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

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


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between Gila CMS and Pelican! As digital leaders and decision-makers, you understand the importance of selecting the right content management system for your organization's needs. Both Gila CMS and Pelican offer unique features and capabilities, making your decision a crucial one. In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at the foundations, design and user experience, content management, collaboration and user management, performance and scalability, customization and extensions, SEO and marketing, security and compliance, as well as migration, support, and maintenance of these two CMS options.

Foundations of CMS

Gila CMS and Pelican have different foundations in terms of technology and purpose. Gila CMS is a traditional, database-driven CMS. It offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of functionalities, allowing you to create, edit, and publish content seamlessly. On the other hand, Pelican is a static site generator that transforms text files into HTML pages. It is designed for developers and technical users who prefer working with Markdown or reStructuredText. While Gila CMS provides a visual editing experience, Pelican requires knowledge of markup languages and requires a more hands-on approach. Depending on your organization's requirements and technical expertise, you can choose the CMS that aligns with your preferences.

In terms of flexibility, Gila CMS outweighs Pelican as it allows you to easily customize templates, themes, and layouts. This ensures that your website's design can match your brand identity and business goals seamlessly. Pelican, being a static site generator, offers less flexibility in terms of design customization, as it relies heavily on pre-defined templates. However, Pelican makes up for it with its exceptional loading speed and security, as static sites eliminate the need for database queries and server-side processing.

Moreover, Gila CMS is known for its user-friendly interface, which empowers non-technical users to manage and update content without extensive training. The intuitive drag-and-drop functionality, WYSIWYG editor, and media management features make content management a breeze. Pelican, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve, requiring knowledge of Markdown or reStructuredText for content creation and updates. It is more suitable for organizations with technical users who are comfortable working with markup languages.

In summary, Gila CMS offers a more traditional, user-friendly approach to content management, while Pelican provides a streamlined, developer-centric experience. Consider your organization's technical capabilities and content management requirements when making a decision between the two.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, both Gila CMS and Pelican offer unique features to enhance your website's aesthetics and user engagement. Gila CMS provides a wide range of customizable themes and templates, allowing you to create visually appealing websites with ease. The visual editor and drag-and-drop functionality contribute to a seamless design experience, especially for non-technical users. Additionally, Gila CMS offers a responsive design, ensuring that your website looks great on any device.

Pelican, being a static site generator, relies on pre-defined templates for design customization. While this limits the flexibility compared to Gila CMS, it ensures consistent and efficient rendering of pages. Pelican supports the use of CSS frameworks, allowing developers to build responsive designs without sacrificing performance. It is worth noting that Pelican's focus on performance results in lightning-fast loading times for your website, offering an optimal user experience.

Both Gila CMS and Pelican offer features for media management. Gila CMS provides an intuitive interface to upload and organize images, videos, and other media files. It also offers built-in image optimization capabilities, ensuring fast loading times and optimal performance. Pelican, on the other hand, requires you to manually manage and optimize your media files before generating the static site. While this requires additional effort, it gives you full control over the optimization process.

In conclusion, Gila CMS provides a user-friendly design experience with its customizable themes and responsive design capabilities. Pelican, with its focus on performance and efficiency, offers a streamlined design process accompanied by lightning-fast loading times. Consider your organization's design preferences and performance requirements when choosing between the two.

Content Management

One of the key aspects of a content management system is its ability to handle and organize content efficiently. Both Gila CMS and Pelican have their unique strengths in content management, catering to different user preferences and organizational needs.

Gila CMS offers a robust content management system that allows non-technical users to create, edit, and publish content easily. The user-friendly interface, WYSIWYG editor, and drag-and-drop functionality make content creation and updates intuitive. Gila CMS also provides features such as version control, content scheduling, and content reuse, enabling you to manage your content effectively and efficiently. Additionally, Gila CMS supports multi-language content management, making it suitable for organizations with a global audience.

Pelican, being a static site generator, follows a different approach to content management. It requires content to be written in Markdown or reStructuredText and then converted into static HTML pages. This makes Pelican more suitable for technical users who prefer working with markup languages. While Pelican may not provide the same level of user-friendliness as Gila CMS, it offers the advantage of version control through the use of a version control system, allowing you to manage content revisions effectively.

Furthermore, Gila CMS offers advanced features like content personalization, A/B testing, and content analytics. These features enable you to deliver personalized content to your audience, optimize your content strategy, and measure the effectiveness of your content. Pelican, as a static site generator, does not offer built-in support for these advanced features. However, it can integrate with third-party tools and services to achieve similar functionalities.

In conclusion, Gila CMS provides a user-friendly and feature-rich content management system suitable for non-technical users. Pelican, with its focus on technical users and markup languages, offers a different approach to content management with features like version control. Consider your organization's content management requirements, technical expertise, and the need for advanced features when deciding between the two.

Collaboration & User Management

Effective collaboration and user management are crucial for organizations working on projects with multiple contributors. Gila CMS and Pelican offer different features and capabilities in this aspect, catering to diverse collaboration needs.

Gila CMS provides user roles and permissions, allowing you to define different levels of access and control for each user. This is particularly useful in organizations with a large number of contributors or with a hierarchical content management structure. Gila CMS also offers features for content workflow management, user notifications, and task assignments, ensuring smooth collaboration among team members. Additionally, Gila CMS supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on the same content simultaneously.

Pelican, being a static site generator, has limited collaboration features compared to Gila CMS. It does not provide built-in user management functionalities or workflow management capabilities. However, Pelican can integrate with version control systems like Git, enabling collaborative content development using branches and pull requests. This approach is more suitable for organizations with technical users and developers familiar with version control workflows.

It's important to note that while Gila CMS offers comprehensive collaboration features, it may require additional training for users to navigate the system effectively. Pelican, on the other hand, provides a simpler collaboration process through Git integration, but it requires familiarity with version control systems.

In summary, Gila CMS offers extensive collaboration features with user roles, content workflow management, and real-time collaboration. Pelican, with its focus on simplicity and developer-centric approach, enables collaboration through Git integration. Consider your organization's collaboration needs, technical expertise, and preference for a user-friendly interface when making your decision.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

When it comes to performance, scalability, and hosting, Gila CMS and Pelican have different strengths and considerations to keep in mind.

Gila CMS, as a traditional CMS, relies on a server-side architecture and a database to generate and deliver content. This architecture may result in slightly slower loading times compared to Pelican's static site approach. However, Gila CMS offers caching mechanisms and optimization options to improve performance. Additionally, Gila CMS supports scalability through various hosting options, such as cloud hosting and dedicated servers. With proper server configuration and optimization, Gila CMS can handle high traffic volumes and accommodate your organization's growth.

Pelican, as a static site generator, offers exceptional performance and fast loading times. Its static HTML pages eliminate the need for server-side processing, resulting in optimized performance. Pelican's lightweight nature and minimal dependencies contribute to its scalability, allowing your website to handle high traffic volumes without server-related performance issues. Hosting a Pelican site is relatively straightforward, as it can be hosted on various platforms, including shared hosting, CDNs, and static site hosting services.

It's essential to consider your organization's performance requirements, expected traffic volume, and hosting preferences when choosing between Gila CMS and Pelican. If performance is a critical factor, and you anticipate high traffic volumes, Pelican may be the preferred choice. However, if your organization requires a more traditional CMS architecture with scalability options, Gila CMS is a suitable option.

In conclusion, Gila CMS provides scalability options and caching mechanisms to enhance performance, making it suitable for handling high traffic volumes. Pelican offers exceptional performance and fast loading times through its static HTML pages, accommodating organizations with a focus on performance and efficiency. Consider your organization's performance requirements, hosting preferences, and expected traffic volume when making a decision.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization, extensions, and the ecosystem surrounding a CMS play a significant role in meeting your organization's unique needs and ensuring future flexibility. Let's explore how Gila CMS and Pelican compare in these aspects.

Gila CMS offers a wide range of themes, templates, and plugins, allowing you to customize your website's design and functionality. The user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality make it easy to customize layouts and create visually appealing websites without extensive coding knowledge. Additionally, Gila CMS has a thriving ecosystem, with a community of developers contributing to its extension marketplace. This means a vast selection of plugins, integrations, and add-ons is available to enhance the functionality and capabilities of your web development projects.

Pelican, being a developer-centric CMS, offers a different approach to customization. While it may offer fewer pre-built themes and templates, it allows you to utilize CSS frameworks and build custom designs from scratch. Pelican's static site generator nature enables you to create lightweight and highly optimized websites tailored to your organization's specific needs. Pelican also provides integration capabilities with third-party tools and services, allowing you to extend its functionality by leveraging the wider developer ecosystem.

Consider your organization's design preferences, customization requirements, and the need for specific integrations when choosing between Gila CMS and Pelican. Gila CMS offers a user-friendly approach with a variety of themes and plugins, while Pelican empowers developers with more in-depth customization possibilities.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

SEO, marketing, and monetization are crucial aspects of websites that need to be considered when choosing a CMS. Let's examine the capabilities of Gila CMS and Pelican in these areas.

Gila CMS provides SEO-friendly features, such as customizable URLs, meta tags, and sitemaps. It also offers built-in SEO analysis and recommendations, helping you optimize your content and improve search engine rankings. Additionally, Gila CMS seamlessly integrates with marketing tools, such as email marketing platforms and analytics solutions, allowing you to track your website's performance and drive marketing campaigns effectively. Monetization options, such as ad management and e-commerce integrations, are available within the Gila CMS ecosystem.

Pelican, as a static site generator, creates HTML pages that search engines love due to their simplicity and efficiency. It provides support for custom URLs and meta tags, allowing you to optimize your content for search engines. However, Pelican does not offer built-in SEO analysis or marketing integration features. If you intend to utilize marketing tools extensively or require advanced SEO analysis, you may need to rely on third-party solutions or custom integrations with Pelican.

If SEO, marketing integration, and monetization options are key requirements for your organization, Gila CMS provides a more comprehensive solution. However, if you prioritize the simplicity and efficiency of static HTML pages and are willing to explore third-party solutions, Pelican can still meet your basic SEO and marketing needs.

Security & Compliance

Ensuring the security and compliance of your website is crucial in the digital landscape. Gila CMS and Pelican offer different security features and considerations to protect your website and data.

Gila CMS, being a traditional CMS, has a focus on security. It offers features like role-based access control, SSL support, and regular security updates to protect your content and user data. Additionally, Gila CMS provides solid user authentication mechanisms and data encryption options. However, it's important to keep in mind that as a database-driven CMS, Gila CMS may require additional server and database security measures to minimize the risk of vulnerabilities.

Pelican, as a static site generator, eliminates many security risks associated with database-driven CMSs. However, it's crucial to ensure that the server hosting the static files is secure and well-maintained. Since Pelican generates static HTML pages, there is no reliance on server-side processing or database queries, reducing the attack surface for potential security vulnerabilities.

In terms of compliance, Gila CMS provides features and options to align with data protection regulations, such as GDPR. It enables you to configure consent management, cookie banners, and data retention policies. Pelican, being a static site generator, does not specifically provide compliance-oriented features. However, compliance can still be achieved by implementing appropriate measures in the supporting infrastructure and server setup.

In conclusion, both Gila CMS and Pelican offer security features and considerations, although their approaches differ. Gila CMS provides a more traditional CMS security model, while Pelican's static site nature reduces the attack surface. Consider your organization's security requirements and data protection obligations when making a decision.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migration, support, and maintenance are important factors to consider to ensure the smooth adoption and long-term success of a CMS. Let's examine the migration, support, and maintenance considerations for Gila CMS and Pelican.

Gila CMS provides migration tools and support to ease the transition from other CMS platforms. With the availability of importers and content migration plugins, you can efficiently move your existing content to Gila CMS. Additionally, Gila CMS has a community-driven support system, with active forums, documentation, and user groups. The Gila CMS team also offers professional support options and regular software updates to address issues and introduce new features.

Pelican, as a static site generator, requires a different migration process compared to traditional CMS platforms. Since Pelican relies on Markdown or reStructuredText, you may need to convert your existing content to these formats. Depending on the complexity and volume of your content, the migration process may require technical expertise. Pelican has an active community providing support through forums and documentation resources. However, it's worth noting that support for Pelican may have a more technical focus, as it caters to the developer community.

Regarding maintenance, Gila CMS provides regular updates, ensuring the platform's security and introducing new features. However, it's important to consider the maintenance efforts required to keep Gila CMS and its plugins up to date, especially if you have a considerable number of customizations and integrations implemented. Pelican, as a static site generator, requires less ongoing maintenance, as it generates static HTML files. However, it's essential to keep the supporting server infrastructure up to date and perform regular checks for security vulnerabilities.

In summary, Gila CMS offers migration tools, support, and regular updates to ensure the smooth adoption and ongoing maintenance of the platform. Pelican requires a different migration process, with a focus on technical expertise. It provides developer-focused support and requires less ongoing maintenance compared to Gila CMS. Consider your organization's migration requirements, technical expertise, ongoing support needs, and maintenance considerations when making a decision.


Both Gila CMS and Pelican offer unique features and capabilities, catering to different user preferences and organizational needs. Gila CMS is a traditional, user-friendly CMS with a wide range of customization options and collaboration features. It provides a visual editing experience and advanced functionalities for content management, SEO, marketing, and monetization. Pelican, on the other hand, is a static site generator that focuses on performance, security, and developer-centric customization. It offers lightning-fast loading times, simplicity, and lightweight designs that can be hosted anywhere.

When deciding between Gila CMS and Pelican, consider your organization's technical expertise, content management requirements, design preferences, collaboration needs, performance expectations, and future scalability plans. A comprehensive evaluation of these factors will help you choose the CMS that best aligns with your organization's goals and objectives. Remember to evaluate the trade-offs, benefits, and potential limitations of each CMS to make an informed decision that drives your organization's online 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.