Headless CMS vs. Traditional CMS: How to choose the best content management system for your needs

“Content is King,” Bill Gates said in an essay back in 1996, emphasizing the crucial role of content in the digital age. More than two decades later, this statement is more relevant than ever, and organizations face the challenge of selecting the optimal technology to manage their content. They have to choose between traditional content management systems (CMS) and the modern headless CMS.

A 2020 study by Gartner noted that “selecting a CMS is a strategic decision that can have a significant impact on an organization’s ability to achieve its digital ambitions” (Gartner, 2020). To help you make this important decision, we’d like to explore the pros and cons of both solutions in this blog post.

We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of traditional CMSs, such as WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal, versus the innovative headless CMSs, such as Contentful, Strapi and Sanity, weigh in. In doing so, we will go into the technical background and illuminate the respective application scenarios. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive overview that will help you make an informed decision about which CMS is right for you, laying the foundation for the success of your web presence or digital projects.

Traditional CMS

Traditional CMSs, also known as monolithic or coupled CMSs, are content management systems in which the front end and back end are closely linked. This means that the system manages both the content and the way it is presented. This close connection means that most traditional CMSs are based on a server-side rendering approach, where the entire web page or application is created on the server and then sent to the client. This distinguishes it from modern approaches such as client-side rendering, which is often used in headless CMS.

The Versatile WordPress Universe: An Open Source Solution for Blogs and Corporate Websites



Current Traditional CMS




Headless CMS

Headless CMS: Revolutionize your content management with a decoupled, API-based architecture".

Headless CMS are content management systems where the backend and the frontend are separated. This separation allows developers to manage content independently of presentation and deliver it via APIs. The frontend is responsible for the presentation of the content and can be developed in different programming languages and technologies. This architecture follows the modern approach of client-side rendering, where the server simply provides the required data and the client – for example, a web browser or mobile app – handles the rendering.



Current Headless CMS





Both traditional and headless CMS have their advantages and disadvantages. Traditional CMS are especially suitable for smaller projects or companies that value ease of use and a wide range of ready-made solutions. Headless CMSs, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and better performance, but also require a higher level of technical expertise and can be more complex to maintain.

When deciding on the right CMS, organizations should carefully consider their requirements, goals and resources. By considering the pros and cons of both solutions, you can make an informed decision and choose the best option for your needs.


Gartner (2020). How to Choose Your Next CMS. Available at: https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3982307/how-to-choose-your-next-cms

Bocij, P., Greasley, A., & Hickie, S. (2018). Business information systems: Technology, development and management for the modern business. Pearson Education Limited.

Puschmann, T., & Lombart, D. (2021). Digital business models: Strategic choices and competitive advantage. Springer International Publishing.

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