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Laravel is better than Sitefinity for small projects

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Our recent site we decided to move from Sitefinity (C#\Asp) as the platform to Laravel (PHP). Few reasons, but can be boiled down to the right tool for the job.

Laravel is a dream to work with. It’s almost entirely file system based, like there is a database, but everything outside of “data” is in a physical file I can touch, and changes are reflected instantly on reload. Compare this to Sitefinity which is almost entirely database driven, and every little code change requires a 5-15 second “Startup” task to run; that adds up fast.

Sitefinity though comes with just about everything out of the box you need, and modules can turn things on and off. This includes even the basic concept of a backend. Laravel needs custom packages added like Nova and Jetstream to manage data and user profiles. It’s a bit of work to get them all looking native like it’s one system and not 2 seperate ones.

Licensing, oh my nemesis Licensing… Sitefinity USED to have a free tier. It’s popularity as an asp.net CMS exploded because of that. Could be used for hobby sites, blogs, etc… but it got abused and companies decided they would just use the free version and not pay for it when delivering to their clients. So with v4 they killed free, and fundamentally just cut the head off of Sitefinity (IMO). Now the only people who use it are employees at partners creating the sites, or employees at said corporations who can afford the high license fee. It’s fine, they need to get paid for the work, but for a SMALL project it makes no sense, especially factoring a yearly license renewal fee. If you’re only pulling in 60k a year, do you want 20k to go to Sitefinity and uCommerce, probably not. Don’t forget as well using the .Core renderer you’re also increasing hosting costs as you need to run 2 sites (backend and frontend) concurrently.

Laravel\Jetstream\Inertia is VueJS forward, it’s what you build on. It’s modern, fast, and better to deal with using TailwindCss than having to hack it into every single Sitefinity ResourceView. That’s SO MUCH WORK because you need to cover every single widget in the toolbox.

Is Sitefinity technically OOTB more secure? Yeah for sure, but a properly secured site is fine, and there’s lots of free packages to add to beef up just about any part.

The only thing to truly be missed is that PHP isn’t compiled on build which means there’s not really great intellisense or type checking, bugs kind of just show up, but the error message screen is better than asp anyway, so it’s here and there…

TL;DR;

  • Not a lot of content changes required, so SF is overkill
  • Sitemap is basically static, again Overkill
  • No Licensing fees
  • No Startup times, Laravel PHP is FAST

PHP isn’t without it’s issues, but for small projects I think it’s going to be the way forward for us unless someone comes in with an active Sitefinity license. We’ll crush it for you either way.