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Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Sanity CMS

Portrait photo of Øyvind Østmo
Written by Øyvind Østmo
- builder of brands and businesses since 2000
Nov 20, 2022
8 minute read
Sanity CMS FAQs

Sanity is ranked as the best headless CMS in the world. But what is Sanity? What is a headless CMS? We are here to answer all your questions.

More and more people are curious about what Sanity is all about, and we get a steady stream of visitors to our website who have searched for answers about Sanity. Combining our experience with the most frequent questions asked in Google searches about Sanity, we compiled this list of 20 FAQs about Sanity. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.


What is Sanity CMS?

Sanity is the world's #1 headless CMS (content management system), providing businesses with a flexible way of handling all their content in one central location. Sanity describes its product as "the platform for structured content that lets your team work together in real-time to build engaging digital experiences across channels."

Graphic showing Sanity CMS structured content omni-platform publishing.

Sanity CMS

Better manage and distribute your content anywhere.

Learn more

What is a headless CMS?

Graphic showing Sanity CMS structured content omni-platform publishing.

With a "headless" approach to content management, we treat your content as structured data that we can display anywhere. We can pull your content into a website layout, emails, apps, anywhere. When it's time for a brand new website, your content can live on in the new solution without starting from scratch. And that's why it's called "headless" - you can place any head on your body of content.


What is the best headless CMS?

Sanity worlds leading headless CMS on g2.com

You'll never guess...the best headless CMS in the world as of 2023 is Sanity CMS 🎉 The verdict is based on reviews from several hundred companies on g2.com positioning Sanity as the leading headless CMS in the world, ahead of noteworthy competitors like Contentful and Storyblok. Sanity was also chosen as the content platform with the highest satisfaction rating in 2021, according to the Jamstack community survey.

Sanity's position makes us happy here at Represent as we keep grinding to be the leading Sanity experts in the world.


Is Sanity the best CMS?

Sanity vs Contentful vs Umbraco

Sanity is the leading headless CMS in the world. Is it the best overall CMS, though? We don't trust people who talk in absolutes because, most of the time, the truth is that "it depends".

Whether Sanity CMS is the best option for your next project depends on your current and future needs. If you need a simple but custom website, Webflow may be the better option. Don't hesitate to contact us to help you evaluate your project and recommend a CMS that suits your project.

If you're considering WordPress, do yourself a favor and educate yourself on all the reasons why WordPress might be a bad idea :)


Is Sanity CMS widely used?

Thousands of businesses and over 100 enterprise companies use Sanity to structure and distribute their content. Sanity has an active community of about 200,000 users and a thriving Slack community with around 10,000 people.


Can I use Sanity for free?

Sanity has a surprisingly good free offering. Most of our small and medium-sized clients don't have any cost to Sanity for their websites. Sanity's "Free forever" plan includes:

  • Open-source editing environment
  • Hosted, real-time content database
  • Free admin users
  • 3 non-admin users included
  • Generous usage quota
  • Pay-as-you-go for more resources or add-ons
Sanity Free Plan features

Is Sanity good to use?

Graphic interface of Sanity Studio with multiple editors making changes to the same content.

Such a simple but vital question to answer. YES! Both developers and editors love Sanity for its flexibility. A fantastic feature that sets Sanity apart from its competition is real-time collaboration. Editors can drop Word or Google Docs and work together in the same way directly in the Sanity Studio.

Sanity is rated the best headless CMS on g2.com based on reviews from hundreds of companies, and it got the highest satisfaction rating in 2020 and 2021 by developers on Jamstack.

Sanity CMS interface

What is Sanity used for?

Sanity is used for managing content like text, images, video, and other media via APIs. Use cases span from a simple website to managing the content of Puma's omnichannel e-commerce to our latest project building the CMS backend for an interactive video streaming service.


How much does Sanity cost?

Many use cases fit Sanity's "Free forever" plan. If you need additional quota or non-admin users, you might need the $99/month Team plan. The next level with 20 non-admin users, SSO, and more is $949/month as of March 2022. The next and last step is the Enterprise plan for large organizations with business-critical applications. Sanity does not list any Enterprise pricing publically. Contact us if you want some more details about Sanity's enterprise offering. See Sanity's plans and pricing here.


Can I self host Sanity?

The Sanity Studio is a web application that you can easily host yourself or with your favorite hosting service. We typically stick with the default and free hosting Sanity provides for their Studio. On the other hand, you cannot self-host the content backend called The Sanity Content Lake, which Sanity fully manages.


Who uses Sanity CMS?

Who uses Sanity CMS?

Successful companies like Puma, Sonos, Spotify, and National Geographic trust Sanity to structure and distribute their content across multiple channels. We love that the flexibility of Sanity's product and pricing gives even the smallest businesses we work with the same possibilities as these international giants.


Where is data stored in Sanity?

Your data is stored in what Sanity calls "The Sanity Content Lake", which runs in the cloud and is fully managed by Sanity. You access the Content Lake via the Sanity API, either using one of Sanity's client libraries or directly via the HTTP API.


How secure is Sanity?

Sanity takes its security very seriously. Sanity.io is a SOC 2 Type 1 certified provider, fully GDPR-compliant, and hosts its infrastructure on the Google Cloud Platform that undergoes regular independent audits for a range of standards, including ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, SOC 2, SOC 3, CSA STAR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. Read more about how Sanity handles security.


Can I use any programming language with Sanity CMS?

You can build your frontend application (website or other) using technologies like React, Vue, Svelte, Node, .NET, PHP, Golang, or whatever speaks HTTP.

The editing environment, Sanity Studio, is an open-source headless real-time CMS that you can customize with JavaScript and React.


What type of database does Sanity use?

Sanity is a schemaless database built on top of Google cloud. The API comes with the GROQ query language. It lets you filter and fetch content quickly and present it using your preferred programming language and structure.


Is Sanity a trustworthy company?

Choosing where to host the content for your business is an important decision. When evaluating options, we go deep into the products and also the companies behind the products. We place our deepest trust in Sanity based on their product, the speed and direction of their development, and the team behind Sanity.

Sanity raised $9.3 million in 2020 in its Series A and another $39 million in its 2021 Series B. Sanity has not stopped impressing us in 2022-2023, landing an investment from the worlds leading e-commerce player Shopify.

Sanity's impressive development as a company, combined with its leading position among business owners and developers, makes us confident to keep investing in Sanity.


What is the Sanity Studio?

Skjermbilder fra Sanity Studio CMS redaktørgrensesnitt.

The Sanity Studio is what Sanity calls its open-source editing environment. The Sanity Studio is a fully customizable React (JavaScript) application. We are free to design and develop the editor interface like we do with the user-facing web application. Each instance of the Sanity Studio is unique and custom-made for each client we work with. The flexibility opens up a whole new world for developing engaging editorial experiences and workflows.

We can integrate almost anything with the Sanity Studio that allows for integration. Anything from showing important KPIs from various sources like Google Analytics in one unified dashboard to allowing editors to compose their Mailchimp newsletters from within the Sanity Studio.


Which plugins are available for Sanity?

Sanity CMS plugins

The Sanity Exchange is home to 100s of guides, plugins, starters, and schemas that community members have contributed. The plugins at sanity.io/plugins are for the Sanity Studio - the content editor interface.

With a headless CMS like Sanity, a developer can choose their technology in the "frontend" (facing the user), so there are little to no plugins that you can install that will automatically insert a feature onto your website, for example. So if you are used to template-based platforms like WordPress or Shopify, you may find it time-consuming and expensive to integrate services on your website compared to the ease of installing a plugin on those platforms. But the off-the-shelf ease that WordPress offers comes with other risks and long-term costs that we outline in this article.


Can I use Sanity for headless e-commerce?

Sanity CMS for e-commerce

Sanity is especially well suited to combine with other e-commerce platforms for headless e-commerce. We have developed advanced content structures in Sanity paired with the e-commerce platforms, and Sanity Connect for Shopify unleashes the power of structured content in Shopify.

Sanity offers a free boilerplate for Sanity + Hydrogen (Shopify's headless commerce framework) and has a demo store set up here.

Following Shopify's recent investment in Sanity, we can expect the products to play even better together in the future. 

Read more about headless Shopify commerce with Sanity in this article.


Is Sanity open-source?

The Sanity Studio is an open-source React application. The Sanity Studio is only the editor interface, though. Sanity's hosted content backend, the Sanity Content Lake, on the other hand, is not open-source. We are happy about this separation, as we would much rather have Sanity in charge of the backend and security than take that responsibility on ourselves. If you have ever self-hosted a WordPress solution, you are well aware of the world of pain that comes with such responsibility.

We're excited to learn...

...about your business and how we can work together to build a success story.

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Øyvind Østmo

Agency Manager

A selection of our Sanity projects

Stories about Sanity