<h1>Headless vs. WordPress: the pros and cons</h1>

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Headless vs. WordPress

You are an entrepreneur and are in search of a (new) CMS for your website. Piece of cake, right? After a quick Google search, the technical terms and a variety of options leave you even more confused. But you want to make a solid choice that fits the needs of your business. Most people choose WordPress, but a headless CMS is increasingly popular.

In this blog, WP Brothers explains to you the difference between a headless CMS and a traditional CMS – like WordPress. In fact, both options have some important advantages and disadvantages that you should carefully consider before setting up a website or switching to another CMS.

What is a CMS:

To properly explain the differences between the two systems, let’s refresh our memory on what a CMS is and what it is used for. A CMS – content management system – is a software program that allows the user to create and manage content without having to write code. Simple right? Content can be created, managed, modified and published with the click of a button. Pour this into a user-friendly package and you have a CMS.

Back-end and front-end:

A traditional CMS, such as WordPress, consists of two parts: a front-end and a back-end. In the back-end, you create new content or modify existing content. This is a secure area to which you, the administrator, have access. By means of a theme or template, this content is displayed on the front-end. This is the visible result for visitors. Not quite satisfied with the default look-and-feel or experience of the front-end? With different templates or plugins – downloadable add-ons – you easily change certain functionalities or the design.

What is a headless CMS:

But then, what is a headless CMS? A CMS is a CMS right? Almost. Updates and innovations are being worked out daily, creating different systems with the same goal, which is; managing content.

The term headless sounds crazy, but actually makes a lot of sense. The CMS has no front-end and thus has no face or “head”. That means you can manage and read content with a headless CMS. that’s it. While that sounds restrictive, you can do whatever you want with your content, wherever you want. For example, you can display your content on your website as well as on your app without creating a distortion in how it is displayed – a feature that WordPress does not easily support.

This is possible because the front end and back end are completely separated. The link between the front-end and back-end is established through APIs.

An API is a software interface that allows two applications to communicate with each other.

To summarize: these APIs allow the front-end of your website to access content to the back-end. Therefore developers have more room on the front-end to choose which technology they want to use to build a website, webshop or app.


  • Focus on performance because of the Single Page Application structure, which positively affects the user experience. That improved performance in turn positively affects technical SEO.
  • More creative freedom and flexibility during the building process. After all, you are not limited by the standard solutions and plug-ins of the respective CMS.
  • Much safer because the content is only retrievable through API links and the database is not directly accessible.
  • Easier to create links with external software. This does not have to be linked through the CMS, but can be included directly in the front-end.
  • You can always switch to another CMS, build another front-end or add a channel. While doing so, you don’t have to fear lock-in with a particular provider.


  • Not you, but developers are in control of the website.
  • The CMS owns the ”CMS.” This creates a dependency.
  • The community for Headless developers is upcoming, but still a lot smaller than the WordPress community. As a result, there is less choice in providers.
  • Using a headless CMS requires an experienced marketing/content team.

What does WordPress do differently:

With traditional CMS systems, for example: WordPress, the back-end and front-end are more connected. Changing something in the back-end is immediately visible in the front-end. WordPress powers both in most cases. Very convenient, but again this has some pros and cons.


  • You are in full control of the website as well as the CMS.
  • Flexibility in page composition for both marketers, developers and designers – for example, there are many plugins, themes and APIs with other tools available.
  • Accepted worldwide. Therefore, you have free choice in hosting parties.
  • WordPress already offers a lot of functionality right out of the box.


  • That great flexibility can become a pain point. Work in a structured manner otherwise the back-end can quickly become cluttered.
  • WordPress is the most widely used CMS, weaknesses are therefore well known. Maintenance and security optimizations are therefore essential.
  • Translations of pages can become hectic for the content manager.
  • Performance optimizations are necessary for creating the best user experience. WordPress is not the fastest CMS out of the box. Note that performance issues negatively affect the SEO rating of the website.

So, which CMS is better?

As with any tool, there is no clear winner. It depends on your preferences, business, vision for the future and so on. A headless CMS is fast, secure and cross-platform. But, because of the way it works, you need front-end and back-end developers. That means an increase in cost and a decrease in how much you can manage yourself.

WordPress, on the other hand, is quick to set up, scalable and relatively inexpensive. You need little technical understanding. The downside; you are limited in the latest technological innovations. For example WordPress does not easily support cross-platform use – something a headless CMS does extremely well.

Still unsure about what the best solution is for your business or do you want to exchange thoughts first? We create, design, develop and launch websites, apps and platforms. Our mission is to help our clients create beautiful, user-friendly digital products that make people’s lives easier. We’re obsessively passionate about what we do, and we believe that great design and innovative development can solve any problem. Our team comprises talented individuals from all over the world who share a common goal: to help our clients succeed online. Looking for a new digital product? Contact us!

Are you convinced that a WordPress CMS is the best solution for your business, our specialists at WP Brothers will help you out! WP Brothers is a dedicated WordPress developer that specializes in the creation, design, development and launch of custom WordPress websites. With our years of experience building WordPress websites, we know better than anyone how to tackle this from front to back. Thanks to this experience, our lines are short and our communication is efficient.

We are ready for the next online challenge