Why you should switch to a Headless CMS

05 October4 min read
Why you should switch to a Headless CMS

Headless architecture has been making the rounds lately, with a lot of industries making the switch from traditional architecture. A lot of content management (CMS) solutions have also switched to a headless model as it is a lot easier to use, and requires no programming work. Let’s dive into what is headless CMS and why it is a better system than traditional solutions. 

What is headless CMS?

But first, what is headless architecture? 

This is a new style of creating applications where all the logic, rules and functionalities that govern the data are wrapped in a set of APIs in the back-end. These applications can be independent of the front-end, making it easier to implement, change and use. 

A headless CMS is a content repository with an API to fetch the content to the front-end. It is provided as a SaaS model that can be used independently with any front-end model. Different platforms and channels can have different front-ends and API calls to retrieve the content, and the headless CMS can serve all of them seamlessly. 

How is headless CMS different from traditional CMS?

A traditional CMS, such as WordPress, acts as a single solution for storing as well as displaying the content. The input, as well as the output, of the content is reliant on the front-end, with HTML tags, templates, images, etc. well-defined for each page. 

For a website using a traditional CMS, how the content is displayed is entirely reliant on how the front-end fetches the data from the database. Conversely, in headless CMS, the same content can be displayed differently on different platforms. This comes in handy when your content is reused on various websites, mobile applications, physical devices, etc., each with its unique front-end. 

Advantages of headless CMS architecture

1. By keeping the back-end independent from the front-end, your CMS is more secure.

2. As the front-end does not rely on the back-end, you can use any technology to build the front-end.

3. The front-end developers can work independently without interfering with the data.

4. As most headless CMS solutions are SaaS models, you get the general benefits of SaaS models like frequent updates, low maintenance, etc.

5. Using a REST API, the content from the CMS can be used on multiple channels, web applications, mobile applications and even IoT devices, despite the various technologies and architectures involved.

Why you need to switch to a headless CMS

  • If you want to display the same content on different platforms
  • If you want to display your content on non-web-based platforms like mobile application and IoT devices
  • If you want to use static site generators like Gatsby, Jekyll, NextJS, etc.
  • If you want to create a quick proof-of-concept
  • If you want the freedom to experiment with multiple front-end technologies
  • If you don’t have enough resources to maintain the backend

Why you don’t need to switch to a headless CMS

  • If you only need a simple template-based site
  • If your editors/writers are more comfortable with the functionalities of the traditional model
  • If your editors require out-of-the-box content preview functionality
  • If you want all the functionalities and data connected on a single, complex website
  • If you don’t want to opt for a SaaS model. In such a case, you can also look for vendors who provide on-premise headless CMS
  • If you don’t have the time and resources to configure a headless CMS


To build a cohesive headless CMS-based site, you can use the JAMstack (Javascript + API + Markup) architecture. It pairs static site generators with a headless CMS to create easily scalable sites. Here is a list of static site generators and headless CMSes to start with. 

Decoupled CMS

Looking for the adaptability of a headless CMS and the user-friendliness of a traditional CMS? Then a decoupled CMS is what you need. A significant difference between this and headless CMS is that while a headless CMS waits for an API request to fetch data, a decoupled CMS has the data prepared and ready in the presentation layer. 

Some of the traditional CMS like WordPress and Drupal have now created decoupled CMS by enabling API functionalities to their architecture. You can find them below. 

In conclusion, a headless CMS is the right way forward for most content-based platforms. Its flexibility and adaptability allow it to be paired with any front-end technology.