To be CMS or not to be CMS

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So the project is to build a simple CMS alike system, nothing hardcore. Mostly simple CRUD spiced with some ACL.

The goal is to be cost effective. MAX ~150USD yearly.

My initial go-to stack was:

  • 2 × heroku hobby dyno's (one for backend and one for frontend)
  • Amazon AWS s3 for storage
  • MongoDB instance from mlab perhaps

SEO is #1 important and speed is #2.

Any advice where to improve or cut down the cost?


Will go with keystonejs. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

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Do you really need to separate frontend and backend?

Maybe you can cut 1 dyno and deploy backend and frontend from the same repository.



So in the Procfile I could just do:

node fe/server.js && node be/server.js ?


No sorry, I might not have understood correctly the architecture.

Why do you have two servers?

On the client side I need server side rendering for SEO, am I wrong?

I don't know, it seems a very complicated setup for something that should be cheap :-)

Also, why do you want to write it yourself instead of using or customizing an existing CMS?

You can use Wordpress or customize a CMS in your favorite language or even use a "headless" CMS as the API and build the frontend yourself.

Something like getdirectus.com/

This way you have a CMS and you can build many different types of frontends on it


What problems do you intend to solve which have not already been solved by existing off-the-shelf and/or open source content management systems?


Simpler and lighter. But, to be 100% honest I wanted to practice... :\

Do you have experience with a good open source CMS?


I've used Magnolia (which is definitely neither simple nor light) and some Django-based CMS I can't recall the name of, and there are others. Unless there's a need for a robust publishing workflow or application-style interactivity, I'd use a static site generator over any CMS on the market.

Building your own CMS could be a fun exercise but I wouldn't be shooting any higher than that. The niche is fairly saturated.


Thought about doing a static site?

Hosting via netlify would be free
A headless CMS like Contentful would probably also get you far on free tier.


I'm going for keystonejs looks good and built around tools that I already used in the past

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