Headless CMS Platforms

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2023

Top Rated Products

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Optimizely Content Management System

Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) is used to deliver digital experiences across channels and devices with a marketer-friendly interface, AI-generated insights that drive real-time personalization, and flexible content delivery options—including headless delivery.

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Magnolia

Founded in 1997 with a vision to create the first truly open content management system, Magnolia is presented as a fast way to launch digital experiences. With a mission to help clients move fast and stay flexible and boasting users among brands like Atlassian and The New York Times,…

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Acquia Digital Experience Platform

The Acquia Digital Experience Platform is an "Open DXP" with its two core pillars being content and data. Built on top of one of the largest open-source content management systems, Drupal, it aims to provide the flexibility and interoperability a modern organization needs. With…

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(1-25 of 53)

1
Optimizely Content Management System

Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) is used to deliver digital experiences across channels and devices with a marketer-friendly interface, AI-generated insights that drive real-time personalization, and flexible content delivery options—including headless delivery.

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2
Acquia Digital Experience Platform

The Acquia Digital Experience Platform is an "Open DXP" with its two core pillars being content and data. Built on top of one of the largest open-source content management systems, Drupal, it aims to provide the flexibility and interoperability a modern organization needs. With…

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3
Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Experience Manager is a combined web content management system and digital asset management system. The combined applications of Adobe Experience Manager Sites and Adobe Experience Manager Assets is offered by the vendor as an end-to-end solution for managing and delivering…

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4
Drupal

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features such as account and menu management, RSS feeds, page layout customization, and system…

5
Magnolia

Founded in 1997 with a vision to create the first truly open content management system, Magnolia is presented as a fast way to launch digital experiences. With a mission to help clients move fast and stay flexible and boasting users among brands like Atlassian and The New York Times,…

6
Jahia Digital Experience Platform

Jahia is a Java-based enterprise content management system. It features an integrated user portal, web publishing and content management, document management, collaboration, and multi-channel publishing.

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Crownpeak CMS

Crownpeak CMS is a composable, enterprise-ready content management system that empowers global teams to seamlessly orchestrate personalized digital experiences across all content channels. Marketing teams can create, manage, and monitor inclusive, accessible, and transactional experiences…

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Sitecore Experience Manager

Sitecore Experience Manager is an enterprise-grade CMS competing with Oracle WebCenter, IBM Web Content Manager and Adobe. It presents a fairly wide and comprehensive swath of inbuilt features. In Sitecore WCM editing takes place from within the page with its inline editor, allowing…

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Tridion

Tridion (formerly SDL Tridion) aims to connect people, processes, and information through a complete portfolio of collaborative Content Management, Knowledge Management and Headless delivery technologies. Combine with Accelerators for fast time-to-value and RWS Translation Management…

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Contentful

Contentful is a cloud based CMS solution that provides the ability to manage content across multiple platforms.The editing interface allows for managing content interactively and provides developers the ability to deliver the content with the programming language and template framework…

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Umbraco CMS

Umbraco is an open-source .NET Core CMS with over 700,000 active installs worldwide and with more than 200,000 active community members. It was first released on February 16th, 2005, and is still to this day an open-source project backed by a commercial company. To ensure Umbraco…

12
Contentstack

Contentstack headquartered in San Francisco offers an API-first headless CMS. From desktops to smart phones, from kiosks to smart watches, from billboards to jumbotrons, from dashboards to VR headsets – content is delivered with the push of a button and optimized for every screen,…

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Experro

Experro is a headless and composable Digital Experience Platform (DXP) built to deliver shopping experiences that are fast, personal, and memorable. It is a unified commerce platform enabling businesses to go headless while supporting scalability and flexibility for e-commerce businesses…

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Agility

Agility CMS is a cloud-based content management system from the company of the same name in Toronto, Ontario.

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Ibexa DXP

Ibexa, headquartered in Oslo, helps B2B companies to stay relevant and succeed by transforming traditional sales strategies into frictionless buying experiences, with their eponymous digial experience platform (DXP).

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Storyblok

Storyblok helps teams to tell their stories and manage their content for every use-case: corporate websites, e-commerce, helpdesks, mobile apps, and screen displays. Storyblok features: Visual Editor: Live preview changes made on a websiteComponent approach: Nestable content bloks…

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Kontent.ai

Kontent.ai is a headless CMS. In the Kontent.ai platform, control over content underpins all operations and workflows. Content creators, enabled by native AI skills, collaborate in real time, making it easier to land on the best ideas, reduce bottlenecks, and maximize the impact…

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Sanity

Sanity from the company of the same name in San Francisco is a platform for structured content that comes with an open-source editing environment called Sanity Studio that users can customize with JavaScript and a real-time hosted data store.

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Hygraph

Hygraph (previously GraphCMS) is a native GraphQL Headless Content Management System (CMS) and now evolved as a Federated Content Platform, enabling teams across the world to unify, structure, enrich and distribute content from anywhere to anywhere.

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ButterCMS

ButterCMS is a headless content management system and blog engine from the company of the same name in San Francisco. The vendor boasts users can integrate it easily into any new or existing web project in minutes.

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Strapi

Strapi is an open-source software platform that helps developers to easily build, deploy, and manage APIs.

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Flyo
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Flyo is a Hybrid Content Management System (CMS) that aims to combine the flexibility and scalability of a headless CMS with the user-friendly interface of a traditional CMS. Designed to streamline content creation, management, and delivery, Flyo helps businesses to meet the demands…

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Dorik
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Dorik is a white-label and no-code website builder. Users can make their desired website as imagined with its 60+ free templates, 250+ UI blocks, and 20+ elements. Dorik’s CMS allows users to create blog posts and also offers more sophisticated website-building functionalities.

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Easyweb Headless CMS

Easyweb is a minimalistic headless CMS for hand crafted websites, shops, apps and digital projects. It is used by site owners for content editing.

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Mura CMS+
0 reviews

Mura, from Mura Software in Sacramento, is a headless CMS designed to enable users to publish and pivot messaging at a moment’s notice, presented by the vendor as an agile platform that helps users to create meaningful connections by delivering personalized experiences to any audience.…

Videos for Headless CMS Platforms

What is Headless CMS? A Simple Explanation!
04:05
Content consumption has changed immensely in the last few years, especially with the rise of mobile applications usage. Traditional Content Management Systems (CMS) were built simply with websites in mind, and are no longer enough. Learn more about the use cases of headless CMS in this video.

Learn More About Headless CMS Platforms

What are Headless CMS platforms?

Headless content management systems (CMS) are the next generation of more traditional CMS platforms, built for the needs of the digital age. Specifically, headless CMS platforms have decoupled the backend database/content repository and the content authoring interface from the presentation layer. The content presentation layer can be thought of as the ‘head’ of traditional, or monolithic, content management systems. Thus, headless CMSs have severed the backend body of the CMS platform from the display ‘head’.


Rather than having one ‘head’ attached to the rest of the CMS, headless platforms make content available as data via APIs. Some vendors refer to headless CMSs as ‘API-first’ platforms for this reason. Other common names for headless content management systems include:

  • Content infrastructure software

  • Content hub software

  • Content as a service

Headless CMS Advantages

Headless CMS platforms work well for businesses that need to produce content that can be shared and displayed across digital channels and device types. Typically, traditional CMS platforms are attached to a webpage presentation layer, meaning the content created can’t be pushed to other digital mediums like mobile applications.


Headless CMSs, on the other hand, offer businesses the freedom and flexibility to choose which digital mediums to share their content across. Another key benefit of headless CMS platforms is that the same piece of content can be pushed out across multiple digital channels—there’s no need to create multiple instances of it for each medium.

Limitations of Headless CMS Platforms

While headless CMS platforms work well for a wide variety of digital marketing needs, they are less appropriate for certain types of businesses. One key drawback of headless CMS software is that it doesn’t include the tools needed to build a website like traditional CMS platforms do. Since the content presentation/display has been ‘cut off’ from the rest of the system, users looking to build a website with a headless CMS won’t be able to. So a headless CMS platform may be less well suited for marketers looking to easily preview, upload, and tweak content to their website or blog.


On the one hand, this affords developers more flexibility in terms of designing a website with the tools they like best. But this also makes it harder for users without a technical background to get a new website up and running quickly. Another drawback of headless CMS platforms is that they will require additional development support to do things like preview content in different display formats.

Headless CMS Features

The primary distinctive features of a headless CMS are a decoupled backend (content repository and content authoring interface) from the frontend content display. Besides this hallmark structure, most headless CMS platforms will have the following capabilities:


  • Content modeling

  • Content authoring interface

  • Content repository/database

  • Content types and taxonomy

  • Localization

  • User roles and permissions

  • Omnichannel content publishing via APIs


Some hybrid CMS platforms offer additional content creation features that include:


  • Collaborative editing

  • Content templates

  • WYSIWYG editor

  • Content versioning

  • Collaborative editing

  • Approval & authoring workflows

  • Content personalization

Headless vs. Traditional CMS

The biggest and most identifiable difference between headless CMS and traditional CMS platforms is that headless CMSs lack a dedicated presentation layer, or ‘head’. Rather than push content directly to a website or blog, headless platforms deliver content across digital mediums via APIs.


In many ways, native headless CMS platforms built with a microservices architecture are better suited to meet the needs of digital marketing. This is likely the reason that many platforms that were originally traditional CMSs have started offering APIs and integrations so users can ‘decouple’ the frontend and backend of the platform. Some examples of these type of CMS platforms include:


Both native headless CMS platforms and traditional CMS platforms that now offer integrations to effectively decouple the backend and frontend of the platform are included in this category.

Different Types of CMS Platforms

As mentioned above, there is a key difference between traditional CMS and headless CMS platforms. Even though many traditional, or monolithic, CMS platforms have added content APIs to their platform—they were still originally designed with an attached presentation layer.


In terms of ease of use for end-users, who are typically marketing professionals and content writers, headless CMSs can have a less user-friendly content authoring and editing interface. For marketers that are used to creating and publishing content using a WYSIWYG editor and plug-and-play content templates—getting comfortable using a truly headless platform can be difficult. Traditional CMS are often more user-friendly for marketing and other non-technical end-users.


Along with headless and traditional CMS platforms, there are also hybrid platforms that aim to give users the best of both worlds. These platforms are decoupled CMSs with content APIs that also offer a presentation layer (or front-end). This means they have robust content authoring and editing capabilities. For example, they might offer content templates or a WYSIWYG editor. This makes them more user-friendly than many native headless platforms, while still affording developers the flexibility and freedom to deploy content across various digital channels using the content APIs.


Examples of traditional CMS platforms include:


Examples of true headless platforms include:


Examples of hybrid platforms include:

Pricing Information

Pricing for comprehensive headless CMS platforms that can support upwards of 10 users typically starts between $400-$450 per month. Most vendors charge either monthly or annually. Some platforms like Drupal and Prismic offer a free or open-source version of their CMS.

Related Categories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is headless CMS?

A headless CMS platform is one where the frontend content display is detached from the backend content repository and authoring interface. This allows the content to be displayed in multiple different formats across channels, mediums, and device types via APIs. In this sense, the backend ‘body’ of the CMS does not have a dedicated frontend ‘head’ and is thus ‘headless’.

What are coupled vs. decoupled CMS platforms?

Coupled CMS platforms, also called traditional or monolithic CMSs, have the frontend content display attached to the backend database and content authoring and editing interface. On the other hand, ‘decoupled’ CMS platforms have severed the connection between the two. Native headless CMS platforms that were built with content data APIs are decoupled by nature.

More recently, CMS platforms that were originally built to be coupled have started offering integrations that allow businesses to use the CMS platforms as a decoupled system.

What are the best headless CMS platforms?

According to end-user feedback on TrustRadius, some of the most popular (based on the number of reviews for each product) headless CMS platforms include:

Visit TrustRadius’ headless CMS platforms page to see alternative products and read in-depth end-user reviews.

How much do CMS platforms cost?

The starting cost for lightweight CMS platforms can start between $50-$100 per month, with more comprehensive platforms starting around $400 per month. This price can increase to $1,000 per month or more, depending on the range of features included and the number of users required. Most headless CMS vendors charge on a monthly or annual basis.