Contentful vs Strapi vs Contentrain comparison

Choosing the right headless CMS is crucial for your business's digital presence. Our article breaks down the pros and cons of Contentful, Strapi, and Contentrain, helping you make an informed decision for your content strategy.

Andres PhilipsFeb 2, 2024
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A headless CMS allows businesses to deliver dynamic digital experiences across multiple channels. When choosing a headless CMS, several factors come into play, and companies can spend hours scouring review sites and databases for the best option.

Contentful and Strapi are two of the most popular headless CMSs on the market, catering to small business, mid-market, and enterprise customers. However, when considering alternatives, other options are available, including Contentrain. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the differences between the three CMS solutions so that you can make the best choice for your business.

What Is Contentrain?

Contentrain is a scalable content management platform that combines Git and Serverless capabilities. As a Git-based headless CMS, Contentrain streamlines content management and collaboration for developers and content creators.

Contentrain’s Git architecture enables teams to harness robust version control capabilities and offers a flexible architecture compatible with any JavaScript framework. The Markdown-based content editor provides the perfect solution for document-driven web projects, Jamstack websites, multi-language websites, and almost any other application imaginable

Key Features

Version Control

Contentrain’s Git-based architecture facilitates version control. Any changes made to content are tracked and recorded as a commit in a Git repository. This enables content teams to easily see who made changes to the content and when and revert to previous versions of content.

Serverless Collections

Through Serverless Collections, Contentrain can solve dynamic data issues. Data can be stored and controlled in Firebase, AWS, Supabase, and other database accounts. This gives Contentrain users more control and ownership over their data and how it gets used.

What Is Contentful?

Contentful is a composable content platform that enables content teams to create content once and then reuse it across multiple channels. As an API-first headless CMS, Contentful offers easy integration with a variety of technologies. It also offers built-in orchestration, as well as a robust app ecosystem and App Framework so that teams can extend the platform with new features and functionality as required.

Key Features


Contentful removes the need for added custom development using orchestration. Instead, teams can manage content and content types across different organizational spaces. Orchestration allows teams to create content with pre-existing content models and provides visibility into organizational workflows.

App Framework

The App Framework enables developers to expand Contentful’s capabilities by creating custom applications, customizing workflows to minimize manual steps, and easily integrating various tools and frameworks into the platform.

What Is Strapi?

Strapi is an open-source headless CMS featuring a customizable API that enables developers to build projects faster while allowing them to use their preferred tools. Content teams can create and manage all types of content and distribute it to any channel, including websites, apps, and connected devices.

Key Features

Open Source

Strapi is an open-source CMS with the entire codebase available in a public repository on GitHub. An extensive community of hundreds of contributors maintains the code.

Self-Hosted or Cloud

Strapi offers a number of deployment options for customers, whether in a public cloud, on-premises, on a PaaS, or via the fully managed platform Strapi Cloud. The Strapi Cloud platform includes a database, CDN, and ample bandwidth and storage allowances.

Comparing Headless CMSs At a Glance

Here’s a quick overview of the different headless CMS options.

CMS ArchitectureAPI-firstAPI-firstGit-based
Open SourceNoYesNo
Key FeaturesOrchestration, App FrameworkOpen Source, Self-Hosted or CloudVersion Control, Serverless Collections
Best Use CasesGlobal Marketing, Composable Commerce, Knowledge BaseseCommerce Experiences, Corporate Sites, Mobile ApplicationsDocument-driven Web Projects, API Documentation, Jamstack Sites, Multi-language Sites

Contentful vs. Strapi vs. Contentrain

Here is a deeper look at how each CMS compares.


An API-first CMS separates the frontend presentation layer from the backend content repository, and Contentful and Strapi are both classified as API-first headless CMSs. These platforms view the API as the most crucial piece of the CMS, facilitating content delivery to different frontend interfaces the priority and enabling businesses interested in solutions such as MACH to integrate with other systems easily.

However, despite this, Contentful customers have complained that the GraphQL API can be difficult to use, and errors often occur. Similarly, Strapi users have mentioned that native API querying can be cumbersome.

On the other hand, Contentrain is built on a Git-based headless architecture. This enables the headless CMS to deploy projects quickly and makes it easier for teams to audit projects and perform rollbacks as necessary.

Developer Experience

Contentful offers complete freedom to choose the languages and frameworks that make the most sense for the project hand as well as the developer building it. They also offer quick start guides, videos, and tutorials that enable developers to launch projects with Next.js, React, Jamstack, and other technologies.

Strapi is a 100% JavaScript-based CMS allowing developers to build projects using technologies such as Vue.js, Nuxt.js, React.js, Flutter, and others. Strapi is also open source, which gives it an advantage over Contentful as it can be customized to suit the needs of the development team working with the platform.

As a headless CMS, Contentrain offers the same flexibility to choose frameworks and technologies without restrictions. However, Contentrain is also a Git-based CMS, which provides developers with the familiarity of Git and allows them to take advantage of features such as version control and Git branch management.

Content Modeling

Content modeling is a critical feature of a modern headless CMS, impacting how content is structured. Strapi offers content-type modeling and component modeling. Content-type modeling can be collection or single types, depending on the number of entries being managed.

With component modeling, the data structures are reusable across multiple content types. Contentful organizes content into spaces that group related project resources together, including media assets, content entries, media assets, and localization settings. Each space then contains a content model representing the other content types created. Contentful users can also get personalized recommendations with optimized content types based on keywords they provide through the AI Content Type Generator.

Contentrain offers unlimited nested JSON-based content models. With no-code content, development teams can create and save complex content models without coding. Users simply need to select the data type first and then choose the component that they need.

Content Authoring

Contentful offers Contentful Studio, an easy-to-use interface that helps to automate and streamline content creation, publishing, and governance. It also includes a rich text or markdown editor and Live Preview for seeing what content looks like before publishing.

However, Contentful users have reported that the platform still feels geared toward developers. Additionally, Contentful doesn’t offer the ability to easily change back to a previous version of content, which can be problematic when errors occur.

Strapi offers a no-code interface that enables content teams to create and publish content without relying on developers. It offers an intuitive editor; however, design and development teams must set up the component library for projects before content editors can do anything else. Plus, Strapi users have complained about the lack of an enhanced rich editor and labeled it as basic.

Contentrain is the best solution for Markdown-based content-rich websites, offering a simple editing experience that doesn’t require developer assistance. Additionally, content authors using Contentrain can instantly preview before publishing and take advantage of Git branch management and version control to avoid publishing mistakes or roll back to previous versions as needed.

Extensibility & Integrations

Contentful offers a robust marketplace featuring integrations with top-tier tools and the capacity to develop custom applications using the App Framework.

Strapi also offers a Plugin Marketplace where developers can go to extend the platform with new features and integrations. They can also build their own custom plugins.

Contentrain offers some integrations with an extension store as part of the upcoming roadmap.


Contentful provides a Free plan tailored for individual developers and groups of up to five members. For teams, Basic pricing starts at $300 per month, and there’s also a Premium option available for further customization to suit enterprise needs. Contentful’s pricing model isn’t optimal for smaller teams, particularly as the CMS charges overcharges fees for going over the API call limits.

Strapi offers a variety of pricing options for both its Self-Hosted and Cloud options. Self-Hosted Community pricing is free, with custom options for enterprises. For Strapi Cloud Pro, pricing starts at $99/mo, leaving some users disappointed that Strapi doesn’t offer a Free tier for the cloud plan. This can make Strapi expensive for smaller teams similar to Contentful.

Contentrain offers a Free option for developers who want to try out the platform as well as a Starter package for $39/month, a Professional package at $249/month, and a custom package for enterprises. There are no limitations on the number of collection models, and companies using the Pro plan and higher can have unlimited users.

Which Headless CMS to Choose?

Choose Contentful if you are a large or midsize enterprise company with a robust developer team that can help you get the most out of the CMS. If you are a small or mid-market enterprise seeking an open-source solution, then Strapi is an ideal choice. Similarly to Contentful, having a solid developer team is essential to getting the most out of the platform.

Choose Contentrain if you are running a smaller to mid-sized project and want to be able to move with speed. Project owners obsessed with efficiency can use Contentrain as a hybrid solution alongside another CMS for managing static content.

Contentrain is a scalable solution that easily adapts to future company needs. It is compatible with modern technologies like Serverless, PWA, Jamstack, SSGs, SSRs, and others. As a cost-effective solution, Contentrain can positively impact ROI and offers custom roles and permissions as well as on-premise deployment options and easy setup that enterprises require.

Give Contentrain a try and contact us for a demo.

Andres PhilipsTechnical Content Writer

Andres helping vendors & agencies create content to simplify complex ideas and stand out from the competition