What Are the Types of CMS? Headless, Traditional and Decoupled

In choosing a CMS, there is much to consider. A myriad of options exist today, with technological innovations targeting different functionalities and making the question of choosing no easy task.  The three main types of CMS can be determined by their structure; Traditional, Decoupled, and Headless. 

In a Traditional CMS (also known as a Coupled), all the pieces are packaged together. The code, customization, and content database are all stored in the backend while tightly interlaced with the frontend, where the dashboard and layout options are manipulated through a WYSIWYG or HTML editor to finalize what viewers see on the live site. In this CMS, content is not built to be sent anywhere, but only to predetermined layouts designated for web pages and native mobile applications.

Traditional CMS features:
  • A database for storing content
  • A dashboard to edit content
  • A frontend for displaying published content on HTML pages

In a Decoupled CMS, there are two separate systems used to manage the backend and frontend of the website. The idea behind this type of CMS is that it is considered somewhat of a hybrid. It combines the flexibility of a Headless CMS and retains the frontend delivery component including templates, layouts, and WSIWYG editors which marketers have been accustomed to utilizing. Content is created and edited in the CMS, then pushed through an API to be published to the designated frontend system.

Decoupled CMS features:
  • Database for storing content
  • Administrative interface including applications for creating and managing content
  • A predetermined content-publishing frontend, connected to the backend through an API

Headless CMS is currently in the spotlight for the simplicity of its two part design, its versatility in content distribution to any device, the heightened security derived from the separation of layers between the CMS and API, and for being future-proof. The significant advantage is in the unlimited number of content presentation options, where content is written only once and then delivered or repurposed across any applications, pages, mobile devices, and more. Our newest eBook, Headless CMS: Putting Your Content First, goes into greater detail on its benefits and inherent simplicity.

Headless CMS features:

  • One Voice through consistent brand messaging and ability to reuse content easily
  • Content is the primary focus
  • Increased Flexibility through the separation of storage and creation from its usage
  • Shorten Time to Market by being able to work on content simultaneously with all technical systems
  • Content Repository Model is centralized, enabling the CMS to handle receiving data as well as distributing it

For more information on Headless CMS, our eBook, Headless CMS: Putting Your Content First, is available for free download.

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