Payload is now completely free and open-source.
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Alternative to Contentful CMS

Payload is a significantly more powerful and more developer-friendly headless CMS when compared to Contentful, and its Admin experience is also infinitely more extensible.


Payload is completely self-hosted, so you decide where and how you host your app—with no usage limits.


Your organization may have specific requirements around how and where your data is saved. Contentful is a third-party API which stores your data on its servers, but with Payload, you have the flexibility to deploy your CMS and store your data wherever you need, however you need.

Custom Functionality

Contentful’s extensibility is significantly limited when compared to Payload. With Payload, you provide your own Express server, which means you can extend and add additional functionality however you need. Customizing the Admin UI is also much simpler with Payload.

Unlimited Storage

There are no bandwidth, document, or usage limits within Payload. In Contentful, you may be liable for overages and could even hit usage caps based on your plan. As Payload is self-hosted, you are in full control over the usage of your data.

Reusable Authentication

Payload's Authentication can be used in your apps, while Contentful's can't.

If the app you're building needs authentication, Payload has you covered. You can use and extend Payload's built-in Authentication however you need, complete with extremely robust access control measures. In Contentful, you'd need to sign up for a separate auth provider because Contentful's authentication is limited to their platform only.

Creating a new account in a native app powered by Payload as a headless CMS
Creating a new account in a native app powered by Payload as a headless CMS
More Features

Payload supports many features that Contentful lacks.

Conditional Logic

Payload has an easy way to show and hide fields based on the value of other fields. For example, you might have an “Enable Link” checkbox, that, when checked, a few more fields should be rendered. Contentful does not support this feature.

Local API & Hooks

Payload gives you access to everything Payload does right on your server, without needing to deal with latency or network speed whatsoever. Combined with its Hooks infrastructure, Payload gives you the power to build anything.

Custom Components

You can completely and easily override Payload views, fields, and more with your own React components. In Contentful, you can only swap out fields, and you need to build custom fields via iframes which is significantly more difficult.


With Payload, you manage your schema in code.

The Payload config is beautifully simple but extremely powerful. That means it can be version controlled and you can migrate between environments easily. In Contentful, changes are primarily done in UI which means you often need to manually migrate your changes from environment to environment which is more difficult.

Learn about the Payload config
export default buildConfig({
collections: [

Payload is free to use.

Contentful can get extremely expensive very quickly costing hundreds, if not thousands per month for the average team. You can use Payload completely free and host it on your own cloud.


Self Hosted

Payload is free forever to run on your own private cloud.

Learn more

Dedicated Support

Available development support for your projects to ensure success and get the most out of your Payload experience.

Learn More
Get started with one line.

npx create-payload-app