An open source CMS lite that keeps users from getting in over their heads.

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Build sites with ease

lifejacket combines some of our favorite things together.

Foundation 6

Foundation is our favorite Front End Framework for building websites. When you get Lifejacket, it comes ready to go with the latest version of Foundation.


PHP, a widespread language that powers sites like Facebook, WIkipedia, Flickr and many more. The only choice for us when it comes to open source development.


According to the creators, Sass is the most mature, stable, and powerful professional grade CSS extension language in the world. We totally agree!

What is lifejacket and What Does it Do?

Perfect for small, static websites where you simply need the ability to edit sections of content.

Empowering everyone

lifejacket is meant for Web Designers and Developers who want to craft beautiful websites that don’t require the overhead of a full CMS, but realize that clients still want to update some text or swap an image – and may not be comfortable doing so with FTP and a text editor.

lifejacket uses the concept of Replacement Tokens – whereby a site creator can replace a block of text, an image, or a YouTube embed, with a token – and a corresponding field is automatically created in the simple admin console, which can then be populated and updated directly from a web browser.

Bridging the gap

lifejacket is an open source, extremely lightweight CMS / website building platform that aims to fill the gap between static html websites that require FTP access and direct code editing and a full fledged CMS platform such as Wordpress or Drupal.

Site creators can easily create sites, editing the HTML and CSS, leveraging front end frameworks, javascript, PHP, and other technologies as needed – while giving their client the ability to update select portions of content via an admin console, without the fear of breaking layouts or other code.

Runs Practically Anywhere

lifejacket is built using PHP and can be run on any web server capable of hosting a PHP based site. Whether you’re on a Windows/IIS environment or a Linux/Apache, chances are you’ll be able to get lifejacket up and running in no time.

The code and all related utilities are open source and freely available, and sites built with lifejacket do not require a database like traditional CMS platforms – making it extremely lightweight and easy to adopt. With a built in contact us form and Google Analytics support, you can start creating amazing looking and running sites for your clients in no time with lifejacket!

lifejacket Components

lifejacket is designed to get you up and running in no time!

Open Source

lifejacket is open source, released under the MIT License. We would love to see what you create with lifejacket and where you take it! If you build a great feature that you think others could benefit from, we’d love to hear about it and potentially merge it into the main branch of the code! Together we will make happier clients and designers!

Great Technologies

lifejacket is built using PHP and doesn’t require a database, so it can run pretty much anywhere. Whether you’re on a Windows, Linux, or OSX based environment, as long as you have a web server that is properly configured to handle PHP, you can use lifejacket. On top of PHP we include Zurb’s Foundation 6 for sites framework. Foundation is one of the most popular front end development frameworks available and we personally prefer it over others. If you have a different framework of choice though, feel free to swap it out! Finally, we utilize NPM, Grunt, Bower, and SASS, to streamline the site creation process. These tools all serve specific purposes and are designed to make your life easier when creating websites. If you’re not familiar with any of them, we highly recommend you check them out!

Contact Us Type Form

One common piece of pretty much any website is a Contact Us page that allows users to submit information that is emailed to the site owner. Unfortunately this does require a little bit of programming knowledge to hook it all up correctly, so we include a basic Contact Us page, with some basic form fields that should get you going, with the download of lifejacket. The settings for where it sends to and what server it sends through can be configured in the config file, and the form includes the necessary code for Google’s Re-Captcha to prevent spam submissions from plugging up your inbox. To learn more about Re-captcha visit

Google Analytics Built In

Everyone wants to know if people are actually visiting their website, and where they are coming from. This is where Google Analytics comes in! As a free service, Google Analytics provides statistics on website traffic, referral sources, and more. The necessary code for implementing Google Analytics is included already, so when you create a site using lifejacket you can simply specify the user’s Account number after they register their domain with Google Analytics, in the config file – no additional coding necessary.


lifejacket is built to be light weight and fast! It is compatible with PHP 7 which is up to 40% faster than its predecessors and includes multiple options for caching mechanisms which can be implemented. By default file based caching is used, but other options are available including APC, APCu, and MemCache – and the system could be extended to use a MySQL database for caching as well.

Ease of Use

The true magic of lifejacket is its Replacement Tokens and the associated admin console. Tokens can be used to replace text, images, and YouTube URLS out of the box when you download lifejacket, and additional token types could be added, by those with PHP development experience, to further extend the platform. A replacement token is something that is defined in the code by the designer/developer who is implementing the site, and a corresponding editor / entry field is automatically added to the admin console for that token. Once a token is added, if you visit the admin console for the site, an entry field that matches that token is automatically created in the admin, allowing a user to populate the content - this content is then shown on the front end where the token is in the code. If you want to add a new page, simply copy an existing page file or create a new, and it’ll automatically show up in the admin console as well! Nest your files in folders to create a website hierarchy, and the URLs will be created accordingly.

Expert Creative and Technical Resources

If you like the looks of lifejacket but have something specific that you wish it could do for your particular project, or you don’t quite have the skillset to achieve what you’re looking for – give us a call! As the creators of lifejacket we have a team of expert designers and developers who could work for you to complete your project or take it to the next level. Visit our website to learn more about Artifex and the services we provide. We’d love to help you create great things!

Frequently Asked Questions

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