Anchor CMS vs. Gatsby: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

Anchor CMS vs. Gatsby: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between Anchor CMS and Gatsby, two popular Content Management Systems (CMS) in the market. As digital leaders and decision-makers, you understand the importance of choosing the right CMS for your organization. In this guide, we will delve into the features of Anchor CMS and Gatsby to help you make an informed decision. Whether you prioritize user experience, content management, performance, customization, SEO, or security, this guide will provide you with an in-depth analysis of both systems. Let's dive in!

Foundations of CMS

Both Anchor CMS and Gatsby offer solid foundations for building and managing websites. Anchor CMS is a lightweight and open-source CMS built on PHP, known for its simplicity and ease of use. It is perfect for blogs, personal websites, and small to medium-sized businesses. On the other hand, Gatsby is a modern static site generator that leverages React and GraphQL. It focuses on performance and scalability while enabling developers to build fast and highly customizable websites. This makes Gatsby an excellent choice for larger enterprises and organizations that require advanced functionality.

Anchor CMS utilizes a database for content storage, while Gatsby generates static files that can be easily deployed to a web server or a content delivery network (CDN). This fundamental difference in architecture results in varying approaches to content delivery and management. Anchor CMS provides a traditional database-driven content management system, allowing for real-time editing and updates. Gatsby, on the other hand, generates websites that can be served directly from a CDN, providing faster load times and improved security. However, content updates in Gatsby require a build process, making it better suited for websites with less frequent content changes.

When it comes to ease of setup, Anchor CMS is relatively straightforward to install on a hosting server. It offers a user-friendly interface with intuitive features, making it accessible to non-technical users. On the contrary, Gatsby requires development knowledge and familiarity with JavaScript, React, and GraphQL. The setup process involves creating a Gatsby project and integrating it with your preferred data source. Gatsby's learning curve may be steeper, but it provides extensive flexibility and scalability for websites with complex requirements.

In summary, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby have solid foundations for building websites. Anchor CMS is ideal for smaller projects with simpler needs, while Gatsby shines in larger applications that require advanced functionality, scalability, and performance.

Design & User Experience

Design and user experience are crucial elements for any website. Anchor CMS offers a user-friendly interface with a minimalistic design that focuses on simplicity and ease of use. Its clean and intuitive dashboard allows users to manage their content efficiently. The CMS provides a range of customizable templates, allowing users to create visually appealing websites without extensive coding knowledge. However, the design options in Anchor CMS may be limited compared to more feature-rich alternatives.

Gatsby, on the other hand, provides unparalleled flexibility in design. Leveraging React, developers can create unique and interactive website layouts. Gatsby's extensive plugin ecosystem offers a wide array of pre-built templates and themes to choose from or customize. This allows for the creation of visually stunning websites tailored to specific requirements. However, it's important to note that utilizing Gatsby's design capabilities requires a higher level of technical expertise.

Both CMS platforms strive to provide a seamless user experience. Anchor CMS excels in its simplicity, making it ideal for non-technical administrators who prioritize ease of use. Its clean interface and straightforward navigation ensure efficient content management for individuals or small teams. Gatsby, while more complex to set up, offers a powerful and customizable user experience. Developers can leverage its modern technology stack to create highly optimized websites that deliver a rich and interactive experience for visitors.

To summarize, Anchor CMS focuses on simplicity and ease of use, with customizable templates to create visually appealing sites. Gatsby, on the other hand, provides unmatched design flexibility, leveraging React and an extensive plugin ecosystem. The choice between the two will depend on your organization's design requirements and technical expertise.

Content Management

Content management is at the core of any CMS, and both Anchor CMS and Gatsby offer different approaches to handling content effectively. Anchor CMS provides a traditional editor where content creators can easily create and manage their posts, pages, and other content types. The editor allows for formatting, adding media, and publishing content with ease. Additionally, Anchor CMS supports the use of Markdown, a popular markup language that simplifies content creation and formatting. Its straightforward content editor makes it accessible to users with limited technical knowledge.

Gatsby, being a static site generator, approaches content management differently. Content in Gatsby is usually sourced from various data providers such as Markdown files, headless CMSs, or external APIs. By leveraging modern technologies like GraphQL, Gatsby allows developers to query and retrieve data from different sources, making it highly flexible and versatile. While content creation and updates in Gatsby require a build process, this allows for better separation of content and presentation, enhanced performance, and easier version control.

Both CMS platforms provide features for managing media files. Anchor CMS allows users to upload and organize media directly within the CMS. It also provides a straightforward interface for embedding media into posts and pages. Gatsby, on the other hand, offers more flexibility by allowing users to work with their preferred media storage solution. Developers can leverage plugins or their own custom solutions to handle media files while enjoying the benefits of Gatsby's static site generation.

In conclusion, Anchor CMS provides a traditional content management experience with a user-friendly editor and support for Markdown. On the other hand, Gatsby offers a powerful and flexible content management approach by utilizing various data sources and modern technologies like GraphQL. The choice between the two depends on the complexity of your content management needs and the technical expertise available within your organization.

Collaboration & User Management

Collaboration and user management are vital factors to consider when choosing a CMS for your organization. Anchor CMS offers built-in user management features, allowing you to create and manage multiple user accounts with different permission levels. This is particularly useful for organizations with several content creators and contributors. You can assign specific roles and permissions to users, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access and modify content.

In terms of collaboration, Anchor CMS provides a straightforward workflow. Content creators can draft and edit content collaboratively within the CMS. With the ability to preview and schedule content, teams can effectively coordinate their efforts and plan for future publications. In addition, Anchor CMS supports multiple languages, making it suitable for organizations with a global presence.

Gatsby, as a static site generator, does not come with built-in user management features. However, it can be integrated with different authentication providers or headless CMSs to handle user management and authentication. This provides developers with the flexibility to choose third-party services that best suit their collaboration and user management needs.

When it comes to collaboration, Gatsby offers integrations with tools like Git and version control systems. Developers can leverage the power of Git to manage content changes and collaborate effectively within a team. This approach allows for seamless coordination and streamlines the content creation and deployment process. However, it's important to note that Gatsby's collaboration capabilities may require a higher level of technical expertise.

To summarize, Anchor CMS provides built-in user management and collaboration features suitable for organizations with multiple content creators. Gatsby, while lacking built-in user management, offers the flexibility to integrate with various authentication providers or headless CMSs to handle user management. The choice depends on your organization's collaboration and user management requirements.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance, scalability, and hosting are crucial factors to consider when choosing a CMS. Anchor CMS, being a lightweight PHP-based CMS, performs well on most hosting environments. It requires minimal server resources and is capable of handling moderate website traffic. However, as the website scales and traffic increases, the performance of Anchor CMS may be affected.

Gatsby, on the other hand, shines when it comes to performance and scalability. By generating static HTML files, Gatsby websites can be served directly from a CDN, resulting in lightning-fast load times. This static rendering also eliminates the need for dynamic server-side rendering, improving performance even further. Gatsby's approach to caching and preloading optimizes website speed and enhances the overall user experience.

When it comes to scalability, Gatsby's static site architecture allows for seamless scaling. Websites built with Gatsby can handle high levels of traffic without sacrificing performance. The ability to distribute static files across multiple CDN edge locations ensures that content is delivered efficiently to users around the world.

Regarding hosting, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby offer flexibility. Anchor CMS can be hosted on various web hosting providers, ensuring compatibility with your preferred hosting environment. Gatsby, by generating static files, can be hosted on different platforms, including CDNs or dedicated hosting providers. This allows organizations to choose a hosting solution that best fits their requirements and budget.

In conclusion, Anchor CMS is suitable for smaller websites with moderate traffic, while Gatsby excels in performance and scalability, making it the preferable choice for larger websites with high traffic volume. The choice of CMS depends on your organization's specific performance and scalability needs, as well as the hosting options that best align with your requirements.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization, extensions, and ecosystem play a significant role in expanding the functionality of a CMS. Anchor CMS provides a range of customizable templates and themes to cater to different design preferences. While the customization options may not be as extensive as some other CMS platforms, developers can create their own themes and plugins to extend the functionality of Anchor CMS. The open-source nature of Anchor CMS also allows for community-driven contributions, ensuring continuous improvement and innovation.

Gatsby, on the other hand, offers a vast ecosystem of plugins and starters that enhance its customization capabilities. Developers can leverage Gatsby's plugin ecosystem to add specific features or integrate with popular services. Additionally, Gatsby's support for React components allows for complete front-end customization, enabling developers to build unique user interfaces and interactions.

Both CMS platforms provide support for third-party integrations and APIs. Anchor CMS allows for easy integration with services like Google Analytics, Disqus for comments, or Mailchimp for email marketing. Gatsby, with its flexibility and extensive ecosystem, enables seamless integration with various data sources, APIs, or headless CMSs, providing developers with limitless possibilities for extending website functionality.

Considering the ecosystem and community support, Anchor CMS has a smaller community compared to Gatsby. However, it has a dedicated community that actively contributes to its development. Gatsby, with its popularity and active community, benefits from a wide range of resources, tutorials, and support options.

To summarize, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby offer customization options and the ability to extend functionality. Anchor CMS provides customizable templates and allows for creating themes and plugins. Gatsby, with its plugin ecosystem and React support, offers greater customization potential. The choice between the two depends on your organization's customization requirements, technical expertise, and ability to leverage a broader ecosystem.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

SEO, marketing, and monetization are essential considerations for any organization looking to establish a strong online presence. Anchor CMS provides basic SEO features, allowing users to optimize their website for search engines. Users can set custom metadata, manage URLs, and add alt tags to images. While Anchor CMS covers the fundamentals of SEO, it may lack some advanced features that more specialized SEO tools may offer.

Gatsby, as a static site generator, generates SEO-friendly websites out of the box. With optimized HTML, efficient code, and static rendering, Gatsby websites perform well in search engine rankings. Additionally, Gatsby can integrate with popular SEO plugins or headless CMSs that provide advanced SEO capabilities, making it a powerful tool for organizations focused on SEO.

In terms of marketing, Anchor CMS supports built-in features for email subscription management and RSS feed generation. These features are particularly useful for content-focused websites that aim to build and engage with their audience. Gatsby, being a static site generator, does not offer built-in marketing features. However, it can be integrated with popular marketing tools and services using plugins or APIs.

Monetization options are available in both Anchor CMS and Gatsby. Anchor CMS allows for easy integration with third-party advertising platforms like Google AdSense. Content creators can monetize their websites by displaying ads and generating revenue. Gatsby integrates with external services and platforms, enabling developers to build complex monetization solutions tailored to specific business needs.

In summary, Anchor CMS provides basic SEO features, marketing options, and monetization capabilities. Gatsby, with its SEO-friendly architecture and integration possibilities, enables organizations to implement advanced SEO practices, leverage marketing tools, and customize monetization solutions. The choice between the two depends on your organization's focus on SEO, marketing strategies, and monetization goals.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical factors, particularly for organizations dealing with sensitive data or operating in regulated industries. Anchor CMS takes security seriously and provides regular updates to address vulnerabilities. As an open-source project, the community actively contributes to the security of the platform, ensuring the identification and resolution of potential risks. However, due diligence should be exercised to keep both the CMS and its plugins up to date.

Gatsby, as a static site generator, has inherent security benefits. The static files generated by Gatsby can be served securely through a CDN, protecting against common security vulnerabilities. However, Gatsby's ecosystem relies on plugins and external services, which may require additional security measures and diligent monitoring to ensure regulatory compliance.

Both CMS platforms provide options for SSL/TLS encryption to secure data transmissions. This is essential to protect user data and ensure data privacy. Additionally, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby support integrations with web application firewalls and other security measures to enhance overall security.

Regarding compliance with data protection regulations, both CMS platforms offer the necessary tools and features to help organizations meet regulatory requirements. However, specific compliance considerations may vary depending on the industry, location, and nature of the data being handled. It is essential to assess your organization's compliance needs and ensure that the chosen CMS meets the required standards.

To summarize, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby prioritize security and offer options for encryption and data protection. However, it is crucial to stay up to date with security updates and consider additional security measures when using plugins or external services. Compliance considerations should be evaluated based on your organization's specific requirements and the regulations it needs to adhere to.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migrating to a new CMS, support, and ongoing maintenance are key aspects to consider when choosing a CMS for your organization. Anchor CMS provides documentation and resources to guide users through the migration process, ensuring a smooth transition from other platforms. Additionally, the open-source nature of Anchor CMS allows for community support through forums and online communities. However, professional technical support may be limited compared to commercial CMS solutions.

Gatsby provides a comprehensive migration guide, making it easier to migrate from other CMS platforms or static site generators. It offers extensive documentation and developer resources, ensuring that users have the necessary support for successful migrations. Gatsby also benefits from a large community, offering support through forums, GitHub repositories, and dedicated support channels.

In terms of ongoing maintenance, both CMS platforms require regular updates to ensure security and compatibility. Anchor CMS provides an update mechanism within the CMS itself, making it relatively straightforward to keep the system up to date. Gatsby, being a static site generator, requires updates to its core libraries and plugins. However, these updates can be managed through package managers and version control systems, allowing for better control and easier maintenance.

When it comes to support options, Anchor CMS offers community-driven support through forums, online communities, and official documentation. The availability of professional technical support may be limited, considering the open-source nature of the platform. On the other hand, Gatsby benefits from a larger community and offers professional support options, ensuring timely assistance for critical issues.

In summary, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby provide resources and support for migration, ongoing maintenance, and community-based support. While Anchor CMS relies on community-driven support, Gatsby benefits from a larger community and offers professional support options. The choice between the two depends on your organization's migration requirements, maintenance preferences, and the level of support needed.


In conclusion, both Anchor CMS and Gatsby have their strengths and are well-suited for different use cases. Anchor CMS is a lightweight and user-friendly CMS that offers simplicity, ease of use, and moderate flexibility. It is ideal for smaller websites, blogs, personal websites, and small to medium-sized businesses.

Gatsby, on the other hand, is a powerful static site generator that excels in performance, scalability, customization, and advanced functionality. It requires a higher level of technical expertise but provides unparalleled flexibility and the ability to handle larger, more complex websites.

When choosing between Anchor CMS and Gatsby, it is important to consider factors such as design and user experience, content management, collaboration and user management, performance and scalability, customization and ecosystem, SEO and marketing capabilities, security and compliance, migration support, and ongoing maintenance.

Anchhor CMS is an excellent choice for organizations seeking a simple, straightforward CMS with a user-friendly interface and customizable templates. Gatsby, on the other hand, is suited for organizations with more complex requirements and a need for highly performant, scalable, and customizable websites.

We hope this comparison guide has provided valuable insights into the features and capabilities of Anchor CMS and Gatsby. By carefully considering your organization's specific needs and priorities, you can make an informed decision and choose the CMS that best aligns with your goals and requirements.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.