A traditional CMS is responsible for both the backend management of content, and serving that content to end users. These things are tightly integrated. WordPress and Drupal now also support a decoupled mode which adds APIs on top to serve content.
Headless CMS is a API-first content management software that enables writers to produce and organize content, while providing developers with structured data that can be displayed using a separate system on the frontend of a website or app.
There are insane numbers of headless CMS out there with different quality and pricing, fully open-source and availalbe for self-hosted, or just a service on the cloud. This post only focuses on popular solutions.
|Strapi||40k||fully customizable, developer-first|
|Ghost||38.4k||excellent built-in SEO options|
|Netlify CMS||14.5k||git-based content|
|Directus||12.1k||wraps any SQL database with a real-time API|
|Tina||6.6k||visual editing experience for content stored in Markdown and JSON|
|Sanity||2.7k||collaborate in real-time on structured content|
|Contentful||N/A||most common headless CMS used with Gatsby|
|Prismic||N/A||integrates with every frontend frameworks|
|DatoCMS||N/A||friendly, secure and powerful platform|
|Hygraph||N/A||first-class GraphQL content APIs|
The headless CSS is also called as API-first CMS, content platform, content hubs, or even content-as-a-service. When you take a closer look, they all pretty much boil down to some database backend with a web-based user interface, and content made accessible through an API.
<Headless CMS> -------------> [Content API, Image API, Video API] ↑ | | ↓ [Developer, Marketer, Copywriter] [Website, Chatbot, Apps]
Deciding to use a headless CMS is one thing. It’s another thing to know how to choose the right one. There are several things to consider when choosing a headless CMS to work with:
Compared to the traditional approach, headless CMS is a relatively new technology. The CMS you plan to choose should be developed enough to have the essential features needed to meet your business needs.