Contentful - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Written by Matthew GuayLast updated August 19, 2016

Text, images, and other content are the most important thing in your website. Everything else is just decoration, the binding that holds it all together. Content needs to stay fresh, be updated and maintained as part of a team. And, it needs to be in more than just your website—you'll also need content on your mobile apps, books, and any other things your team builds.

The oldest websites simply hard-coded text and images into pages. When something needs changed, you edit the entire page's code and re-publish it (something that's often repeated in mobile app development). Traditional content management systems—or CMS—sped things up, letting you manage content in a database separate from your site's core HTML code. They get the job done, but they're often inflexible, and do little to help get your content in more than just your site.

Contentful is a new take on the traditional CMS. It manages your content in a customizable database on Contentful's site, stores it in content delivery systems around the globe so it's fast to access, and then ships your content to your site, apps, and more via an API whenever you need it. With less work than maintaining a typical self-hosted CMS, you can create a data structure that fits your content needs perfect and re-use that content wherever you want.

You'll start out with your content models, or essentially database tables that include the fields your content needs. You can include text, number, date, location, boolean, and JSON data fields. Need to include images, videos, or downloadable files? There are fields for them, too—and Contentful can host the media itself so you don't have to manage files, either. You can even include reference fields, to link authors to blog posts or categories to media items, just like a traditional database. Each of those are turned into a JSON structure for your model, which Contentful can push to your site and apps via its API.

Then it's time to add content and media to your collection. Much like a traditional CMS, you can add and edit text, upload media, and format rich text sections with Markdown formatting. If your content is in multiple languages, you can add the languages to Contentful and each field will then have an option for each language. That way, you can publish your content once in all of its languages. There's no history or team editing tools, though, so you'll still want to use other tools to edit your content—something you'd be wise to do in any content management system.

With your content in place, it's time to get it to your site and app. You can create webhooks to push new content to your site, Content Delivery API keys to pull data to your site when you want it, and Content Management API keys to add new content to Contentful directly from your apps. Contentful also includes mobile apps to preview what your content would look like in apps, along with a Mac app to upload images and media to your database. Or, you can use Contentful integrations to push content to or from other apps and use it wherever you want.

With a bit of work, you'll have a unique database model for each type of content you're managing, and a safe place for your team to add new data and get it published in your site and apps automatically. Contentful lets you focus on building great sites and apps, without having to worry about where you'll manage your content.

Contentful Resources

Need help getting your content written and edited? Check out these best writing and editing apps to manage your content before you add it to your CMS.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Contentful Features

  • Manage your content in a flexible editor with content models that include the fields you need
  • Access your content via a RESTful API, via content delivery systems that ensure fast response times
  • Edit content in a rich editor with Markdown support, and include JSON code in content if you want
  • Manage content in multiple languages at once
  • Host images and other files in Contentful
  • iOS, Android, and Mac apps available

Contentful Pricing

  • Free for 3 users, 1k content entries, and 100k API requests per month
  • $99/month Plus plan for 5 users, 5k content entries, and 1M API requests per month
  • $199/month Pro plan for 10 users, 10k content entries, and 2M API requests per month

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Contentful is a Content Management Platform that lets you easily organize and edit your content, then use it anywhere with an API.