Simple Solution for Small Web Projects with CMS without database

Simple Solution for Small Web Projects with CMS without database

Finding the right content management system (in short CMS) for web projects is sometimes easier said than done, because the selection is very large. The fact is: the stronger the content management system used, the more complex the use and the greater demands on administrators and hardware. While large CMS systems like that. For example, if Drupal, Joomla or Typo3 only works in combination with a database including the required web space, there is also a CMS without a database that stores data in different ways.

How does CMS work without a database?

Content management systems are software that can be used to create, edit, and manage content for websites and other forms of media. Users who have access to the system can, thanks to the graphical interface, usually also operate CMS without HTML and extensive programming knowledge. With the help of plugins, most CMS programs can be equipped with features such as contact forms, surveys or calendars.

For most CMS, post content or pages are stored separately from the layout in a separate database - such as MySQL or MariaDB. Small CMS systems dispense with databases and store data based on files, for example. For example as a flat file (text or XML file) or as a markdown file. While ordinary CMS must first retrieve the required information from the database before exchanging with a web server, this step is not necessary for CMS without MySQL or other databases.

How to work CMS without a database

The advantages and disadvantages of a simple CMS system

Whether using a CMS without a database is useful for your own project depends on many factors. The following summarizes the benefits and problems typical of CMS systems that do not have data. The points below show the use of a CMS system without data:

+ CMS systems without a database are usually rather simple and limited to important matters, so they only require a short training period.

+ Web project backup is done quickly: Because there is no need to back up complex databases, it is enough to download the files contained in the webspace.

+ Direct transmission of information taken to the web server without detours through the database ensures short loading times and quick access to web projects.

+ Small CMS usually only requires a little web space and do not have special hardware requirements.

In addition to the positive features mentioned above, CMS without a database also has several disadvantages:

- The possibility of a non-database CMS system is limited, which is why the system is only suitable for smaller projects with a small number of static pages. Dynamic websites cannot be created without a database.

- Because simple CMS systems usually only offer a small community, users are often alone with questions and problems and have to dig through documentation - if available.

- The low prevalence of CMS software and often unavailable code can make a stripped down CMS system for developers quickly unattractive, which can stop further development.

- If you don't work in a very structured and neat way with a simple content management system, it will be very difficult to find certain content.

For which projects are small CMS systems suitable?

The list of pros and cons of a non-database content management system already shows that this software solution for managing content is not appropriate for every project. In general it can be said that the benefits of a databaseless system only come into play with smaller web projects. This is mainly due to the fact that the abandonment of the database has a positive effect on performance, but negatively affects the structure of a larger web project. In addition, the use of dynamic pages with CMS without a database is not possible. Therefore, users who plan web projects with constant updates and strong interactions with site visitors may not use a simple CMS system without a database. The same applies to owners of larger websites whose complex structures cannot be handled by content management systems without database

But there are also projects that benefit from using a CMS without a database: Smaller websites, which are based on simple structures and do not have excessive numbers of pages, are created quickly with CMS and inspire website visitors with quick access to desired information. Therefore, the CMS system is very suitable for small companies or entrepreneurs who want to present their service portfolio. Even running your own blog easily works with a small CMS system.

The main advantage of the lean system is that there is no hardware needed to operate the database server. This saves users hardware costs and does not need to create complex backups. Newcomers benefit especially from this, whose slim and clear structure also makes it easy to get started.

For CMS this is suitable without a database:

  • smaller and medium sized porches
  • Running a blog
  • Presentation of a service portfolio (company, entrepreneur)

A simple CMS system is not suitable for:

  • Online store
  • news site
  • online service

Three examples of CMS without a database

Small CMS is very interesting for beginners who start their first web project. However, as with any content management system in general, the choice is huge. While some simple CMS systems only provide the most basic functions and can be expanded with plug-ins according to the user's wishes, there are also those that have many enhancements already integrated. Three CMS without MySQL, MariaDB or other databases are briefly introduced here.

GetSimple CMS

The motto of GetSimple CMS that has no data - "GetSimple has everything you need, and nothing you don't have" - could not have been better. Because it is provided with an open source GPLv3 license software, GetSimple CMS is characterized by its minimalist structure, which provides important things and can be extended by plugins as desired. Because software code can be freely accessed and can be changed, users can optimally adapt the CMS system to their own needs. Data is stored in XML format in the web space used. This is another fact:

5 minute installation

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Cancel function for all changes
  • Create multiple backend accounts
  • First class documentation (wiki)
  • Very active community
  • HTML5 template


The only requirements for a simple Grav CMS system are a web server as well as PHP 5.4 or higher. Developers focus on speed, simplicity and flexibility. This is already seen in simple settings, where you only need to download the ZIP file and unzip it. Thanks to the optionally available web-based administrator panel, content creation (Markdown or HTML) is easy to create and manage. The open source application is licensed by MIT and can therefore be used and adjusted freely. Features in summary:

  •  Outstanding documentation
  • Powerful search filter
  • Making templates is easy
  • Create multiple backend and rights accounts
  • Spectacular Image Function (Image Media Processing)
  • Web site multilingualism is supported


"Easy to install. Easy to use. Very flexible." - this is the principle of the little Kirby CMS. Although the software code is freely available, you must purchase a license before publishing a web project. However, the costs are very low and, given the wide functionality of the content management system, they must overcome it. However, users can diligently try all the options until the page is released. Kirby impresses with her simple page layout concept with templates and snippets, which can be used like Grav for an optional web panel. The files are saved to the web space in a modified markdown file called Kirbytext. Kirby's features can be summarized as follows:

  • Quick installation including instructions
  • Changes via FTP, network drive or Dropbox
  • Broad community
  • a programming interface like jQuery
  • Subsequent connections to the database are possible
  • Various plugins and templates available

Worth considering: CMS without a database

The three examples chosen represent a broad mass of open source content management programs that do not depend on the database. The basic idea is the same for all representatives: This software will only give users what is truly relevant to guarantee the maximum performance of a web project. Beginners must look around the CMS market and try one or more of the simple CMS systems in peace and quiet. Finally, the available knowledge also determines whether the function offered is needed or used.

Small CMS is great for smaller and more easily structured web sites, such as: For corporate or personal and business blogs. For website operators, this means not only lowering costs by saving additional hardware, but also short loading time.

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