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Integrate Contentful Headless CMS with Your Web Apps on Cloudways

Published on November 23, 2020 - Content Updated on May 19, 2021

4 Min Read
contentful headless cms

Contentful CMS allows you to develop, manage and organize content into what can be identified as “modules”, or bits of data that can be arranged to adapt to different devices including smartphones, computers, tablets, and (probably on virtual devices someday), and more.

In this article, I’ll show you how you can integrate Contentful CMS with your web applications, and explain the advantages and possible disadvantages of Contentful headless CMS.

The Contentful CMS manages the content in such a way that you can push content as per the integration requirements of app-development tools without having to re-plan, redesign, rethink and rewrite the content as per the new design format.

Advantages: Why Contentful?

Contentful was developed to bring a complete headless option of conventional Content Management Systems in the market that heavily consume resources on servers and have single-to-many dependencies that ultimately causes management and performance issues. Let’s have a quick look at the advantages of Contentful CMS before I head to the installation and integration process of Contentful and PHP applications on Cloudways.

1. Extensive Caching and Multiple Redundancies

This allows quick delivery of content and robust security for important data. This capability ensures that even if redundancies fail on your delivery infrastructure, up to 98% of your content will still be delivered from the cache.

2. Content Management and Delivery Can be Decoupled

On the infrastructure level, your management of the content and delivery can be decoupled, so if your management system fails, your website’s content delivery module will still be usable.

3. Real-Time Content Editing

The CMS allows you to edit content in real-time to support team-collaboration. Using its robust APIs as well as custom scripts, the content can easily be integrated and edited on run-time..

4. Modules and Flexible Fields

The content and data is stored in modules and flexible fields, empowering you to move past the page-centric approach to display your content. It uses markdown formatting language that runs on different platforms and parses quickly.


The Contentful headless CMS has a limited set of disadvantages since it is developed keeping in view the applications of headless and its use-cases. I came across a few disadvantages which you should be aware of beforehand.

1. The ‘Branches’ Feature through CLI

This new feature seems promising but it can be implemented using CLI which is not practical for teams that are not familiar with it. This can be fixed by allowing the use of this feature through the UI.

2. Lack of Smooth Experience

According to the reviews by Contentful users;

  • The plugin (Grammarly) doesn’t work smoothly on the content.
  • The Data Modeling method offers a bit of rusty experience in strongly typed languages like Java.

Process to Install Contentful CMS

Let’s start the installation process by launching a server on the Cloudways Contentful hosting platform.

Launch a Server

Sign-in to your Cloudways account, and if you don’t have an account then sign-up here. After selecting the server size, bandwidth, and server location, click the Launch button.

Cloudways Launch Server screen

For this guide, I am using Custom PHP Application but you can follow the following process for any other application as well.

Launch SSH Terminal

On the server settings page, click the Launch SSH Terminal button and use the credential (available on the same screen) to access the server.

Cloudways Launch SSH Terminal button

Install Contentful headless CMS

Navigate to your desired folder and use the following command to install Contentful CMS;

composer require contentful/contentful

Contentful CMS Installation Process

The installation process will take less than 30sec to complete.

Integration Process

Once the installation is successfully done on the server. Let’s test the integration between the Cloudways platform and Contentful CMS.

For this purpose, I’ve written a very basic function that will pull the title of the content. The idea is to share the basics of integration between your application on Cloudways and Contentful headless CMS.

Function //Homepage (index.php file)

require 'vendor/autoload.php'; // initiate and established the connection

$client = new \Contentful\Delivery\Client('ruaopLJdbDWPg6FkiY16J8QIeZoiDjdlPwR_PfLnGx8', 'okrx0bt8on5x', 'master'); // API token declaration

$entries = $client->getEntries();

$entry = $client->getEntry('6RHNiZLQwLghtcNCZ616RP'); //a specific entry

echo $entry->getTitle(); //displays the title of the entry



catch(Exception $e){
echo "Error";
echo $e;

Targeted Entry

Following is the screenshot of the content available on my Contentful dashboard.

Targeted Entry part of contentful CMS installation

Function’s Output

Similarly, you can pull and present the content and its attributes the way required by your application.


Contentful is one of the top headless CMS, and one of the reasons for its increasing user-base is its API-first nature which allows the developers, and content developers a major advantage by allowing integration on a wide range of devices (PC, Smartphone, Wearables, etc).

Let me know in the comments section below if you have trouble with the integration of Contentful headless CMS with your applications.

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Salman Siddique

Salman is a content marketer with a CS background, so he is (very) good at creating and marketing technical content. When not working as a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways, he enjoys reading interesting stuff and learning new skills.


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