Contentstack Alternatives: Why Enterprises Choose CrafterCMS

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Sara Williams

For major enterprises, the choice of software tools can have a tremendous impact on their ability to attract and retain customers, maintain a high-quality employee experience and drive revenue. In the modern digital world filled with numerous channels of communication and potential customer interaction, every business is clamoring to choose the best content management system and digital experience platform for their needs.

Modern enterprises in particular are increasingly adopting headless CMS to handle their content management requirements. One potential choice among many vendors is Contentstack, a headless CMS platform that offers omnichannel experience management and has raised a substantial amount of venture capital.

Funding rounds provide a good indication as to the potential of a product and industry but they shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your next software tool. In fact, lots of venture funding can work against customers/users as investor concerns take priority.

We’ll dive into some of the reasons why enterprises need an alternative to Contentstack, and discuss why many are choosing CrafterCMS instead.

What Is Contentstack?

Contentstack is a headless content management system that enables marketers and developers to collaborate around content. The platform supports customer journey orchestration, and the delivery of dynamic digital experiences across multiple channels.

As an API-first headless CMS, Contentstack provides organizations with the tools they need for a digital world, enabling the teams that need it to collaborate and publish content wherever they need to. A rich-text editor, modular content blocks and automatic translations are some of the features that make the platform stand out compared to traditional, legacy CMS platforms.

The Things to Beware About Contentstack

While Contentstack is another platform that aims to be API-first and break away from the limitations of traditional CMSs, there are some limitations that potential buyers should be aware of:

Cumbersome GraphQL

GraphQL provides an alternative to RESTful APIs and can yield greater performance in many cases and make it easier for developers to fetch the data they’re looking for. With Contentstack, the query resolver limits can be cumbersome according to reviews on G2. As a result, developers can’t effectively harness the power of GraphQL. This, coupled with the fact that Contentstack’s APIs have a rate limit of 10 requests per second per organization, large enterprises may find themselves continually overwhelming the platform on occasion.

Limited Configurability

Most modern headless CMS platforms come with marketer-friendly interfaces that make it easy to create, edit and publish content to multiple channels. However, within each organization, marketing and developer teams will have their own workflows and preferences. In these situations, having the ability to customize the user interface as necessary can be hugely beneficial. Unfortunately, Contentstack falls short here as the UI is limited, and it can be challenging to make customizations.


Contentstack is only available as a public-shared, SaaS product. This means your digital experiences are running on the same infrastructure as many other users, and its also why they limit your API calls, API call rates, and such. Because its on shared infrastructure, it's not as secure as dedicated cloud or on-prem infrastructure, and subjects enterprises to the SaaS-trap. While SaaS is great for many uses, large enterprises usually have security and performance requirements that dictate the need for hybrid cloud, or on-prem, or dedicated cloud, or a combination of all of the above. 

Why You Need A Contenstack Alternative

Contentstack is a  headless CMS platform that has gained plenty of traction and recognition. However, there are a few key reasons why an alternative is necessary.

Developer Experience Matters

Between the GraphQL limits and UI challenges, developers using Contentstack may get frustrated when working on important tasks. Many products neglect the developer experience because they have the technical chops to work around issues. However, developers working in a fast-paced environment need all of the support they can get, and that begins with a sleek user interface and well-functioning APIs and other tools.

Content Authors Need User-Friendly, Powerful Tools

As the primary group creating and publishing content that drive digital experiences that customers enjoy, marketers need user-friendly content authoring tools, and the flexibility to adjust the content-authoring experience to better suit their needs.

CrafterCMS: A Better Enterprise Headless CMS

Best-in-Class Content Authoring Experience

Content authors and marketers grew accustomed to traditional CMS platforms’ user-friendly content creation and editing tools. Headless CMSs like Contentstack have sacrificed this. CrafterCMS brings user-friendliness back to the headless CMS, providing WYSIWYG authoring, drag/drop experience building, in-context previews for multiple digital channels, and much more. Crafter Studio, the content authoring experience, has everything today’s content teams require and its extensibility allows enterprise businesses to easily compose the exact authoring experience that meets their needs with advanced features.

Developer-Friendly Building Experience

CrafterCMS goes beyond the concept of simple headless. Instead, with CrafterCMS developers get a full range of API support, including REST, GraphQL (with a native, high performance GraphQL server), Javascript, HTML templating, and even in-process Java (if needed). Backend functionality is easily customized using extensible APIs that facilitate integration with third-party systems. Using CrafterCMS’s API-first architecture for both content authoring and content delivery systems, built-in scripting support, and modular packaging, development teams can quickly innovate and build engaging digital experiences.

Secure, Decoupled Architecture

CrafterCMS supports a truly decoupled architecture where the API-first content authoring platform and authoring app (Crafter Studio) is completely separate from the API-first headless content delivery engine (Crafter Engine). Other headless platforms like Contentstack call themselves "decoupled", but by this they only mean that the end user UI is separate from the content repository. CrafterCMS’s approach provides a much higher level of security, reliability, performance, and scalability benefits.

Distributed, Git-based Repository

By leveraging a Git-based repository, CrafterCMS developers benefit from advanced workflow support, feature branching and more. At the same time, content authoring teams find value in the sophisticated multi-file versioning, auditing, and security features Git provides without knowing how any of it works. Crafter Studio enables content authors to benefit from user-friendly experience without knowing anything about the technical details of Git. However, the underlying Git-based repository enables a new level of collaboration among content teams and development teams, dramatically improving the pace of innovation for digital experiences.

Client-side and Server-side Rendering

A typical headless CMS usually only provides direct support for client-side rendering. On the other hand, CrafterCMS supports server-side rendered (SSR) applications as well. This includes native support for Groovy and Java and easy integrations with the latest frameworks and Javascript-based server-side rendering platforms, including Node.js, Next.js, Nuxt.js, among others. RESTful APIs, GraphQL, and platform-oriented SDKs enable developers to choose the tools they prefer for each project. Rather than being pigeonholed into using SPAs for every project, CrafterCMS also offers native support for HTML5 sites through Freemarker templating (SSR), which can be used to quickly build microsites, landing pages, and other experiences where HTML5 is better suited.

Deployment Flexibility: Fully Managed SaaS/PaaS and Self-Managed/Self-Hosted Options

Each business has its own unique goals and requirements. Any enterprise business must have the flexibility to deploy a headless CMS that aligns with its specific needs. CrafterCMS provides that flexibility as it can be deployed on-premises or in private or public clouds such as through leading cloud service providers like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. In addition, Crafter Cloud is a fully managed private SaaS/PaaS solution built on AWS that gives enterprises an agile, cost-effective, high performance, and secure enterprise-ready CMS.


Organizations need to quickly build software applications to keep up with increasing customer demand. DevOps facilitates this for software applications, which enables new features and functionality to be introduced faster than ever before. CrafterCMS brings the benefits of DevOps to content-driven applications, products, and digital experiences through unique support for DevContentOps processes. With this approach, as one example, code moves from development environments to production, and content moves back from production environments using simple push and pull operations. With DevContentOps, content and software development teams can collaborate effectively, publishing new content updates, releasing new software features, and delivering engaging customer experiences without the delays that are typical of other headless and traditional CMSs.

Open Source

Open source provides several long term advantages over proprietary software like Contentstack. As an open source project, CrafterCMS is an open platform supporting open standards. Consequently, CrafterCMS users and customers benefit from a larger community, a more secure platform, and a much more cost effective investment. Open source is simply a better way to develop and distribute enterprise software, which is why open source adoption within major enterprises continues to grow steadily.

Give Your Developers and Content Authors a Better Experience With CrafterCMS

CrafterCMS provides the ideal balance for developers, DevOps and content teams alike. With Contentstack, both groups may feel limited at some point, which negatively affects the digital experiences you are able to deliver to your audience. CrafterCMS overcomes those challenges with a best-in-class content authoring experience, strong developer support, Git-based content repository, and a unique DevContentOps approach.

Learn more about how CrafterCMS enables the best experience by reading our White Paper: Five Reasons Why You Should Use a Git-based CMS.

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