Headless CMS: What is it?

To overview
Headless CMS: What is it?

Translate to English: In the past, every self-respecting digital agency had its own self-built CMS, including LiveWall. Later on, the use of open-source packages such as WordPress and Drupal became the standard. Nowadays, there is a shift towards Headless CMS. But what is it exactly? LiveWall founder Eelco van de Wiel tells you everything about the headless CMS and why you should definitely consider it as an option for your next website.

To manage a website and make this possible for the non-technical end-user, it is often equipped with a Content Management System (CMS). Via a traditional CMS, designers and developers can adjust the appearance and functionality of the website. The client can then create and edit new pages, add images and/or videos, manage contact forms. All in one system to expand and adjust both the appearance and content of the website.

Traditional CMS

This seems handy, but in practice, it is often not super-efficient: Let's take WordPress as an example. Programmers encounter all kinds of limitations imposed by WordPress when programming. Regarding design, you are stuck with the possibilities of the theme and how this CMS deals with it by default. Therefore, many WordPress websites look very similar.

Content managers, on the other hand, often have too many freedoms: They add more and more (poorly formatted) content and images. Or functionality in the form of plugins, which then also have to be maintained. Think of 50 plugins from different suppliers that all have to be updated at different times. All of this makes the site less and less manageable, slower, difficult to maintain and eventually: unworkable.


With a headless CMS, the front-end and back-end are separated from each other. For the back-end (structuring all content and data and managing it), you use an online management environment that focuses entirely on the content. The front-end (all visible visual components at "the front") is entirely separate from this. All content and data are retrieved from the CMS via an API. The front-end requests the content and fills it in the right places so that the website visitor can read/view everything. The designers and developers are no longer limited to a particular theme or operation of plugins but can go wild with their designs and animations to create the best possible online user experience.

Furthermore, the CMS is not polluted with templates and numerous plugins, but the focus is entirely on the data and its management. Due to this separate setup, it is also very easy to release the same data to other external systems. Think of advertising channels, information pillars, voice assistants, mobile apps, etc. The data is neatly arranged together in one place and can be retrieved and displayed in multiple places using the API. Content is increasingly being used multi-channel and is visible in more and more places.

By making a clear distinction between content and form, you have this freedom. If your content is good and can be accessed via the API, then it doesn't matter if it is viewed through a browser or read aloud by a Google Assistant! Of course, this does force you to think carefully about your content and how to structure it optimally beforehand.


Is a traditional CMS now completely outdated? No! We always carefully consider which type of CMS is best for the organization. A traditional CMS like WordPress can still be a good solution in some cases.

However, we do see a shift: At LiveWall, we increasingly use headless CMS solutions when realizing websites with a lot of content, and we always advise our clients to consider this as well. A headless CMS gives us exactly the freedom we are always looking for when creating new, unique online experiences.

Do you want to know more about the use of a LiveWall team in the development of your next app, website or platform? Be sure to contact us!

Interested? Contact us

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