Headless CMS: 5 benefits of choosing Drupal

Drupal can integrate with multiple front ends to get a headless CMS. Let’s take a look at its benefits.

Fidel Chaves
5 min read

What is a content management system?

I’ve talked about content management systems before, specifically about Drupal and WordPress. Today, I will discuss the benefits of choosing Drupal as a headless CMS. A CMS is a tool to create, manage, and modify content that can be accessed by writers, editors, and publishers alike. All with an expert developer structure behind.

 

The widely known CMSes are Drupal and WordPress. They store contents in a database and manage them through a collection of HTML-based template files, which you might have seen before as an option to create a blog, commerce store, or learning site. I do not exaggerate when stating that CMSes power most of the websites of today.

 

The traditional content management systems deliver content through server-side rendering. This way of working hurts load times and slows down sites, making users abandon ship before they are presented with valuable content. A possible solution is setting up a content delivery network, but more so if this is combined with a headless CMS architecture.

What is a Headless CMS?

A headless content management system is a CMS where the data or content (back end) layer is separated from its presentation (front end) layer. Simen, Chief Technologist at Sanity uses a visual metaphor to explain what a headless CMS is. In my words?

 

A headless content management system keeps the body of a classic CMS to work as the back end, where content is authored and ready to go. Think of a vault where all your content is stored.

 

Following Simen’s analogy, this content can then be published to multiple heads: a website, an application, or the small display on your smart fridge. This technology is supported by an API that can return structured data, like a unified distributor for all your goods.

 

This model of a heart containing your content that gets distributed to each of your organs (mobile sites, smartwatches, phones, IoT) allows you to focus on a single source of truth, unifying and leaving behind hassles along the way. Making your content accessible as structured data makes it then available to any client or application.

5 benefits of a Headless CMS

In today’s world, content is one of the most important players. It is everywhere, and not only what’s written is essential, but also how you present it. Headless CMSes allow you to structure media with an interchangeable architecture through an API and adjust your evergreen content to multiple applications.

Speed

Thanks to headless, you can get a higher speed of decoupled front ends vs. monolithic systems. Even with an omnichannel output, you can attain performance optimization for easy onboarding and quicker launching.

Security

A headless CMS means a smaller surface to attack because of fewer open connections to servers and databases. Decoupling the front from the back makes your site a hard target, a problem that many content management systems still still face today.

 

Combined with a content delivery network, a headless CMS can provide a top-notch defense against DDoS attacks, as I said in my article about CDN.

Scalability

With a headless CMS, sites avoid getting knocked off due to too much traffic. Decoupled front ends can be served with CDNs, which provide security and scalability as you will be able to handle millions of requests per second.

 

The advantage is that you become less dependent on a specific solution for your front end. With headless, you can trash your front end while keeping your back intact. With the rhythm of progress as fast as it is, this might be a way to keep upgrading your front for a modern look, experience, and feel.

Flexibility

Combine content from several data sources or use a centralized CMS to send content to different websites. A headless architecture gives you more control over the tool used to present content, hence: flexibility.

 

That might be key for many developers who cannot afford or want to rewrite their backend for each of their projects using redundant information. With headless, you can tailor several experiences for various platforms based on a single content source.

Ease of development

With a headless CMS, you will avoid the trouble of finding a specialized developer to customize the Drupal front end. Accomplishing the same visual and interactive effect with Drupal as with a dedicated front-end tool can be daunting for many developers; headless can drastically ease development.

 

You can use React, Vue, or Gatsby to get easier-to-use-and-implement tools. Even if you could do it with Drupal, you can expect significant ease of development if you choose to have two teams working on your site, decoupling front and back end development.

The cons of using a headless CMS

While I’m all into boasting about the relevance of headless CMSes, it comes with some setbacks. These might apply depending on the working conditions: either if you have a small team, you rely on a simple preview implementation, or you only require simple publishing capabilities.

 

If you have a small enterprise, you now have two projects, probably with two different and separate teams, to make a single site, which implies more staff and management.

 

It also requires a new level of coordination between the two teams apart from already counting on dedicated developers. Expanding the structure of your website can cause your business structure to grow and become more intricate as well. You might even require new roles as a tech lead or CTO, depending on your needs.

 

The price of complexity is the need for a bigger and experienced multidisciplinary team that can handle the requirement headless CMSes pose. But don’t panic! We are here to help. At Awkbit, time and time again, we continue designing headless Drupal solutions for a variety of projects. Do you need a team to jumpstart your project? Are you looking for an experienced staff on headless solutions?

Reach Out!

Sources & further reading