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Comparison: Cloud-based vs. on-premise CMS

We will guide you on how to choose between cloud-based vs. on-premise CMS.
Jing Li

Jing Li

Oct 05, 2023
Comparison: Cloud-based vs. on-premise CMS

CMS solutions are constantly evolving, and organizations often find themselves at a crossroads, having to choose between, cloud-based CMS and on-premise CMS. It underscores the ongoing debate about CMS' efficiency, scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness.

In this article, we delve into the considerations that drive this decision-making process, exploring the pros and cons of cloud and on-premise CMS. Ultimately, help you navigate the path towards the CMS solution that best suits your needs.

#What is a cloud-based CMS?

A cloud-based CMS (or a cloud CMS), is a pre-built content management system hosted entirely on the cloud and can be accessed online by users without needing to install, update, or maintain any software on-premise.

It is typically licensed via subscription, and the cloud CMS provider offers constant software updates without disruptions. This allows organizations to focus on leveraging the many benefits of the CMS instead of drowning time and effort into managing and maintaining the CMS.

#What is an on-premise CMS?

On-premises CMS is installed and run on an individual's computer or the organization’s server. When using an on-premise CMS, you are entirely responsible for managing the infrastructure needed to run the CMS.

On-premises solutions require installing new versions on the individual hardware to access the updated software, meaning that updates are usually bundled into bigger versions.

#Cloud CMS vs. on-premise: What’s the difference?

Now let’s get into the details and look at how cloud CMS and on-premise CMS are different with a side-by-side comparison:

Cloud CMSOn-premises
SpeedSince cloud CMS is hosted on the cloud, it is immensely fast, whether you want to publish new content or edit existing content. Content editors also save time as they don’t have to think about how the content will appear on different platforms. It's possible to reuse content components as often as needed.The speed of traditional CMS can face limitations due to several factors, including the capabilities of the on-premise infrastructure, the bandwidth available to the user, and the current hardware.
CollaborationWith a cloud CMS platform, collaboration in real-time gets simplified. Teams can edit, post, and iterate content seamlessly from any place and any device.Collaboration is only possible when everyone uses the same company intranet or company-approved devices. It can hinder collaboration and delay the content production process.
Cost efficiencyCloud-based CMS has low upfront costs. Organizations are usually only required to pay initial subscription fees to get started with a new cloud CMS.With the on-premise CMS hosted on your physical servers, more upfront costs are involved for deploying the software and maintaining the infrastructure. Recurring costs for IT resources also need to be factored in.
ScalabilityWith a cloud CMS, you can automatically scale up or down based on your current demand and only pay for what you use.With an on-premise CMS, scaling up requires additional servers, infrastructure, and manpower. Moreover, it's not as easy or cost-effective to scale down.
Development timeCloud CMS offers faster time to market. Most cloud-based CMSes are low-code, reducing the dependence on the IT team and allowing content managers and editors to manage the CMS platform independently. As a result, brands can get websites, applications, and landing pages live much faster.As traditional on-premise CMS is highly dependent on the expertise of the in-house IT team and their collaboration with the content team, it can delay the development time and, in turn, decrease the time to market.

#Why should enterprises choose a cloud CMS?

While cloud-based CMS solutions offer many advantages, the choice between cloud and on-premise CMS should still consider factors like your organization's specific needs, security requirements, compliance considerations, and budget constraints. The decision often comes down to finding the right balance between convenience, flexibility, and control for your particular use case.

Nevertheless, a cloud-based CMS has the following advantages:

Scalability: Cloud-based CMS solutions can easily scale to accommodate increased traffic and content demands without the need for significant hardware or infrastructure investments.

Cost-efficiency: With a cloud CMS, you can avoid the upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining on-premise hardware and software. Instead, you pay for what you use on a subscription basis, potentially reducing costs in the long run.

Accessibility: Cloud CMS platforms are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier for distributed teams to collaborate and manage content.

Automatic updates: Cloud-based CMS providers typically handle software updates and maintenance, ensuring that your system is always up to date with the latest features and security patches.

Reliability: Cloud providers often offer high levels of redundancy and uptime, reducing the risk of downtime due to hardware failures.

Security: Reputable cloud providers invest heavily in security measures, often providing advanced security features that would be expensive and complex to implement in an on-premise environment.

Flexibility: Cloud-based CMS platforms often offer a range of integrations and APIs, making it easier to connect with other tools and services your organization uses.

Disaster recovery: Cloud providers typically have robust disaster recovery and backup solutions in place, reducing the risk of data loss.

Global reach: Cloud solutions can easily serve a global audience, ensuring fast and reliable access to your content for users worldwide.

Focus on core competencies: By offloading infrastructure management and maintenance to the cloud provider, your IT teams can focus on more strategic tasks and innovations rather than routine maintenance.

#Moving to the next-generation headless CMS

For fast-growing, agile businesses, cloud CMS can deliver enhanced scalability, faster access to content, and lower costs. But not all cloud CMSes are the same.

While monolithic CMSes have frontend and backend tightly coupled, which makes development and deployment challenging, headless CMSes can deliver digital experiences at scale by decoupling the frontend and backend. This gives businesses the freedom and flexibility to publish content to any frontend.

Hygraph is an innovative headless solution that can deliver personalized digital experiences at scale. Through federated content management and composable components, it allows you to create customizable and powerful applications without worrying about how the backend tech stack will align with the frontend.

Request a demo and see how Hygraph’s headless CMS can enable teams to build efficient content workflows and deliver modern applications.

Blog Author

Jing Li

Jing Li

Jing is the Content Marketing Manager at Hygraph. Besides telling compelling stories, Jing enjoys dining out and catching occasional waves on the ocean.

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