What is Headless WordPress and Why Should You Use It?

Have you heard of Headless WordPress? Are you wondering how to integrate its principles into your own site?

While the idea might seem somewhat complicated at first glance, it’s pretty straightforward to grasp once it’s presented to you. In this article, we’ll walk you through what headless WordPress is, discuss some of its pros and cons, and come up with an alternative.

Let’s get started.

What is a headless CMS?

All WordPress websites have a front end, which is what users see and interact with, and a back end, where admins manage content, structure, data storage, etc.

Usually the front-end and the back-end are coupled into a single system which allows content management systems to output content from the backend to the front-end in a transparent manner.

So what is headless WordPress? Put simply, Headless WordPress is where the back end and front end of your website are completely separate systems based on different frameworks.

The front-end and the back-end of your website essentially become two separate entities. The back end uses the WordPress interface to manage all of your data and content, but the front end uses an entirely different framework and interface.

This allows for more posting flexibility, as your back end can then post content directly to more platforms such as social media sites and web apps. With WordPress websites, this is all made possible by the REST API.


Headless or decoupled WordPress

Decoupled WordPress looks a lot like headless WordPress, and they share some similarities. The main difference is that Headless WordPress has a WordPress based back end that can connect to any other framework for its front end, while decoupled WordPress uses WordPress for both its front end and back end. -end, while hosting them separately.

In practical terms, decoupled WordPress offers the best features of conventional and headless WordPress, but headless WordPress offers much greater publishing flexibility than any other approach.

So what is right for you?

Why should you use WordPress headless

An image of chess pieces on a ladder

There are pros and cons to using WordPress without a head. Here are the key points to consider:

1. Ease of use

Traditional WordPress is easier to use, especially for beginners. While most people don’t need to know any programming language to use WordPress effectively, you need to have coding skills (especially JavaScript and other front-end languages ​​and technologies) in order to use and maintain a headless or decoupled WordPress website. effectively.

2. WYSIWYG Edition

WordPress’s What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) visual editing experience is lost with headless WordPress.

However, decoupled WordPress offers a way around this problem. Since you’ll be using the WordPress front-end architecture, you can keep the benefits of visual editing in the backend of your website.

3. Security

WordPress is a target for hackers and unethical web users. While it is generally safe to use and can be improved with plugins and following basic WordPress security best practices, Headless WordPress takes security to a whole new level.

There are several explanations for this. First of all, since the back-end and the front-end are separate, the risk of security threats affecting your back-end is minimal, even if the front-end is compromised by third-party integrations.

Second, authentication is more complex with Headless WordPress, and while this adds to the level of complexity involved in using it, it also means that Headless WordPress is generally much better protected.

4. Publishing flexibility

Headless WordPress is by far the best option when it comes to flexibility in posting content. There is hardly any web platform that cannot connect to a headless WordPress site, which makes it very useful for people who post content on various channels or off-website channels.

Decoupled WordPress is also more flexible than conventional WordPress, but neither method quite compares to headless WordPress when it comes to flexibility.

5. Third-party integrations

Headless WordPress is the optimal option if easy integration with potentially complex third-party applications and software is important to you.

6. Standing the test of time

Because headless WordPress sites can connect with virtually any software, it’s more capable of adapting to future frameworks and technologies than conventional WordPress. You don’t have to worry about a potentially long or expensive process of moving your website from WordPress to another framework if you ever decide to try something new on the front end.

7. Performance

Headless and decoupled WordPress require a more hands-on approach to website maintenance. But the result is a faster, lighter system that offers significantly better performance.

When is Headless WordPress the Best Option?

By now, you may have noticed that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Conventional WordPress is generally perfect for small websites, but businesses or organizations with an omnichannel presence and the expertise to maintain a headless WordPress framework might find it more useful.

Decoupled WordPress offers a happy medium between headless and conventional WordPress, but still requires advanced technical skills to be maintained.

Headless WordPress can be a great solution for certain types of websites, but it’s not ideal for everyone. Especially not if all you are looking to do is quickly put together a simple WordPress website.

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About the Author

Esther L. Gunn