What Does "Headless CMS" Mean?

A headless content management system is a lightweight and decoupled way for content creators and developers to collaborate seamlessly and launch products faster.

Cloud API supporting any platform.

What is a Headless CMS?

Headless Content Management Systems refer to separating your back-end content management from your front-end templating and design. Instead of delivering compiled HTML, a headless CMS only delivers the content by means of an API. An API driven approach offers many advantages over traditional CMS paradigms.

While the idea of a Headless CMS has been around for a while, they have only recently become the popular approach to handling content due to the spreading diversity of platforms that need content, the improved developer experience and overall faster app load times. The headless approach to content management allows for your teams to publish content faster and iterate your digital presence with greater efficiently.

When to use a Headless CMS

green checkmark

You have a diverse set of targeted platforms and need a central content hub to pull the data from.

green checkmark

You have dedicated front-end development resources.

green checkmark

You want to use your preferred languages and frameworks. GraphCMS supports any framework capable of making an HTTP request. Some helpful guides can be found here.

green checkmark

You want to decrease the time to market by starting simple, and scaling as you grow.

green checkmark

You develop or want to develop on JAMstack principles, remaining agile in your processes.

Core Benefits of using a Headless CMS

Front-End Freedom

Bring content to any platform (native apps, VR, IoT, etc). GraphCMS allows you to develop with any technology for any platform making your product scalable when your users need you to be.

Well Structured Data

Working with clearly defined data allows for your development team to know where to pick up, instantly. GraphCMS content infrastructure clearly defines the operations (queries, and mutations) supported by the API.

Future-Proof Content

A headless CMS allows for your content to be modified immediately and as-needed by your content creators. Minimize the impact of redesigns, product changes and migrations with a decoupled content solution.

Expose a Smaller Attack Surface-Area

With one point of connection, your headless CMS allows for only one access point of vulnerability. GraphCMS offers many robust features for protecting your endpoint including permanent auth tokens, DDOS mitigation strategies and more.

Staff Flexibility

You want to hire the hottest and most talented developers possible. No need to teach a prehistoric web template language just to manage your content. Work with any modern language stack your team pleases.

Consolidate Your Content Within One Repository

It’s counter intuitive to copy, paste & recreate content for your app across different platforms! Consolidating all of your content within one API minimizes your overhead cost, time, and development resources.

Companies That Already Use a Headless CMS

NYT is using a Headless CMS
Microsoft is using a Headless CMS
Apple is using a Headless CMS
Booking is using a Headless CMS
Spotify is using a Headless CMS

Many enterprise companies have adopted a headless content management system for its scalability.

How to Get Started With Your Own
Headless CMS Implementation:

  1. Create a New Project. Projects are the top level of organizational hierarchy and the first step to generating your content API.
  2. Create your Schema. In GraphCMS, the Schema of a project defines your models, fields, and enumerations. Join our slack community for help and best practices!
  3. Create your Content. After you have your models and fields defined, it is time to get your content creators creating!
  4. Connect your Apps. Connecting your application(s) is simple thanks to only having one endpoint. Every stack is slightly different, but you can find helpful references in our docs! Still need help? Reach out to the community, GraphCMS users are some of the friendliest on the planet!
illustration of schema and app content matching up

Keen for More GraphCMS Concepts?

GraphCMS is built on cutting-edge technology and industry leading concepts. Here you can find information regarding these concepts and technologies including, what, why and how!