Grav vs. Yellow: A Comprehensive Comparison of Modern Content Management Systems

Grav vs. Yellow: A Comprehensive Comparison of Modern Content Management Systems


Welcome to this comprehensive comparison guide between Grav and Yellow, two popular Content Management Systems (CMS) that can help your organization effectively manage its content. As a digital leader or decision-maker, it is crucial to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each CMS before making a decision.

Grav and Yellow are both modern, flat-file CMS solutions that offer simplicity, flexibility, and performance. They leverage different technologies and approaches to deliver their features, making them suitable for various use cases. In the following sections, we will delve into the foundations, design, content management, collaboration, performance, customization, SEO, security, and other aspects of both CMS platforms to help you make an informed choice for your organization.

Foundations of CMS

Grav is built on PHP and utilizes the Symfony framework, which ensures a solid foundation with excellent PHP practices. This allows for robust performance, extensibility, and scalability. On the other hand, Yellow is based on PHP as well, providing a lightweight and straightforward codebase that makes it easy to set up and use. Both CMS platforms support Markdown and provide version control through Git, enabling efficient collaboration and easy tracking of content changes.

Grav and Yellow also share a flat-file architecture, eliminating the need for a database. Grav utilizes the Markdown files as content, whereas Yellow relies on text files with YAML metadata. This approach simplifies deployment and backups while enhancing security and performance. However, if your organization requires complex relational data and advanced querying capabilities, Grav may be a better choice due to its built-in multilingual and multilayer taxonomies.

Furthermore, Grav offers a powerful plugin system that allows developers to extend its functionality effortlessly. Yellow, although less extensible, provides various plugins for common tasks, such as SEO optimization and social media integration.

In terms of system requirements, both CMS platforms are lightweight and can run on various hosting environments. Grav requires a PHP 7.3 environment or higher, while Yellow only needs PHP 5.4 or later.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, Grav and Yellow offer different approaches. Grav is known for its extensive theming capabilities and flexibility. With a wide range of themes available in its ecosystem, you can easily find a design that suits your organization's needs. Grav also supports Twig, a powerful templating engine that enables advanced customization and dynamic content rendering.

On the other hand, Yellow focuses on simplicity and minimalism. It provides a clean and intuitive user interface, making it easy for content creators to navigate and manage their content. While the theming options are more limited compared to Grav, Yellow offers a responsive default theme that ensures a seamless experience across different devices.

Both CMS platforms prioritize user experience and provide a user-friendly admin panel for managing content. Grav's admin plugin offers a feature-rich interface, allowing non-technical users to create and edit content effortlessly. Similarly, Yellow provides a simple and straightforward admin interface that is particularly suited for smaller organizations or individuals who prefer a streamlined content management experience.

Ultimately, the choice between Grav and Yellow in terms of design and user experience will depend on your organization's specific requirements. If you value extensive theming capabilities and advanced customization, Grav may be the better choice. However, if simplicity and ease of use are your top priorities, Yellow might be the more suitable option.

Content Management

Efficient content management is vital for any CMS, and both Grav and Yellow excel in this aspect. Grav offers a robust and flexible content structure, supporting hierarchical categorization and organizing content through folders and files. With the built-in taxonomies and multilingual support, Grav enables effective content organization and navigation.

Yellow, on the other hand, provides a straightforward content management system based on text files and YAML metadata. Content creators can create and edit pages using a simple and intuitive syntax, making it easy to manage and update content quickly. Although Yellow may lack some of the advanced organizational features offered by Grav, it still provides a solid foundation for content management.

Both CMS platforms also support media management, allowing you to upload and manage images, videos, and other files. Grav's media management provides a powerful interface for organizing and manipulating media files, while Yellow offers a simple but effective file-based approach.

In terms of content editing experience, Grav's admin plugin offers a user-friendly WYSIWYG editor, allowing non-technical users to create and format content without the need for coding. Yellow offers a Markdown-based content editing experience, which may require familiarity with Markdown syntax but provides a straightforward and efficient way to create structured content.

Collaboration & User Management

Collaboration and user management features are crucial for organizations with multiple content contributors. Grav and Yellow both offer user management capabilities, allowing you to define user roles and permissions.

Grav's user management system provides fine-grained control over user access and permissions. You can create user groups, assign specific permissions to each group, and control access to specific sections of your website. This level of control ensures secure collaboration and delegation of content management responsibilities.

Yellow, on the other hand, has a simpler user management system, with support for multiple users and user roles. While it may not offer the same level of granular control as Grav, Yellow still provides sufficient flexibility for managing content contributors and their access privileges.

Both CMS platforms also support version control through Git. This allows you to track changes made to your content and revert to previous versions if needed, ensuring content integrity and facilitating collaborative content workflows.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance and scalability are essential factors to consider when choosing a CMS. Grav and Yellow both excel in these areas due to their flat-file architecture and lightweight nature.

Grav's flat-file approach eliminates the need for database queries, resulting in fast page load times. Combined with its caching capabilities, Grav can handle substantial traffic without compromising performance. Additionally, Grav's modular design allows you to enable only the necessary plugins, reducing overhead and improving performance further.

Yellow's lightweight codebase ensures speedy page rendering, making it a suitable choice for websites with high performance requirements. Furthermore, Yellow leverages caching to optimize page load times and reduce server load.

In terms of hosting, both CMS platforms can run on various hosting environments, including shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers. Their low system requirements make them compatible with a wide range of hosting providers. However, it's essential to ensure that your hosting environment meets the necessary PHP version requirements and has sufficient resources to handle your website's expected traffic.

If scalability is a significant concern for your organization, Grav's robust architecture and extensibility make it a better choice. Its ability to handle large websites with complex taxonomies and multilingual content sets it apart in terms of scalability.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization capabilities and the availability of extensions and plugins are fundamental considerations when choosing a CMS. Grav and Yellow offer different approaches in these areas.

Grav's customizability is one of its major strengths. With a vast ecosystem of themes and plugins, you can easily customize and extend the functionality of your website. Grav's theming capabilities, coupled with the powerful Twig templating engine, grant full control over the visual appearance and functionality of your site. Additionally, Grav's plugin system allows for seamless integration of various features, such as forms, SEO optimization, and e-commerce.

On the other hand, Yellow has a more limited ecosystem of themes and plugins compared to Grav. However, it provides several key plugins, such as the SEO plugin, that cover essential functionalities. Yellow's simplicity and focused feature-set make it a viable choice for organizations that value streamlined customization.

Ultimately, the choice between Grav and Yellow in terms of customization and extensibility depends on your organization's requirements. If you need extensive customization and a wide range of pre-built features, Grav's ecosystem provides the necessary tools. However, if simplicity and a more focused feature-set are your priority, Yellow may be a more suitable option.

SEO, Marketing & Monetization

SEO optimization, marketing, and monetization capabilities are essential for organizations aiming to expand their online presence and generate revenue. Both Grav and Yellow support these aspects, albeit with some differences.

Grav offers a range of SEO plugins that facilitate search engine optimization, including support for meta tags, XML sitemaps, and canonical URLs. Besides, Grav's flexible theming and customization capabilities allow for easy integration of marketing tools and analytics, such as Google Analytics and social media sharing buttons. Additionally, Grav's e-commerce plugins enable monetization options, making it suitable for organizations that require online transactions.

Yellow, although offering a simpler set of SEO tools compared to Grav, provides essential features such as meta tags and friendly URLs. With its focus on simplicity, Yellow's admin interface allows for easy integration of marketing and analytics tools. While Yellow doesn't have dedicated e-commerce plugins, it still provides enough flexibility to integrate third-party solutions for monetization purposes.

Both CMS platforms provide the necessary foundation for SEO, marketing, and monetization, allowing you to expand your online reach and drive revenue. Your specific requirements in these areas will determine whether Grav's richer ecosystem or Yellow's simplicity aligns better with your needs.

Security & Compliance

Ensuring the security and compliance of your CMS is crucial to safeguard your organization's data and protect user privacy. Grav and Yellow employ different security measures and approaches.

Grav's use of PHP and the Symfony framework, combined with its flat-file architecture, provides a robust foundation for security. It follows best practices in web development and regularly releases security updates. Additionally, Grav allows you to handle user authentication and role-based access control, ensuring secure content management and preventing unauthorized access.

Yellow's security approach focuses on its lightweight codebase and the absence of a database, reducing the attack surface. However, it's important to keep the software up to date and follow security recommendations to maintain a secure environment. Yellow also allows you to define user roles and access permissions, providing basic security for content management.

It's worth noting that regardless of the CMS you choose, maintaining security requires proactive measures such as regular backups, secure hosting environments, and the use of secure passwords. Additionally, compliance with relevant regulations, such as GDPR, must be considered and implemented appropriately.

Migration, Support & Maintenance

Migrating between CMS platforms, receiving support, and maintaining your chosen CMS are important considerations to ensure a smooth and efficient content management experience.

Grav provides documentation and resources to assist you in the migration process, making it relatively straightforward to migrate your content from another CMS. The availability of a vast community and active support channels ensure that you can seek assistance and find solutions to any issues that may arise.

Yellow also offers documentation and support resources to guide you through the migration process. Its simplicity and compatibility with different hosting environments make migrating to Yellow relatively hassle-free. The Yellow community may be smaller compared to Grav's, but it still provides adequate support for most common use cases.

For ongoing maintenance, both CMS platforms benefit from the flat-file architecture, which simplifies backups and version control. Regular updates and maintaining compatibility with the latest PHP versions are necessary to ensure the security and stability of your CMS.

Considering your organization's requirements for migration, support, and maintenance will help you choose the CMS that best fits your needs and ensures a smooth transition and long-term management experience.


In conclusion, Grav and Yellow are both powerful and capable CMS platforms with their distinct strengths. Grav excels in its extensive theming capabilities, flexibility, and scalability, making it suitable for organizations with complex content management requirements. On the other hand, Yellow prioritizes simplicity, ease of use, and a streamlined user experience, making it an excellent choice for smaller organizations or individuals who prefer a straightforward content management solution.

To make the best decision for your organization, carefully consider the specific needs of your content management workflows, the desired level of customization, the importance of SEO and marketing, and the overall user experience. The thorough comparison provided in this guide should help you evaluate Grav and Yellow based on their foundations, design and user experience, content management capabilities, collaboration and user management features, performance and scalability, customization and extensibility, SEO and marketing potential, security and compliance, as well as migration, support, and maintenance considerations. By doing so, you'll be well-equipped to choose the CMS that aligns best with your organization's goals and requirements.


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.