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Top Headless CMS in 2024: A Comprehensive Review

In the modern world of web development, where speed and flexibility are key, the concept of a headless content management system (CMS) is quickly gaining more popularity among developers. This approach to website development breaks away from traditional CMS by separating the frontend from the backend. This enables developers to have more flexibility to choose the best technologies and frameworks when building a superb user interface.

In this article, you'll learn about what headless CMS platforms are, discover why this concept is so popular in contemporary web projects, and find a listing of the top headless CMS platforms in 2024 with the pros and cons of each.

What is a Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a content management system that delivers content via an API for display on any device or platform. Unlike with a traditional CMS, which combines content management and display, a headless CMS separates these two parts, giving developers more freedom in building a user interface. Simply put, it's a content backend without an embedded frontend. Instead, a headless CMS provides content through an API for display on websites, mobile apps, or any other digital interface.

The frontend for a headless CMS is not predefined, allowing developers to choose the most suitable technologies for their projects. This flexibility, combined with other benefits of headless CMS software, makes it an attractive choice for modern digital experiences. Whether they are creating platforms or crafting immersive multimedia applications, developers are empowered to deliver content-driven experiences that resonate with audiences across diverse channels.

Agility of the Headless Approach

In traditional CMS platforms, the frontend and backend are tightly integrated, which causes difficulties with adapting to new technologies or implementing changes. A headless CMS, on the other hand, separates content management on the server side from the client side. This significant shift allows developers to select their preferred technological stack or framework for UI development, granting them freedom in shaping and refining user experience. This separation streamlines the development process, facilitates seamless updates, and optimizes web interface performance. Consequently, adjustments to evolving requirements and technologies become more efficient while ensuring the swift implementation of changes.

When comparing headless vs. traditional CMS platforms, the advantages of the headless CMS approach become evident – while traditional systems struggle to keep up with advancing technologies, headless CMS platforms stand out for their adaptability and scalability. 

Headless CMS use cases are also very versatile and include:

  • crafting dynamic websites

  • enriching mobile apps with content

  • integrating seamlessly with Internet of Things (IoT) systems

  • powering blogs

Scenario 1: Expanding A Headless CMS to Mobile

Imagine you already have a website with a blog powered by a headless CMS. Now, you want to extend your content reach to mobile devices. Here's where your headless CMS shines: you can leverage its API to fetch content for your mobile app, ensuring a seamless experience across platforms.

This approach offers several benefits:

  • Consistent Content, Everywhere: Use the same content from your headless CMS for both your website and mobile app, guaranteeing that users encounter the same information, regardless of the platform.

  • Effortless Scaling: Adding new features or updating existing content for mobile is simple thanks to the API.

  • Streamlined Content Management: Manage your website and mobile app content efficiently from a single interface. Easily add, edit, and delete content in one place.

Scenario 2: Public APIs for Mobile App Integrations

Now, let's flip the script. Imagine you have a mobile app with a blog powered by a headless CMS. But what if you want to allow third-party developers to create custom integrations with your app's content? Here's the beauty of a headless CMS: by opening specific API endpoints for public access, you unlock exciting possibilities.

The benefits of this approach include:

  • Centralized Content Hub: Your headless CMS acts as a single source of truth for content. You manage content once, and it seamlessly flows to your mobile app and any approved integrations, ensuring consistency for all users.

  • Streamlined Workflow: No matter the platform (mobile app, integrations, etc.), content management remains efficient. You can add, edit, and delete content from the familiar interface of your headless CMS.

How to Choose the Perfect Headless CMS

The market offers various headless CMS options, and to simplify the choice of the right one, we’ve prepared the following list of the critical aspects that define the effectiveness and suitability of the platform. Before making a decision, consider the following criteria to evaluate the system's suitability for your case:

  • Comprehensive Feature Set: A headless CMS should boast a diverse array of features, catering to different content types, workflows, and integrations. The broader the range of capabilities, the greater the potential for creating varied content.

  • Reliability and Support: A headless CMS should offer seamless support and maintenance, with regular updates and ongoing assistance.

  • Scalability and Flexibility: A headless CMS should be effortlessly adaptable, customizable, and scalable to suit project requirements, without excessive complexity or added expenses.

Headless CMS Evaluation Insights and Comparisons

No two headless CMS platforms are exactly alike. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. To find the perfect fit, we've evaluated several options based on criteria that are crucial for our software development process, including Node.js support and current community activity. Here's a look at some popular headless CMS platforms that met our selection criteria:


Strapi is a leading headless CMS platform known for its user-friendliness and powerful features. Here's why developers love Strapi:

1. Easy Setup and Management:

  • Getting started is smooth with Strapi's straightforward installation process and intuitive interface.

  • The platform is entirely JavaScript-based, making it familiar to many developers.

2. Flexible Content Management:

  • Strapi excels in content creation with its powerful content builder.

  • Dynamic zones and customizable pages allow for diverse and engaging content experiences.

3. Seamless Deployment and Scalability:

  • Strapi offers effortless deployment through its support for numerous cloud services.

  • Docker integration allows for even greater flexibility and easy scaling as your project grows.

  • Strapi Cloud simplifies deployment and management further, providing a ready-made environment without infrastructure setup.

4. Internationalization Support:

  • Reaching a global audience is easy with Strapi's built-in internationalization features.

  • Developers can adapt content for different languages and cultures, ensuring a smooth user experience worldwide.

5. Open Source and Scalable Pricing:

  • Strapi's open-source nature makes it a cost-effective choice so everyone can enjoy its core features for free.

  • Upgrading to enterprise-level functionality with additional support options is also available.


Keystone is an open-source framework for building web applications and content management systems using Node.js and MongoDB. It empowers developers to:

  • Launch projects quickly: Keystone boasts a streamlined installation process, getting you started on your project fast.

  • Create powerful applications: ready-made components and data models are available to create robust web applications.

While the standard entity lists are limited (like "user" and "posts"), beginners can still benefit from the intuitive interface. Custom lists require a schema extension, but Keystone offers the  ExtendGraphqlSchema option that allows more advanced users to expand functionality and create custom mutations and queries.

How Keystone benefits users with its flexibility:

  1. Developers can deploy Keystone on various cloud platforms or their own infrastructure for maximum control over their project's environment.

  2. Keystone is completely free and open-source, eliminating licensing costs and vendor lock-in concerns. is an open-source headless CMS for Node.js that, alongside numerous benefits, has its nuances and certain usage complexities that users should be aware of. It offers a streamlined installation process with a single command; however, configuration via the terminal might seem complex for less experienced developers. The schema definition process, which requires code extensions, grants users flexible control but necessitates familiarity with Sanity's structure.

One of Sanity’s key features is GROQ, an open-source query language. While powerful, GROQ has a steeper learning curve for newcomers that may deter users who are used to simpler options. Additionally, data storage on servers (as documented) limits direct modification, potentially impacting specific use cases.

When it comes to Sanity’s benefits, we would highlight the following ones:

1. Collaboration and Scalability: Sanity has excellent collaborative features. The Review Changes tool facilitates workflow for different teams, allowing users to quickly review, discuss, and approve content before publication.

2. Flexible Pricing: Sanity offers generous pricing tiers. A free plan is ideal for experimentation or small projects. The Growth plan, designed for scaling projects and collaboration, costs each user $15 per month. For organizations with complex security and support needs, the Enterprise plan offers individual pricing and additional features.


ApostropheCMS is open-source software that provides infrastructure for building web applications and CMS platforms based on Node.js. It allows developers to quickly create powerful web applications using ready-made components and data models and has the following benefits.

1. Flexibility of Both Headless and Traditional CMS functionalities:

  • Developers can model and manage any type of content using Apostrophe. 

  • Content creators can easily build pages with a user-friendly visual editor. (Note: content management itself is done through snippet-type configuration, not pre-built pages).

2. High Customizability:

  • Users can define custom data input elements based on the specific fields needed for their content.

  • Almost any default configuration, tool, or widget can be customized or extended to perfectly fit each project’s needs.

  • Developers can expand functionality even further with a wide range of available plugins.

3. Easy Deployment and Robust Support:

  • Users can deploy ApostropheCMS on various cloud platforms or their own infrastructure for maximum control.

  • Free plan users can access the helpful Apostrophe community forum on their official Discord server.

  • Paid plans offer access to technical support and, for enterprise clients, a dedicated success team to guide users toward achieving their digital experience goals.

Apostrophe offers three plan options:

  1. Community Edition: Free and open-source, ideal for exploration and small projects.

  2. Apostrophe Pro: $199/month, with premium features for single-site management.

  3. Apostrophe Assembly: $499/month, a cloud platform for centralized multi-site management.


Ghost CMS is an open-source content management system specifically designed for bloggers and writers. It prioritizes a smooth writing experience, offering authors:

  • Intuitive Editor Interface: Ghost's editor provides convenient tools that keep writers focused on content creation. Powerful text formatting and media integration capabilities enhance the writing experience.

  • Quick and Easy Setup: Accessible installation instructions make getting started with Ghost a breeze.

While extending core functionality through custom API endpoints requires significant modifications, developers can still:

  • Expand Functionality with Plugins: A vast library of plugins allows developers to customize and extend Ghost by adding new features or altering system behavior.

  • Craft Custom Themes: Enhance the visual presentation of a website with the option to develop custom themes.

The Benefits of Ghost CMS Include:

  1. Extensive Deployment and Support Choices, Including Diverse Hosting Options:

  • Users can choose to deploy Ghost on their own server for maximum control.

  • A cloud deployment option is also available for a convenient hosting experience.

  1. Plans for Everyone:

  • The free open-source option allows users to deploy an instance on their servers for complete control.

  • Ghost(Pro) Managed Hosting offers additional features like automatic updates, backups, security, and support with managed hosting plans.

Headless CMS Solution Comparison

To help you choose the right headless CMS for your project, we've compared the top solutions across key criteria like feature richness, maintainability, and extensibility. This table provides insights into each platform's strengths and weaknesses to assist in making an informed decision.

Headless CMS Akvelon Comparison

Considering our comparison results, Strapi works perfectly for many projects. Its richness in features, ease of extension, active community, direct technical support, and TypeScript support make it a great choice for various industries and the best headless CMS for Ecommerce.

While the free version of Apostrophe may not offer direct technical support, its impressive extensibility, functionality, and the presence of an active community, all contribute to its credibility and reliability.

Additionally, in cases where the main focus is on creating and managing posts, Ghost may be a viable option, albeit with limited extensibility. It’s also worth noting that Ghost is ideal for post creation, providing a user-friendly interface.


Headless CMS platforms offer a powerful and convenient approach for web development projects, providing flexibility and ease of use. Each platform has its unique strengths, making them compelling choices for diverse project types. However, even the most robust solutions have limitations.

While the headless CMS approach excels in numerous scenarios, complex projects with unique requirements or a high degree of customization may benefit from a custom solution. Opting for a custom approach grants developers complete control over functionality and system architecture, ensuring they can meticulously fulfill all project needs.

This article was written by:

Oleksii Afonin

Oleksii Afonin

Delivery Manager