What Does "Headless CMS" mean?

Traditional Content Management System (CMS) vs Headless CMS

Traditionally, websites had an "admin" section built alongside the site itself. For example, to edit a Wordpress site's content the user would visit website.com/wp-admin.

Headless CMSes

A headless CMS actually runs on a different website, usually one provided by a third party e.g. pullnote.com or builder.io. Although at first this may seem more convoluted, it is actually considerably simpler to implement and maintain.

  • No need to build your own user login, or maintain users
  • No need to install, build and run a database
  • all the developer has to do is suck in the content, which is often already fully formed HTML, or in a format that's easy to quickly format in the style the web team wants.

These benefits make infrastructure options much simpler - you no longer need a server with database / PHP etc capabilities so these sites can be hosted cheaply and quickly at the edge e.g. using Vercel, Netlify, Cloudflare Pages etc.

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