WordPress as a Headless CMS – What it is and why do you need it?

WordPress as a Headless CMS – What it is and why do you need it?

Traditionally, WordPress applications have primarily been considered a simple off-the-shelf blogging application. Right from its behest, it was considered as a mere blogging tool. However, with the advent of time and by extensive research and enormous contribution from various technology enthusiasts all over the world, WordPress has now evolved as a whole Content Management echo system altogether. It has traveled a great distance to be counted as a popular Content Management System.

And, with an addition of an important arsenal namely inbuilt REST API has helped WordPress to rise beyond the traditional horizon of web development – Headless CMS.

How WordPress as a headless CMS would be beneficial? Let’s explore how it would be an added advantage to your business?

What Does Headless Architecture mean?

Headless Application is a type of decoupled architecture, which means, the architecture is divided into two halves. The first half comprises an application, which will host the contents & relevant data structure. While the second half consumes the data structure with a powerful & secure data interchanging medium, e.g. API/Web Service by a Front-End application. In a Headless Application, the front end/presentation layer is not defined.

This precisely means that the presentation layer is well maintained separately from the data layer & model layer.

Few technical pointers about a headless application:

  • Storage: a database to store the data, storage of media assets
  • Administrators Interface (Back-end): A user interface to create data which are stored in respective databases and storage sections
  • Data Interchangeability Medium (API): A layer, which connects back-end applications with any other application, device or channel

WordPress as a Headless CMS

WordPress - ECommerce System Headless Architecture

WordPress - ECommerce System Headless Architecture

Image source: buttercms

Many of us are well aware of the power of WordPress and its popularity across the web as a popular, easy to use, scalable and flexible Content Management.

WordPress has this nature of being flexible to be transformed into any application such as an eCommerce portal, LMS system, Lead Generation portal, Social platform, or a Marketing Automation tool. An added advantage of WordPress is that it is shipped with an in-built data interchangeable medium called RESTFul API. With the usage of API, all the transactions of data would be done across various platforms securely and reliably

Besides, many of the popular plugins of WordPress such as WooCommerce, BuddyPress, etc. have their own customized API endpoints thus transaction of data is more effectively done and in a secured way.

Why Should I use Headless WordPress?

There are certain shortcomings with hosting and using the traditional PHP-Server model of WordPress applications.

  1. Theme development was to be done using PHP language itself, and usability standards were more or less restricted to WordPress standards.
  2. Every page load would have to take a trip to the server through various network systems, which would add to latency and increase time to serve content to users.

Benefits of Headless Application over traditional tightly coupled architecture:

1. Free flow Front-end

For front-end development, front-end technologies like React JS, Vue JS and Angular JS are increasing their popularity.

  • Implementation of the latest front-end technologies ensures usage of the latest and rich Graphical User Interfaces. These rich UI elements are easy to interact and faster to load.
  • Front-End developers can leverage full freedom to use and implement the tools as per their own expertise.
  • They no need to follow pre-defined standards and guidelines of the application framework.

2. Optimized site loading time

Due to the separation of the presentation layers, and the logic of displaying data is shifted to the client-side, the speed of data transmission increases considerably.

3. Easy maintenance

This approach serves to be useful to up-scale and maintain the applications in a very efficient manner.

Go Headless and Improve your WordPress Experience

WordPress, as a headless application will provide the whole plethora of plugins and core functionalities. Thus, the application can serve a strong back-end system for any systems such as CMS, eCommerce, Learning Management System, etc.

  • The application developed using Headless Architecture would be scaled easily
  • The application architecture would be flexible and easier for developers to manage and maintain the respective applications
  • These applications are compatible with almost every platform, as the front-end aspect is missing
  • Provide advanced native app experience to users
  • As the front-end aspect is missing the application becomes more secure from threats like DDoS attacks
  • Headless application can serve, as a data model for any applications with various platforms, like Android, iOS, etc.


With decoupled architecture, we can leverage the best of both worlds. We are ought to use the powerful ecosystem of WordPress with a range of varied Plugins and Core functionalities to fuel the Back-end system. Besides, the latest and advanced technologies such as Vue, React, and Angular will provide your business application an edge due to optimized load time and rich User Interface.


Aashish Sonawane is a seasoned technical leader in delivery with 15 years of comprehensive IT experience. A self-motivated achiever known for reliability, hard work, and commitment, Aashish excels in teamwork, adaptability, and possesses excellent communication skills. Specializing in PHP, MySQL, Linux, and Cloud computing, Aashish is also proficient in HTML/DHTML, Javascript, AJAX, CRM, SEO, and excels in custom themes and plugin development across platforms like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, and Expression Engine.

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