What Is A Headless CMS? How Does It Help Websites Scale?

Posted by Dhiraj Suthar - Dec 24, 2021 6 Min readWordpress



In today’s digitalizing world, content is king. To create and popularize good content, every successful company needs a Content Management System (CMS).

Using traditional CMS has been the most optimal way to go for most companies and individuals. However, the flexibility of these is limiting and they are challenging to scale. This led companies to embrace the idea of headless CMS and benefit from the flexibility and scalability that comes with it.

But before we can fully understand what a headless CMS is and why it has become so popular in recent times, we first need to understand how a traditional CMS operates.

Since the early days of web development, platforms such as WordPress and Sitecore stored and presented content elements like text, images, and videos primarily on their websites. Their traditional Content Management System (CMS) would organize this content into webpage-oriented frameworks, putting together text, images, video, and code into one big bucket. This made it impossible for the same content to adapt to other digital platforms.

With the evolution of digital platforms and the demand to reach more consumers at their respective points in the buyer journey, enterprises now must develop websites that are mobile responsive. They also need to have apps up and running and have digital displays and other conversational interfaces. Traditional CMS unfortunately does not keep up with such innovations.

This is where a headless CMS comes in to save the day.

What Is A Headless CMS?

A headless content management system (CMS) is a back-end-only content management system. It acts as a depository for content and allows for the organization of the data without requiring a front-end or a presentation facet.

Content is accessible from an API and can be readily displayed on any device without the need for a presentation layer or built-in front-end.

Headless CMS architecture removes the presentation layer from your website and enables content to be consumed by APIs. The heads can then communicate, allowing for increased functionality and real-time updates or multi-organization collaboration.

Because of APIs, headless CMS platforms provide better scalability for websites hosting unstructured data such as images or videos.

Using a headless CMS, you can extend your content management beyond your website and into other platforms such as point of sale systems or other (Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Virtual Reality technologies. ).

How Does A Headless CMS Work?

Traditional CMS has HTML, CSS, and other content stored in one place. This made it difficult to use the content. It is also developed for web browsers, and adaptation to other devices can be troublesome. The concept of headless CMS was born out of business needs to engage customers with personalized content via multiple channels at all stages of the user journey.

Headless CMS overcomes these problems by making the content available across any channel and device using an Application Programming Interface (APIs). The APIs handle the presentation aspect of the viewing. The content API then distributes the content anywhere you require – your phone, your mobile application, or an IoT device.

The basic structure of a headless CMS involves an author or editor who will manage the content, which will then be distributed using APIs to developers who design the required applications.

Benefits of a Headless CMS

Headless CMS caters to the different requirements of each user. Here are some of the core benefits of a headless CMS:

  1. Multi-Channel Content

    Headless CMS allows you to present your content on multiple platforms. This creates multiple points of engagement from your current and potential users. It perpetuates the Create Once, Publishes Everywhere strategy employed in content marketing.

  2. Flexibility and Easy Implementation

    It gives developers the freedom to choose their preferred framework and tools as the front-end is handled separately.

  3. Compatibility

    The use of headless CMS is growing steadily. This is large because it can be adapted to the latest technologies in the market. It is also compatible with all tools and frameworks used by developers, so they have no limitations on how to work with the content.

  4. Easier to Scale

    As a site’s traffic scales, its content management system has to keep up with demand and deliver web pages quickly. All this needs to happen without compromising on performance or uptime.

    Headless CMS is optimized for scaling, as it can handle big data and deliver web pages faster. This can benefit a website’s traffic and SEO, which contributes to important marketing KPIs.

  5. Security

    The surface area at risk of attack is greatly reduced compared to the traditional CMS. There is only a single connection between the content and tech stack in headless CMS. The front-end not being involved adds a layer of security.

Top Headless CMS Providers

There is no single “best” CMS vendor as the unique benefits provided by each depend on the needs of the user. The following are four major headless CMS providers in the current market that are the best picks for SMEs:

  1. Contentful

    Contentful is capable of delivering multi-channel experiences with content delivery and management APIs, SDKs, and purpose-built apps. It promises seamless flexibility with a content management system that allows workflows and integration across all systems. Enterprises such as Warby Parker, Vodafone, and Scotiabank rely on Contentful.

  2. Sanity.io

    Sanity emphasizes the flexibility of headless CMS. The editing environment can be designed using JavaScript and React according to the developer’s needs. The content is treated like data, which helps increase the speed at which the APIs work and content delivery between systems.

    Other features include live previews and collaboration, full revision history, scalability using cloud infrastructure that is secure and compliant with company needs. Enterprises that rely on Sanity include Nike, National Geographic, and Figma.

  3. Agility CMS

    Agility CMS is known for handling traffic spikes and massive rollouts. It offers a wide range of architectures for its enterprise customers to choose from, including scaling either individual instances or across an array of instances. Hockey Canada, Visit Orlando, and Scene use their services to deliver a rich UX experience to their customers.

  4. Storyblok

    Storyblok’s unique niche is the only headless CMS with a visual editor. Storyblok’s revolutionary design empowers users to use their content not only on a single website but also on other platforms such as iOS or Android and any other platform of choice (IoT, smartwatch, AR/VR) through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Aubade, Plint, and Odd Molly are powered by Storyblok’s headless CMS.


Headless CMS is a simple strategy to execute that has emerged as a necessity for SMEs who need help facing sudden scaling issues. Particularly in the context of IoT’s growing presence in the community’s everyday lives, a headless CMS affords you the flexibility to scale up rapidly and be prepared for pleasant surprises without worries.

UPC Business saw an 81% reduction in their new website’s loading time by choosing Storyblok, a headless CMS. Miami HEAT Delivered Real-Time Personalized Digital Experiences with a Headless CMS called Contentstack. Do not wait to ramp up to a Headless CMS for your business; you have enough reason to do it now!

Posted by  Dhiraj Suthar - Dec 24, 20216 Min readWordpress

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