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Hardik Shah
Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. He leads large scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him to discuss the best practices of software methodologies @hsshah_.

Everything You Need To Know About CMS Architecture In 3 Minutes Or Less

For a majority of the population, WordPress is the more relatable word. Thanks to the ease of use and the minimal learning curve it offers to its users in setting up blogs, websites, eCommerce stores, or even portfolios, WordPress is a household name. Technically, however, such systems or portals are called Content Management Systems (CMS). 

Over the last few years, companies and businesses worldwide have been gradually waking up to the importance of digitization. Those who ran only offline stores and had obsolete processes have been bringing in digital transformation no matter how small scale implementation it is. Businesses are going online through customized online retail stores, and company websites are becoming modern-day business cards as well. People are becoming quite technologically savvy and interested in organizing their website, making it relevant either by themselves or through a third-party vendor or freelancer. 

In short, the requirement of a CMS is becoming increasingly high. WordPress alone has over 40% of the world’s market share when it comes to websites built with CMS platforms. With simple modules, drag and drop features, and straightforward buttons, users can take a website or a blog live in less than a week. However, this basic knowledge is enough only if you intend to run a small-scale business for eternity. 

If your business ambitions are high and you aspire to scale your operations, make way for more website or blog traffic and expect RoI, you need to dive a little deeper and learn the technical aspects of maintaining a CMS. With your increase in technical requirements, you would be required to upgrade or scale up to a better CMS architecture that best suits your business goals. 

Now let’s begin to understand what this CMS architecture is all about. 

What is CMS Architecture?

CMS architecture is the implementation of frontend and backend aspects of the platform. The architecture defines the relationship between the tools used to simplify the process of creating website pages and publishing them by letting users drag and drop the UI elements. Generally, users are fine with CMS as long as they can edit and publish content online. But it’s important to understand the architecture of a CMS and its different types since it helps make more suitable choices in terms of site stability, functionality and integrations. 

To help you better understand what CMS architecture is, let’s understand by getting to know its different types. 

Types Of CMS Architecture

Coupled CMS Architecture

This is the most popular CMS architecture today. If you’ve used WordPress, HubSpot, or Joomla, you would have experienced what we call coupled CMS architecture. The principle behind coupled CMS is that the backend processes are coupled (or integrated) with frontend modules or functions. 

This makes website developers and content creators work on the same interface when developing a website or a portal. Backend and frontend are exclusively dependent, and coupled CMS also involves integrating content delivery modules into the architecture. 

Decoupled CMS Architecture

This is simply the opposite of coupled CMS architecture, where the frontend and backend are disconnected or decoupled. The interfaces used by developers, admins, and content developers are different, and there are no overlaps whatsoever. Admins can make changes to the website at the backend without affecting the functionalities of the frontend. This is also the same the other way around. This type of architecture allows individual scaling of processes and modules without having to upgrade the entire architecture monolithically. 

Headless CMS

Headless CMS is very much similar to decoupled CMS architecture (in terms of technicalities and ideology) since both have separate processes and modules for frontend and backend. However, the only aspect that differentiates headless from decoupled is the absence of a substantial frontend module. This means there are no dedicated interfaces to handle or manage content publication and distribution. 

Instead of a frontend module, headless CMS features APIs to push content across channels and avenues. This is seen as a major benefit currently because of the sheer rise in the use of portable devices like smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and more. 

Hybrid CMS

Whenever there is the word hybrid in a system or an application, it is given that it is a combination of two or more functionalities or diverse entities. In our case, hybrid CMS architecture combines the capabilities of headless, decoupled, and coupled infrastructure to help users create and publish content online. 

Technically, hybrid CMS architecture separates backend to help developers work as siloes. For the frontend, APIs are deployed for content publication and management. Though powerful, this could get a little complex if users are not technically sound using API-driven frontend modules. 

SaaS CMS

SaaS models are immensely popular because of the benefits they offer to users. When it comes to CMS architecture, SaaS-based CMS companies and hosting businesses offer a one-stop solution to users to develop and publish content. Simplicity has always been a standout feature of SaaS solutions, which is no exception when it comes to SaaS CMS solutions. Users need not install anything or manage anything from their end. Every module is well laid out, defined, and designed for seamlessness. 

At the same time, the biggest strength of SaaS CMS solutions is also their weakness. Because they are all backed by providers, customization is not possible both in frontend and backend aspects. It is all managed by the hosting solutions provider. 

CMS Architecture: A Quick Comparison

CMS ArchitectureAdvantagesDisadvantages
Coupled CMSCost-effective investment on infrastructure
Easy to install, configure and deploy
Perfect for small-scale or single-page websites
Host of security vulnerabilities
Restricted customization capabilities
Scaling up depends on provider
Decoupled CMSQuick content delivery
Airtight maintenance of website content and files
Optimized for website uptime
Comparatively complex to manage and deploy
Additional expenses involved in frontend development
Headless CMSLiberty to work with diverse frontend modules
Content can be seamlessly pushed to any machine or device
Website owners can experiment with an array of frontends and test for performance
Additional expenses involved in managing backend and different frontend modules
Highly complex because of the levels of customizations involved
Hybrid CMSContent developer-friendly
Content publication across platforms, channels and apps is seamless
Create once, use anywhere approach
Content management is extremely challenging
SaaS CMSSimpleToo simple

Wrapping Up

So, this was all you needed to know about CMS architecture. By now, we are sure you understand what could be the suitable CMS architecture for your needs. Depending on your expertise and business scale, you can use coupled, decoupled or headless. If you have been using only the conventional CMS architecture, learn more about the other types and explore their benefits. There would be significant changes to the way your website performs and feels. 

Get in touch with us today if you need to switch to a more robust CMS architecture that you feel your business deserves.

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