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Are you a developer looking for a powerful tool that will allow you to build complex, custom, and innovative web applications? Headless CMS platforms may be just what you’re looking for.

woman uses headless cms on a laptop

Headless CMS platforms are revolutionizing how content is managed, consumed, and delivered. Headless CMS software offers a unique solution for developers that traditional CMS platforms cannot match — they provide maximum flexibility with frontend capabilities, cloud-based hosting, scalability, and security benefits.

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With these advantages, headless CMS platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are now numerous options to choose from. Read on to learn about 15 of the best headless CMS platforms available in 2023.

Table of Contents

What is a headless HTML CMS platform?

Crafting an individualized customer experience is made easy with a headless CMS platform. These platforms allow developers to employ any programming language or framework of their choice to construct custom frontend experiences while simultaneously allowing content creators to manage and create content from within the backend system.

With a headless CMS, the content is stored and managed separately from how the CMS displays it on the website or application.

Rather than having an in-built interface to show what you’ve written, developers can use APIs to pull this data into custom HTML, CSS, and JavaScript experiences that they themselves create — meaning they are truly in control of their presentation layer.

The “headless” aspect of a headless CMS emphasizes the break between content management functionality at its backend and the presentation layer up front. A typical web development designation, “head” relates to the frontend or display section, while “headless” alludes to the absence of an ordinary user interface in the CMS.

Headless CMS vs. Standard CMS

While both headless CMS and standard CMS offer unique benefits, each also comes with its own set of drawbacks.

Feature

Headless CMS

Standard CMS

Presentation Layer

Disconnected from the content management system

Get content management capability as part of the package

Flexibility

With ultimate flexibility, you can harness the power of any programming language or framework for your projects

Technology stack constraints

Customization

A world of possibilities with greater personalization options

Fewer personalization choices

Complexity

Can be more complicated to implement and maintain

Easier to set up and administer for streamlined efficiency

Use Cases

Good for unique or complex frontend experiences, then look no further. Great for integration with other tools and systems

Perfect for smaller projects or tasks that are relatively simple to complete

Updates

Headless CMS vendors make updating in the cloud automatic and effortless, allowing users to continue their workflow without any disruption

Manual updates are essential to guarantee that your plugins and themes remain compatible. It is important to take the time for testing before completing an update

Costs

Building a headless infrastructure, hiring developers, and creating a separate front end are costs that will inevitably add to the total expense

Our fixed, all-inclusive price includes hosting and any necessary plugins. Any additional features will incur an extra cost

Server Downtown

Maintenance on the backend will not interfere with any frontend applications, ensuring that your website runs smoothly

This change has a major effect on both the front and back ends

Hosting and Delivery

Hosting can be cloud-hosted or self-hosted

With this CMS, users can choose to download and host it either on their own server (on-premise) or a company’s in-house server

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The 15 Best Headless CMS Platforms

1. WordPress VIP

Headless CMS comparison, WordPress VIP

The WordPress VIP platform is best for providing a fully decoupled CMS capability that offers flexibility. Users are able to take advantage of its single stack, headless or hybrid features, while creating content and digital experiences.

Users will benefit from its content agility, enterprise reliability and scalability, comprehensive security, content management, and commerce. Their customer base includes big brands like Facebook, Merk, Salesforce, CNN, and Capgemini.

Pro tip: It integrates with platforms such as Salesforce, D20, and WooCommerce, making it especially useful if you already use one of those software.

Pricing: Plans start at $25,000.

2. Quintype

Headless CMS platform, Quintype

Quintype is a powerful digital publishing solution that offers users an effortless way to publish, distribute, and monetize content. Their Bold headless CMS, Ahead frontend, as well as Metype and Accesstype technologies, eliminate the need for complicated tech issues so that you can focus on what matters: your business.

Quintype is best known for its small business-friendly plans. Major publishing companies such as Fortune India, The Free Press Journal, and The Quint are all Quintype customers.

Best for: Small business and publishing companies.

Pricing: Bold plans cost $75 monthly; Head plans cost $100 monthly.

3. Hygraph

Headless CMS comparison, Hygraph

Hygraph, formerly GraphCMS, offers unparalleled independence for both developers and editors with its frontend agnostic API-first solution that is specially designed for Content Federation. Relying on the power of GraphQL technology, this native headless CMS is best for giving complete control over your content management system like never before.

With Hygraph, users can select where their content is hosted and securely access it globally from any of the 190 Edge CDN nodes. Many well-known companies such as Samsung, Dr. Oetker, Philips, Shure, Ashley Furniture, and Telenor have benefited from this revolutionary technology.

Pro tip: Hygraph not only provides its codebase on GitHub, but it also supports a range of frameworks.

Pricing: Professional plans cost $399 monthly.

4. Contentful

Headless CMS comparison, Contentful

Contentful is best known for its API-first, headless CMS approach. It houses its repository on GitHub. Contentful users can build their apps using technologies such as REST, GraphQL, Content Management, and more.

Best for: Creating content and displaying it in any form you choose.

Pricing: A team plan costs $489.

5. ARC XP

Headless CMS tools, Arc XP

Arc XP is a cloud-based, headless CMS and SaaS platform that allows users to produce immersive customer experiences and collaborate on content, plus access B2C tools for added ecommerce capabilities. Arc XP was created by the Washington Post.

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This Headless CMS platform uses technologies such as GraphQL and RESTful Content APIs, and React.js, Python, Go, Java, and Node languages. Arc XP houses its code repository on GitHub and Fusion.

Pro tip: It supports integrations with major players such as Google and Salesforce.

Pricing: Users must schedule a demo with Arc XP’s team to establish custom pricing.

6. Ghost

Headless CMS tools, Ghost

Ghost is an open-source headless Node.js CMS with its repository available on GitHub. Ghost is best known for its platform’s purpose to help independent writers, bloggers, and journalists grow their publishing businesses. Ghost’s repository is hosted on its cloud platform, Ghost(Pro).

Users also have the option to self-host.

Ghost is currently used by companies such as DuckDuckGO, Codecademy, and The Atlantic. Ghost supports well-known platforms such as Soundcloud, Twitch, and Mailchimp for integrations.

Best for: Independent writers, bloggers, and journalists who want to grow their publishing businesses.

Pricing: Starter plans cost $11 monthly. Creator plans cost $31 monthly. Team plans cost $63 monthly. Business plans cost $249 monthly.

7. Strapi

Headless CMS comparison, Strapi

Strapi was designed with developers first in mind. It is a Javascript-based open-source platform. The Strapi repository is located on Github, where it supports integrations with several programming languages and frameworks. Fortune 500 companies such as Toyota, Walmart, and IBM use Strapi.

Pro tip: Developers can self-host Strapi, host on the cloud, or use a server of their choice.

Pricing: Bronze plans cost $9 monthly. Silver plans cost $29 monthly.

8. dotCMS

Headless CMS tool, dotCMS

DotCMS is a content management system best for marketers to create scalable content-driven applications. Its open-sourced repository can be found on GitHub. Java technology backs dotCMS. Its hybrid approach allows developers the flexibility to develop with a headless CMS or a traditional authoring approach.

Its seamless integrations built with robust APIs allow users to implement features like marketing automation systems, ecommerce, AI platforms, and more. DotCMS is used by many Fortune 500 companies, including Telecom, Junior Achievement, and Telus.

Best for: Marketers and those looking for a budget-friendly option.

Pricing: Starter plans cost $1,250 monthly.

9. Magnolia

Headless CMS comparison, Magnolia

Magnolia is best for enterprises looking for a simple but powerful platform to manage and create digital experiences. Magnolia uses Apache Jackrabbit and Git to house its repositories. It also supports technologies like Maven, Java, NPM, Rest APIs, and Github.

Users can decide to self-host or store their applications on the cloud. Magnolia’s many integrations, such as CommerceTools, Salesforce, and SAP Commerce, can also benefit users. Companies like American Express, Sainsbury’s, and Bauhaus use Magnolia’s platform.

Best for: Enterprises

Pricing: Contact Magnolia for a quote.

10. Sanity

Headless CMS tools, Sanity.io

Sanity gives teams of all sizes the power to collaborate in real time, access advanced version control, and much more. Brands like Nike, Skims, and Figma trust Sanity to fulfill their digital needs. Sanity supports technologies like Javascript, .NET, VUE API’s, and more. It also supports integrations like Google Maps, Vimeo, and others.

Pro tip: Sanity’s versatility makes it a great option for all businesses.

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Pricing: Team plans cost $99 monthly. Business plans cost $949 monthly.

11. Directus

Headless CMS comparison, Directus

Directus is a unique platform as it is the world’s first open-source data platform that turned an SQL database into an API and no-code platform. Developers can access tools backed 100% by Javascript that Vue.js and Node.js power.

Users can use their backend as a service, headless cms, internal tool builder, and data management and analytics. Companies such as Comcast, ATT, and Prada use Directus.

Best for: Teams looking for a flexible, open-source tool.

Pricing: Standard Cloud costs $25 monthly.

12. Optimizely

Headless CMS tools, Optimizely

Optimizely is a headless CMS best for companies that must produce and reuse content quickly. Developers can use their headless API approach or global Content Delivery Network​ (CDN). Optimizely offers capabilities such as approval workflows, project management, targeting, media management, content management, and much more.

Optimizley provides the option to host a company environment using Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform. Their repository is on GitHub and supports 150 SDKS and several programming languages, such as Java.

Pro tip: Optimizely supports Rest APIs and many integrations such as Hubspot, Woocommerce, and Instagram.

Pricing: Reach out to Optimizely to request a quote.

13. Kontent

Headless CMS tools, Kontent

Kontent is a SaaS headless CMS platform designed to create digital experiences no matter the device. It’s a cloud-based software best for marketers seeking a space to manage their content.

Its Github repository supports languages such as JavaScript, .NET, PHP, Java, Ruby, and iOS. Companies like Elanco, American Bath Group, and Kimball Hospitality use it.

Best for: Marketing teams

Pricing: A scale plan costs $2,499 monthly.

14. Adobe Experience Cloud

Headless CMS comparison, Adobe Experience Cloud

With the Adobe Experience Cloud headless CMS platform, clients can deliver a smooth and seamless customer experience across all channels. With its advanced personalization features and integration with other Adobe products, it’s no wonder this popular platform is such an attractive option for many businesses!

By harnessing the power of Adobe’s headless CMS platform, Marriott, T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, and Dell Technologies have created highly personalized customer experiences that extend across all channels.

What we like: The platform boasts a bevy of integrations. This allows companies to streamline the user journey across all outlets while connecting their CMS with other marketing/sales tools for an unparalleled customer experience.

Pricing: Contact Adobe’s sales team for a demo.

15. Acquia

Headless CMS tools, Acquia

This platform provides scalability and cutting-edge personalization options, allowing seamless integration with other software programs. Programmers can use a range of programming languages, plus there are REST APIs available to facilitate integrating with external systems quickly.

It simplifies the customer journey across all channels by connecting your CMS to various marketing/sales tools such as Salesforce, Marketo, Hubspot, Google Analytics, and Optimizely. This keeps everything streamlined for businesses desiring an effortless user experience.

What we like: Its ability to create content quickly and precisely, delivering engaging customer experiences. What’s more? You can easily connect it with other marketing platforms or sales tools!

Pricing: Personal plans cost $141 monthly. Small plans cost $296 monthly. Medium plans cost $516 monthly.

Final Thoughts on Headless CMS Platforms

Headless CMS platforms are becoming increasingly popular in web development with the many features they offer.

If you want to create a powerful and innovative website or application, look no further than a headless CMS platform. With the right one, you can be sure that your project will have the flexibility and scalability to meet your goals and exceed customer expectations.

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