Headless WP - Collecting some thoughts and sharing interesting articles

YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer
edited February 23 in WordPress

Has anyone here already tried setting up Headless WP? If so, what setup did you use?
What do you guys think about the headless approach? More hassle than it's worth? Or a good option for not so dynamic sites?

I found some interesting articles recently but still not sure if I really want headless WP.

Headless WP by Automattic:
https://frontity.org/

Headless WP Hosting Providers:

https://www.getshifter.io/

https://www.hardypress.com/

Some interesting articles I found:

https://dev.to/aws-builders/serverless-static-wordpress-on-aws-for-0-01-a-day-1b29

https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/serverless-wordpress-shifter-vs-hardypress-top-headless-wordpress-hosting-options-compared/

Thanked by (1)MichaelCee

Comments

  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    I actually might try the Getshifter free tier (1GB BW, 1 site, 500MB storage) to get an idea whether I'd like the workflow of headless wp. If I like it, probably gonna try the DIY AWS approach (see article in OP).

  • yokowasisyokowasis Services Provider

    What's headless wp ?

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  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited February 24

    @yokowasis said:
    What's headless wp ?

    Reminds me of Ketu- formerly the Demon Swarbhanu, whose head was cut off for mischief.

    https://talk.lowendspirit.com/uploads/editor/7q/qgtb3bj40qs0.png

    Tl;Dr:
    Headless WP helps you serve Static sites, better speeds / security, etc. Think HTMLy but backend is WordPress.

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @yokowasis said:
    What's headless wp ?

    Like @vyas already mentioned, it is a way of serving a static site to the public while developing the site (locally) in the wp backend.
    This would make things way faster and mode secure in the front-end since your wp install isn't exposed to the public.

  • I think there are 2 definitions of headless WP: One, using it to create a dynamic website and publish it statically (e.g. WP2Static) or two, using WP to serve an API only that is consumed by a JAMStack app (i.e., "headless CMS"). I would probably align with the 2nd one,.

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  • @Unixfy said:
    I think there are 2 definitions of headless WP: One, using it to create a dynamic website and publish it statically (e.g. WP2Static) or two, using WP to serve an API only that is consumed by a JAMStack app (i.e., "headless CMS"). I would probably align with the 2nd one,.

    For the first one (e.g. WP2Static), is there a free plugin that you can recommend that's not too limiting?

  • @casadebamburojo said: For the first one (e.g. WP2Static), is there a free plugin that you can recommend that's not too limiting?

    I've used WP2Static (https://wp2static.com/) in the past and it's fantastic for this purpose. Does the job with no frills!

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @Unixfy said:

    @casadebamburojo said: For the first one (e.g. WP2Static), is there a free plugin that you can recommend that's not too limiting?

    I've used WP2Static (https://wp2static.com/) in the past and it's fantastic for this purpose. Does the job with no frills!

    When is the last time you used it? I remember it was discontinued at some point?

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  • @Ympker said: When is the last time you used it? I remember it was discontinued at some point?

    Probably a few months ago. I don't think it's discontinued - the author just works at a company that does the same thing commercially (and the company is maintaining the software now)

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  • Mr_TomMr_Tom OG
    edited February 25

    @vyas said: Tl;Dr:
    Headless WP helps you serve Static sites, better speeds / security, etc. Think HTMLy but backend is WordPress.

    So, it's essentially WordPress with varnish (for example) but varnish on a different VPS?

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @Mr_Tom said:

    @vyas said: Tl;Dr:
    Headless WP helps you serve Static sites, better speeds / security, etc. Think HTMLy but backend is WordPress.

    So, it's essentially WordPress with varnish (for example) but varnish on a different VPS?

    Haven't used Varnish, but have a look at Frontity. It is powered by WordPress Team Automaticc (whether that may be good or bad) and explains really well what you can do with a headless cms :)

    Of course, there are different headless CMS for WordPress :P

  • So, you still run WordPress to manage but purely to mange content/media/pages. You then use a separate framework to use the WP API to get data to display it on the frontend?

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer
    edited February 25

    @Mr_Tom said:

    So, you still run WordPress to manage but purely to mange content/media/pages. You then use a separate framework to use the WP API to get data to display it on the frontend?

    Yes, that's how I understood it, too. That way your public facing website is just some static site instead of including wp-admin login etc, whereas on a seperate dev install (could be an hourly billed aws container) you have WordPress to manage content/media which is then pushed/pulled to live (Frontity or this article are good ways to get started. )

    The biggest perks for headless CMS would thus be speed and security. If you have a site that doesn't get updated constantly, it could be a good idea or at least worth a try. If you have a highly dynamic Wordpress install with lots of plugins, extra features and content is added/updated daily, a headless WP install probably would not make much sense.

    @Mr_Tom if you wanna give it a try, Shifter (Headless CMS Hosting Provider) has a free plan.

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  • Maybe I'm missing the point, but just make your theme efficient and don;t have useless plugins and the site is fast. No need for complicated setups.

    IMO the time spend doing that could be time spend optimising theme files/etc. Then just secure wp-admin as usual and be done?

    No need to spin up an hourly billed admin panel just to add a page, and redeploy. I mean, maybe if you're hitting a LOT of traffic it's worth it - but it'd have to be a LOT.

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  • @Ympker said: The biggest perks for headless CMS would thus be speed and security. If you have a site that doesn't get updated constantly,

    Missed your update sorry.

    Sites that aren't updated often, yes I can see the upside. Similarly with the security POV. It's still adds another layer that a lot of sites dont require.

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer
    edited February 25

    @Mr_Tom said:
    Maybe I'm missing the point, but just make your theme efficient and don;t have useless plugins and the site is fast. No need for complicated setups.

    IMO the time spend doing that could be time spend optimising theme files/etc. Then just secure wp-admin as usual and be done?

    No need to spin up an hourly billed admin panel just to add a page, and redeploy. I mean, maybe if you're hitting a LOT of traffic it's worth it - but it'd have to be a LOT.

    Headless WP CMS is still a niche, I believe. Hence I was looking for feedback if somebody already tried this. I will likely continue using a "normal" WordPress install for all my production sites, but for the sake of curiosity, I may give Headless CMS a try.

    Also managed services like Getshifter (steep pricing once you go paid, but if more services like this follow, competition might make it cheaper) would take care of the "headless" setup so you can just focus on building your website, but faster and more secure.

    Thanked by (1)Mr_Tom
  • Ah for curiosity yeah give it a go.

    In real-world situations I'm not so sure. It just sounds like a way to over complicate things for agencies to charge more. (I've looked at a few sites which have clearly been setup in a way to generate money for whoever manages them unfortunately)

    If you're site really updates that little - static HTML is fine - and if you can't make static HTML sites you're not going to deploy headless WP. If it's dynamic, just do wordpress PROPERLY in the first place and it'll be secure and fast.

    Maybe there's a niche for providing a service that does WP backend headless with static generated sites?

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer
    edited February 25

    @Mr_Tom said:
    Ah for curiosity yeah give it a go.

    In real-world situations I'm not so sure. It just sounds like a way to over complicate things for agencies to charge more. (I've looked at a few sites which have clearly been setup in a way to generate money for whoever manages them unfortunately)

    If you're site really updates that little - static HTML is fine - and if you can't make static HTML sites you're not going to deploy headless WP. If it's dynamic, just do wordpress PROPERLY in the first place and it'll be secure and fast.

    Maybe there's a niche for providing a service that does WP backend headless with static generated sites?

    Yeah, it's more for the sake of curiosity. Shared Hosting with Softaculous is waay too convenient compared to the headless setup.
    As long as you follow the KISS principle and stick to only few essential plugins, take reasonable security measures etc you should be just fine with a regular wp install and you can achieve decent speeds. Headless CMS just being a thing to try out if you have time on your hands :)

    Edit: I already planned to re-build my personal website for a long time, but client-projects and university (and life; lol) keep me busy. Since I noticed I don't often my website (that) frequently, the plan is to return to a static website (without using WordPress for it at all). Instead, it'll be likely based on TailWind CSS with their nice JIT compiler :)

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  • @Ympker said: Since I noticed I don't often my website (that) frequently, the plan is to return to a static website

    I do the same, but I just edit the HTML as required lol.

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @Mr_Tom said:

    @Ympker said: Since I noticed I don't often my website (that) frequently, the plan is to return to a static website

    I do the same, but I just edit the HTML as required lol.

    That's what I'll do on my new website, too. VSCode.dev made that even easier to do from anywhere now :P

  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer

    Quite a conversation so far!

    other options to take a look at:
    Strattic. Pricing and specs hint towards self flagellation.

    Headless Wp is currently an attempt to show the cool Jamstack kids that WP can also be cool.

    Automattic is clearly moving in Blocks/front end (full site) editing direction.
    So if WP is Windows, headless WP is sort of Cygwin.

    Good for hobby project not so much for production sites.

    Meanwhile read up in block themes. Look up Wabi theme. Looks exciting. Requires WP 5.9 tho

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    @vyas said:
    Quite a conversation so far!

    other options to take a look at:
    Strattic. Pricing and specs hint towards self flagellation.

    Headless Wp is currently an attempt to show the cool Jamstack kids that WP can also be cool.

    Automattic is clearly moving in Blocks/front end (full site) editing direction.
    So if WP is Windows, headless WP is sort of Cygwin.

    Good for hobby project not so much for production sites.

    Meanwhile read up in block themes. Look up Wabi theme. Looks exciting. Requires WP 5.9 tho

    Interesting! Google also recommended Wabi Theme to me the other day :P Indeed looked like it could be fun. Speaking of blocks.. Qubely pushed an update. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, I still use it on my own website because I am swamped with work and couldntt redo it yet (will be done in 2022, though). Still, if Qubely gets back on track that wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.

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