gpEasy – The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

carefree   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)I have to admit, I love starting and operating small, informational websites. These are web pages and domains that are set up to serve one simple purpose – that is to provide an informational service or answer a question. These are small, simple websites that have under 10 pages, and preferably a side menu, a cool title and a header menu. As time goes on, I may update the resource site with new articles. It is essentially a small blog with infrequent updates targeting very specific topics.

Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve covered a number of WordPress competitors, like Drupal or Joomla. However, for this use, a really simple CMS (Content Management System) is ideal – because it would make it easy to add new content quickly.


For such a small site, you really don’t want to install WordPress, because it would consume a fair block of your hosting space. During my search for a good, light (and free) CMS, I ran through and tested 5 systems including CMSimple, CMS Made Simple, SkyBlueCanvas, and WolfCMS.

I actually blew my entire Saturday attempting to install and test these systems – only to discover that the installation process was just to complex or required too many “tweaks” and modifications. I wanted something that could install as quickly and easily as WordPress, but was scaled down. Finally, on my fifth try, I discovered a very simple CMS called gpEasy.

Installing gpEasy in Three Ridiculously Easy Steps

The installation for gpEasy is unbelievably small compared to WordPress. It’s just over 2MB, compared to WordPress, which is about 10 Mb. Once you download the zipped file, just place all of the files into your public web directory. Then, open up the website (which should be the directory where all of the files you just uploaded are stored.) You’ll see an install screen with a status of what is or isn’t configured correctly.

gpeasy1   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

Oops! Forgot to set permissions on the data folder so that it’s writeable (should have set it to 777).

With other CMS systems, you have to edit a config file or tweak the code to define your database – not the case with gpEasy. It’s so easy that someone without a bit of coding experience could set it up. Once you’ve got everything set up right, enter your admin ID and Password, and refresh the install page again, you’ll get a successful install notice.

gpeasy2   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

That’s it! Your site is now live, and you can log in and start editing it or playing around with the template to make it look however you like. If you thought the install was easy, wait until you see the administrator area.

gpeasy3   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

This is the default template of the site. It’s nothing terribly impressive, but then again, it’s a website that lets you instantly update components of it – pages, sidebar, footer, and header – with just a few quick mouse clicks and keystrokes. Absolutely no coding required.

gpeasy4   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

My favorite feature of this CMS is the ease with which you can modify the menu bar, which will show up on every single page. The formatting and font choices are a bit standard, but then again, much of the style will come from how creative you are with your writing and image placement.

gpeasy5   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

Once you log into the admin area, I am certain that you’ll be just as blown away as I was at how functional the editing areas are. As you can see here, there’s a lot that you can modify about your website – you can even choose from a dozen or so alternative themes, and the CMS will automatically change the theme for you (see below).

gpeasy6   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

Every component of the website – header, footer, sidebars or content area – is editable using the very functional WYSIWYG editor. As you can see in the screenshot above, this editor is a lot more functional than many of the other free CMS systems out there! When you click on the “configuration” button, you’ll find many of the same fields as you’d find in your WordPress blog setup – complete with meta-keywords and description fields.

gpeasy7   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

When you want to add, remove or edit new pages on your website, just click on the “File Manager” and you’ll see the coolest graphical interface that you’ve ever seen. The parent and child pages are displayed in a very cool, easy-to-follow hierarchy, which you can click on and modify as you please. Want to edit a page? Just click on the green arrows, go to options, and Edit File.

gpeasy8   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

If you click on the “Themes” button in the admin area, you’ll have the opportunity to change your Theme to one of the dozen or so preloaded themes. These themes are the ones displayed when you click on the link to browse the available themes. Just make a note of the name of the theme you like, and then click on that button in the theme area. The system switches themes for you – no file upload, no tweaking, no nothing. Done. Here’s my new theme.

gpeasy9   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

Now, gpEasy redefines the word “Easy” with this interface. Once you have a theme you like, you can edit different areas of the page by just hovering your mouse over that area and then clicking on “Edit.” I have never seen a CMS interface that you can host on your own web server that is so amazingly intuitive and functional, even though it’s free.

gpeasy10   gpEasy   The Really Simple CMS (No Database Needed)

The beauty of gpEasy really stands out when you’re in the situation that I described at the start of this article – when you want a quick and simple website that looks good, but is also easy and convenient to update whenever you like. gpEasy is for creating those sites where you just don’t need a lot of extra plugins or bells and whistles – you just want to deliver content to your readers.

With gpEasy CMS, you’ll have a new page up and adding your content in less than 30 minutes. Once you’ve formatted your page with the theme and style you like, adding new pages is just as easy (if not easier – dare I say) than using WordPress.

Have you ever used gpEasy? What do you think about it? Do you have a different easy CMS system that you like more? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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27 Comments -

aletterformat.com

thanks…get rid of wordpress….wow

Nat Jay

gpEasy looks like that much-needed bridge between Blogger blogs and full-blown CMS systems. I’ll give it a try as I see the potential for mini sites.

Real Oak Guy

Simplicity is always good, but to do complex tasks, it’s never going to be simple.

Roland

This caught my eye, where were these sorts of tool 10 years ago when we needed them, an alternatives were so complex, and / or unheard of or expensive? I love these sorts of tools which do not require a database, I could name a few examples but it don’t wish to distract attention from this review. At first glance this looks wonderful – Thanks Roland

Aibek

“…where were these sorts of tool 10 years ago when we needed them…”

I second that!

lanee

sorry, i don’t get it. i uploaded the files to my public web directory, but nothing happened. i tried many ways with different folders, but nothing worked. help me! my webhoster is bplaced.net

Guest

If you don’t upload as a subdirectory (like /gpeasy/ or so), but directly to root directory, it should work. I created an account at bplaced.net, tested the installation of gp|Easy, and what can I say – it works fine.

Ryan Dube

Hi Lanee, in addition to what the last user replied with, don’t forget to double check the folder permissions as detailed in the article. Hope it works out for you!

lanee

sorry, i don’t get it. i uploaded the files to my public web directory, but nothing happened. i tried many ways with different folders, but nothing worked. help me! my webhoster is bplaced.net

Bill Bell

This looks like a good mate to NearlyFreeSpeech web hosting which was mentioned a few days ago on Lifehacker. In vanilla form IIRC it doesn’t provide db support (although you can get it).

And, no, I’m not affiliated in any way with NearlyFreeSpeech. Just offering an observation.

lelapin

Looks great but… wait… WordPress is hardly a CMS, at least it is not what it’s intended for. It may be tweaked so that it may function as a CMS but that’s about it.

Strodtbeck

This looks interesting. I’ll have to install it and check it out. Nice tutorial, as always ;)

Ryan Dube

Thanks Strodtbeck…I really appreciate the positive feedback! :)

Strodtbeck

I’ve been playing with gpEasy for the past couple of month and really like it. The new version soon to come out, 1.7, has some great improvements. For non-blogging sites I much prefer it over WordPress or anything else I’ve seen . . . thanks again for putting out great info.

Aibek

“…where were these sorts of tool 10 years ago when we needed them…”

I second that!

Ian Cammarata

I try to avoid anything that requires “Register Globals” to be turned on. It’s too big a potential for security flaws, and getting your site hijacked.

http://php.net/manual/en/security.globals.php
“This feature has been DEPRECATED as of PHP 5.3.0. Relying on this feature is highly discouraged.”

Acupunc

A comment showed up on the forum referring to your comment. I checked out the information and by default gpEasy is designed to work with globals on or off and expects during install that globals are set to off by your server. Therefore, you comment about gpEasy requiring register globals to be turned on is not correct.

Ian Cammarata

I try to avoid anything that requires “Register Globals” to be turned on. It’s too big a potential for security flaws, and getting your site hijacked.

http://php.net/manual/en/secur
“This feature has been DEPRECATED as of PHP 5.3.0. Relying on this feature is highly discouraged.”

Rick

I don’t see the need to drop WordPress to gain 8M of space. The security is there, the flexibility is there, not to mention the incredible support that’s available in the WordPress community.

Ryan Dube

Hey Rick. I still like WordPress as a blog platform. In my case I use gpEasy when I want to create a small site (under 20 pages) and also because I have long term plans to create multiple sites – when you multiply the 8M of space savings by 20 or 30 sites, it really does add up fast.

Alex

I must say: I like gp-easy. Just stumbled across it a few weeks ago and was immediately caught by its simplicity and freedom. Since it’s so easy to use, even I as a non-PHP-guy can understand the code and do some minor tweaks. Since it’s a small installation I don’t get lost in things I don’t need and I can use it with a cheap hoster (it’s fast). In my case (just a small website with about 50 pages) it’s ideal. In short: the functions I need, the flexibility I like.

Ryan Dube

Thanks Alex – I agree, that’s precisely why I decided to go with it for the small websites I’m starting up. The footprint is nice and small, and when you’re building a fair number of such sites, that space savings and simplicity really helps. Good luck with your projects!

Guest

If you don’t upload as a subdirectory (like /gpeasy/ or so), but directly to root directory, it should work. I created an account at bplaced.net, tested the installation of gp|Easy, and what can I say – it works fine.

SomeOne

WOW

Jon

the real bonus I see is that I can make a page in dreamweaver, modify it wee bit ot make it a gpeasy template, and upload it. Then my site uses that design. For a small site, it saves days of work when compared to trying to create custom templates for things like wordpress or drupal

sudar

This is best alternative. WordPress is cpu hog. You can search google about horror stories about wordpress mysql problems

Acupunc

A comment showed up on the forum referring to your comment. I checked out the information and by default gpEasy is designed to work with globals on or off and expects during install that globals are set to off by your server. Therefore, you comment about gpEasy requiring register globals to be turned on is not correct.