CloudCannon vs. Forestry: A Comprehensive CMS Comparison Guide

CloudCannon vs. Forestry: A Comprehensive CMS Comparison Guide


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between CloudCannon and Forestry - two popular Content Management Systems that can help streamline your website management. Whether you are an individual user or a large organization, choosing the right CMS is crucial to ensure efficient content creation, collaboration, and scalability. In this guide, we will delve into the key features, strengths, and weaknesses of both CloudCannon and Forestry to help you make an informed decision for your organization.

Foundations of CMS

Both CloudCannon and Forestry are modern CMS platforms that offer a wide range of features and tools to simplify website management. CloudCannon is a cloud-based CMS that enables you to edit your website's HTML, CSS, and JavaScript directly through their user-friendly interface. On the other hand, Forestry is an intuitive Git-based CMS that integrates seamlessly with Git repositories, allowing developers to manage and version control their website's content efficiently.

CloudCannon's strength lies in its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a visual editor that allows users to make changes to their website without any coding knowledge. This makes it an excellent option for small businesses or content creators who prefer a more intuitive interface. Forestry, on the other hand, offers a more developer-centric approach with its Git-based system. It provides better control over content revisions and allows for seamless collaboration among developers.

When it comes to flexibility, CloudCannon provides built-in hosting with its cloud-based platform. This means you don't have to worry about finding separate hosting providers. On the other hand, Forestry is hosting agnostic, which means you can choose any hosting provider or even host your website on your own servers. This gives you more freedom and control over your hosting environment.

Overall, both CloudCannon and Forestry offer solid foundations for creating and managing websites. Your choice would largely depend on your specific needs, whether you prefer an intuitive visual editor or a more developer-centric approach with Git integration.

Design & User Experience

Design and user experience play a crucial role in attracting and engaging website visitors. Both CloudCannon and Forestry offer features that enable you to create visually appealing websites with ease.

CloudCannon provides a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that allows you to make changes and updates visually. It also has a drag-and-drop feature that simplifies content organization and layout adjustments. Additionally, the platform offers ready-made templates and themes to help you get started quickly. However, customizability is relatively limited compared to Forestry.

Forestry, being a more developer-oriented CMS, offers greater flexibility and control over the website's design. It supports popular static site generators (Hugo, Gatsby, Jekyll), giving you access to a wide range of themes and templates to choose from. Customization is a breeze with Forestry, allowing developers to easily modify the code and design of the website to fit their exact requirements.

In terms of user experience, both CloudCannon and Forestry prioritize simplicity and intuitive interfaces. CloudCannon's visual editor makes it easy for non-technical users to make changes without touching the code. Forestry, although geared towards developers, provides a clean and organized interface that keeps content creators comfortable when making updates. Ultimately, your choice between the two CMS platforms would depend on your level of technical expertise and design requirements.

Content Management

Efficient content management is at the core of any CMS. Whether you are managing a blog, an e-commerce site, or a company website, having the ability to organize, update, and publish content seamlessly is essential.

CloudCannon offers a straightforward content management system that allows you to create and edit content within their user interface. Their visual editor makes it easy to update text, images, and other media on your site. You can organize your content into folders and subfolders for better organization and use tags and categories to further categorize your content. Collaboration features such as content scheduling and approval workflows are also available, making it suitable for teams.

Forestry, being Git-based, takes content management to the next level. It seamlessly integrates with Git repositories, which enables developers to use their preferred workflow and version control system. Content updates made within Forestry are automatically committed to the repository and can be reviewed and approved before deployment. The Git-based approach ensures better content governance, easy rollback options, and the ability to manage content changes with precision.

When it comes to content management, both CloudCannon and Forestry provide solid options. CloudCannon's visual editor is more beginner-friendly and suitable for less technically inclined users. Forestry, with its Git-based system, offers greater control and flexibility for developers and tech-savvy users. Choose the one that aligns with your team's skillset and content management needs.

Collaboration & User Management

Collaboration and user management are crucial considerations, especially for organizations with multiple team members involved in content creation and website management. Both CloudCannon and Forestry offer robust collaboration features to facilitate efficient teamwork.

CloudCannon allows you to invite team members with different access levels, such as administrators, editors, and developers. This enables you to control who can make changes, ensuring a secure content management process. The platform also provides commenting and annotation features to facilitate collaboration and feedback between team members. Additionally, CloudCannon offers integration with popular project management tools like Slack and Trello, allowing for seamless communication.

Forestry provides a similar level of collaboration features, allowing you to invite team members and assign roles with different permissions. With Git-based content management, Forestry enables developers to work simultaneously, make changes, and merge those changes efficiently. The platform provides an interface for easily managing content conflicts and resolves them without hassle. Git also makes it possible to track changes, identify authors, and easily review modifications made by team members.

In terms of collaboration and user management, both CloudCannon and Forestry offer robust solutions. CloudCannon provides a more user-friendly interface with integrations to popular project management tools. Forestry, with its Git integration, offers a developer-friendly collaboration environment. Assess your team's collaboration needs and preferences to determine which CMS suits your requirements better.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Optimal website performance and scalability are crucial for delivering a seamless user experience and accommodating growing traffic demands. Additionally, having reliable hosting options is essential to ensure your website stays online consistently.

CloudCannon offers built-in hosting, ensuring reliable performance and eliminating the need for separate hosting providers. They leverage global CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to deliver your website's content quickly to users all over the world. CloudCannon's hosting is designed to scale automatically, allowing your website to handle increased traffic without any manual intervention. This makes it an excellent choice for small to medium-sized websites.

Forestry is hosting agnostic, which means you can choose any hosting provider or even host your website on your own servers. This offers more flexibility and control over your hosting environment, allowing you to choose the infrastructure that best suits your needs. While this gives you more customization options, it also means you will be responsible for maintaining and scaling the hosting infrastructure yourself.

Both CloudCannon and Forestry provide options for optimal performance and scalability. If you prefer a hassle-free hosting experience without the need for additional setup and maintenance, CloudCannon's built-in hosting is a great choice. However, if you have specific hosting requirements or prefer complete control over your hosting environment, Forestry's hosting-agnostic approach might be more suitable.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization options and a thriving ecosystem of extensions and integrations are essential for expanding the functionality of your CMS and adapting it to your specific needs.

CloudCannon offers a range of built-in themes and templates to kickstart your website design. While the customization options are somewhat limited compared to Forestry, CloudCannon provides an easy-to-use interface for making modifications to your website's design. Additionally, it supports the use of custom JavaScript and front-end frameworks like React, providing developers with the flexibility to create custom functionalities.

Forestry, being Git-based, boasts a vibrant ecosystem of static site generators and plugins. This allows developers to choose from a wide range of themes, templates, and plugins to customize their websites. Forestry integrates seamlessly with popular static site generators like Hugo, Gatsby, and Jekyll, offering endless customization possibilities. Developers can leverage build tools and libraries to further extend the functionality of their websites.

When it comes to customization and the availability of a thriving ecosystem, Forestry provides a broader range of options for developers seeking complete control over their website's design and functionality. CloudCannon, while offering a simpler customization experience, may be better suited for users who require a more user-friendly approach.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing tools, and monetization options are crucial for driving traffic, expanding your online presence, and generating revenue.

CloudCannon offers basic SEO features such as customizable meta tags, URLs, and alt tags for images. It also provides integrations with Google Analytics, allowing you to track website performance and make data-driven decisions. However, CloudCannon's marketing and monetization options are relatively limited compared to Forestry.

Forestry provides similar SEO features and integrations with Google Analytics. Additionally, it offers integrations with popular marketing tools like Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Segment, enabling you to create targeted campaigns and drive engagement. Forestry also supports e-commerce platforms like Shopify, making it easier to monetize your website and manage online sales.

If SEO, marketing, and monetization options are essential for your organization, Forestry provides a more extensive set of tools and integrations. CloudCannon, while offering basic SEO functionality, may be a better fit for organizations that prioritize simplicity and ease of use over advanced marketing features.

Security & Compliance

Ensuring the security and compliance of your CMS is crucial to protect sensitive data and maintain the trust of your website's visitors.

CloudCannon takes security seriously and offers SSL encryption for all websites hosted on their platform. They also provide features like password-protected pages and user roles with different levels of access permissions. CloudCannon follows best practices for security and data protection.

Forestry, being a Git-based CMS, benefits from the security measures offered by Git repositories. The use of Git provides robust security features like version control, content backup, and recovery options. Developers have full control over access permissions and can enforce security measures at the repository level. Furthermore, Forestry ensures compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR.

Both CloudCannon and Forestry offer solid security measures. Assess your organization's specific security and compliance requirements to determine which CMS aligns best with your needs.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

When considering a CMS, it's essential to evaluate the ease of migrating your existing website and the support and maintenance options provided by the platform.

CloudCannon offers a straightforward migration process, allowing you to import your existing website without much hassle. Their support team is responsive and provides assistance through live chat or email. Regular updates and maintenance are handled by CloudCannon, ensuring your website stays up to date and secure.

Forestry provides various migration options, including importing from Git repositories or directly from popular static site generators. The platform offers a comprehensive knowledge base and community forums for self-support. However, direct support is available only for paid plans. Regular maintenance and updates are the responsibility of the user, as Forestry is a self-hosted CMS.

Both CloudCannon and Forestry provide support for migrating your existing website. CloudCannon offers a more hands-on approach, while Forestry provides self-support options for more technical users. Consider your organization's support and maintenance preferences when making a decision between the two CMS platforms.


Choosing the right CMS is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organization's online presence and efficiency. CloudCannon and Forestry offer distinct features and cater to different user needs.

If you prioritize user-friendliness, simplicity, and a visual editing experience, CloudCannon may be the ideal choice. It provides beginner-friendly tools and an all-in-one solution with built-in hosting. However, if you are a developer or have a technically inclined team that needs more control over the codebase and content management process, Forestry's Git-based approach offers greater flexibility, customization options, and collaboration functionalities.

No matter which CMS you choose, both CloudCannon and Forestry provide solid foundations for efficient content management and website creation. Assess your organization's specific requirements, consider the pros and cons of each CMS, and select the one that aligns best with your needs and goals. Remember, your CMS is the backbone of your website, so make an informed decision to set your organization up for success.


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.