What is Headless WordPress

Oct 20, 2022 | Web Development


Read on if you have been intrigued by the new word Headless WordPress, specifically headless WordPress architecture. This article will shine a light on the wonderful world of WordPress and its infinite possibilities.

First, we will overview WordPress as software and then the term headless WordPress and compare its features and benefits to classic WordPress. In this article, Classic WordPress refers to the traditional approach of using WordPress as a CMS to manage and display content on a website. In other words, classic WordPress refers to the traditional, monolithic architecture of WordPress, where the CMS and frontend presentation are tightly integrated. In classic WordPress, the CMS generates the HTML pages and serves them to the user.

WordPress Software

WordPress is known for its ease of use and versatility, allowing users to create beautiful and functional websites with its powerful content management system. It was first introduced in 2003. According to wordpress.org, WordPress powers 43 percent of all sites across the web. WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) based on the PHP programming language and a MySQL database. The core WordPress software is free to download and use, but users can also choose from various paid plugins and themes to add additional functionality and design elements to their site. WordPress is also SEO-friendly and can easily be integrated with multiple third-party services, such as social media platforms and e-commerce systems. If you want more technical information, the wordpress.org website has comprehensive articles. And if you want to learn how to build and use WordPress, check out Codex WordPress.

How Does Headless WordPress Work

Headless WordPress is an architecture where the backend (WordPress) is separated from the frontend (the presentation layer), allowing for greater flexibility, mostly for developers and content writers. Notice WordPress here is used for storing data only as CMS (Content Management System). WordPress then provides data via an API for storing and managing content in the frontend. The frontend (the presentation layer) builds separately using many popular frontend technologies, such as React, Vue, Angular, etc.

Frontend and backend are decoupled, meaning they work independently. This approach allows for a more streamlined development process and easy integration with other systems and technologies. Notice frontend can be built using any frontend frameworks or technology that can consume data from an API.

To summarize, the headless architecture allows the WordPress backend to manage and organize content while using a different frontend framework, such as React, Angular, or Vue.js, to display that content on a website.

Why Headless WordPress

There are several benefits to using headless WordPress, such as flexibility and independence in the development cycle of the website or project. This makes it easier to change one component without affecting the other.

Faster page load times, thus better performance and user experience. Headless WordPress allows the frontend to be optimized for performance without affecting the backend. 

Increased security when WordPress is used as a backend only. It reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities, making it more secure than a traditional monolithic CMS.

Better content management when WordPress is used as a headless WordPress.  A more flexible content management system can enable content to be reused across multiple channels and devices.

When to Use Headless WordPress

It’s important to note that headless WordPress is not the best approach for all projects, and it’s essential to consider it carefully. Despite the differences between classic WordPress and headless WordPress, they have unique strengths and weaknesses. Classic WordPress remains a popular choice for those who want an all-in-one solution that is easy to use and manage. On the other hand, headless WordPress is best for developers who want more control over the front end and want to create highly customized and unique experiences for their users. Headless WordPress is more flexible and scalable, allowing for better separation of concerns. However, it may require more complex development, whereas classic WordPress is more familiar and simpler to work with.


Ultimately, the choice between classic and headless WordPress comes down to the needs and goals of each website and its owners. Both solutions can be used to create beautiful, functional, and engaging websites, but the right choice will depend on each project’s specific needs and goals.




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