Gatsby vs. Yellow: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Popular Content Management Systems

Gatsby vs. Yellow: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Popular Content Management Systems


When it comes to choosing a content management system (CMS) for your organization, the decision can be overwhelming. Two popular options in the market today are Gatsby and Yellow. Both CMS platforms offer unique features and benefits that cater to different needs and preferences. In this comparison guide, we will dive deep into the various aspects of these CMS platforms to help you make an informed decision for your organization. Whether you prioritize design, collaboration, performance, or customization, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of Gatsby and Yellow.

Foundations of CMS

The foundation of any CMS is its technology stack and architecture. Gatsby is a static site generator that uses components from React.js to build websites. It leverages GraphQL to seamlessly pull data from multiple sources, providing excellent speed and performance. On the other hand, Yellow is a lightweight CMS built using PHP. It follows a traditional backend architecture and can be a good fit for organizations with existing PHP infrastructure. Both platforms are open-source, enabling developers to customize and extend functionalities as per their requirements.

Gatsby's strength lies in its performance due to its static site generation process. It pre-builds all the pages, resulting in lightning-fast load times, as there is no need for database queries or server-side rendering. In contrast, Yellow uses dynamic rendering, where pages are created on the fly when requested. This approach allows for more flexible content management but may impact performance, especially on high-traffic websites.

Both Gatsby and Yellow support various content types, including blog posts, pages, and media files. Gatsby's GraphQL-based data layer enables seamless integration with external APIs and content sources. On the other hand, Yellow provides a simple yet effective file-based content management system, making it easy to organize and manage content directly within the file system.

When considering the foundations of a CMS, it's essential to evaluate your organization's technical preferences and goals. If you prioritize speed, performance, and the ability to integrate with modern JavaScript frameworks, Gatsby might be the ideal choice. However, if simplicity, PHP compatibility, and flexible content management are more critical, Yellow can be a suitable option.

Design & User Experience

The design and user experience (UX) of a website play a crucial role in engaging visitors and delivering a seamless browsing experience. In terms of design flexibility, both Gatsby and Yellow offer a range of options but take different approaches.

Gatsby provides a rich ecosystem of pre-built templates and themes, allowing you to kickstart your website design quickly. It leverages React.js components, enabling developers to create reusable UI elements. The wealth of React.js libraries and extensions further enhances the design possibilities. Gatsby's strong frontend capabilities and support for modern design trends make it an excellent choice for organizations with specific design requirements and a design-first approach.

On the other hand, Yellow follows a more traditional template-based design approach. It provides a set of default themes that can be customized to match your branding. While not as flexible as Gatsby, Yellow's straightforward and intuitive theming system makes it accessible to those without strong frontend development skills. It also offers a user-friendly editor interface for non-technical users to manage content and make minor design changes.

When it comes to UX, both Gatsby and Yellow prioritize performance and responsiveness. Gatsby's static site generation results in near-instant page loads, providing an excellent user experience. Yellow's dynamic rendering approach ensures that content is always up to date, but page load times may vary depending on server load and complexity. Additionally, both platforms offer responsive design options to ensure a seamless experience across devices.

In summary, Gatsby is a great choice for organizations that value design flexibility, frontend capabilities, and modern design trends. Yellow, on the other hand, offers a more traditional and user-friendly approach to design and content management, making it suitable for organizations with limited frontend development resources or non-technical users who need a simpler UX.

Content Management

The ability to manage content effectively is a critical factor when choosing a CMS for your organization. Gatsby and Yellow provide different approaches to content management, each with its own strengths and considerations.

Gatsby's content management is based on GraphQL, a powerful query language for APIs and databases. GraphQL allows you to fetch exactly the data you need, reducing unnecessary data transfers and improving performance. Gatsby's source plugins enable integration with various data sources, including traditional databases, REST APIs, and headless CMS platforms like Contentful or Strapi. This flexibility makes it easier to pull content from external sources and keep your website content up to date.

Yellow, on the other hand, follows a file-based approach to content management. Each page or blog post is stored as a file within the file system, making it easy to organize and manage content directly using file explorers or code editors. While this approach may seem less intuitive for non-technical users, it offers a straightforward and version-controlled way of managing content. Yellow's file-based content management is an advantage for organizations that prefer a simplified and offline editing experience.

Both Gatsby and Yellow provide a user-friendly editing interface. Gatsby offers a range of CMS options, including headless CMS platforms like Ghost or Netlify CMS, which provide a familiar user interface for content editors. These CMS options enable non-technical users to create and update content without the need to navigate React.js components directly. Yellow, meanwhile, provides a simple web-based editor that allows content editing directly in the browser, without the need for additional CMS platforms.

Ultimately, the choice between Gatsby and Yellow for content management depends on the needs and preferences of your organization. If you require seamless integration with external data sources and a wide range of CMS options, Gatsby's GraphQL-based content management system is the way to go. On the other hand, if you prioritize a simple, file-based approach for content management and prefer an offline editing experience, Yellow's content management system is worth considering.

Collaboration & User Management

Collaboration and user management capabilities are crucial for any organization with multiple team members involved in content creation and publication. Let's explore how Gatsby and Yellow address these requirements.

Gatsby, being a static site generator, does not have an in-built user management system. However, it seamlessly integrates with headless CMS platforms such as Contentful or Netlify CMS, which provide advanced user and role management features. These platforms allow you to set up user roles, permissions, and workflows, making collaboration and content creation a breeze. With headless CMS platforms, you can manage users, assign roles, and control access to specific parts of the website.

Yellow, too, doesn't have advanced user management features in its core offering. However, it provides plugins and extensions that enable user registration and authentication. These plugins can be leveraged to create user accounts and manage permissions, although the options may not be as extensive as those offered by the headless CMS platforms. Additionally, Yellow allows content authors to preview changes before publishing, which can be useful for collaborative content creation.

It's important to assess your organization's collaboration and user management needs when considering Gatsby or Yellow. If you require sophisticated user management features, integration with headless CMS platforms via Gatsby can provide a robust solution. On the other hand, if basic user registration and authentication capabilities are sufficient for your organization, Yellow's plugins and extensions can handle these requirements.

Remember to consider scalability as well. Gatsby's static site generation enables excellent performance and scalability, making it ideal for large-scale websites with high traffic. However, Yellow's dynamic rendering may present challenges in handling high volumes of simultaneous users. Understanding your organization's growth plans and expected traffic will help inform the collaboration and user management capabilities you require from your CMS.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance and scalability are crucial factors to consider when choosing a CMS for your organization. Let's examine how Gatsby and Yellow measure up in terms of performance, scalability, and hosting options.

Gatsby's static site generation process allows for lightning-fast page loads. Since the web pages are pre-built, there are no database queries or server-side rendering delays when a user requests a page. This results in blazingly quick load times, which can significantly improve user experience and SEO rankings. Additionally, Gatsby optimizes images and other assets automatically, further enhancing performance. Hosting options for Gatsby sites are abundant, ranging from traditional web hosts to specialized static site hosting services and platforms like Netlify.

Yellow's dynamic rendering approach means that pages are generated on the fly when requested. This allows for more flexible and real-time content management but may impact performance, especially on high-traffic websites. However, Yellow provides caching mechanisms and optimization features to mitigate these performance concerns to an extent. Hosting options for Yellow are similar to traditional PHP-based websites, with choices ranging from shared hosting providers to cloud-optimized containers and dedicated servers.

When considering performance and scalability, it's essential to assess your organization's specific requirements and traffic expectations. If you anticipate high traffic volumes or have a need for lightning-fast page loads, Gatsby's static site approach can provide an advantage. On the other hand, if real-time content updates and dynamic rendering are more critical, Yellow's approach may be a better fit.

Additionally, take hosting options into account. Gatsby's static sites can be hosted on various platforms, each with its own advantages and considerations. Yellow's hosting options are similar to traditional PHP websites, making it easier to find suitable hosting providers. Evaluate your organization's existing hosting infrastructure, security requirements, and technical expertise to determine the most suitable hosting option for your chosen CMS.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

The ability to customize and extend a CMS is essential to meet your organization's unique requirements. Let's discover how Gatsby and Yellow allow for customization, provide extensions, and integrate with other ecosystems.

Gatsby's strength lies in its customization options and ecosystem. Its architecture based on React.js ensures a vibrant community that provides numerous themes, plugins, and starter templates. These resources make it easier to jumpstart your website development and leverage existing design patterns and functionalities. Additionally, Gatsby's open-source nature enables developers to create custom plugins and extensions to extend the CMS's capabilities to fit specific needs. Its GraphQL-based data layer also enhances customization by allowing seamless integration with various APIs and data sources.

Yellow, too, offers customization options through themes and plugins. While the ecosystem may not be as extensive as Gatsby's, it still provides valuable resources for building tailored websites. Yellow's simplicity makes it relatively straightforward to develop and customize themes and plugins to match your organization's branding and functionality requirements. As Yellow is built using PHP, developers familiar with PHP can leverage their existing skills to create custom features or integrate with other PHP-based solutions.

Integration with other ecosystems is significant for organizations that have existing tools and workflows in place. Gatsby's broad ecosystem allows seamless integration with popular tools and services such as e-commerce platforms, analytics tools, and marketing automation systems. Its integration options with headless CMS platforms also provide opportunities for content collaboration and reuse across multiple channels. Yellow's PHP foundation makes it compatible with other PHP-based solutions, which may be beneficial for organizations that have already invested in PHP-based systems and third-party integrations.

Consider your organization's customization requirements, the available resources, and the ecosystems you need to integrate with when evaluating Gatsby and Yellow. If you require extensive customization options and compatibility with a wide range of tools and services, Gatsby's rich ecosystem and React.js architecture provide great opportunities. On the other hand, if you prefer a more straightforward and PHP-centric customization approach, Yellow's simplicity and PHP foundation can be advantageous.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

A CMS plays a significant role in supporting your organization's SEO efforts, marketing initiatives, and potential monetization strategies. Let's explore how Gatsby and Yellow address these aspects.

Gatsby's static site generation process, combined with its performance optimization features, results in websites that are highly optimized for search engines. The absence of server-side rendering or database queries means that search engines can easily crawl and index the content, improving your website's visibility. Gatsby also provides plugins and tools that facilitate SEO optimization, such as automatically generating XML sitemaps and creating metadata for each page. Additionally, Gatsby's integration options with marketing tools and automation platforms allow for effective marketing campaigns and audience tracking.

Yellow provides SEO features, such as customizable metadata and clean URLs, to ensure search engine visibility for your website. While not as geared towards SEO optimization as Gatsby's static sites, Yellow's dynamic rendering approach still enables search engine crawlers to index the content effectively. However, additional efforts may be required to optimize performance and caching to ensure excellent visitor experience and search engine ranking. Yellow also offers plugins and extensions for integrating marketing tools and analytics, enabling you to monitor and analyze your website's performance and user behavior.

When considering SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities, assess your organization's specific goals and requirements. If SEO is a top priority and you require powerful marketing analytics and automation, Gatsby's static site generation approach and ecosystem provide a strong advantage. On the other hand, if you have a more modest SEO and marketing focus or have existing tools that need to be integrated, Yellow's flexibility and plugin options can fulfill those needs.

Monetization strategies, such as advertising or e-commerce, can be facilitated by both Gatsby and Yellow. Gatsby's ecosystem provides numerous plugins and extensions for integrating advertising platforms or e-commerce solutions, ensuring seamless monetization options. For Yellow, being built using PHP opens up a range of opportunities to integrate with PHP-based e-commerce platforms or implement custom monetization features. When evaluating monetization options, consider the specific requirements of your organization and the availability of plugins or extensions that meet those needs.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when choosing a CMS, particularly for organizations handling sensitive data or operating in regulated industries. Let's review the security and compliance aspects of Gatsby and Yellow.

Gatsby's static site architecture provides inherent security benefits. With no on-demand server-side rendering or database queries, Gatsby sites are less susceptible to common web application vulnerabilities. Additionally, Gatsby's strong ecosystem ensures regular updates to address security patches or vulnerabilities discovered within its dependencies. However, when integrating with external APIs or services, it's important to consider the security of those integrations separately.

Yellow's security largely depends on the hosting environment and the measures put in place by the server administrator or hosting provider. Being a PHP-based CMS, security practices for traditional PHP websites apply to Yellow as well. This includes regular updates, strong server security configurations, and storing sensitive information securely. It's crucial to follow best practices for PHP security, such as input validation and output sanitization, to ensure robust security for your Yellow-based websites.

Compliance requirements, such as GDPR or HIPAA, need to be considered based on your organization's specific needs. Gatsby's static sites and external service integrations provide opportunities to implement compliance measures effectively. Similarly, Yellow's flexible PHP-based architecture allows for custom compliance implementations when necessary. Assess your organization's compliance requirements and ensure that both Gatsby and Yellow can meet those needs, either inherently or through custom configurations.

Remember that security and compliance are ongoing concerns that require regular monitoring and updates. Implementing CMS-specific security practices and following industry standards will help safeguard your organization's data and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

The ease of migration, availability of support, and ongoing maintenance requirements are critical factors to consider before selecting a CMS. Let's explore how Gatsby and Yellow address these aspects.

Migrating to Gatsby from another CMS platform might require some planning and effort, especially if you have a large existing website. However, Gatsby's ecosystem provides many resources and guides to facilitate the migration process. The availability of plugins and themes specific to popular CMS platforms makes the transition smoother. Additionally, Gatsby's extensibility and compatibility with various data sources make it easier to import your existing content into the CMS. Investing time in understanding Gatsby's data layer and setting up the required integrations can help streamline the migration process.

Yellow's migration process largely depends on your existing CMS or website setup. Since Yellow follows a file-based content management system, organizing and reformatting your content into Yellow's file structure may require some effort. However, being PHP-based, migration from other PHP CMS platforms or traditional PHP websites can be relatively straightforward. Yellow's simplicity also contributes to easier migration, as you can implement custom scripts or automation to import content from your existing system.

When it comes to support and maintenance, Gatsby's well-established community provides abundant resources, including documentation, tutorials, and forums. The availability of official starter templates, themes, and plugins ensures ongoing support and maintenance of your Gatsby-based websites. Additionally, Gatsby's regular updates, driven by its active community, keep the platform up to date and secure. If additional support is required, commercial offerings and support services are available from several companies that specialize in Gatsby development.

Yellow's support largely depends on its community, which may not be as extensive as Gatsby's. However, Yellow provides official documentation and a community forum where developers can seek assistance and share knowledge. The availability of plugins and extensions developed by the community contributes to ongoing maintenance and support. While commercial support may be more limited for Yellow, its simplicity and PHP foundation make it accessible to PHP developers who can handle support and maintenance internally.

Consider the migration effort required and the availability of support and maintenance resources when evaluating Gatsby and Yellow. If you have an existing CMS or website that needs to be migrated, assess the resources available for the specific migration path. Additionally, evaluate the level of support your organization requires and the technical expertise available internally to handle ongoing maintenance.


In conclusion, both Gatsby and Yellow offer unique features and capabilities that cater to different organizational needs. Gatsby's static site generation, React.js architecture, and extensive ecosystem make it an excellent choice for organizations that prioritize design flexibility, performance, extensibility, and integration options. On the other hand, Yellow's simplicity, file-based content management, and PHP foundation make it suitable for organizations looking for a lightweight CMS with user-friendly content editing and a straightforward customization approach.

When making a decision, consider the specific needs and requirements of your organization, including design preferences, collaboration and user management capabilities, performance and scalability requirements, customization possibilities, SEO and marketing goals, security and compliance concerns, as well as migration and ongoing maintenance considerations. By evaluating each CMS based on these factors, you can confidently choose between Gatsby and Yellow to find the CMS that best aligns with your organization's goals and objectives.


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.