Liferay Alternatives: Why Enterprises Choose CrafterCMS

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Sara Williams

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In today’s hyper-connected digital era, customers demand fast, flexible, and straightforward access to digital content. A flexible and agile CMS helps organizations manage their digital content in a streamlined manner and aids in faster delivery. There are many CMS platforms out there, and choosing an ideal solution that caters to your unique business needs can be daunting.

A modern headless CMS will help developers build and operate innovative applications, and should also enable content teams to easily and quickly edit, update and manage content in real-time while delivering seamless digital experiences to your audiences.

Liferay is a popular DXP in the market with a Java-based architecture that leverages advanced technologies of JSR 268 portlets and OSGi. Among other things, it helps you administer and manage your website content. The platform has various integration capabilities that aid in creating good digital experiences on the web and mobile devices. However, despite its robust features, this DXP isn’t suitable for all. There are various limitations businesses have pinpointed when using Liferay, especially seeing its legacy portal style approach.

In this article, we will see the benefits and limitations that Liferay offers, and compare it to one of its alternatives for enterprises, CrafterCMS.

What Is Liferay?

Liferay is an enterprise-grade DXP (and CMS) platform that helps enterprises create great digital experiences across mobile, web, in-store, social and other channels. It facilitates building enterprise portals, intranets and websites as a cluster of themes, portals, pages, etc., along with seamless navigation.

While it's a Java-based platform, it also supports plugins for various programming languages such as PHP and Ruby for portlet development. Due to the open standards for front-end technologies, web services, content, and portlets, it tries to reduce the total cost of development.

Liferay assists developers in achieving the high-performance and high availability needs of a business. As the customer base increases, Liferay also aids developers to seamlessly scale the system in order to meet user demands. On single deployment, it allows you to create several enterprise solutions, right-form websites, portals, intranets, and more.

Drawbacks of Liferay

Complex Customization

As many reviews show, Liferay lacks easy customization flexibility, so users cannot easily build and navigate through things via the provided interface. It also limits users in creating multiple user authentication techniques and cross-site authentication amongst third-party web apps and Liferay. If you want to migrate to a new version of Liferay, you need to rewrite all customization.

Portlet Development

Since Liferay’s legacy is as a portal environment, it requires developers to follow JSR 268 portlet development standards, and requires content managers to add all their content in the form of portlets. Working with portlets is not simple, which makes the whole development and content management processes overly complex.

Upgrades Are Expensive 

Plugin and database upgrades are expensive and quite complicated to execute. Thus, it increases administration overhead and poses major challenges during customization.

Control Panel Is Not User-Friendly

Liferay’s control panel UX is not user-friendly, which makes it quite difficult to navigate. As a result, end user productivity can suffer.

Steep Learning Curve

The learning curve with Liferay is very steep, as Liferay isn’t extremely intuitive to use out-of-the-box. It requires comprehensive setup, configuration, and deployment along with advanced knowledge of Java and the enterprise Java stack. Moreover, it enforces OSGI based module development, further increasing the developer burden (and cost).

Monolithic, Coupled Architecture

As a legacy portal framework, Liferay is a classic monolithic architecture reminiscent of the time when it was first designed (early 2000s). The frontend is tightly coupled to the backend, making it harder to scale and manage, not to mention harder to develop modern digital experiences using the latest frontend technologies.  

Why Do You Need a Liferay Alternative?

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, here are some of the more downsides of Liferay that users have experienced. The following may be the reason why you need to consider a Liferay alternative:

Documentation Limitations 

Liferay lacks detailed and all-inclusive documentation, which makes configuration, development, and upgrades daunting for users. Being an open-source project, it has a lot of information in community forums, but navigating through this information isn’t easier either. For any issues, you have to keep on searching online for related information.


The license cost for Liferay DXP is very high. If you are building an application with a single source for the requirements, or it has a single team, then probably Liferay is not an ideal choice. Portlets are responsible for critical design decisions for the enterprise related to navigation, authorization, authentication, and layouts. Anything that doesn’t fit in this design layout may end up being expensive and time-consuming as you have to work around to get what you want.

Why Enterprises Choose CrafterCMS

CrafterCMS is a robust, enterprise-ready headless CMS that goes one step ahead of the functionalities of other CMS solutions. As more and more enterprises migrate from Liferay to CrafterCMS, it is a proven alternative that helps enterprises create modern digital experiences leveraging powerful headless API support and user-friendly content authoring. It accelerates content delivery at multiple touchpoints and seamlessly integrates with other systems to create engaging user experiences.

Here are some of the top reasons why enterprises choose CrafterCMS:

Best In Class Content Authoring Experience

CrafterCMS empowers marketers and other content authors with a best-in-class, straightforward content authoring suite of tools known as Crafter Studio. The authoring tools aid content teams to create, customize and test digital experiences with drag-and-drop experience building, in-context previewing and editing, among many other features for creating engaging experiences for various digital touchpoints. Moreover, Crafter Studio sits on top of an API-first headless content authoring platform that allows enterprises compose authoring experiences for different roles, groups, and use cases.

Composable Architecture

CrafterCMS is a lightweight, services-based architecture that is highly flexible and scalable to help developers meet unique application needs. No portlets, no OSGI, no proprietary UI themes, no complex development. CrafterCMS fits within a modern MACH-based architecture, and supports composable business solutions.

Distributed, Git-based Repository

CMS platforms must be able to create excellent digital experiences and offer solid support for security, audit trails, and superior version control. The platform must leverage cutting-edge tools and technologies to accelerate development workflows such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), and extends these benefits to the content teams resulting in the ability for Continuous Publishing (CP).

CrafterCMS is designed for flexible, comprehensive content management to create immersive digital experiences with the help of robust developer workflow support. Crafter Studio offers a beginner-friendly content authoring platform that does not require users to know underneath Git operations or technical know-how.

Developers can immensely benefit from Crafter’s multi-file versioning and branching abilities, whereas content teams can take advantage of the security, versioning, and history tracking features of Git.


DevContentOps is an approach that aids the faster and seamless delivery of software applications. DevOps culture allows businesses to streamline their critical workflows while enhancing customer experiences, stability, and reliability of workflows. New features and functionalities can be inculcated into the pipeline without causing any bottlenecks.

CrafterCMS takes DevOps support to the next level by helping enterprises create and manage content-driven software products, applications, and digital experiences. CrafterCMS supports DevContentOps processes, allowing product development teams to work in a seamless collaborative environment with content authors. This accelerates the release pipeline as enterprises can continuously release new features, launch content updates, and provide immersive digital experiences to customers.

A great example of this would be, push and pull operations which easily allow teams to roll out code from development to production environments. Or, they can roll back content from production environments. DevContentOps feature the latest tools and technologies to help you automate development processes and seamlessly integrate with CI/CD tools and pipelines.

Decoupled Architecture

A true decoupled architecture features content authoring that is decoupled from headless, API-based content delivery system. This is what makes it more secure, reliable, and scalable.

CrafterCMS sports a truly decoupled architecture where content authors leverage toolset and technologies to create, preview, and manage content and end user experiences in a secure sandbox, and then publish approved content and experiences to Crafter Engine- a fully decoupled and separate and secure content delivery system.

Developer-Friendly CMS

CrafterCMS is takes headless a step further by offering not just rich extensible content APIs but also powerful integration, backend development, and customization capabilities. It provides extensible APIs to help teams integrate other systems and effectively customize backend functionality.

With CrafterCMS, developers can easily extend the backend with Groovy, Java, Nodejs, Nextjs, Nuxtjs among others. Moreover, you can  create custom APIs to easily integrate with third-party systems and other repositories to cater to an application's unique needs.

With modular packaging, inbuilt scripting support, and API-first architecture, CrafterCMS allows you to create striking digital experiences.

CrafterCMS: Take Your Enterprise to a Modern Architecture

CrafterCMS is a highly flexible, robust CMS platform that goes beyond the limitations and drawbacks of Liferay. CrafterCMS is designed with a modern, API-first headless approach in mind. It helps enterprises build and deliver rich, content-driven digital experiences by offering agile software development support and best-in-class content authoring tools.

Liferay may be a popular choice for portal applications, but seeing how the craze for a portal environment is dying down in the market, CrafterCMS poses as a potential alternative to cater to all your modern content management needs. Learn more about why CrafterCMS is the best choice by reading our White Paper: Five Reasons Why You Should Use A Git-Based CMS.

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