What is a Headless CMS?

I recently started a website commission with a friend and she suggested we use a headless CMS along with our frontend framework. This project is the first time I am using a headless CMS, so I thought I would share with you what I have learned! Read on!

What is a CMS?

A CMS (short for content management system) is a software tool that allows you to store, manage, and present content on your website. You may have heard of WordPress, which is a popular monolithic CMS. Monolithic CMS is an “all-in-one” service that lets you use a simplified interface to lay out your web pages, upload your content, and do some styling. The CMS does the coding for you and BAM, you have yourself a website.

Ok, cool stuff but now what’s a headless CMS?

A headless CMS is still going to be a place where you use a simplified interface to lay out and upload your content, but it delivers the content through a RESTful API. Unlike a monolithic CMS, a website can’t be built by only using a headless CMS. The “head” in headless CMS refers to the front end (the website). This gets chopped off, leaving only the “body” which is the back end.

Now let’s talk about some benefits of using a headless CMS. Because there is no frontend with a headless CMS, the developer can use the front end technology of their choice when building out the rest of the project. Also, because the content is served over an API and not bound to a predetermined structure, it can be used for mobile development.

Some popular headless CMS options are Prismic, Contentstack, Storyblok, and Sanity. I am using Prismic to build my current project and so far its been easy to use and I found the documentation helpful and easy to read!