infrastructure is completely decentralized distributed which makes security much easier as you only get to focus more resources on the communication points between the stacks. One compromised stack or structure does not affect the other.

Pros of Git-based Headless CMS

  • Proprietary lock-in

    For git-backed cms, you are not tied to any vendor, and your content is not stored on git-backed cms. You can remove the current cms without issues and switch to anyone without issues.

  • Automated backup/versioning

    Your content is on git, all you have to deal with is your history, and your contents are automatically backed.

  • It is Simple to setup

    A git-based stack is easy to set up, so no need to download dependencies for the stack required.

Cons of Git-based CMS

  • It is Harder to use the content for multiple other frontends. To use other platforms, the content has to be processed in a different way which means a lot of overhead.
  • Not a good fit for dynamic sites Git-based CMS is usually used to build static sites like landing pages where the changes do not need to be updated every time.
  • Content queries can be limited

Contentrain Headless CMS

Contentrain leverages the power of git to produce a great tool targeted not just at developers but also at tech associates to easily build websites for their products without the need of a developer at all. Due to the decoupled infrastructure of headless cms, contentrain is highly secure and very performant as it supports all SSG(static site generator) frameworks you can think about which include Nuxt, Next, Vue, React, HUGO, Jekyll, and more.

Why you should use Contentrain?

You do not have to be skilled at developing, to build a platform presence for your products. You can be a blogger, and a marketer and yet can build your website without code.

Contentrain has a very intuitive user interface and experience, so you do not need any help getting started on creating projects.

With the power of git, you can have partners work on your project seamlessly with any role.

Your frontend renders almost immediately upon change and you can add internationalization to your application easily. You do not have to go through the hassle of creating a JSON file to add internationalization.

Lui avatar
Godwin A. Ekainu
Technical Content Writer

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