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Netlify CMS is a Content Management System for static sites, allowing collaborators to create, edit, review, and publish content without writing code or dealing with version control. It brings the ease of WordPress-style editing to the simplicity and speed of static sites.

At its core, Netlify CMS is an open-source React app that acts as a wrapper for the Git workflow, using the GitHub API. This provides many advantages, including:

  • Fast, web-based UI: with rich-text editing, real-time preview, and drag-and-drop media uploads.
  • Platform agnostic: works with most static site generators.
  • Easy installation: add two files to your site and hook up the backend by including in your build process or linking to our CDN.
  • Modern authentication: using GitHub and JSON web tokens.
  • Flexible content types: specify an unlimited number of content types with custom fields.
  • Fully extensible: create custom-styled previews, UI widgets, and editor plugins.

Core Concepts

The Admin Interface

The admin interface is a single-page app with the entry point stored in a static /admin folder you add to the root of your site. You can include it with a simple index.html file that loads the necessary CSS and JS files from a CDN:

<!doctype html>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
  <title>Content Manager</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://unpkg.com/netlify-cms@^0.7.0/dist/cms.css" />
  <script src="https://unpkg.com/netlify-cms@^0.7.0/dist/cms.js"></script>

The JS is also available via npm and can be integrated into your regular build process.

Editorial Workflow

Netlify CMS has an optional editorial workflow that translates common Git commands into familiar language in a simple UI:

Actions in Netlify UI … Perform these Git actions
Save draft Commits to a new branch, and opens a pull request
Edit draft Pushes another commit to the draft branch/pull request
Approve and publish draft Merges pull request and deletes branch


All configuration is handled in a single config.yml file, also stored in the /admin folder. A simple version might look like this:

  name: github
  repo: owner/repo # Path to your Github repository
  branch: master # Branch to update (master by default)

media_folder: "img/uploads" # Folder where user uploaded files should go

collections: # A list of collections the CMS should be able to edit
  - name: "post" # Used in routes, e.g., /admin/collections/:slug/edit
    label: "Post" # Used in the UI, e.g., "New Post"
    folder: "_posts" # The path to the folder where the documents are stored
    create: true # Allow users to create new documents in this collection
    fields: # The fields each document in this collection have
      - {label: "Title", name: "title", widget: "string", tagname: "h1"}
      - {label: "Body", name: "body", widget: "markdown"}
      - {label: "Foo", name: "foo", widget: "foo"}
      - {label: "Publish Date", name: "date", widget: "datetime"}


Because Netlify CMS is a wrapper for the GitHub API, the “backend” is a repo stored on GitHub. (Using a different Git host? File a feature request, or help us add it!) For authentication, you can connect to GitHub using Netlify’s Authentication Provider feature, or you can roll your own.


All content managed by Netlify CMS is organized in Collections (groups of files), such as:

  • blog posts
  • portfolio samples
  • product listings
  • podcast episodes

You point to where the files are stored, and specify the fields that define them. The body field typically stores the main text of a file, while any other fields are included at the top of the document in the front matter. They can be required, optional, or hidden, and can have preset defaults.


Widgets define the data type and interface for entry fields. Netlify CMS comes with several built-in widgets.


Netlify CMS exposes a window.CMS global object that you can use to register custom widgets, previews, and editor plugins. The available methods are:

  • registerPreviewStyle: register a custom stylesheet to match the editor preview pane to your site style.

  • registerPreviewTemplate: registers a template to determine how fields are displayed in the preview, customizable for each collection.

  • registerWidget: registers a custom widget.

  • registerEditorComponent: adds a block component to the Markdown editor.