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 What is Jamstack?

What is Jamstack?

Jamstack is a modern tech stack for building resilient, lighting fast, secure, and scalable websites.

Back in the early days of web, everything was static. To create a website you had to write HTML and put that on a server somewhere - simple as that. Somewhere in the 90's as websites became more complex server rendered HTML became a thing. This was a huge deal back then and enabled non-technical people to instantly edit any content on websites. The drawback was, server side rendering is slow. As the web became increasingly complex over the decades - server-side rendering was just not cutting it anymore.

Fast forward to 2016, when Matt Biilmann (co-founder of Netlify) introduced his concept of Jamstack. Jamstack brought back the early days of static web. Albeit enhanced with Javascript and the cloud.

Did you know: the abbreviation "Jamstack" comes from Javascript, APIs and Markup (Jamstack).

Jamstack combines multiple cloud based services with APIs and renders static HTML that can be easily and efficiently served globally on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). In practice this means you can build serverless websites, kinda like you did in the simpler early days of web. Just simple, static files and HTML.

Jamstack is an ecosystem where you can choose what tech and frameworks to use. There's no single monolithic CMS tied to a backend or database - you can choose your preferred front-end framework or CMS to use.

Why use Jamstack?

To put it simply - it's a modern way to develop websites:

  1. Faster: Jamstack makes it possible to optimize your site for up to 10x speed compared to something like WordPress.

  2. More secure: Static pages are secure. It's impossible to hack or alter static files in a similar way WordPress sites can be hacked through plugins.

  3. Scalable: It's easy to scale Jamstack, even for millions of users. As Jamstack sites are static, you can increase CDN volume to handle any increased traffic. Jamstack sites don't slow down if you get a traffic spike.

  4. Future-proof: Jamstack uses new and emerging technologies built on popular Javascript frameworks such as React and Next.js. They are far more supported than PHP for WordPress which is slowly being deprecated.

  5. SEO: Jamstack makes it easier to pass Google's Core Web Vitals. If you're a marketer you must know about Google's Page Experience. A key ranking factor for Google's Page Experience is performance.

What are the technical benefits of Jamstack?

Technically speaking there are countless benefits. By using Javascript for dynamic functionalities the processing load can be shifted from servers to the client and the cloud. With the ongoing cloud mega trend you can easily choose any SaaS to use for you Jamstack site (Headless CMS, CDN, Authentication, eCommerce etc.) - this is probably cheaper than setting up your own server anyway.

  • Modern tools: Developers can work with modern static site generators and frameworks such as Next.js or Gatsby. Developers are able to work much faster with modern tools - resulting in faster development. In addition you're ensuring you're building something future-proof - not something that's gonna deprecate in a few years.
  • CI/CD is easy - deploy and scale easily: You can easily set up and deploy your Jamstack project in the widely interconnected ecosystem.
  • Don't re-invent the wheel: Using Javascript for client-side enables you to use APIs for more complex functionality. APIs are fundamentally better than 3rd party plugins if compared to WordPress.

How is Jamstack different from WordPress?

WordPress is built on the LAMP-stack (Linux, Apache, Mysql and PHP), while Jamstack is built on Javascript, APIs, and Markup. WordPress is a website platform, and Jamstack is an architecture combining many services to build websites. We've wrote a comprehensive guide on Jamstack vs WordPress - because to be honest you're probably comparing the two if you're reading this.

Imagine this: for some (imaginary) reason WordPress is being deprecated. What do you do? You'll have to re-build your entire website since WordPress is a monolithic system. It's impossible to just replace the front-end or CMS as they're the same thing. If you would've been on Jamstack in the first place and something were to deprecate, you could just simply replace that service, not your entire website.

Jamstack sites are not tightly coupled with a specific web server or technology. Instead of a single back-end framework or platform - Jamstack relies on multiple cloud services and APIs to render websites - static files ready to served by request. Every single file, asset, and resource is pre-built and stored on a global CDN. By serving static files you no longer have to use tightly coupled web servers to deliver dynamically rendered content. You no longer need monolithic and heavy back-end frameworks like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla.

Headless CMS and Jamstack

A big benefit when using Jamstack is that you can decouple your content and front-end and use a Headless CMS of your choice. Our curated top 5 Headless CMS list can be found here if you're looking for the right one for your use-case.

If you're familiar editing content on WordPress you know it can get bloated easily, even without any plugins. Headless CMS don't bloat your editing experience in any way, and may be configured to fit your unique use-case.

Conclusion: Jamstack is a must have tech stack for any modern web project

Jamstack is the de-facto tech stack for modern websites. Big companies are migrating to Jamstack on a daily basis for the aforementioned reasons. Google is systematically ranking well performing websites higher - which is likely the main reason why you'd want to adopt Jamstack, but not the only reason. In addition to gaining a competitive edge you'll never want to look back to something like WordPress after you've tried Jamstack.

Need help with your Jamstack project?

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