10 min read20 / 9 / 2022

CMS traditional vs decoupled vs headless

Content management systems (CMS) have evolved significantly since their inception in the early 2000s. Initially, CMS were designed to create and manage content for websites.

However, with the changing needs of businesses and advancements in technology, headless CMS have emerged as a new way of managing content.

#  CMS traditional vs decoupled vs headless

Traditional CMS

Traditional CMS refers to a monolithic approach where the front-end presentation layer, business logic layer, and backend data storage layer are tightly coupled.

This means that any change in one layer requires changes in the other layers, making the system inflexible and difficult to scale.


  • Simple to implement
  • Easy to use
  • Works well for small businesses



  • Limited scalability
  • Limited flexibility
  • High maintenance costs



  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
Decoupled CMS

Decoupled CMS, also known as head-optional or hybrid CMS, is a two-layered approach where the front-end is built as a separate application and the backend system is built using a traditional CMS that exposes an API for content delivery. This approach provides more flexibility, scalability, and customization options than traditional CMS.


  • Better scalability
  • Flexibility to use different front-end frameworks
  • Easier to maintain and upgrade


  • Higher initial setup cost
  • Limited customization options
  • Requires technical expertise


  • WordPress with REST API
  • Drupal with JSON API
#  CMS traditional vs decoupled vs headless
Headless CMS

Headless CMS takes the decoupled approach one step further by completely separating the presentation layer from the backend system. In a headless CMS architecture, the front-end is built using any modern web framework, while the backend is built using a headless CMS that only handles content management.


  • Highly scalable
  • Complete customization options
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Enables omnichannel experiences



  • Higher initial setup cost
  • Requires technical expertise
  • May require additional integration work



  • Directus
  • Strapi

In conclusion, content management systems have come a long way since their inception, and businesses now have more options to choose from when managing their content. While traditional and decoupled CMS are still relevant and useful for some businesses, headless CMS are increasingly becoming the preferred option for businesses looking to provide a better customer experience, enable omnichannel experiences, and scale their content management systems. Ultimately, the decision on which approach to choose will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business.

At BrainForge IT, we specialize in helping businesses make the most of their digital presence. If you're looking to take your content management to the next level, consider exploring headless CMS options like Strapi and Directus. These open-source solutions provide a flexible and customizable approach to managing your content, allowing you to create dynamic and engaging experiences for your users. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you implement a headless CMS and take your website to the next level.

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