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Traditional vs. Headless CMS: Which is Better?

A content management system (CMS) is an essential part of a modern website that allows you to easily manage digital content without having to code anything. There are two main kinds of CMSs on the market: traditional CMS such as WordPress and headless CMS such as Kontent by Kentico. Let’s discuss why moving to a headless CMS can be an advantage to you.

What is a Traditional CMS?

A traditional CMS enables users to create, manage, and adapt content for a site without requiring any specialized technical knowledge. It follows a monolithic and rigid architectural implementation. Moreover, the frontend and backend are tightly coupled. A traditional CMS usually approaches extensibility with a plugin framework to add extra features and functionality to a site.

What is a Headless CMS?

In a headless CMS, the frontend and backend are disconnected from one another. Developers can access the stored content via APIs. By design, a headless CMS is frontend agnostic and API-driven, so you can freely deliver content to your users with the frameworks and technologies of your choice.

Traditional vs. Headless CMS: Why Opt for a Headless CMS?

Although both CMS architectures have different advantages, here’s a comparison that pinpoints the difference between the two and the potential benefits you get when selecting a headless CMS.

1. Faster Editing

A headless CMS empowers marketers and content editors to work without interruptions. You can easily and quickly upload, edit, search, structure, and manage content. Moreover, you can reuse content on multiple channels.

With a traditional CMS, content editing isn’t a seamless experience. That’s because the content, frontend, and codes are in the same system. This can result in a distracted editing experience.

2. Omnichannel Experience

With a headless CMS, you’re free to decide where and how your content is served. You can modify your content for omnichannel delivery to any platform – be it a website, smartphone, smartwatch, or VR headset.

On the other hand, a traditional CMS doesn’t offer you omnichannel freedom. You can only deliver content to the channels supported by the CMS. So if you intend to deliver your content to mobile phones and the CMS doesn’t support that channel, you wouldn’t be able to do so.

3. Scalability

A headless CMS safeguards you from unexpected traffic spikes and data loss. As your data is stored securely in the cloud, you can quickly go live thanks to the reliable digital backup.

A traditional CMS typically hosts the content internally. This makes it tougher to handle traffic and scale due to limited servers. In addition, any server downtime impacts both the frontend and backend as they’re firmly coupled together.

4. Developer Benefits

A headless CMS empowers developers to use APIs and data formats such as JSON to communicate and pull content. They can use the latest Jamstack technologies or the tech stack of their choice.

With a traditional CMS, developers are stuck with slower, less flexible customizations. They often have to learn how to use vendor-specific, decades-old frameworks.

5. Automatic Updates

A headless CMS saves you from the hassle of keeping plugins, themes, or system software updated. The headless vendors keep their systems updated, allowing you to concentrate and work without disruptions.

With a traditional CMS, you are responsible for keeping things such as plugins, themes, and software updated. You also have to test the updates to ensure they’re compatible with other plugins and themes.