Jamstack vs WordPress

What is Jamstack and how does it differ from WordPress

The Jamstack is a new way of managing a blog without the expensive requirement of a server. In the open source world a number of static website builders have emerged, these builders simply convert static markdown files into rich experiences.

Jamstack stands for:

  • J, Javascript
  • A, APIs,
  • M, Markdown

JavaScript is a web based language used to develop simple to complex websites and web apps for online usage, with this technology we can build the platform to generate the static content based on the markdown content stored online.

APIs, are external services that provide information or some sort of extra functionality to the application, such as accessing data stored in a database through an API, when the website is being built, the content of the API can be saved into the static generated content.

And finally, Markdown is a simple format for constructing simple text documents with a basic level of typograhy formating and media inclusion.

Together, these there pieces for the Jamstack and provide a simple yet secure way to provide content to thousands of users without the overhead of having to manage a server.

How the Jamstack works?

Something to first understand about the Jamstack is that your content is served to a vistor in a static way, what does this mean? Simply put, when some visits your website, the is no server rendering your content everytime, instead the browser is just reading a simple HTML file with your content.

To have a functional Jamstack, you need to ensure a number of requirements exist, such requirements include hosting your content in a service like Github, when your content is updated, Github will then notify a service like Netlify.com to deploy that content to a static environment. Its that simple.

Jamstack vs Wordpress

Wordpress is a very popular and famous solution when it comes to building a customisable and powerful blog, with WordPress you can easily login anytime you like, manage users and even build complex articles using your own custom theme.

But Wordpress is still a server that needs to be maintained, and WordPress maintanance can be time consume and expensive depending on the traffic you are getting from your content.

When looking at the Jamstack you move your dependencies away from a single server and onto online services such as Github.com and Netlify.com. These services are maintained by an active team of developers who are paid by the company behind these services. Another point are these services provide a free solution for running a popular Jamstack website.

Wordpress does have a useful way to easily login and start contributing content, the difference here is with the Jamstack, you simply log into Github.com and start contributing content but with git. Using git allows a simple way to ensure content is reviewed and approve in a seemless way thousands of developers around the world use for software development.

And when it comes to user management, simply manage who can or cannot access your private github repository.

So in summary with Wordpress vs Jamstack, Wordpress will render your pages each time a visitor visits your websites. While Jamstack relies on static hosting and generation of your pages, normally using a static site generator and a static host.

Advantages of Wordpress

  • So Wordpress has been around for a very long time, its a reliable solution and has a huge community of developers contributing to it on a daily basis.
  • It can very easily be extended to run as any type of website.
  • It provides comment management out of the box
  • Theme support is a core piece of functionality and find a new powerful and well tested theme is quite easy to do
  • WordPress has a powerful plugin system that can easily extend your website with the press of a button

Advantages of the Jamstack

  • Simple approach to content management
  • All managed with git, the code versioning system
  • Content is provided to users as a static website
  • Fast, its very fast, we are only relying on the download speed of the server and the users internet connection
  • Tons of online services providing a free or very cheap solution to hosting your Jamstack website
  • Content is stored as markdown, easy to use and limited enough to ensure the focus is around the content
  • Secure, your content is stored on Github, a service thousands of companies trust with their source code.

The cost of running Wordpress vs Jamstack

When looking at the cost of a Jamstack sites as opposed to Wordpress sites, the Jamstack solution is massively cheaper.

Instead of running a server all day every day, we are now just serving static files from a service like Amazon S3 which is normally used for providing static files to software solutions. Its a very cheap approach to providing static websites.

How post drafting works

In Wordpres creating a draft is quite easy, you just don't publish your content and just add content to a new post.

When creating a draft in the Jamstack, you just create a new git branch and store your content in that branch. Once the content is ready, just merge the branch into your master branch and a build task is triggered that will generate the static pages and upload to your static host, once done, your content is available on your website.

Managing Jamstack content

A great tool to help you run your Jamstack blog is Netlify CMS, its owned and maintained by Netlify, and provides a rich editor you can use with your team to easily write new articles, create drafts and easily publish once ready. What's nice about Netlify CMS is it works smoothly with Github, creating branches and pull requests to manage content. There is also a great library of plugins you can use to extend the functionality of the blog.

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