As a leading WordPress agency, we work (and have worked on) a number of Headless development projects. As Headless has been the topic of several conversations already this year, we thought we would dedicate an article on the subject. Of course, the first big question for many is, what does Headless WordPress development actually refer to? It’s the practice of using WordPress as a content management system (CMS) without its traditional front-end rendering capabilities. Instead of relying on WordPress themes to render HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create the user interface, developers use WordPress solely as a content repository, while a separate front-end framework or platform handles the presentation layer. 

Real project examples we have undertaken where we have used/needed a Headless approach have been on projects that have large volumes of data and larger websites with lots of content.

Here’s an overview of how headless WordPress development works:

  • Backend Setup of the CMS: We would set up a WordPress installation as we normally would. This includes installing WordPress on a server, setting up the database, and configuring any necessary plugins or custom post types.
  • API Usage: WordPress provides a built-in REST API that allows our developers to interact with its content programmatically. This API exposes endpoints for retrieving posts, pages, custom post types, taxonomies, and more. In headless development, we utilise this API to fetch content from your WordPress backend seamlessly.
  • Frontend Development: With our approach content fetched from WordPress, we build the front end using a separate technology stack. This is typically using a JavaScript framework like React and Angular (we have done it with static as well).
  • Data Integration: We approach this by integrating the content retrieved from WordPress into the front-end framework or platform. This typically involves making HTTP requests to the WordPress API, parsing the JSON responses, and rendering the content dynamically to a website.
  • Deployment: Once we’ve completed  the front-end application and it is designed and built, we deploy it to WP Engine or WP VIP. Since the front end is decoupled from WordPress we have two forms of hosting.

Headless WordPress development offers several advantages for our clients and customers, these can include:

  • Flexibility: Our developers have complete control over the front-end technology stack, allowing them to use the best tools for the job.
  • Performance: Separating the front end from the backend can improve performance by reducing server load and allowing for more efficient caching strategies.
  • Scalability: Headless architectures can scale more easily since the backend CMS and the front-end presentation layer are decoupled.
  • Content Reusability: Content stored in WordPress can be reused across multiple platforms and channels, such as web, mobile apps, and IoT devices.

Contact us today to discuss your Headless WordPress development project.