11 Lightning-Fast Flat File CMS

Written by Kevin Liew on 28 Feb 2014
114,660 Views • Web Development

Setting up CMS can be a nightmare if you don't really know server-side languages and server configuration. Worse, you also need to know how to set up the database as well. You need the database host, credential and a database. To cut it short, it's not an easy task and it would be a nightmare to most novice designers and developers.

With the emerging of powerful Flat file CMSes, people starts using them as the platforms for personal and commercial websites. Since there's no longer database involved, flat file CMS is usually lightweight and lightning fast! And the best thing is - setting up a CMS has became remarkably easy.

Inspired by a great post written by Jeremiad Shoaf - Goodbye WordPress, 2014 will be the year of flat file CMSes, he outlined a few advantages of not using a database (shamelessly copied from the post):

  • Speed – without needing to connect to a database to retrieve content, flat-file sites load pages blazingly fast
  • Security – databases are often the first thing hackers target and without a database that potential security hole will be completely removed
  • Simplicity – no need to configure or maintain a database – “installation” is just a matter of uploading files
  • Less-expensive server usage – databases use up a lot of server resources, even on VPS or dedicated servers – there will never be a need to purchase expensive hosting add-ons to ensure your database doesn’t crash
  • Version control – everything is just files and folders so it’s easy to version control absolutely everything
  • Portability – a site can quickly be moved to another server without needing to export and configure a database

However, in my opinion, flat file CMS is an effective solution for small websites, for big commercial and organisation website, it won't be the right solution. If it's a small project, here we have 11 flat file CMS solutions for you. Most of them are equipped with Markdown powered editor and some have multiple users capability too.

Anyway, if you think flat file CMS isn't your thing, you can check out this post for CMSes that use database - Lightweight and flexible PHP CMS.


Pico uses Markdown formating as editor and for developer, it uses Twig template for building powerful and flexible templates.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Plugins


Markdown Syntax editor with Dropbox support.


Multi user support. You can have multiple administrators and editors to manage the site.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Plugins

Get Simple

GetSimple is an XML based, stand-a-alone, fully independant and lite Content Management System.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Extensions


Feindura has a full WYSIWYG editor and a file management tool. Backend itself has a multi-language support tool.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Yes


RazorCMS has content, file, backup, user, settings and blade managers in the backend.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Yes, Blade Packs


Statamic is a flat-file content management system that makes mixing static and dynamic elements simple. Statamic is not a static-site generator. It’s live, quick, and dynamic.

  • License: Premium. $29 for personal & non-commercial sites. $99 for client, company & organisation sites.
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: Add-ons


A fresh platform dedicated to making blogging simple again. With no database, you can install Dropplets in seconds on any server, compose offline using markdown, then simply upload to publish.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: None


Easy, customizable, flat-file, content management system (CMS). It uses only text files and will run on any server where basic PHP5 fread()/fwrite() exist. Includes module system, easy templating (any layout can be integrated), WYSIWYG editor + more!

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: None


FlatPress is a blogging engine that saves your posts as simple text files.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: None


Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, runs it through Markdown (or Textile) and Liquid converters, and spits out a complete, ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving with your favorite web server.

  • License: Open source
  • Support Plugins/Extensions: None
Join the discussion

Comments will be moderated and rel="nofollow" will be added to all links. You can wrap your coding with [code][/code] to make use of built-in syntax highlighter.

autocms 10 years ago
and AutoCMS? -> www.phpclasses.org/autocms

Flot 10 years ago
I'm making my own flat web cms, http://flot.io still at the early stages, but lots planned, maybe of interest to you.
Mark 10 years ago
Have you seen Yellow (http://datenstrom.se/yellow/)?
Mark 10 years ago
Oops, here's the correct link: http://datenstrom.se/yellow/
Paul 10 years ago
Glad to see http://razorcms.co.uk in this list. The latest V3 gives you the latest tech, simple one click upgrades, easy extension installation and you can get it pre installed when you get your hosting through the website.
techzarinfo 9 years ago
Magento, Joomla and WordPress being the most popularly used with the flexibility they offer for an online business. Customization, re-designing, updation and deletion becomes an essential aspect for any online business due to the volatile environment in the web space. Techzarinfo’s CMS will help you do all these with minimal efforts and at a lesser time thereby helping your company to respond in a timely manner.http://www.techzarinfo.com/
Cam 9 years ago
It maybe easier on the developer to setup and use, but none of those options seem as easy for a content manager to use than WordPress. So I wouldn't be too hasty on saying 'Goodbye to WordPress'.
Taufik 9 years ago
Mecha has better GUI for the user interface, Users don't need to touch the source code directly as how other flat-file CMS works.

Fatima 9 years ago
Wordpress is awesome but for a 5 page HTML5/CSS3 website, I think I'll go with Sitecake--flat-file, no database, Bootstrap compatible, totally free, BEAUTIFUL. I just discovered it. <3
Sandro 9 years ago
Blozilla cms is a Open Source flat file cms written in php. It not use a database but a simple .txt files. You can easy install the script copying via ftp the files in your webspace.
Pak 8 years ago
opensolutions.org - quick.cms/quick.cart flat file SQLite cms/shop script. Easy, fast, lighweight many themes and plugins avaliable.
Ian Macdonald 8 years ago
You might like to take a look at our product:

http://maracms.com or

As far as we know it's the only file based CMS to provide direct to page editing, and to use standard HTML syntax instead of markdown.
mono 8 years ago
Take a look at Monocms.com - No database, text editor included, no ajax, no jquery, using xml and htm files.
Louter 8 years ago
I personally use Parvula, you should try !
Jimmy 8 years ago
Sitemagic CMS is probably the most comprehensive Flat-File CMS available: