Blog Jamstack

 Jamstack vs WordPress

Jamstack is not the same thing as WordPress

While it may seem intriguing to compare WordPress and Jamstack directly, they can't really be compared head to head. WordPress and Jamstack are not the same, architecturally or pragmatically. This can cause confusion if you're used to building websites with WordPress where everything is bundled into a monolithic blob.

WordPress is a platform for building websites - Jamstack, on the other hand is an architecture for building websites. Jamstack combines multiple services and platforms to create faster, more secure, and overall better websites and web apps. Basically you can choose what CMS, front-end tech and service you'll need for your site. With WordPress you're pretty much limited to... well WordPress! 

Can you build Jamstack websites with WordPress? Yes! You can use WordPress as a Headless CMS but most companies are migrating away from WordPress completely. Instead, many choose to use a modern Headless CMS such as Agility CMS as an alternative to WordPress. You can read more about the best Headless CMS for 2021 here.

Is Jamstack better than WordPress?

Better is a very subjective term. In our subjective opinion: yes. WordPress sucks - it's an outdated way to build websites and it's hard to live up to modern standards when using it. For example you'll have a bad time optimizing WordPress sites for Google's Core Web Vitals. With Jamstack this is SO MUCH easier.

Jamstack helps developers make websites harder, better, faster and stronger (no pun intended).

Why Jamstack then, WordPress is good enough right?

  • Jamstack is resilient in terms of security and scalability due to static file delivery instead of server-side rendering. You can't hack static files and as you're not rendering anything on the server side you're basically DDoS proof when using a CDN such as Vercel or Netlify.
  • Jamstack is modern: Like to code React and Javascript instead of that pesky PHP? Use Next.js and Gatsby to do that. (Just typing "PHP" here makes me sick!). It's 2022! Isn't it time to use something other than PHP?
  • Jamstack is static and lighting fast: Unlike WordPress, Jamstack sites don't render content on a server when users land on your site. The content is pre-rendered way before anyone even visits your site. It's way faster to deliver pre-built static files instead of building them every time someone requests them. The truth is, you're not gonna update your front-page or privacy policy every day.
  • Pass Google's Core Web Vitals with Jamstack: Want to be the #1 cool kid on Google? Use Jamstack to optimize your site for Google's Core Web Vitals and gain instantly more swag on Google. It's a fact that Google will rank your website based on Page Experience. A major factor affecting Page Experience is performance, especially for mobile.

Jamstack vs WordPress development cost

As WordPress is a blogging platform, it's fairly quick to set it up for a basic website. However, as more features and functions get added, costs quickly ramp up due to WordPress's poor ability to scale.

The initial costs for setting up Jamstack are higher than WordPress's since Jamstack is an architecture and requires more work to set up. However, costs even out in the long run as new features take less time to implement with Jamstack.

Jamstack vs wordpress cost time

WordPress security issues and their cost

It's good to remember, WordPress is infamous for its various security issues with 3rd party plugins. Getting your site hacked may cost you, a lot. One of our clients experienced significant downtime due to a vulnerability in their WordPress website. While they had back-ups available the incident cost them $60 000 in lost revenue (not accounting for the work that was put in to fix the hack).

With Jamstack, you can be sure to eliminate the risk for 3rd party security issues as you only deliver static pages, which are impossible to hack. Jamstack is virtually invincible against DDoS, 3rd party plugin security holes and many other common threats you normally have to worry about with WordPress.

WCAG 2.1 Accessibility and ADA with Jamstack

If your business is based in the US, you must be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Web accessibility lawsuits are steadily growing in numbers in 2022. While having an accessible website is a basic human right - ADA brings more concern for business owners due to various lawsuits filed against companies that don't meet satisfactory accessibility levels for their websites. In almost all cases, WCAG 2.1, Level AA conformance is required to avoid ADA lawsuits.

  • WordPress is not accessible by default. Screen readers and assistive technologies have a hard time interpreting WordPress's HTML 90% of the time. ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) attributes are sometimes not set at all by 3rd party plugins, and it might be impossible or at least tedious to add them.
  • Jamstack makes this a whole lot easier as you're not depending on any 3rd party plugins that may or may not meet satisfactory accessibility for assistive technology. Jamstack allows you to hand craft your HTML to meet any level of WCAG 2.1 guidelines (A to AAA) ensuring you don't get hit by an ADA lawsuit. For some, A-level might be enough but sometimes you might need to ensure you meet AA-level, especially if you're working in healthcare or the public sector.

Jamstack vs WordPress Performance

Performance is one of the core metrics Google uses to rank websites. It's not likely that trend will tone down any time soon. If you've ever tried optimizing WordPress for performance, you know it isn't an easy task.

  • WordPress uses slow server-side rendering. Combined with an outdated set of technologies and programming languages like PHP makes WordPress very slow. Developers have essentially no control what is rendered by slow, old and unmaintained 3rd party plugins. This makes it nearly impossible to optimize WordPress for Google Core Web Vitals.
  • Jamstack delivers static files that are pre-built and optimized before users even load them. You have 100% control over everything that is served to the client - this makes optimizing Jamstack websites for Google Core web vitals significantly easier than it would be with WordPress. You can even reach over 90 performance scores, on mobile if you want to.

Content management with Jamstack

In WordPress, content management is built into the platform; combining the content and presentation layer. This is problematic to begin with. It becomes harder to manage and use the same content in multiple media channels. WordPress started out as a blogging platform and it's a very poor choice for any serious content management for the reasons listed in this post. Yes, it might have been a good CMS in the 90's but it's 2022. We drive electric cars so why build your website on an ancient CMS?

With Jamstack, you can use a Headless CMS to manage and create content models to decouple the content from the front-end. This brings countless benefits for content management and marketing, not to mention it makes development costs more reasonable in the long run.

Conclusion: WordPress is an outdated way to build websites

  • WordPress started out as a simple blogging platform and over the years it has evolved to something it was never supposed to be, causing a plethora of problems for performance, scalability, security, and software development. It does not have a structured way of building websites that we could define as an architecture.
  • Jamstack is an architecture specifically designed to fix the problems we experience with WordPress.

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