Apostrophe vs. Concrete5: A Comprehensive Comparison of Popular CMS Platforms

Apostrophe vs. Concrete5: A Comprehensive Comparison of Popular CMS Platforms


Welcome to this comprehensive comparison guide between Apostrophe and Concrete5, two popular content management systems (CMS). As a digital leader or decision-maker, it's crucial to choose the right CMS that aligns with your organization's needs and goals. In this guide, we will delve into the foundations, design and user experience, content management capabilities, collaboration and user management, performance and scalability, customization and extensions, SEO and marketing features, security and compliance, and finally, migration, support, and maintenance aspects of both Apostrophe and Concrete5. By the end, you'll have a better understanding of which CMS is the right fit for your organization.

Foundations of CMS

Apostrophe is an open-source CMS built on Node.js and MongoDB, offering a powerful and flexible framework for content management. It follows a modular approach, allowing developers to create custom modules and components easily. Concrete5, on the other hand, is built on PHP and uses a MySQL database. It offers a user-friendly interface and a robust set of features out of the box.

Both CMS platforms provide a solid foundation for building websites, but the choice ultimately depends on your technical requirements and preferences. Node.js-based Apostrophe may be more suitable for organizations looking for scalability and real-time capabilities, while Concrete5's PHP foundation makes it a reliable choice for those who prefer a more traditional CMS approach.

Apostrophe and Concrete5 both have active developer communities, ensuring ongoing support, updates, and enhancements. Regular updates make both CMS platforms more secure and efficient over time.

In terms of extensibility, Apostrophe offers a wide range of modules and widgets that can be easily integrated into your website. Concrete5, on the other hand, has a vast marketplace with a variety of themes, plugins, and add-ons to extend the functionality of your website.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, both Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer modern and intuitive interfaces to manage content and website layouts. Apostrophe provides a drag-and-drop editor, allowing users to visually create and customize pages without relying on code. It provides a seamless editing experience and real-time preview capabilities.

Concrete5 also offers a user-friendly interface, empowering non-technical users to manage and update content effortlessly. Its in-context editing allows users to see their changes directly on the page, providing immediate feedback. Concrete5's block-based approach offers great flexibility in designing and organizing web content.

Both CMS platforms support responsive design, ensuring your website looks great on any device. Apostrophe, being built on Node.js, offers excellent performance and speed, enabling faster page load times.

In terms of themes and templates, Apostrophe offers a collection of ready-to-use themes that can be customized to match your brand. Concrete5 has a vast marketplace with a wide variety of themes to choose from and customize according to your requirements.

Content Management

Apostrophe allows users to create and manage various types of content efficiently. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to add and edit content elements, such as text, images, videos, and forms. It offers robust content organization capabilities with the ability to categorize content using tags and custom taxonomies.

Concrete5 also excels in content management, providing a user-friendly interface for creating and organizing content. Its block-based system allows users to add and arrange content blocks on pages effortlessly. Concrete5 offers a powerful in-context editor, making it easy to update content directly on the page.

Both CMS platforms have built-in version control, allowing you to keep track of content revisions and easily revert to previous versions. They also offer multi-language support, enabling you to create multilingual websites and reach a wider audience.

Additionally, both Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer robust media management features. Users can easily upload and organize media files, embed videos, and manage image galleries within the CMS.

Collaboration & User Management

Apostrophe provides advanced collaboration features, allowing multiple users to collaborate on content creation and management. It offers customizable workflows, role-based permissions, and user groups, ensuring efficient collaboration and streamlined content approval processes. With Apostrophe, you can assign specific permissions to different user roles, controlling who can create, edit, publish, and manage content.

Concrete5 also offers collaboration capabilities by providing various user roles and permission settings. It allows you to define user groups and assign specific privileges to each group. Concrete5's user management features make it easy to collaborate with your team and delegate content management tasks efficiently.

Both CMS platforms offer granular access control, ensuring that sensitive data and functionalities are only accessible to authorized users. They provide secure user authentication mechanisms, protecting your website from unauthorized access.

Furthermore, Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer user-friendly dashboards and intuitive interfaces, ensuring that content editors and administrators can navigate and manage the CMS with ease.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Apostrophe, being built on Node.js, provides exceptional performance and scalability. It can handle high traffic loads and real-time updates efficiently. Additionally, Apostrophe uses MongoDB, a highly scalable and flexible NoSQL database, further enhancing its performance and scalability capabilities.

Concrete5, built on PHP, also offers good performance and can handle moderate to high traffic loads. With proper caching mechanisms and optimized server configurations, Concrete5-powered websites can deliver fast loading times.

Both CMS platforms can be hosted on various hosting providers. Apostrophe offers a cloud hosting service, Apostrophe Enterprise Hosting, providing scalability, security, and performance optimizations specifically tailored for Apostrophe websites. Concrete5 can be hosted on various shared, virtual, or dedicated hosting environments, offering flexibility based on your organization's requirements and budget.

It's important to consider your organization's expected growth and traffic to ensure you choose a CMS platform that can handle your current and future needs.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization options are crucial when selecting a CMS. Apostrophe offers a modular architecture, allowing developers to create custom modules and components easily. It provides a comprehensive set of APIs and developer-friendly tools, making it easier to extend the functionality and customize the CMS to your specific requirements.

Concrete5 also offers a wide range of customization options. Its theme and template system allows developers to create unique designs and layouts. Concrete5's marketplace offers a plethora of themes, add-ons, and plugins, allowing you to enhance your website's functionality without extensive development work.

Both Apostrophe and Concrete5 have active developer communities. They provide documentation, forums, and support channels, enabling developers to seek assistance and collaborate with other users. This active ecosystem ensures ongoing support, updates, and enhancements for the CMS platforms.

When considering customization, it's essential to evaluate both the out-of-the-box capabilities and the flexibility to extend and tailor the CMS to match your organization's unique requirements.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

Both Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer built-in SEO features to optimize your website for search engines. They provide options to set meta tags, manage URLs, and create search engine-friendly URLs. Additionally, you can define custom XML sitemaps and manage redirects easily.

When it comes to marketing capabilities, both CMS platforms offer integration with popular marketing tools and services. They provide features to create landing pages, manage newsletters, and collect user data. The ability to manage and track marketing campaigns is crucial for organizations looking to maximize their online presence and engagement.

In terms of monetization, Apostrophe and Concrete5 provide options to integrate e-commerce functionalities into your website. They offer plugins and extensions to support online stores, shopping carts, and payment gateways, allowing you to sell products and services directly from your CMS-powered site.

Having SEO and marketing capabilities built directly into your CMS can save you time and effort, allowing you to optimize your website for search engines and drive online marketing initiatives efficiently.

Security & Compliance

Website security is a top priority for any organization. Both Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer robust security measures to protect your CMS and website from vulnerabilities and attacks.

Apostrophe follows security best practices and regularly releases updates to address any discovered vulnerabilities. It provides protection against common web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. Additionally, Apostrophe offers user authentication mechanisms and secure session management capabilities.

Concrete5 also prioritizes security and regularly releases patches and updates. It offers protection against common threats and vulnerabilities, including CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) and XSS. Concrete5's architecture and security measures provide a secure foundation for your website and CMS.

When it comes to compliance with regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), both CMS platforms offer features and tools to assist with compliance. They provide options to manage user consent, data retention policies, and privacy settings.

It's important to note that while Apostrophe and Concrete5 offer strong security measures, the overall security of your CMS and website also depends on other factors such as proper server configuration and regular maintenance.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

When considering a CMS, it's essential to evaluate the migration process, ongoing support, and maintenance requirements.

Apostrophe provides a straightforward migration process, allowing you to import content from other CMS platforms or static websites. It offers comprehensive documentation and resources to assist with the migration process. Additionally, Apostrophe has a dedicated support team and a strong developer community, ensuring ongoing support and assistance.

Concrete5 also offers tools and resources to facilitate the migration process from other CMS platforms. Its documentation and community forums provide valuable insights and guidance during migration. Concrete5 offers various support options, including professional support packages and access to developer communities.

In terms of maintenance, both Apostrophe and Concrete5 require regular updates to ensure optimal performance and security. They offer tools and mechanisms to apply updates easily. It's crucial to have a maintenance plan in place to keep your CMS up to date and secure.

Consider the level of support available, ease of migration, and regular maintenance requirements when making your decision.


Choosing the right CMS for your organization is a significant decision. Apostrophe and Concrete5 are both powerful and feature-rich CMS platforms that can meet the content management needs of various organizations.

If you're looking for a highly customizable CMS with real-time capabilities and scalability, Apostrophe may be the better choice. Its Node.js foundation and modular architecture offer flexibility and speed.

On the other hand, if you prefer a user-friendly and robust CMS with a vast marketplace of themes and add-ons, Concrete5 might be the right fit. Its block-based editing system and PHP foundation make it a reliable choice for organizations of all sizes.

Consider your organization's specific requirements, technical expertise, and long-term goals when making the final decision. Both Apostrophe and Concrete5 have active communities and ongoing development, ensuring that you'll have support and continuous improvements as your website and business grow.


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.