Why migrate from WordPress to Jamstack?
By Max Ikaheimo
2nd September, 2022
WordPress is the most popular CMS for building websites. It’s beginner friendly, has lots of plugins, and is fairly straightforward. Yet, it doesn’t come without its downsides.
Many companies are moving from WordPress to Jamstack to fix issues of slow speed, poor security, and difficulty scaling. As a new, modern-day web architecture, Jamstack can help you build blazingly fast, secure websites that drive traffic.
But, how do you know if Jamstack migration is the right choice?
In this blog post, we’ll help you decide if switching to Jamstack is for you. We’ll also discuss the benefits of going headless. Let’s get started.
This post covers:
Table of contents
In this post:
What is Jamstack?
Jamstack is a web architecture that promises to make faster, safer, and easier to scale sites.
Unlike the traditional model, Jamtack decouples the frontend from the backend. That means no monolithic content management system (CMS) is tied to a database, allowing developers to choose their favorite tools and frameworks to build static websites and web apps.
Jamstack has three main components. These are the JAM in JAMstack:
APIs: Handles the gap between the front and backend
Markup: Helps with handling generating content, pages, elements, and more from source files
In practice, this means you can build websites like in the early days with serverless websites, static files, and HTML.
We wrote a comprehensive post about "What is Jamstack?". Click on the link and read more.
Why ditch WordPress?
WordPress promises to be a one-stop shop for creating and managing sites.
As a traditional open source CMS, it couples the frontend and backend together. This creates a fairly easy-to-use solution for beginners and bloggers. But, this also creates an outdated monolith.
Let’s break this down by imagining a wooden boat. It has a sail, an anchor, and a good crew. All of these work together to make the ship sail.
However, the ship is one body. That means if you want to increase cargo and crew, all of it has you’d have to replace the whole ship or add more storage to it, weighing it down. Also, if there’s a hole in the ship’s cargo hull, it will affect the rest of the boat. The whole ship could potentially sink.
WordPress is like this ship. Sure, putting everything on one ship is easy, but it can easily cause speed and performance issues, security issues, and more.
Not to forget that today’s digital ecosystem is rapidly changing, and solutions from yore aren’t cut for today’s landscape.
When everyone around you has ships made of steel that are faster and stronger, your sail ship will strain to keep up. To keep ahead of the game, WordPress will, frankly, not cut it.
We wrote a solid article about "Jamstack vs WordPress." Click on the link and read more.
Why go headless instead?
Jamstack differs from WordPress as it offers a headless approach.
With a headless CMS, you can focus; you don’t have to rely on one boat. It separates the body (the backend) from the presentation layer (the head). Due to this, you have the flexibility to choose how you want to display your content, making creating omnichannel experiences a breeze.
Keeping up with the boat example, in a headless platform, every part of your boat is interchangeable. You can change the sails, swap the crew, bring in a new rudder, and reinforce the hull without negatively affecting the overall ship condition.
In addition to this, going headless has many benefits, such as:
Flexible content management: Content in Headless CMS is reusable and easily managed. Since it is delivered through APIs, there is a seamless display no matter the current or future channels. You can reuse content without duplicating it and without further configuration.
Better frameworks: With a Headless CMS, you can choose and use your favorite frontend frameworks to build your application or web project. That means your team can work with any frontend framework you want, including popular ones like Gatsby, React and Next.js. You can also use modern deployment tools like Netlify and Vercel to set your site live.
Improved security: When your website’s frontend is decoupled from the backend, it reduces the surface area for cyberattacks to target. This adds an extra layer of security to protect your site from security risks like cross-site scripting and brute force attacks.
Better experience: A traditional CMS can be bogged down by unneeded features. In headless CMS, you can customize the editing experience to your needs, allowing an easy-to-navigate UI. Plus, you can choose your favorite tools and frameworks. You are not limited to certain solutions like WordPress.
What about headless WordPress?
In a headless WordPress site, a developer would use WordPress as the backend and a different solution for the frontend.
This sounds like an ideal scenario for those who want to remain on WordPress but also have the benefits of headless CMS. However, WordPress wasn’t built to be headless, making it less effective than popular headless CMSs such as Agility CMS, Hygraph, Sanity, or Dato CMS.
Plus, using and maintaining headless WordPress is a herculean process. It requires hours of effort for little payoff. Do you really want that for your company?
Headless isn't very hard to wrap your head around. We wrote an article about "Demystifying headless CMS" Click on the link and read more.
What makes Jamstack a better option?
Jamstack is rapidly growing in popularity. In 2021 the amount of Jamstack websites grew 50% from 2020, according to HTTP Archive. These aren’t just smaller sites either. 32% of Jamstack developers worked for multimillion-dollar companies across all industries in 2021.
Clearly, migrating from WordPress to Jamstack is not uncommon. But, why exactly are market leaders moving towards Jamstack? What makes it such a better option than WordPress?
Let’s go over some of the main reasons why Jamstack’s performance topples WordPress’.
There are two main reasons why Jamstack websites are faster than WordPress ones. This includes: static generation vs. server-side rendering, and CDNs.
Static generation vs. server-side rendering
WordPress uses server-side rendering. Essentially, that means that pages are rendered by a server. When a user clicks on a page, the request goes through a server, is rendered, and then is sent to the user.
While this may only be a couple of seconds, it can be time and resource-consuming.
Jamstack, on the other hand, uses static site generators (SSG). These allow you to build and pre-render pages before a user requests them and before they’re loaded to a server. When a user clicks on a page, it can be sent to them immediately.
This removes an entire step from WordPress’ process. As a result, Jamstack sites load much faster than WordPress ones, scaffolding better user experience.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
In addition to SSG, Jamstack delivers pages through CDNs. That means content is delivered to uses through local networks.
When a user loads an image, page, etc., instead of it being sent through a web server that could be across the ocean from them, it is delivered through a local network. As you can imagine, this makes Jamstack Websites faster than those that rely on web servers.
Jamstack, overall, has fewer moving parts than WordPress. That means you’ll have fewer updates and security risks for your developers to fix.
Another security benefit of utilizing Jamstack’s static files is that they allow for read-only hosting, meaning possible attacks on your website are further reduced because there are no live interactions with the server, just the reading of static files, which is inherently more secure.
Jamstack websites allow you to consume dynamic tools/services provided by other companies and vendors with dedicated teams of people to ensure their security and support, meaning you can have a static website with dynamic functionality as and when you need it, rather than all the time.
All in all, this means you can worry less about the security of a service’s integration on your website and focus on expanding and growing your business.
Better developer experience
When looking at developer experience, various things differ from WordPress to Jamstack. The two most notable are:
Developers can use tools they love
On WordPress, there is an almost unlimited amount of tools available. That makes it great for non-techie users but leaves developers out of their field. They are unable to use the tools they love and know the best.
Building with Jamstack means the opposite. It means using the tools and tech stack that your team loves and not being limited to a setlist.
WordPress presents challenging maintenance. It has a theme and plugin ecosystem that can quickly become very complicated. The more complex your site is, the more issues and conflicts you’ll experience between plugins, themes, and the CMS itself.
This can lead to your team focusing on resolving plugin issues instead of how to improve and grow your business, causing your site to have greater scalability.
Jamstack reduces this and other maintenance requirements drastically. Once a website is stable, it can be deployed with little required maintenance. Your team can then spend less on time on plugin issues and more time on creating improvements that add value to your business and users.
We curated a list of the best headless CMS for Jamstack. If you're keen on going headless, start there.
When to choose Jamstack
Building a website with a Jamstack architecture is a great option to take your website to the next step. But there are specific web development projects where Jamstack truly shines. This includes when you:
Have a Large Audience: These sites experience lots of traffic, resulting in the need for pages that load quickly under the weight. Jamstack can help ensure users have a better experience regardless of location.
Have a Public Interest Organization: These organizations have a large readership that relies on them. As such, they need the ability to scale quickly and publish frequently. They also need to have strong security.
Have a Large Amount of Content: Some businesses rely on having a lot of content that is read across many devices. These businesses need the ability to maintain and organize all content types along with the flexibility of scaling to reach new customers.
Have an eCommerce Store: Jamstack makes maintaining eCommerce stores easy. It allows your store to be flexible, fast, and secure. Also, it makes scaling a breeze. Consequently, it helps increase conversion rates. Plus, you can use the tools and frameworks that support your particular store type and productivity.
When not to choose Jamstack
While we’d like to think that Jamstack is good for everyone, that’s not the case. Like anything else, it has its downsides. This includes cases when you:
Don’t have developers: One of these is a technical barrier. Jamstack requires specific technical knowledge to build and manage. If you are a non-techie and don’t plan on hiring a developer to build your site, Jamstack will be very difficult to use.
Are just fine with WordPress: In addition to this, there are situations where using Jamstack may be overdoing it. For example, if you have a website for your resume, you may not need all that Jamstack provides. Other instances include personal websites and blogs with low traffic.
Closing thoughts: WordPress is outdated and won't help you scale
WordPress is great for small companies and portfolio sites, but if you want to reach bigger audiences, you need an architecture that will help you scale. Jamstack-powered digital experiences are infinitely more scalable. When you undertake a Jamstack migration, you immediately empower your marketing and development teams, give them the tools to work in sync, and create fast, converting static sites and applications that delight your audience.
Need help migrating from WordPress to Jamstack? We can help you out. Check our Jamstack development services or tell us about your current situation, and we'll take it from there.