Let’s talk about “content” first. The term content has become the king of any business. It is the driving factor for them. To get more and more customers to your site, you need to create extraordinary content with imagery, logos, and a distinct way of presentation. It is the only way to attract visitors and retain them. Now, the main thing that arises is how to create such content. For this matte, the CMS plays a pivot role.
The traditional Content Management System (CMS), is built for creating content by using the web-based framework integrating both the front end and back end. If you opt to have a CMS for your site, you will surely get puzzled about which one to choose. However, an open-source headless Content Management System will help you in that situation.
Introduction to an open Source headless CMS
A headless CMS is a content management system in which one can store the content in the headless CMS and afterward send it back to display anywhere. The open source headless CMS use APIs that sends to any chosen devices. It is quite different from the old CMS.
The headless CMS solves the issues of the modern web environment with the decoupled approach. Precisely, it provides a backend for managing the content along with API to create the content. It helps developers to freely access the codes for creating their API calls as well as templates for content delivery. A developer can reduce downtown, ease usability and lessen the internal expenses.
Benefits of headless CMS
The Open Source Headless CMS enhances the productivity of content editors. They can use this system as per their knowledge and developers use it as per the services they prefer. It is compatible with many frameworks such as React, Nect.js., and Vue. The developers need not deal with a plugin or create a custom approach for integrating the tools.
The developers can pick up their preferred programming language. They can even build heads from end to end. There are no constraints for the developers to face such as proprietary development constraints. Even one piece of content can be reused by combining it with various other presentations so that projects are completed in lesser time.
The flexibility of creating codes and integrating them as per the need of the developer is the best part of the Open source headless CMS.
The back end and front end are interconnected if you apply a traditional CMS. But, with the use of headless CMS, there is no downtime to the website. You do not have to face any compromising situation due to the CMS. There is a variety of hosting and deployment options with headless CMS.
A business should always be accountable for the data of its clients. It must be on the major priority list. In the case of open source CMS, it is quite an issue for businesses as well as users. As developers can review the procedures of security and resolve them beforehand, some businesses might be rigid in using this kind of CMS in their systems.
But, it is quite secure for both parties. The developers can set the security level for each of the users inside the code. They can set the security policies based on each user’s role to control the content that is visible to the users and actions which they can perform.
The costs invested in a headless CMS are very affordable. It's lots more cost-efficient. On one hand, if a business thinks to create a new product, it's easier for them to move to CMS and create the product they want just with the help of the marketing department rather than depending on the developers for the creation of CMS templates.
The headless CMS allows for managing and keeping an updated system. It is quite costly to upgrade the system from time to time. This is quite beneficial for the business and the developers as it's quite time taking also for the developers.
Better software architecture
A headless CMS provides a far better version of software architecture. It is created for making the separation between the CMS platform and the published content.
Applicability of headless CMS
The headless CMS is useful to those businesses that need a small and less specialized team of people. They generally, do not seek to get specialists for the use of CMS (some may be required) but now in high scale like the old styles CMS. It is very applicable if your existing business has an inflexible and limited front.
The major industries embracing the headless CMS. Industries such as sports teams, airlines, financial services, online retailers, etc. are some of them. The headless CMS allows connecting with its customers on a large scale and quickly responds to the market opportunities to remain consistent in the market.
The headless CMS makes it easier to manage a duplicate copy of any content for more than one channel. It's quite a nightmare for any business to face such an unfortunate circumstance. If you create original content for your company, the updates added to it must not be copied and pasted into other numerous systems. Hence, the headless CMS plays a central source to manage all the business’s content and assets. It provides a specific location for managing, updating, editing, and publishing the contents.
Types of best headless CMS
The codebase of Strapi is publicly available. The contributors can manage it on GitHub. It's quite easy to customize the API and the admin panel. The CMS can also be extended within seconds due to the intuitive dashboards. There are other API such as Angular, IoT devices, Vue, or mobile apps that uses RESTful, GraphQL which you can user. Strapi will help in maintaining data privacy and cost efficiency with its self-hosted content. You can do all of your tasks by writing content-to-edit-to-manage.
Strapi works with many frameworks available in the market along with Nuxt.js, Next.js, and Gatsby. This CMS is loved by most the developers and preferred by global partners. Huge companies like Walmart, rNASA, eBay, and IBM use Strapi.
It is flexible and easy to use even if you do not know how to use WordPress. The built-in ORM allows the creation of any content from easy to vague without knowing to code.
The modular architecture of Strapi is easy to handle as it provides all the essentials to build an API that can be easily consumed for frontend applications.
The automation system is customizable. It supports MySQL and PostgreSQL. Hence, you do not have to suffer any kind of issues with storing user credentials.
Strapi provides API endpoints with the tool called Strapi Explorer.
It provides very useful plugins to easily install new/existing applications.
The drag and drop feature of Strapi is quite inefficient as it leads to the display of repeated images quite often.
Migrating existing endpoints is tricky on Strapi. However, having great skill and knowledge of REST APIs can be supportive to use Strapi in this situation.
Strapi does not support the typescript due to its limitations on it. But, the use of plugins like npm repositories can be helpful to some extent.
Strapi is not a fully open source CMS as it is released under the MIT license. But, the pro version of it comes with custom plugin support /premium support with priority email access.
It deals with lots of frequent updates via emails. There may come updates weekly on the stable version.
Strapi offers a free plan with a few features only. It also has another plan called the Enterprise plan. The pricing policy of Strapi is quite feasible. It is self-hosted CMS. The starting price is $9.0/month for each user. It has two varieties of price plans:
- Bronze plan: This is a self-hosted plan charging $9.0/month for each user.
- Silver plan: This is also a self-hosted plan charging $29.0/month for each user.
Contentful is the renowned and oldest headless CMS. It is a cloud-based headless CMS. You can easily update the contents of a mobile app, site, or any platform which displays the contents. Most of the users prefer it as a CMS after WordPress. It is quite satisfactory and user-friendly. It is berlin-based CMS.
Allows creating new pages for the site without any issues.
Good balance of Cost as well as features. As the API allows to extend Contentful and create a good integration with the system.
It is highly secure to use. It is governed by the ISMS with ISO 27001:2013 international standard.
The major tools such as Slack, GitLab, Jira, Heroku, Dropbox, and many others as compatible with Contentful.
Unified structure from all sources and can publish as per your need.
To use Contentful, one has to be technically sound due to handling of the API rules and final rendering is quite impossible without a web development team involvement.
The cloud-based scalability can heighten drastically as per the need.
Lack of access to more people to work collaboration on one content.
Lack of effective back-end.
Contentful offers 5 tier offers for 5 free users as per the upgrading to a paid space, it is extended to 10 free users for individual team and enterprise accounts. Beyond this limit, you can add more users by paying $15/month per user. For a team tier, an enterprise can add up to 25 total tiers.
- The price plan starts from $489.0/month. It has only one plan.
- Team plan: $489.0 per month.
It does not have many features to offer. However, they do offer a plan called Enterprise plan for its products. It also has an offer of a free plan.
ButterCMS is very popular among developers as well as content writers. It is convenient to use due to its functionality. It has a very quick response. The major function of ButterCMS is SEO support. It is available in the cloud version of the SaaS model. There is the availability of a free version too but it is useful for non-commercial projects.
It provides professional and complex assistance to SEO, cloud management, and administration-focused support.
This headless CMS emphasizes scalability. Magnolia is used by large companies to create a huge online presence. The open source version of Magnolia is available but the area of its functions is very limited than the paid ones. There are almost 400 plus market leaders who are repeat clients of Magnolia.
With the help of this CMS, businesses can publish their content even without the particular visual templates. Magnolia offers backend content management functions via highly efficient editing tools so that the whole process of editing and visual editing can be smooth. The scalability motto of this CMS is one major aspect that is appreciated by most developers.
It is a free open source headless CMS for managing custom SQL-related databases. It wraps any SQL databases in real-time GraphQL and REST API along with an intuitive app for those who are not so familiar with the technology. It costs around $25 per month for medium-sized projects.
Storyblok is the first interface-free headless CMS that works for enterprise users as well as developers. almost 68000 marketers and developers use this CMS for their content delivery on different platforms whether it being e-commerce sites, mobile apps, or corporate sites. It is built with VueJS and Ruby on Rails as its core though one does not have to know how these two are used.
It is a SaaS service that is beneficial for unique products. The prices are very reasonable for users. it is only one headless CMS with a Visual Editor. It is flexible, reliable, and quick. There is no need of getting coding knowledge to use Storyblok. On the other hand, Storyblok is clod only solution and needs development when it comes to making any customization.
As per the Storyblok's Pricing plan individuals can use it for free with one seat included but businesses need to pay €90.75 per month to add a new member as an entry fee. This scheme is inclusive of 5 members seats. And for the well-established teams, need to pay €411.58 per month. This scheme is inclusive 10 users. the enterprises need to pay €2999.00 per month. This scheme is inclusive 30 users.
Statamic is a flat-file content management system built on Laravel. It is a transformer that adapts to users' needs and grows along with the site. It is front-to-end CMS unless and until you have to go headless. Just like WordPress, Statamic is built with a flat-file CMS. The overall system is powered by static files. The application and content run without any database. It means that the content you have will turn out to be the application for you. Companies such as Looker, HHEY, überdosis, and others use Statamic in their tech stacks.
Statamic solo is free as well as open source if you are planning to use it as your hobby or for personal use. You just need to grab GitHub and start building. But, for commercial use, you need to use Statamic Pro because it is powerful.
Headless CMS offers a unique and effective method of creating and managing content in more than one channel. It offers a lot of features like scalability, flexibility, productivity, cost-effectiveness, and many more. Choosing the right headless CMS is an overwhelming task, hence choosing from the above ones can be very helpful to you considering the pros, cons, and pricing plans.