WordPress remains the champion of Content Management. Currently, its power usage reaches approximately 35% of the internet. In its launch in 2004, it started as a pure blogging platform. Nowadays, it's a multi-purpose website creator. Further, it has a vast ecosystem of themes and plugins. It's the de-facto choice for many website owners. In most cases, it relates to it being inexpensive and easy to handle without coding knowledge.
Yet, web technologies are changing a lot over the years. In turn, WordPress's techs are becoming less trendy than it once was. Front-End .js frameworks, like React, lead the road to a new website-building chapter. As a result, devs are exploring alternatives to WordPress and its PHP-based templates.
JAMstack sites have lots of ways to manage content. One of these methods is Headless CMS (Content Management Systems). A headless CMS allows users to add content from an admin panel. Also, you can send the content to the source code's repository or store it in a cloud platform service. A static site can get data lying in a server via an API. The management of how the data gets displayed depends on the front-end.
Let's compare the structure of a Gatsby and a WordPress site.
Besides being the new shiny thing in web dev, there are other reasons JAMstack has a popular approach. For a start, it solves many pain points both for website owners and developers. These include being faster, cheaper, easier to scale, and safer.
JAMstack sites load fast. You can store routing libraries that make links appear instantly. As a result, this provides an excellent User Experience. Furthermore, it's a desirable advantage because speed is relevant for search engines. The way of building and deploying sites is what makes them so fast. They have pre-building and serving rather than connections via requests to a server. Traditional site builders can also use CDNs, yet these use them for storing static cache content. It's much faster if the CDN serves the whole site.
Hosting static files is cheap and is often free for smaller sites. Scaling is way more accessible, too. In traditional sites, spikes in traffic can slow down the server or even make it crash. With a CDN, scaling up to meet users' demands is easier.
JAMstack sites are less prone to attacks because they don't interact dynamically with servers. In fact, you don't have to worry about server or database vulnerabilities. Yet, WordPress sites need frequent updates to avoid security vulnerabilities. If you ignore this, your site is open to malicious attacks.
Beyond its coolness, often, there may be better choices than JAMstack for a project.
JAMstack isn’t suitable for dynamic sites with constant updates or lots of user interactions. The JAMstack ecosystem is improving its capabilities, but it’s not yet there. One of the main reasons is its building time. If you change the site’s code or content, you’ll trigger a rebuild. With a large site, this could take up to 15 minutes. This con can be annoying when making minor updates or corrections.
Static hosting services tend to charge based on build minutes. So, frequent updates will quickly use up your minutes unless you have a generous plan. Fortunately, there are ways to cache pages to help speed up build time. It’s only a problem if a lot of content is frequently updated.
There are a lot of guides with excellent ways of speeding up WordPress sites. A WordPress site can be high-speed if you follow some rules. Among these, there's a CDN, a lightweight theme, and image optimization.
WordPress gets a bad reputation for speed due to bad practices from some users. Sometimes, unwittingly, they build sites burdened with unnecessary plugins and large image files. Not everyone on WordPress has knowledge or experience with site optimization. That's often because the barrier to access is low.