Wed Jun 30 2021
What is the difference between Jamstack and WordPress?
Jamstack is a philosophy of growth. It's a web project design architecture that emphasizes developer experience while aiming for speed, security, and scalability. Around 2015, Jamstack gained traction as a new approach to building the web, with Jekyll emerging as the first popular static site generator. The term "Jamstack" was coined in 2016 to better describe the architecture's non-static nature when combined with contemporary technology. Jamstack is modular by design, and it simply requires a CDN to deliver static files.
WordPress is more than just a website; it's a software platform in and of itself. It started off as a blogging platform in 2003 and has now evolved into an all-in-one website building solution. It's a CMS at its core, but it's so much more than that thanks to its enormous network of plugins and vibrant community. According to several assessments, WordPress is currently powering between 35 and 40% of all websites. WordPress is monolithic by design, and it runs on a LAMP server.
Jamstack and WordPress can both be used for the same thing. You're probably inquisitive or even undecided about switching if you're reading this.
We'll do our best to explain why you should think about Jamstack as objectively as possible.
Who makes use of Jamstack?
Your path begins by knowing who is your competition. Many other individuals have been procuring Jamstack services for many years. Jamstack continues to be the most popular platform among developers. However, it is capable of far more than just personal projects and blogs. Many businesses, including major multinational brands, use Jamstack to create not only informational and marketing sites, but also full-fledged e-commerce solutions. For some instances, look at the Jekyll, Hugo, and NextJS showcases, or get ideas from our own showcases.
Thanks to a thriving community and an ever-increasing number of enterprise-grade APIs available, the options are continually developing.
The flaws in WordPress
WordPress is still quite popular, owing to the fact that it allows non-technical users to create websites without requiring the assistance of a developer. It is a much better option to know both the powers and weaknesses before exploring anything. Other options like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify are fast gaining ground in this area, particularly among individuals without technical know-how or the funds for developers.
Security, performance, UI, and the challenges that come with monolithic design are the most common issues for WordPress users.
Problems of security
Hackers love WordPress websites. The days of the admin username and password is "admin" and "admin" are long gone, yet WordPress security is still a battleground for two reasons:
If hackers discover a flaw, they can infect millions of websites. WordPress is merely a victim of its own success in this regard.
There is stuff to hack here. Because WordPress uses server-side logic, hackers are highly interested in gaining control of a WordPress server, especially a powerful one. There is not only a CPU to take over, but also a database that can hold a wealth of information.
WordPress can, of course, be made secure, but the attack surface is naturally vast. Not only does the server need to be updated, but every plugin can be a security flaw. It's just another item to consider constantly.
The time it takes to get it, as well as the effort it takes to get it
While WordPress can be built in a short amount of time, it is far from a guarantee. WordPress may be optimized in a variety of ways, including using lightweight themes, eliminating plugins, and using a better hosting platform. There are even ways to use a CDN to serve cached versions of your content. Cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors are all difficult in computer science, as we all know.
For WordPress site owners, performance is a constant battle, much like security. It's only going to get more difficult as people add more material, plugins, and features. A nice-to-have problem: a lot of traffic, can also cause speed concerns.
According to the WordPress community on Stack Exchange:
“Static files delivered by a fast webserver scale better than anything else.” Unfortunately, WordPress does not set this as the default. The following is a quote from the same page: “Don't expect much from shared hosting–if you're on one, don't blame WordPress for the slowness. Shared hosting companies may squeeze thousands of accounts onto a single server. So you may optimize a $10/month account all day and it won't make a difference.”
For smaller websites, scaling isn't an issue. However, if you ever start producing significant traffic, scaling may be difficult, costly, or both.
A difficult user interface
The WordPress user interface has one major advantage: many people have seen it before, thus it is instantly recognizable to most clients. However, aside from this evident benefit, many non-technical people find the admin panel to be cluttered and perplexing (and some technical ones too).
Clients should be able to focus on content production without being distracted by notifications about the need to upgrade their PHP version and three separate plugins when they log in. Developer experience that isn't up to par It can be aggravating to develop with WordPress.
The website's code, database, and server are all interconnected. As a result, it's tough to separate concerns. It's not always easy to get plugins to work together. It might be difficult to set up a local development environment, which leads to many individuals working in production-only environments. When it comes to Git, there is a lack of agreement.
Jamstack's approach to resolving WordPress issues
Speed - static files that don't need to be processed
It's been stated before and it'll be said again: performance is important. Amazon notoriously claimed that every 100 milliseconds of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google published a study that was equally dramatic: When a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of mobile users abandon it.
Now, more than ever, a quick website is essential. Even while browsing from a mobile device on the run, people don't have much patience.
Performance, on the other hand, is one of Jamstack's key principles, not an afterthought. Of course, a Jamstack site can be slow; a site with dozens of photos each weighing more than 10MB will be slow regardless of the architecture. However, implementing it correctly is simpler since the most difficult aspects, such as providing static content via a CDN and scaling, become the norm rather than the exception. As a result, you'll be able to concentrate on developing a fast front-end.
WordPress is simply more complex, necessitating more effort to optimize, whereas Jamstack is already optimized and simple to upgrade. Consider the difference between a complicated gas-powered car and an electric car's rapid acceleration.
Security - a much smaller attack surface.
No system is completely protected from cyber-attacks. Attacking a static site, on the other hand, is like punching water.
Traditional assaults are ineffective because they require the server to run code. There's not much that can go wrong if the server is a CDN providing solely static files. Hackers can try to overload a CDN, but in a distributed, global network, defeating one node means absolutely nothing. It's not easy to take down an entire CDN. Even if this occurs, uploading static assets to another CDN and changing the DNS is not difficult.
Jamstack sites, on the other hand, can be more than just static files on a CDN. A variety of APIs, as well as serverless functions, may be used.
APIs can be hacked, but luckily, your job is usually limited to safeguarding your private keys. API providers are in charge of the remainder. Furthermore, if one of your API providers is hacked, it just affects that API.
Hacking serverless functions is also possible. However, because they only last around 10 seconds, taking control of one isn't as appealing as taking control of a real server.
That's not to imply you shouldn't consider security while writing serverless functions. If you're utilizing serverless to process payments or authenticate users, security is essential. Because a serverless function is just that, a function, security should be straightforward. A few separate functions are far easier to manage than a single server that has all of those services, as well as a database and other features.
Flexibility and a Git-centric workflow are important for developers.
Jamstack allows you to use the tools and languages that your team prefers, rather than being restricted to the LAMP stack. It also makes full use of Git's capabilities. Create a new branch for a new feature, deploy it for testing, and roll back if necessary. Git can house anything or nothing - it's adaptable.
SEO - master the ranking component of speed
For SEO, performance is becoming increasingly important. In 2010, Google declared that site speed was a ranking factor. Page performance would be significantly more crucial for mobile search in 2018, they announced. They revealed in 2020 that a big update coming out in 2021 will focus more on "page experience signals," commonly known as Core Web Vitals, and will prioritize speed. (It has an impact on the most contentful paint, the first input delay, and cumulative layout shifts.)
Because page speed is vital for user experience, Google is emphasizing it as a ranking element. We've already established that the Jamstack architecture facilitates excellent performance. This also makes achieving good SEO performance a lot easier.
Costs - the infrastructure and processing are kept to a bare minimum.
Hosting static files is less expensive than running PHP 24 hours a day, whether you're servicing a thousand or a million queries per month. Costs rise as traffic increases. You'll only pay for what you use, even if your Jamstack site employs several APIs and serverless services. No more overpaying for 16GB of RAM since it's only used once a week.
Simple is lovely.
WordPress is useful because it allows you to do so much right out of the box, and even more with the help of plugins. However, you'll still have a lot on your plate:
Working with Jamstack has the advantage of just requiring sophisticated solutions when they are necessary.
The Jamstack idea may appear to be a return to simplicity; after all, serving static files is how the web began. Websites that dynamically render were groundbreaking for the online, but now we're moving backward? A return to simplicity may be beneficial. The most complex solutions aren't always the most elegant. A dynamic solution makes sense if your landing page is different for each user on each request. But what good is a database and backend programming if your landing page contains the same information for the rest of the year?
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