What is a Headless CMS? – Best WordPress Alternative

Headless is a term for a content management system that is able to render content rather than a user agent (a web browser) rendering it.

A content management system (CMS) allows developers to build a site while a site administrator manages the site through its admin interface. A site’s content can be edited using the admin interface rather than through a browser.

Without a built-in frontend or presentation layer, a headless CMS makes content accessible via an API for display on any device. First, discuss traditional CMS and how headless CMS has evolved with a detailed explanation.

Traditional content management systems have existed since the dawn of the internet. Content, images, HTML, and CSS were all thrown into one large bucket in the old CMS content management method. Because the text was jumbled with code, it was hard to reuse.

headless cms

Digital platforms have developed, requiring flexible solutions. Businesses are developing websites, mobile apps, digital displays, and conversational interfaces. Traditional CMSs are behind. Why? Because a CMS organises content for webpages, it can’t be applied to other digital platforms.

A headless CMS only has the content component and focuses on the administrative interface for content authors, content processes and collaboration, and content classification. It must be paired with a separate presentation layer to handle design, site structure, and templates. This combines stateless or loosely coupled APIs.

What is Headless CMS?

The word “headless” derives from the idea of slicing the “head” (front end) off the “body” (the back end). To grasp what a headless CMS is, it’s helpful first to consider what a typical content management system is and what it’s intended to do.

Some traditional CMS solutions have a “headless API” that lets you submit content to a different display layer. Because the presentation layer is isolated from the body, this is referred to as “headless.”

Implementing a “headless” CMS — if the display layer of a website is the “head” of a CMS, then taking off that presentation layer provides a headless CMS — is one technique to overcome the restrictions of a typical CMS.

While a headless CMS allows you to select an appropriate display layer for a digital platform, it doesn’t address the fundamental issue of organising content. It may be reused across several platforms and channels. This headless CMS method allows the material to be supplied via APIs to various display types, including mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. On the other hand, it is then added to a website. The obligation to maintain two different can potentially hand has the potential to use more resources.

Cloud-first headless CMSs were created with a multitenant cloud architecture at their heart. Their providers advertise software as a service (Saas), offering high availability, scalability, and complete administration of security, updates, and hotfixes on behalf of customers.

Headless CMS commerce employs the same architecture to isolate backend product administration and navigation from the frontend of a website or other display kinds, such as IoT, in the same way as headless CMS focus on producing content in the backend to be shown on frontends via APIs.

Difference between Traditional (Normal) CMS vs Headless CMS

Traditional CMSHeadless CMS
Mapped from One-to-oneMapped from One-to-many
Limited Support in every deviceUnlimited Support to every device
Uses Old Waterfall MethodUses New Agile Method to develop
Single Architecture (Monolithic)Uses Microservices for secure and fast
Requires Large Cost to SetupRequires Less Capital Investment
Major Focus on Project being used Major Focus on Product being used

Why use Headless CMS? Why are Big Companies using CMS?

Due to the expansion of digital platforms, enterprises are typically handicapped by a profusion of CMS instances — dozens, if not hundreds. As a result, the material must be duplicated from a website CMS to an app CMS and finally to a digital display CMS.

Add all Content to one Bucket.

Thanks to content infrastructure, organisations can integrate all material in a centralised content hub, which reduces constant copying and pasting effort. This makes editing a lot easier: change the copy or picture in one location, and it will be applied to all of the material. Unification promotes brand consistency and compliance while allowing editors to quickly change material across all platforms, making campaigns a snap.

Effective Collaboration

Simultaneous collaboration is also possible thanks to content infrastructure, which replaces the sluggish waterfall development method with an agile framework that allows teams to operate in tandem. A headless CMS provides a competitive advantage for businesses needing to quickly create new software, landing pages, and microsites.

Highly accessible and reusable

Finally, content infrastructure facilitates reusability, which is critical for making the most of content development resources. Brands can take advantage of personalisation and localisation when all material is available for usage on any digital platform.

How many types of Headless CMS are there?

Headless CMS architectures may be divided into three categories. The benefits of various designs are outlined below, as well as why cloud multi-tenant is the ideal option when choosing a headless architecture.

On-Premise Headless CMS

You install the platform locally and host it in your own environment with an install-based architecture. This means you’ll have to handle everything from start to finish, and you’ll probably have to pay for a maintenance plan from your supplier to cover platform upgrades.

Cloud Install Headless CMS

A cloud install architecture is identical to an install architecture, except that the platform is installed in your provider’s cloud. You usually pay your provider for hosting, management, and upgrades, which may be added or included depending on the terms and conditions of your provider.

Keep in mind that this might get quite difficult if you have many versions of your platform, especially if you are continually updating and fixing it. If you upgrade numerous sites using this method, you’ll rapidly fall behind on platform versioning.

Cloud Multi-Tenant Headless CMS

This implies that your CMS is fully handled and upgraded for you regularly. Because of its ease of improvement, we highly suggest this design.

Why do Businesses and Marketers need Headless CMS?

Headless CMS solutions are extremely handy for non-developers. Instead of relying on a developer to ensure that information is shown correctly across all channels, marketers, editors, and non-technical staff may generate and manage content independently.

This saves time and allows engineers to focus on code while the marketing and content teams create content. Teams may work simultaneously without waiting for each other to accomplish their jobs.

A headless CMS, therefore, supports an omnichannel experience in a larger sense:

  • Customers get a connected and synchronised approach to marketing, customer support, and sales with an omnichannel experience.
  • When clients engage with a company via one digital medium, such as a mobile device, they expect the same experience on a desktop, tablet, or other smart devices.
  • Headless CMSs provide the backend required for omnichannel content management. It has an admin user interface for creating, editing, and publishing content and a RESTFUL API for delivering content where it is needed, which is critical for today’s multi-touchpoint customer journeys.

What are some traditional and headless CMSs?

Examples of ‘traditional’ or ‘coupled’ CMSs include:

Headless CMS list:

However, non-open source solutions exist. SaaS options include:

  • Core dna
  • Contentful
  • Kentico Cloud

A headless CMS mainly includes:

  • Your backend content management system
  • An API

The main distinction is that the front end isn’t provided in this case. It’s up to the project managers to either construct one, choose an out-of-the-box solution, or modify and integrate an existing frontend.

To summarise, a headless CMS comprises an API and the backend technology required to store information before it is supplied to the front end.

What is Strapi.io CMS?

Strapi is a free and open-source headless CMS that allows you to publish your content anywhere you want it. Headless CMS Strapi is considered one of the best alternative CMSs to WordPress.

strapi open source cms

Data under your control – With Strapi, you always know where your data is stored and have complete control.

Self-hosted – Strapi projects may be hosted and scaled in any way you wish. You can use AWS, Render, Netlify, Heroku, a VPS, or a dedicated server as your hosting platform. You’ll be able to expand as your business grows, and you’ll be completely self-sufficient.

It doesn’t matter what database you’re using. Strapi is a tool that works with SQL databases. You can use PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, or SQLite as your database.

Customisable. You may easily create logic by completely changing APIs, routes, or plugins to meet your specific requirements.

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