With a headless WordPress setup, you can separate the back and front ends of your website. You can use this approach to generate static copies of your site, which makes for much faster loading times.
In this article, we’ll talk about what headless WordPress is and how it works. Then we’ll show you how to implement a basic setup that uses static copies of your website via Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Let’s get to work!
An introduction to headless WordPress
Usually, when you make changes to your site on the back end (or admin dashboard), you see the corresponding results on the front end (meaning the live pages visitors have access to). In this traditional model, WordPress serves both the back and front ends of your website.
When we talk about headless WordPress, we’re referring to a setup in which you’re not using WordPress to generate the front end of your site. Instead, WordPress acts only as the back end. For the front end, you can use any other platform that connects with WordPress via its API, or set up a static website.
For this article, we’re going to work with a static WordPress setup for the front end. The two primary advantages of this methodology are:
- Static websites are highly secure since there aren’t any moving parts for hackers to take advantage of.
- Non-dynamic pages load much faster since they don’t need to pull information from databases or load scripts. Of course, another way to achieve this is with WordPress page caching.
In theory, a static WordPress setup might also save you money on hosting since you can get away with using a less powerful server.
However, it’s not an approach that works with all types of projects. For instance, with this solution, it’s more complicated to include dynamic elements such as contact forms or site search (though it is possible, with the right setup).
That said, a static front end can be an excellent fit for simple websites. If you’re launching a personal blog or brochure site, this setup can be a good option.
A quick note: Some people don’t consider a static WordPress site to be a true headless WordPress setup because it’s not using the REST API and the design is still somewhat attached to the backend (via the theme). However, it’s the simplest example of this type of setup, which is why we chose to focus on this approach for the tutorial.
How to set up a headless WordPress website using AWS (in three steps)
In theory, you can host a static copy of your website with any provider you want. However, for this example, we’re going to use AWS because it works out of the box with the plugin we’ll feature. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Set up an AWS account
Getting started with AWS requires a little more legwork than a traditional web host. However, using this platform can be incredibly cheap for static websites. In fact,
This article was written by John Hughes and originally published on ThemeIsle Blog.