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What Are the Best Headless CMS Solutions?

The main asset of any website is content. The more efficient you are in creating, managing, and distributing your website or app content, the more competitive you will be in the digital sphere.

Over the years, several CMS software applications are designed for managing web content. These CMSs enable users to easily create, edit, collaborate, publish and store website content. With CMS software anyone can build and manage a complete website without having any coding knowledge; managing every single element of a website from a user-friendly understandable interface is at your fingertips. 

However, there are two types of CMS: Monolithic CMS and Headless CMS.

A Quick Overview of Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS

Traditional or monolithic CMSs are there since 1990. Monolithic content management systems are an all-in-one solution that lets you store, manage, and publish content to a website. Offers all the necessary tools, plugins, and add-ons to manage a website. However, a traditional CMS tightly coupled the back-end with the front-end. It connects the content layer and presentation layer in a single codebase solution.  

A few examples of traditional open-source CMSs are WordPress, Joomla, Concrete5, Drupal, etc. These offer a variety of built-in features and plug-ins hence these are fantastic choices for those who are willing to design their website without the help of developers. Despite everything, there are notable drawbacks to these CMSs. In many cases, these systems fail to ensure scalability, security, flexibility, and omnichannel delivery. 

What is a headless CMS, Exactly?

Headless CMS decoupled the backend database/content layer from the presentation layer. A headless CMS doesn't provide an interface for end-users like traditional CMSs; instead, it uses APIs to interact with front-end and other software applications. Simply. it contains only a backend system for content storing and the content is made available to end-user via APIs.

Top Headless CMS

The right headless CMS will allow you to empower your business and create an impressive digital presence. Here is a list of the 5 most popular CMS of 2022. This blog will help you to find the perfect one for your business or project:

Let’s Dive in…

1. Prismic:

Prismic CMS was launched in 2013. It is one of the most popular SAAS-based headless CMS for websites and apps. It gives freedom to front-end developers to choose the technology, framework, and programming language they want. This flexible and lightweight CMS application provides a convenient platform for content management.

Key Features:

  • API-based design and compatible with any technology, programming language, and framework 
  • Supports multi-language
  • Easy to incorporate with other resources
  • Presents an intuitive and extremely simple visual builder.
  • Supports integrations with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento.
  • Provides schedule, previews, full revision history, and drag & drop features.
  • Prismic's rich text editor and custom-type builder permit composing rich pages without a developer.
  • Installing and setting is easy and time-saving
  • User-friendly and intuitive interface hence non-tech users can use
  • Built-in project management system helps to track current projects, future projects, and archived content  

Companies Using Prismic: Prismic is already trusted by more than 4,000 tech companies including Google, Digital Ocean, eBay, Deliveroo, Rakuten, etc. 


2. Netlify CMS: 

Netlify CMS is an open-source serverless content management system. This all-encompassing content management system offers a git-based workflow, editor-friendly user interface, automated deployments, shareable previews, multi-channel publishing, and much more. It gains popularity because of its simplicity, and makes it easy to host a static site or JAMStack site. Netlify Union created Netlify CMS to fill a gap in the static site generation pipeline.  

Key Features: 

  • Primarily, a single-page React app, that acts as a wrapper for the Git workflow, using the GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket API.
  • Editor-friendly intuitive user interface
  • Simplify the task of version controlling and content updating directly in Git. Deploy updates from Github and Gitlab automatically.
  • Compatible with any static site generators
  • Provide a faster and more secure solution for deploying any type of web project  
  • Easy installation, fastest static hosting and blazing fast speed through a CDN robustifying the process of content creation and distribution. 
  • Web-based and command-line services both are available. web-based UI introduces rich-text editing, real-time preview, and drag-and-drop media uploads. 

Companies Using Netlify CMS: Some of the companies that use Netlifycms include Berkeley.edu, Kickstartds.com, Andcards.com. Instruqt.com, IT-consultis.com, etc.

3. Directus: 

Directus is an open-source headless CMS suitable for projects that require customized databases. It instantly turns any SQL database into an API and direct no-code APP. Directus is known as the world’s first open data platform.

It offers an easy way for anyone to create, run and live websites, apps, and web services with cloud-based services in seconds.

Key Features: 

  • Requires little to no learning curve
  • It provides an easy-to-use and intuitive platform for both technical and non-technical users. 
  • Written with Backbone.js.
  • REST is used for the public API.
  • It is powered by PHP hence PHP developers find it convenient to go on.
  • Intuitive and fully customizable User interfaces make it easy to manage content. 
  • Powerful workflows enable teams to collaborate effectively
  • Multi-lingual support for 50+ languages

Companies using Directus: The world's most forward-looking organizations are using Directus such as Qualityminds.com, Leafly.com, Localazy.com, The Canadian Government, Tripadvisor, etc.

4. Strapi:

Strapi is an open-source developer-first headless CMS that allows a developer to use their favorite tools and framework or static site generators. Besides it offers content editors a seamless way to write, edit, manage and deliver any type of content across any device. It is self-hosted hence users don't have to worry about data privacy.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  • Customizable admin panel and custom plugins boost the content management tasks
  • 100% JavaScript and based on Node.js
  • Using REST or GraphQL you can go through with Strapi API from any client (React, Vue, Angular), mobile apps, or even IoT devices
  • The entire codebase is available on GitHub and maintained by hundreds of contributors
  • Allows to create content structure, define models and add relations according to your business needs
  • Self-hosted servers or cloud platforms both are available for hosting applications.

Companies using Strapi: Thousands of companies are using Srapi including  IBM, NASA, ASOS, Discovery Channel, Societe Generale, etc.

5. Contentful:

This market-leading platform provides Cloud-native API-driven headless CMS. Contentful was purpose-built for creating omnichannel digital experiences. It's a reliable and secure headless CMS infrastructure where you'll get an agile platform for managing content and backend databases.

Key Features:

  • Customizable UX built for authoring all types of content
  • It allows publishing content across multiple channels. 
  • Author can edit content from anywhere and from any device.
  • Ensures full programmatic control over your content management system using stateless API with compact JSON payloads
  • Optimized for speed
  • Fault-tolerant content platform which is highly scalable 
  • Developers can use their preferred language and framework
  • Integrate with hundreds of leading-edge tools for translation, segmentation, eCommerce, and more

Companies using Contentful: Almost 3665 customers are using Contentful and some of the notable companies' names are Aldo Group, Atlassian, BRP, TELUS Health Solutions GP, Koodo Mobile, Uber, etc.

6. Sanity:

Sanity is a platform for structured content that lets you build better digital experiences. It is a solution that uses content as data to support your digital business in a customizable manner. 

It has been known for its developer-friendly approach, extensive documentation, and an active community of contributors. Sanity.io aims to provide a flexible and collaborative content infrastructure that empowers developers and content creators to easily build compelling websites.

Key Features:

  • Sanity CMS allows Structured Content Modeling enabling you to create highly customized content types, fields, and relationships.
  •  Sanity CMS emphasizes real-time collaboration among content teams.
  • Provides a content editing interface named Sanity Studio
  • Sanity CMS offers extensive customization options and allows developers to extend its functionality. 
  • Sanity CMS provides a suite of developer tools, including SDKs, APIs, and command-line interfaces (CLIs).
  • Sanity CMS excels at managing rich media content such as images, videos, and documents. 
  •  Use GROQ (Graph-Relational Object Queries) query language for retrieving and manipulating data
  • Integrates with popular technologies such as React, AngularJS, Vuejs GatsbyJS and more.

Round Off Views

There are bunches of headless CMS out there and each one has its own set of characteristics and usability. It's challenging to navigate all of them and choose the right one. This short list might help you to choose the perfect one. Although this is a hand-picked list of the most popular headless CMSs, you must explore their official page, and features thoroughly and check if they provide professional support and services before finalizing your decision.

Note: Our editorial team independently picked and reviewed each of the products, frameworks, and platforms we listed. All of the mentioned product’s features and other information were collected independently and dependent on the date this article was published. We cordially request that, before making any decision, please visit the featured websites. Posts may contain affiliate links.