Fork CMS vs. Pelican: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems

Fork CMS vs. Pelican: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between Fork CMS and Pelican, two popular content management systems. As digital leaders and decision-makers, it's crucial to select the right CMS that suits your organization's needs. In this guide, we will analyze the key features of both CMS platforms to help you make an informed decision.

Foundations of CMS

Both Fork CMS and Pelican have different foundational approaches to content management. Fork CMS is a traditional CMS that relies on a database to store content, allowing for dynamic and interactive websites. On the other hand, Pelican is a static site generator, which means it generates HTML files in advance and doesn't require a database during runtime. This approach offers better performance and security but lacks dynamic content capabilities.

In terms of ease of use, Fork CMS provides a user-friendly interface with a visual editor and drag-and-drop functionality, making it ideal for non-technical users. Pelican, although more developer-oriented, offers greater flexibility and control over your content and website structure. It uses Markdown or ReStructuredText for content creation, allowing you to focus on writing without worrying about complex formatting.

When it comes to scalability, Fork CMS excels with its ability to handle large volumes of content and adapt to growing websites effortlessly. Pelican, on the other hand, is better suited for smaller websites or blogs that don't require extensive content management features.

In summary, Fork CMS offers a traditional CMS experience with dynamic content capabilities, while Pelican provides a static site generator approach that prioritizes performance, security, and simplicity.

Design & User Experience

Design and user experience play a crucial role in attracting and engaging website visitors. Fork CMS offers a wide range of pre-designed templates and themes, allowing you to create visually appealing websites without extensive design knowledge. Its powerful theming engine enables you to customize the look and feel of your website to match your branding.

Pelican, being a static site generator, provides a more flexible design approach. You have complete control over the design, allowing for highly customized and unique websites. However, this level of customization requires proficiency in HTML, CSS, and templating languages, making it more suitable for developers or organizations with design expertise.

Both Fork CMS and Pelican prioritize responsiveness, ensuring that your websites look and function seamlessly across various devices and screen sizes. Fork CMS achieves this through its responsive design templates, while Pelican generates static HTML files that are inherently responsive.

In conclusion, Fork CMS offers a user-friendly approach to design with pre-designed templates, while Pelican provides unparalleled design flexibility for those with design expertise or developer support.

Content Management

The ability to manage and organize content efficiently is a crucial aspect of any CMS. Fork CMS provides a rich set of content management features, including a visual editor, media management, and version control. You can easily create and update content using its intuitive interface, making it ideal for content teams of all sizes.

Pelican, being a static site generator, handles content management in a different way. Instead of relying on a web-based interface, you create and organize content locally on your computer using Markdown or ReStructuredText. Once ready, Pelican generates the static HTML files, allowing for easy deployment and distribution. While this approach may require a slightly steeper learning curve, it offers greater control and simplicity in content management.

Additionally, Fork CMS provides multilingual support out of the box, making it an excellent choice for organizations with a global audience. Pelican, however, requires manual configuration and integration of multiple language files for multilingual content.

In summary, Fork CMS offers a user-friendly and comprehensive content management experience, while Pelican provides a more streamlined and developer-centric approach.

Collaboration & User Management

Efficient collaboration and user management are essential for organizations with multiple contributors and teams. Fork CMS excels in this area by providing granular user role management, allowing you to define specific permissions and access levels for each user. It also supports user collaboration features, such as content workflow and approval systems, ensuring a smooth content creation process.

In contrast, Pelican doesn't provide built-in collaboration and user management features. Since it relies on local content creation, collaboration must be managed through external tools such as version control systems like Git or content collaboration platforms. This can introduce additional complexity, especially for non-technical teams.

Both Fork CMS and Pelican support user authentication and user registration, enabling organizations to create personalized user experiences. Fork CMS offers these capabilities out of the box, while Pelican requires additional configuration or custom development.

To summarize, Fork CMS offers robust collaboration and user management features, making it an ideal choice for organizations with multiple contributors. Pelican, on the other hand, requires external tools to manage collaboration effectively.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance and scalability are critical considerations when selecting a CMS. Fork CMS's dynamic nature may result in slightly slower page loading times compared to Pelican's static site generation approach. However, Fork CMS provides various optimization features and caching mechanisms to mitigate this issue and improve overall performance.

Pelican, being a static site generator, offers excellent performance by default. Since the websites it generates don't rely on databases or server-side processing, page loading times are typically faster. Additionally, these static HTML files can be easily cached and served by content delivery networks (CDNs) for even greater performance benefits.

When it comes to scalability, both Fork CMS and Pelican have their strengths. Fork CMS is designed to handle large volumes of content and can scale horizontally with the appropriate infrastructure. Pelican, being a static site generator, doesn't have scalability limitations based on content size, but may require additional steps for content updates and regeneration on larger websites.

In terms of hosting options, Fork CMS is more flexible as it can be hosted on various servers with PHP and a supported database. Pelican, being a static site generator, can be hosted on any web server capable of serving static files without requiring additional server-side dependencies.

In summary, Fork CMS and Pelican both offer good performance and scalability, with Pelican having an edge in terms of speed and static hosting advantages. Fork CMS provides more flexibility in hosting options and optimization features for improved performance.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization and the availability of extensions play a crucial role in tailoring a CMS to your organization's needs. Fork CMS offers an extensive ecosystem of modules and extensions that allow you to add new functionality and customize your website without extensive coding knowledge. Additionally, the community actively contributes new modules and updates to ensure continuous improvement and support.

Pelican, being a static site generator, has a different approach to customization. While it doesn't provide an extensive ecosystem of ready-to-use extensions like Fork CMS, it offers powerful templating capabilities that allow for highly customized designs and functionalities. If you have development resources or the ability to modify HTML and CSS, Pelican offers nearly limitless customization options.

Both Fork CMS and Pelican support third-party integrations, with Fork CMS offering more out-of-the-box integration options for popular services like social media platforms and analytics tools. Pelican, with its developer-centric approach, requires custom integration work but allows for seamless integration with any desired service.

In conclusion, Fork CMS provides a wide range of ready-to-use extensions and an active community ecosystem, while Pelican offers unmatched customization potential for those with coding expertise.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities are crucial for organizations looking to drive traffic, engage users, and generate revenue through their websites. Fork CMS offers built-in SEO features, including metadata management, XML sitemap generation, and URL rewriting, allowing you to optimize your website for search engines effectively.

Pelican, being a static site generator, generates clean and optimized HTML files by default, making it inherently SEO-friendly. However, you'll need to manage SEO aspects like metadata manually, as they are typically not automated.

In terms of marketing features, Fork CMS provides built-in tools for newsletters, customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing automation, making it a comprehensive solution for managing marketing campaigns. Pelican, being a static site generator, doesn't offer built-in marketing features and requires external tools or custom development for advanced marketing capabilities.

In terms of monetization, Fork CMS provides plugins and modules for e-commerce functionality, payment integration, and subscription management, catering to organizations looking to monetize their websites. On the other hand, Pelican, being more focused on static content generation, requires custom development or integration with third-party platforms to implement monetization features.

Overall, Fork CMS offers a comprehensive set of SEO, marketing, and monetization features, making it suitable for organizations with diverse digital marketing needs. Pelican, being a static site generator, requires additional customization or integration for advanced SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when selecting a CMS, especially for organizations dealing with sensitive information or operating in regulated industries. Fork CMS takes security seriously and provides frequent updates and patches to address potential vulnerabilities. Its active community and established codebase ensure continuous security improvements and enhanced stability.

Pelican, as a static site generator, inherently provides better security in terms of protection against common web vulnerabilities like SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS), as there is no server-side processing involved. However, Pelican's lack of dynamic features also means it may not be suitable for websites requiring frequent content updates or user interactions that rely on real-time data.

In terms of compliance, Fork CMS offers features like granular user access control, version control, and audit logs, allowing organizations to meet various compliance requirements. Pelican, being a static site generator, doesn't provide built-in compliance features, but can be utilized in compliance-oriented environments by implementing necessary security measures and processes.

In summary, both Fork CMS and Pelican prioritize security, with Fork CMS providing a comprehensive security approach and Pelican offering inherent security benefits with its static site generation approach.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migrating from one CMS to another can be a daunting task. Fork CMS offers tools and resources to assist in smooth migration, including importers for popular CMS platforms and extensive documentation. Its active community also provides support and guidance throughout the migration process.

Pelican, being a static site generator, requires a different migration approach. Since it generates static files, migrating to Pelican usually involves converting existing content into Markdown or ReStructuredText format. This process may require additional development resources or external tools to automate the migration.

In terms of support, Fork CMS provides a dedicated support team and an active community forum where users can seek assistance and share experiences. Pelican, being more developer-centric, relies heavily on community support through forums and documentation. It is worth noting that Fork CMS offers commercial support options for organizations requiring additional assistance.

Maintenance for both Fork CMS and Pelican involves regular updates and security patches. Fork CMS provides an automatic update system that simplifies the maintenance process. Pelican, being a static site generator, requires manual content updates and regeneration whenever changes are made.

To conclude, both Fork CMS and Pelican offer migration tools and support, with Fork CMS providing a more user-friendly migration experience and commercial support options. Pelican requires a different migration approach and relies on community support for assistance.


In conclusion, Fork CMS and Pelican offer distinct approaches to content management, catering to different organizational needs and priorities. Fork CMS provides a traditional CMS experience with dynamic content capabilities, user-friendly design, and comprehensive features for collaboration, performance, customization, SEO, security, and migration. It is suitable for organizations looking for a feature-rich CMS with a visual editor and extensive ecosystem.

Pelican, on the other hand, offers a static site generator approach that prioritizes performance, security, customization, and simplicity. It is ideal for organizations or individuals with design or developer expertise, who value control, speed, and simplicity over extensive content management functionalities and dynamic features.

We hope this comparison guide has provided you with valuable insights to make an informed decision. Analyze your organization's specific requirements, priorities, and resources to determine which CMS, Fork CMS or Pelican, aligns best with your needs.


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.