CMS vs. Flat File: Which Should You Choose For Your Website?

Curtis Bowman posted this in
Web Design
on October 11th, 2012

So, you are going to build a new website? You know what you want your website to look like, but now comes the hard part. Do you code your website using HTML and CSS? Or, do you use an awesome Content Management System (CMS) that all your friends (including us) have been raving about?

Let’s start at the beginning and understand what a CMS really is, how it works, and highlight a few of the benefits of using a management system over a flat file database.

What is a CMS?

A CMS is a fancy, user-friendly way of letting you edit a website without having to know all the technical HTML mumbo jumbo. By using a CMS, you have the ability to make new entries with the click of a button, save revisions of your data, and even add pictures and videos instantly to your website without the help of a web developer.

How does it work?

A CMS works by sending and storing information in a database and can be installed on most existing websites. When a page is viewed on your website, the CMS connects to the database, registers the requested data in milliseconds (super fast stuff, eh?) and dynamically displays the appropriate data bypassing hundreds of other files on the server.

What are the benefits?

Flat file sites and CMS’s use the same HTML and CSS coding to make them work. However, the biggest benefit of using a CMS is having a fancy front-end user interface to easily publish content and store all your data. Editing a flat-file site is more complex and usually requires having a web developer make the necessary changes. With a CMS you have pre-defined templates that make publishing content fast and easy.

While ultimately a flat file site will give you the same results as a website with a CMS, the amount of work that goes into publishing new content and future maintenance is drastically less with a CMS.

Looking to integrate a CMS system on your existing website to make updates to your website quicker and more cost effective? Contact us today.

Curtis Bowman


A few quick things about Curtis: 1) If there was such a thing as a Netflix Aficionado, Curtis would qualify. 2) The amount of Spotify playlists he has created number “at least a billion.” 3) He claims he’s from Boston, but we’re a little weary because he doesn’t have the accent to prove it. Of course, at Rocket Media these have little bearing as he can code and design with the best of them. (And isn’t that what really matters?)