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Contentful vs. Enonic

See a comparison between Contenful and Enonic, with an essential overview of similarities and differences.

Finding a tidy, but still technical overview of content management systems and digital experience platforms may be difficult. Our series of CMS comparisons aims to clarify the similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses, use cases and real-life usage examples between Enonic and another vendor. Now the turn has now come to Contentful.

Quick Contentful facts

Contentful was founded in Germany in 2012. The company styles itself as an API-first platform and Platform-as-a-Service, even going as far as not to be identified as a CMS, but as “Content Infrastructure.”

No matter what we call it, Contentful allows content to be delivered in a “presentation-independent format,” fitting for any channel through RESTful JSON APIs. Developers can also build client side applications in the most common program languages through SDKs, but the source code is ultimately proprietary.

While the developers get their fill with the pure headless approach and so-called language and framework agnosticism, editors can make use of the Contentful WebApp for content editing, versioning, and image handling. To see how content will be presented, editors can use a preview API, which must first be set up by developers.

See also: Enonic named Leader in Web Experience Management »

Quick Enonic facts

Enonic was founded in Norway in 2000. The company’s experience platform Enonic XP is based on JavaScript, Elasticsearch, and runs on the Java virtual machine. With Enonic you can build static websites, progressive web applications, traditional websites, and web-based APIs to support multiple touchpoints in the digital customer journey. 

The platform features an integrated NoSQL and search engine, while the CMS interface “Content Studio” can be installed and upgraded as an application. Content Studio features a WYSIWYG interface, permissions and roles management, version control, multi site management, and advanced image editing.

Enonic XP is also open-source, meaning you can try it extensively before subscribing to software support or a hosted solution. It is also a hybrid CMS, which means that developers can create traditional websites or use Enonic in headless mode for distributing editorial content to any device or client. Enonic can optionally be hosted in a fully managed cloud platform.

Contentful pros and cons

The primary advantage with a platform like Contentful is that it speeds up the app building process for developers. Your developers do not need to learn a new coding platform, and can just use APIs to deliver content to any web app or front-end framework of their own liking.

Another advantage is that Contentful is a managed cloud service, which means it can scale according to both traffic and needs. Also, it is fully free to start a Contentful project, through the “Community” option. Contentful was also named “Contender” in the Forrester Wave for Web Content Management Systems in 2018.  

A more mixed bag comes with the drag and drop content type builder. This is an advantage for editors who want more control over content types definitions, but may prove a challenge for developers—due to possible problems with migration between environments and missing source control you get from a file based model.

Another disadvantage may be that Contentful is not as customisable as one might wish, due to it being a cloud-only solution with limited back-end customisation options. Being a cloud-only solution locks your organisation in with Contentful’s price model and cloud solution.

Learn more: Why go headless with a hybrid CMS?

Enonic pros and cons

Enonic also has a strong focus on APIs, with a plug and play GraphQL API for the headless mode, and the ability to build custom APIs and server-side logic and functionality. As a hybrid CMS, Enonic allows you to fuse websites with full in-context preview, together with headless delivery. Enonic provides increased control and flexibility by allowing you to run the platform on premise, in your private cloud, or in Enonic’s cloud service.

The Enonic platform was named “Leader” in the 2020 Web Experience Management Data Quadrant by SoftwareReviews. Achieving high scores overall, Enonic customers are very likely to recommend the product. Analysts Boye & Company says Enonic is a “highly extensible, feature-rich web experience platform,” highlighting developer-friendliness, the ease of building custom web solutions, direct access to influence product direction, and the engaged community.

Learn more: This is what customers say about Enonic »

As to the disadvantages, Mike Johnston of CMS Critic thinks more help and support options in the dashboard would be in order, while a verified user review on misses a migration tool for migrating sites to Enonic XP. While Enonic is delivered as a service, it does not offer full self-service as of 2020, though it is on the roadmap.

Boye & Company reflects on the techy nature of Enonic: “Presently, though, the product is more likely to impress technical colleagues than business users.” Furthermore, Boye thinks that content processes could be better supported, and misses real-time editing. Boye finally notes that the community outside Norway might be slim.

Comparison between Contentful and Enonic




Coding language

Any client language

Any client language and JavaScript for server side development

Database requirements

N/A, only SaaS

None, embedded NoSQL


MIT License for SDK

GPLv3 with linking exception and commercial license for paying customers. Apache 2.0 for libraries and most extensions.

Source code

Open source SDK: (GitHub)

Fully open source: (GitHub)

Integrated search

Yes, can also be expanded with e.g. Algolia

Yes, based on Elasticsearch

Headless API

Yes, based on REST and GraphQL

Yes, based on GraphQL

Flexible content types



WYSIWYG page editor



Responsive UI



Image service

Yes, separate app for focal point

Yes, including focal point

SEO management

Through content modeling

Yes, app from Enonic Market

Version control



Video content

Yes, as assets

Yes, as assets 


Contentful is hosted on Amazon’s AWS on the US East Coast

Runs anywhere:

  • Docker image
  • On premise or private cloud
  • Enonic cloud

Support plans

Yes, by vendor

Yes, by vendor

Free support

Community, Slack, chat

Forum, Slack





Yes, by vendor

Yes, by vendor


Yes, apps from Marketplace

Yes, apps from Enonic Market

Example: Publishing content in Contentful

After having created a custom content type—like an article—you fill in the included fields systematically. You can also add custom fields during the publishing process or later. Then finally you decide which Content Delivery API Key to use in order to deliver the content to a given channel.

Example: Publishing content in Enonic

You determine the location of a content item in Content Studio through a logical tree structure. Once the blog post draft is created, you can navigate through fields systematically, before saving, previewing, and finally publishing:

Publishing in Enonic

What CMS should you choose?

Contentful is a good match if your developers are looking to build web apps and native apps quickly and seamlessly. If you want to distribute content somewhere fast, and are happy with the existing APIs, cloud service, and functionality in the headless CMS, Contentful is a reasonable choice.

Enonic provides freedom on all levels, including hosting, customisation, and content production. It can work both as a headless CMS and a traditional CMS, satisfying both developers and editors alike.

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