A flat-file CMS is a platform that does not require a database but rather, saves it's data to a set of text files, There are many advantages to using flat-file CMS as opposed to database driving systems, read on to find out what we consider to be the best flat file CMS on the market.
Most content management systems tend to use databases to store their content but lately, there's been a trend of flat file CMS coming to market. With solid state drives and increased internet access speeds, database driven solutions may not always be the best choice. Today, I'm going to share with you a selection of actively developed and popular flat file CMS systems to explore.
As a side note, there are many more solutions out there, I'm aiming to only list ones that have been updated within the last year as there are numerous that still have websites but have seen no activity or updates in quite some time.
A recent winner of our CMS Critic award for Best Open Source CMS, Grav is a popular flat file CMS developed by the folks from RocketTheme. It's fast, has a very sweet looking admin plugin and has a nice selection of available themes to choose from.
Kirby offers a nice looking interface that should feel familiar to those accustomed to WordPress and the like and is another great choice for flat-file CMS. The difference between this and the others on this list is that Kirby is a commercial product that is available for purchase for a one time fee of less than $20 (US pricing). It's well worth the investment if you want an easy to use CMS for basic websites.
Flextype is Open Source, fast and flexible file-based Content Management System that's easy to install, upgrade and use. Flextype provides amazing API's for plugins, themes and core developers!
razorCMS is an easy to use flat file CMS that provides you with easy in-page editing as opposed to having to modify your content from within an admin panel. It's been around for many years and has forums you can use to get support should you need it, although at last check, they didn't appear to be very active in the last year.
Statamic is built on the fast Laravel framework and is a very nice looking CMS with a slick looking control panel to boot. Statamic is not a free solution, however, and comes at a cost of approximately $99 per site (although cheaper packages exist for developers). There are plenty of themes and plugins available as well to help you expand your system.
GetSimple has been around for many years and is another great option to consider. It is a flat file XML based CMS that has plenty of plugins, themes available for you to use. With an easy to use admin interface and content editor (as well as a demo on their website for you to try) it's a good option to consider.
Batflat was created as a lightweight alternative to heavy and outdated CMS'.Batflat does not require MySQL database, because all of the data is collected in a single file. It does not have installation wizard, because there is no need. Right after uploading a package to an FTP server, Batflat is ready for action. Everything from the control panel to the default template is fully responsive, which makes it accessible from any mobile device, even on mobile thanks to used CSS framework - Bootstrap.
Bolt is an open source flat file CMS that strives to be as simple and straightforward as possible. It is quick to set up, easy to configure, uses elegant templates. It uses TWIG for templating and is completely free for personal or commercial use.
Automad is a file-based flat CMS that offers a two step caching system makes your site extremely fast. A web-based user interface makes it easy - even for beginners - to manage a website. The template engine enables designers to build custom themes and templates without PHP knowledge. The extension interface allows developers to create plugins for all kind of functionality. It is also possible to put a whole site under version control using Git or Mercurial.
WonderCMS is an open source CMS (Content Management System) built with PHP, jQuery, HTML and CSS. It doesn't require any configuration and can be simply unzipped and uploaded to your hosting provider. The database is a text file which is easily copied, moved, backed up and restored.
Typesetter is another flat file content management system that lets users create rich and flexible Web sites with a simple and easy-to-use interface. True WYSIWYG takes the guesswork out of editing page content while auto-saving makes sure none of your work is lost.
CMSUno is a free tool to create one-page responsive websites. It was designed to be easy to use, comprehensive and particularly rapid in terms of navigation. This strong CMS is a great tool to use jQuery plugins available on the web.
Bludit uses files in JSON format to store the content, you don't need to install or configure a database. It incorporates all the SEO tools to improve your ranking in all the search engines and social networks.
Are you aware of any that I am missing in this list? If they are actively maintained (meaning updates within the last year), please feel free to point them out in the comments below.