Contentful vs. ExpressionEngine

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Contentful
Score 8.6 out of 10
N/A
Contentful is a cloud based CMS solution that provides the ability to manage content across multiple platforms.The editing interface allows for managing content interactively and provides developers the ability to deliver the content with the programming language and template framework of their choice.
$489
ExpressionEngine
Score 5.8 out of 10
N/A
ExpressionEngine is a content management system from EllisLab in 2002, a successor to pMachine Pro, a blogging system, which is written in object-oriented PHP and uses MySQL for data storage. ExpressionEngine is their flagship Content Delivery Platform.
$299
One Time Fee
Pricing
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Editions & Modules
Team
489/month
Community
Free
Enterprise
Custom
License
$299.00
One Time Fee
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Free Trial
YesYes
Free/Freemium Version
YesNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
YesNo
Entry-level Setup FeeOptionalNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Features
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Security
Comparison of Security features of Product A and Product B
Contentful
8.0
9 Ratings
1% below category average
ExpressionEngine
9.9
32 Ratings
20% above category average
Role-based user permissions8.09 Ratings9.932 Ratings
Platform & Infrastructure
Comparison of Platform & Infrastructure features of Product A and Product B
Contentful
8.1
10 Ratings
5% above category average
ExpressionEngine
8.0
26 Ratings
4% above category average
API8.79 Ratings8.023 Ratings
Internationalization / multi-language7.57 Ratings8.020 Ratings
Web Content Creation
Comparison of Web Content Creation features of Product A and Product B
Contentful
8.0
11 Ratings
5% above category average
ExpressionEngine
8.6
32 Ratings
12% above category average
WYSIWYG editor7.34 Ratings8.129 Ratings
Code quality / cleanliness9.07 Ratings9.131 Ratings
Admin section8.79 Ratings9.931 Ratings
Page templates7.64 Ratings8.027 Ratings
Library of website themes7.52 Ratings7.011 Ratings
Mobile optimization / responsive design8.26 Ratings9.114 Ratings
Publishing workflow8.510 Ratings9.924 Ratings
Form generator7.01 Ratings8.017 Ratings
Web Content Management
Comparison of Web Content Management features of Product A and Product B
Contentful
8.3
10 Ratings
12% above category average
ExpressionEngine
8.0
32 Ratings
8% above category average
Content taxonomy8.59 Ratings8.124 Ratings
SEO support7.88 Ratings8.924 Ratings
Bulk management7.86 Ratings9.026 Ratings
Availability / breadth of extensions8.67 Ratings7.931 Ratings
Community / comment management9.01 Ratings6.029 Ratings
Best Alternatives
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Small Businesses
ManageWP
ManageWP
Score 9.8 out of 10
ManageWP
ManageWP
Score 9.8 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Image Relay
Image Relay
Score 9.5 out of 10
Image Relay
Image Relay
Score 9.5 out of 10
Enterprises
Tridion
Tridion
Score 9.2 out of 10
Tridion
Tridion
Score 9.2 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Likelihood to Recommend
8.5
(11 ratings)
8.9
(60 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
-
(0 ratings)
9.2
(36 ratings)
Usability
-
(0 ratings)
5.3
(6 ratings)
Availability
-
(0 ratings)
10.0
(2 ratings)
Performance
-
(0 ratings)
2.8
(4 ratings)
Support Rating
-
(0 ratings)
6.2
(8 ratings)
Implementation Rating
-
(0 ratings)
6.9
(6 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
1.0
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
ContentfulExpressionEngine
Likelihood to Recommend
Contentful
Well suited for our needs of multiple images for auto auctions from a variety of sellers. Pointing them to one platform is easier than attempting to use a variety of platforms as we were doing before (email, slack, Dropbox and Google Drive would randomly be used by a variety of employees )
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Open Source
ExpressionEngine is a very powerful and flexible content management system. It can handle a simple small business website all the way to a large corporation's website. If you are a business with multiple websites ExpresionEngine can handle that as well with it's Multiple Site Manager. I think ExpressionEngine would be less appropriate for a global large scale business with a magnitude of sites with different regions and languages.
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Pros
Contentful
  • Flexible. This CMS can be easily extended and provide access to dynamic content
  • Simple. The WYSWG is very easy to work with and identifying pages and content in the system is fairly easy
  • Clean Interface. The interface is clean and uncluttered keeping focus on the content and not other factors.
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Open Source
  • Content structuring. You can set up channels and fields to hold just about any kind of information imaginable; text, images, videos, numbers, code, etc. You can structure this information any way you want and in any order. You literally create your own information database just the way you want it using a clear, easy online interface.
  • Template system. Utter freedom. Need I say more?
  • Exensible. There are a lot of add-ons, extensions, and other external modules that extend the core functionality of ExpressionEngine. Need a user management system? Check out the User module at http://solspace.com.
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Cons
Contentful
  • Contentful uses "references" to allow you to build very modular content. If I have a "slider" content type, I can create a "slide" content type which references a "button" content type, and so forth. This works well, but I occasionally wish there was a better solution for one-off content, like a settings page. Currently, this is done for creating an entire content type called "settings" with a single entry. Not a big deal, but not ideal, either.
  • There are a few quirks with GatsbyJS integration, etc, but these issues are being fixed and improved upon very quickly.
  • A minor gripe, but Contentful does not have a way to organize fields within an entry. Entries with many fields are somewhat tiresome to scroll through.
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Open Source
  • For me, one of the greatest strengths of ExpressionEngine is also one of their weaknesses. There are so many add-ons available (some free, some not) for ExpressionEngine to allow you to do just about anything you want. However, the more add-ons that you use the more you have to deal with when performing updates. For instance, is the add-on compatible with the new version of ExpressionEngine - or even another add-on? What if that add-on gets abandoned by the developer - is there another that can perform the same functionality?
  • I think that ExpressionEngine needs to offer more out of the box than it does. Yes, you can get add-ons for just about anything but this adds to the cost. I have a list of add-ons that I use on almost every site which can raise the cost of getting started with a new site by $100-300. So add that to the cost of a license and you're at $400-600 and you haven't even started working on it yet. For instance, I shouldn't have to buy an add-on to allow me to customize the menu for my end-users.
  • The membership management feature is seriously lacking. Fortunately, there are add-ons (for an additional cost) to allow you to manage things better.
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Likelihood to Renew
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
I'm satisfied with the way that my site runs on EE. My primary concern is that support is now a profit center for EE's publisher and so they've consequently gutted their community support boards. However, a good EE community is developing at StackExchange. At this stage, I don't think that EE is a good choice for an individual site owner. WordPress or SquareSpace would be a better choice unless you have a budget for support.
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Usability
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
ExpressionEngine is very powerful and flexible. With this flexibility comes a bit of a learning curve. There are some great online resources for getting up to speed with EE, but the control panel can be a bit daunting. A lot of EE's installation process involves settings, configurations and flipping of switches. It is tedious, but well worth it as you ultimately have a very robust, secure and scalable CMS. Also, as of version 2.9.2, the control panel isn't responsive natively. You'll want to have a big enough screen to see the full control panel UI. Personally, I think the control panel would benefit from a major overhaul. It would be nice to see the colors and UI controls "modernized" and be able to more effectively customize the layout. Yes, some of this is built-in, and there are third-party add-ons to help, but maybe we'll see more refinement in future versions.
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Reliability and Availability
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
Never experienced an issue like this with it
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Performance
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
The admin section would slow to a crawl the larger the tag section grew. There were many areas where better pagination would've helped improve performance. Nothing complicated, which made the lag so frustrating
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Support Rating
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
I have personally never found any complications when trying to receive support from EllisLab in regards to ExpressionEngine when using the support plans they offer. I have always been responded to promptly and received satisfactory help with whatever my needs were in an extremely timely manner. This makes rating the support offered an easy job for me
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Implementation Rating
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
After installing the system a few times, you can see a pattern of things that have to be done to work the way you want them (settings, paths, etc.). By knowing what you want, you can put together some scripts that prepare the file system for installation, adjust post installation configuration settings, and install initial templates.
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Alternatives Considered
Contentful
In the past we've used WordPress to manage documentation content. WordPress was more flexible than Contentful but also prone to inconsistencies and we ended having a lot of hacks to accomplish various WordPress tricks. With Contentful there's less ambiguity so content producers are less likely to go astray. We also have our own in-house programmatic template solution for managing content, but this was a previous pain point when we needed to get the dev team to do a deploy for every content change.
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Open Source
ExpressionEngine is vastly more flexible than any other content management system I have used to date and the quality of the add-ons are significantly higher than what you find in other directories. The ExpressionEngine community is also very willing and helpful with if you have any questions or run into any issues.
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Scalability
Contentful
No answers on this topic
Open Source
Maybe it's scale-able from the content user perspective, but it was very limited from the programmers perspective. So many custom hacks were necessary that it reached a point it would be impossible to upgrade to a newer version
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Return on Investment
Contentful
  • Positive - new hires are able to get onboarded quicker with us using Contentful
  • Positive - we can customize the journey of what modules/material the user sees after a course/video/article
  • Positive - it's been an overall game changer when hiring external candidates who need extensive training
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Open Source
  • Being able to be recognized as a leader within the ExpressionEngine development community has led to us being sought out by those customers seeking expert guidance.
  • We tend to specialize in using ExpressionEngine for our customers, so it has been easier to ramp new resources up on our development process, as well as be able to seek out independent experts to use as sub contractors or freelancers.
  • As we have been using ExpressionEngine almost exclusively for a number of years, we have built a reusable repository of proprietary code that makes our development process much more efficient and decreases the effort required for our projects.
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ScreenShots

Contentful Screenshots

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