You may have heard the term Headless WordPress floating around recently. This is a new approach to deploying WordPress websites that has some interesting benefits. If you are not familiar with what it is, this article will cover everything you need to know.
What is Headless WordPress?
Headless WordPress is a unique approach to managing and running your WordPress website. It uses the existing structure of WordPress, but instead of using it as an interface for front-end users to interact with, you actually use it as a back-end platform that powers custom-designed apps or websites. You then connect the static frontend, with the dynamic backend through an advanced API system, served up with a language like React, or NodeJS.
You can build these systems from the ground up for full customization, or utilize popular pre-built options such as Gatsby and Next.js to "build" the static site. Developing your website this way allows you to take advantage of all the features and functionality that come with WordPress as a content management system (CMS) without having to impact the site's performance, deal with what can be time-consuming updates or any other issues related to front end development.
React can be used with a headless version of WordPress
How WordPress Currently Works:
Currently, each time you visit a WordPress website it queries the database through something called the WordPress loop. The WordPress loop is a set of PHP files that WordPress uses to gather information from the database, present it as a page, and format the content. This is how the majority of WordPress sites function today. These queries can result in expensive resources being called, especially when you have a large database with many pages and posts. When you have PHP code being executed on the front end of the website, your performance is going to be impacted.
Benefits of Headless WordPress
As mentioned earlier, this new approach to WordPress websites has some very specific benefits. One of the main benefits is that it makes your website more secure. With only an API being used to connect a static frontend, there are no PHP files or WordPress loop involved in querying the database and serving content. The actual backend of your site doesn't have any direct access from this interface either, so you can rest easy knowing your data is more secure.
Headless WordPress can be more secure.
Faster Websites Rank Higher in Search Results
Using a serverless version of WordPress also makes your website's performance better, which is great for users and search engine crawlers alike. The way the front end functions drastically reduces load times, which helps reduce the bounce rates of visitors on your site. This can help you get higher rankings in Google because of these enhanced user experience metrics (even if that isn't a primary goal). Another big benefit is speed and security improvements as well as better scalability due to how quickly custom apps can load compared to traditional websites built on top of WordPress
Another major benefit to headless wordpress is how quickly and easily you can deploy new updates or changes to the back-end content management system itself. Because WordPress will now be used as an API server platform instead of code running directly on webpages through PHP files, any change made to it requires fewer resources than before when deploying those updates across multiple sites at once won't bog down other servers as it does now.