Understanding Static & Headless WordPress

What's the difference between Static & Headless WordPress?

If you watch this video (below), I'll explain and show you an example of each – both a static site using WordPress and a headless store using WordPress and WooCommerce.

When do you use Static with WordPress?

If you have a blog, using a static site generator can speed it up dramatically, like I showed you in the video. My leadership blog is using Strattic.

Using a solution like Strattic lets you create content using WordPress (which you're already familiar with), while eliminating any performance issues caused by PHP or calling the database when you generate your HTML site.

Another resource is Simply Static Pro. It is a bit different but delivers similar results. The biggest difference is that you can host your site anywhere, which you can't do with Strattic.

Now, with all that said, my daily blog (chrislema.co) isn't static, but using a caching plugin called NitroPack that makes it pretty darn fast as well.

When do you use Headless with WordPress?

While going Headless can also speed things up and add scalability to your WordPress (or WooCommerce) site, it also introduces some complexity.

You will need to have a WordPress host, a host for your headless front-end, the technology needed to run builds and deployments (Netlify), the language and libraries of the front-end (JavaScript, React), and the glue to connect WordPress to the front-end (WP GraphQL).

So while it's powerful, fast, and gives you tons of flexibility to code anything you want, it's also more complex and will require that you hire a developer or agency. In the video I show you Rudis, who hosts here with Nexcess, that was developed by our partner, Zeek.

Or you can teach yourself with resources from these two folks:

These two folks continue to create tons of valuable content on headless WordPress and they're the ones I recommend learning from.

If they disagree with any of my characterizations above, listen to them. They're the experts.

Understanding Static & Headless WordPress

Here's my take and how I would approach things:

If I want speed, start by cleaning up my site and eliminating a bunch of stuff I don't need. Eliminate plugins I don't need and use a fast theme. That will speed things up.

Then, compress my images.

If that doesn't make everything faster, and you're paying less than $10/month on hosting, consider moving to a host that isn't offering shared WP hosting. Check out Nexcess.

Then, lastly, check out a caching plugin.

Now, if all of that doesn't make your site lightning fast, check out static.

But if you are doing things that aren't straightforward blogs / sites, you've done the above, and you're still unhappy with performance and scale, then save up some money and hire a developer to help you go headless.