Every once in a while there comes a time when you have to build a website or a blog without a database. Over the years I have used WordPress to build many blogs and CMS websites; however, sometimes you get a client that has a web host with no database options. In this case they can either purchase another service to have database access or we can build a website without a database.
In the last couple of years I have been scouring the Internet, searching for “no database” alternatives to WordPress and what I found was astounding. There are many open source alternatives out there that offer CMS or blog solutions with flat files (text files). Of the many that I have tried 3 stand out: GetSimple CMS, Pivotx and Flatpress.
Although they are “no database” solutions, they each have the option to add a database during setup. One of the major advantages of using a system that relies on flat files (text) is speed. Loading content from text files is much faster than loading from a database. If speed is one advantage you are looking for then the following solutions might be of interest.
No. 1 GetSimple CMS (The simplest content management system ever)
In my search to find a very simple databaseless CMS I came upon many other open source software that claimed to be the best and simplest to use. Through trial and error I eliminated each one until I found GetSimple. Perhaps it was my experience working with WordPress that GetSimple seemed like a very easy CMS to learn. It claimed a 5 minute setup, security, feature rich and a large support online community. But what really made me like this software was it’s similarity to WordPress. It uses a very similar system for customization that WordPress uses. As explained in their online documentation, if you know how to customize a WordPress theme, then you can customize a GetSimple theme.
What can GetSimple be used for? GetSimple is nothing more than a CMS (content management system). It does not come with a blog, but it does have a rich repository of addons/plugins that can enhance it and give it the added capabilities of a blog. Not all site owners need a blog or a news section. Some clients want a website that can be maintained and updated periodically. GetSimple offers a backend login and the ability to update pages. It’s that simple. To learn more about this software, visit them at their website: GetSimple CMS
No. 2 PivotX (the powerful open source blog cms)
Before I found PivotX I explored other blogging systems such a Flatpress and some of it’s predecessors. I already had some experience with a databaseless blogging system, but PivotX was so much more than some of the other solutions on the web. Again, this was a very simple piece of software to install in 3 easy steps. Once setup, you could start blogging. The default theme was very appealing and the online community, the plugin and theme support excellent; however, I did have one issue. I did not like the template system. But this is only a matter of taste. Besides that, the software is very likeable and appealing. PivotX is a flexible system that can be used as a blogging system or even a CMS. To learn more about this software, visit them at their website: PivotX
No. 3 Flatpress (a blogging engine that saves your posts to text files)
Flatpress was one of the very first databaseless alternatives to WordPress that I found. It offered everything that WordPress did as well as the speed of a blog without having to worry about setting up a database. Although it was different, once you got used to the picture library in Flatpress it was easy to start blogging. The only draw back to Flatpress that I could find is that it only allowed for one user. There is no multi-user option available (as of this writing). To learn more about this software, visit them at their website: Flatpress
So if you are looking for an alternative to WordPress or a solution that does not require a database, then the 3 candidates above are a great starting place. If you have a “no database” CMS or blogging solution you think is worth mentioning, feel free to contribute in the comments below.