What is Payload?

Payload is a headless CMS and application framework. It's meant to provide a massive boost to your development process, but importantly, stay out of your way as your apps get more complex.

Out of the box, Payload gives you a lot of the things that you often need when developing a new website, web app, or native app:

  • A database to store your data (Postgres and MongoDB supported)
  • A way to store, retrieve, and manipulate data of any shape via full REST and GraphQL APIs
  • Authentication—complete with commonly required functionality like registration, email verification, login, & password reset
  • Deep access control to your data, based on document or field-level functions
  • File storage and access control
  • A beautiful admin UI that's generated specifically to suit your data

What does "headless" mean?

A headless CMS is a system that sticks to what it's good at—managing content. It concentrates solely on granting administrators an effective way to author and maintain content, but doesn't control how and where that content is used.

In this way, the CMS can ensure that its content editing experience is highly polished and effective while avoiding placing creative constraints on designers or restricting development teams. In contrast, traditional content management systems bind the presentation of your content to the storage of your content and severely limit the creativity, development and usability of the content that they manage.

At this point this concept is widely discussed online, and for good reason. The web has become more complicated and with complexity comes the demand for developers to better structure their code. The rise of interface libraries like React and Vue are now the de-facto standard for building modern applications and traditional content management systems are often not designed to make use of them.

Why Payload?

The team behind Payload has been building websites and apps with existing content management systems and application frameworks for over a decade. We know what works and what doesn't about each of the existing solutions, and to this day have found no silver bullet solution.

We believe that a CMS should be:

  • Cost-effective and should save time and effort
  • Intuitive for developers and content authors alike
  • Self-hosted however and wherever the application specifies
  • Designed in code but used with no coding experience
  • Blazing fast
  • Secure
  • Fully flexible and extensible

Payload is our silver bullet solution. We've blended the best parts of our experience with other CMS and app frameworks into Payload, and we finally have everything we need when we build new apps and websites:

  • A beautiful, dynamic, customizable admin UI
  • Extensible and reusable authentication
  • Content localization
  • Local file storage
  • Extremely flexible access control
  • Field conditional logic
  • Block-based layout building
  • Array field type(s)
  • Security
  • and much more

Payload Concepts