Introduction

​​This article will help you discover the top JAMstack CMS currently available. You’ll also learn more about using JAMstack in your next project.

Over the years, many developers have become open to experimenting with JAMstack. This is due to improving the crawling abilities of different search engines most notably Google search and Bing. Developers are therefore driven to utilize JAMstack since they are good for the search engine as well as the user. ​​ ​​Also, as search engines now prioritize speed as one of the major factors considered for ranking different websites, pre-rendered and static websites like sites built with JAMstack CMS which typically perform higher in these areas are emerging as one of the essential tools required in a modern developer’s toolbox.

We have previously highlighted some of the pioneers on the JAMstack ecosystem and the opportunities JAMstack brings for marketers and developers alike in our previous article. This article will however be centered on different JAMstack CMS worth looking at as we plan for 2021 and other years ahead.

Headless CMS 101

​​ ​​Headless CMS is a content repository that is primarily backend based. Contents can be accessed via a provided restful API. They are known as headless due to the absence of the frontend. ​​The architecture for headless CMS has been skyrocketing in popularity and the reason isn’t far-fetched. With headless CMS, developers can build a faster and generally better digital experience all at a fraction of the cost.

​​ ​​Unlike the architectures of traditional CMS which can be very limiting, headless CMS lets you build out your own frontend framework whichever way you want with your desired design. ​​In general, headless CMS takes the data-first approach. This means that your contents are stored independent of your website in a connected API with a specific data structure. These APIs do the work of data delivery to channels as well as devices. ​​All these and more make the headless CMS architecture one of the most sought after for companies and brands. ​​

Why JAMstack?

JAMstack provides developers with other ways of creating programs and software that takes advantage of the client-side static rendering. Because the site content is rendered directly to the browser, static websites are able to access a pre-rendered HTML file (cached ahead of time) for easy display of content.

The JAMstack architecture provides developers a new way of developing software that leverages static rendering at the client-side. JAMstack sites are easily scalable. This is because files in a JAMstack site are typically served off a static hosting like a CDN network. You are therefore free of any trouble in case of a sudden increase in site visitors. API calls, tools, and javascript frameworks are all connected sync with each other on JAMstack. For this reason, you likely won’t confront compatibility issues during development.

Top 10 JAMstack CMSs

JAMstack is focused on giving frontend engineers the necessary tools to plan and construct quick computerized experiences. Including a JAMstack-ready CMS will lead to extended functionalities, superior editing options, marketer friendliness, community support amongst other benefits.

Here are our best 10 picks for JAMstack CMS

Agility CMS prioritizes content, placing it at the front and center of the development process. Users are empowered with the necessary tools to build digital experiences faster than other JAMstack-ready CMSs that are currently available in the market. With agility cms, you aren’t limited to any programming language or framework. User content can be delivered to the frontend with your preferred programming language at lightning speed.

Overview

With its built-in page management system which allows developers to choose which properties the content editors will work with, Agility sets itself apart in the JAMstack CMS world simplifying content editing for users. It also allows you to choose from any of the available javascript frameworks and set it up with static site generators like NextJs and Gatsby.

Agility CMS is best for content editors who prioritize the omnichannel approach in their editorial process.

Strapi is an open-source headless CMS that lets users create their own API with ease. Data in strapi are fetched with a GraphQL API and delivered across the specified channels at a fast lightning speed. Strapi offers users role-based access control, a substantial media library, and a pleasing UI amongst others.

Overview

Strapi integrates smoothly with most static site generators on the market. it also enables developers to create digital content that can be extended using plugins. Strapi is a good choice for frontend developers with knowledge of javascript.

Contentful disregard templates and fixed content structures, giving developers the necessary apparatus needed to organize and structure the content in their preferred format. It focuses on providing users with the tools to build custom content models for maximum customization. Contentful as a content management system lets several users work in a unified workspace.

Overview

One of the major advantages that Contentful has that makes it a stable CMS choice is that it was built in a solid CDN. Because contentful is tied closely to a JSON, contents are delivered in markup format ready to be consumed by static site generators and different channels for a true omnichannel strategy. Contentful is superb for developers who are familiar with HTTP requests and JSON responses.

DataCMS is an AI-powered content management system that offers users enhanced digital management and improved search capabilities. A powerful image editor that enables manipulation of contents on the go serves as the source of Dato.

Overview

DatoCMS allows developers to create tree-like data structures with ease and also helps in simplifying content editing. DatoCMS also allows for the user to decide how the administrative area looks, so the platform looks clearer for everyone. DatoCMs should be your go-to CMS if you want an image-rich website that needs specific roles and permission systems.

Prismic offers a good interface with lots of pre-built themes to choose from. Contents ranging from wikis to blog posts, marketing pages, and web applications, can be previewed during build time before delivery.

Overview

Prismic makes use of content slices to define dynamic content zones within a page, giving content creators and editors the freedom to compose experiences the way they need. This gives it a major advantage over other JAMstack CMS available in the market. Also, because content localization is included out-of-the-box, prismic is a reliable choice for building a JAMstack-ready content management system. Prismic also offers native integration for both Spotify and magneto as well as SEO preview. Prismic is a good choice for developing sites with multiple languages.

With the highest consumer satisfaction earnings on their side, Contentstack provides one of the best consumer satisfaction and digital experiences in the content management industry. It allows for non-technical users to create an awesome content experience, providing the necessary tools to build robust frontend systems to distribute content across platforms.

Overview

Contentstack is one of the top CMSs to choose from when considering working with JAMstack headless CMSs. You are provided with great content modeling capabilities with enabled seamless integration with site generators. This will enable users to create awesome digital experiences seamlessly. Contentstack is a good choice for projects with custom content models or complex page structures.

Netlify is a git-based solution to automated site-building and deployment. Netlify provides a drag and drops feature as well as other offerings that aim to simplify the site deployment process. Changes are deployed to a dedicated custom CDN. Netlify provides support for Gatsby, Jekyll, next.js, nuxt.js amongst others.

Overview

Netlify allows for a real-time preview of the site in development, this will enable users to ensure that their site is working as intended without any issues. Because all sites built on netlify are prebuilt by default, sites are deployed to a global edge network without the need for extra work from the user while still maintaining lightning speed. Netlify is a good choice for developers who need to build and deploy sites to production quickly.

Cosmic as a CMS provides automated backup and extensible headless CMS that can be easily integrated with JAMstack features, providing a good development experience and cutting the time of production. It also provides users with a vast array of templates to choose from for their next project. Cosmic provides support for NodeJS, Restful and GraphQl API, Javascript, and much more.

Overview

Cosmic allows for users to upload their templates increasing the number of templates that new users can choose from. They also have a strong and active community of users where learning new things and getting new users onboard is encouraged. Cosmic is a good choice for users in need of a reliable website starter.

Directus is an open-source CMS that comes in the form of a data API. it wraps your SQL database with a restful or GraphQL API. Directus enables users to manage content and digital experiences by connecting SQL databases and deploying the data using an intuitive platform that also caters to non-technical users in an unrestricted environment.

Overview

Directus is an open-source, database-first CMS that allows users to joins different SQL databases using APIs. In addition, Directus leverages JSON markup language to give users complete control of how the content is produced, deployed, and consumed. Directus is good for users who need extensive SQL support.

Sanity allows users to edit structured content in an open-source platform customizable with javascript. This enables users to use the JAMstack architecture to build out a computerized experience using your preferred javascript framework. Sanity offers a superior editing experience for content editors. Armed with its advanced features, content editors are able to modify their workflow to increase productivity. With Sanity, editors can change structured content and use it as regular data with ease.

Overview

From a JAMstack perspective, Sanity is a good choice as it allows users to distribute content from a single source of truth, approach workflow, and design programmatically, and query images for metadata, enabling better content tagging and enhanced integrations with any DAM. Sanity is good for teams using markup languages and structured content.

There really isn’t a single JAMstack CMS mentioned above that will come out at the top over others on every measured criterion. This is because these CMSs are similar and have certain areas that they shine and other areas that they aren’t so good at. Some are made with developers as the top priority and others, like Agility CMS, are built to cater to the needs of both developers and content creators providing the best experience for both creators and developers. The qualities of what should be the JAMstack CMS varies amongst developers and companies. It all boils down to the best CMS that answers the specific needs of a user.

Resources

How To Migrate to JAMStack

Learn how to migrate to JAMStack with Agility CMS

Tech enthusiast