Did you encounter slow performance, update issues, or security problems while using WordPress? You’re not alone! Moving to a headless CMS can solve these issues, in this post, you will read how.
What is the difference between WordPress and a Headless CMS?
Both WordPress and a headless CMS are types of content management systems, commonly known as CMS. However, the way the data is stored is different in both systems.
WordPress is a traditional CMS that uses a database to store content and a frontend to display it. A headless CMS, on the other hand, is a CMS that provides an API for storing and managing content, which means there is no frontend website to display it.
Decoupling the frontend from the backend allows developers to use the content from a headless CMS in different applications and platforms instead of one website.
What are the issues of using WordPress?
WordPress is often self-hosted, which means you have to set up the CMS yourself and take responsibility for security. The security is vulnerable because the WordPress admin panel is part of your website, and everyone can access the login page. Input fields and forms provided by plugins are also at risk from SQL injection attacks. A Headless CMS takes away these responsibilities. For example, Storyblok is a SaaS, it will take care of the security.
Everyone that ever worked with WordPress knows that updates are required very regularly. Of course, these updates improve security, but updates can also cause problems. For example, a specific plugin does not work with the new WordPress version and breaks the website.
Storyblok handles all security according to the ISO 27011 certificate internally and does not require manual updates for the user.
If you analyze the top 10 websites using WordPress on Wappalyzer with Lighthouse, you will see that the “Performance” tab in the lighthouse score barely exceeds 50.
Reasons why WordPress websites are slow:
Plugins are always loaded, even if not used.
Plugins often add a lot of unnecessary files and fetch unused data.
A PHP server is always active. Even if it is cached, server calls must be made.
WordPress is not serverless by itself. (It is a possible setup but rather complicated).
WordPress often runs on an outdated PHP version. It is tricky to update this with an existing hosting configuration.
With a Jamstack website using a headless CMS, the developer can create their front end using a modern high-performance framework like NuxtJS or NextJS.
Only single channel
Suppose you want to display content in an Android app, iOS app, and on a website. When using a monolithic CMS, content can only be displayed for one channel. In the case of WordPress, this is the website.
With any headless CMS, you can achieve Multi Channeling by connecting content to any website/app.
Today, a company’s content team is more prominent than ever, with different editor positions. You want to prevent a junior editor’s work from being published without the approval of a senior editor. WordPress does not provide permissions for different positions without an external plugin.
With Storyblok, you can easily define user roles with permission, so you can restrict a junior editor from publishing pages. In addition to these user rights, you can create your workflow stages. When assigning an editor to a stage, you can send an automatic email to notify the assigned editor.
In a 2020 survey by Stackoverflow, 67% of developers that have to work with WordPress dislike it, which means WordPress is the least-liked technology in the survey. What is the reason developers don’t like WordPress?
Developers dislike WordPress because of the technical restrictions they may encounter with its function-based architecture. WordPress follows the pattern of global variables and functions wrapped in classes, which results in a codebase with a mix between PHP global functions and variables and HTML. This architecture is a nightmare and difficult to work with because you have no idea where certain functions are created and used.
It’s not unusual for the website to break when introducing a new feature or a plugin. Even a trivial update can break the website. Finding and fixing the bug can be time-consuming as locating the bug is difficult due to the poor architecture, which results in the developer toggling plugins on and off to find out where the problem could be.
Unclear pricing model
WordPress is often credited for being free, which is correct for the core CMS. However, when you use several plugins, the costs can be high. Many plugins have an unclear pricing model and become more expensive over time. Also, WordPress hosting costs are much higher than using a Jamstack setup.
Headless CMSs like Storyblok are not free, but compared to most monolithic systems, the costs are transparent and fair.
What about Headless WordPress?
WordPress as a headless CMS is an improvement compared to the monolithic setup.
However, you would still have to use the not intuitive CMS, work with the messy code and host the whole system. Also, the documentation is limited, poorly written and not maintained well.
How to migrate your WordPress website?
Migrating from WordPress to headless CMS can be difficult or easy, it all depends on how many plugins are used and how much the WordPress core has been modified.
Storyblok wrote an excellent article on how to migrate Wordpress to Storyblok.
Conclusion; why should I migrate?
If you have a WordPress website that has a lot of content to be maintained, these good reasons to move to a headless CMS website:
Higher security standard
No manual updates are required
Better performance due to the possibility of modern frontend frameworks.
Multi-channel, for example, phone, TV, or smart speaker.
A workflow for content editors
Flexibility for developers
A fixed and transparent pricing model