Joomla! vs Headless CMS

Compare Joomla! to a headless cms. Find out which is the right tool for the job.

Switching from Joomla! to a headless CMS is a major task for both new and existing websites. The Jamstack platform is undoubtedly faster and more secure but that is only half the answer. Using a plain vanilla business marketing site as an example we compare the features and benefits of YouDoCMS headless CMS and Joomla!. Our comparison table highlights the features, benefits and cost of each platform.

Headless CMS
Content Management
GUI Editor
Free Hosting
Self Hosted
Site Backup
301 Redirect
Multiple Sites
Free Templates
Web Log Analytics


What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS is similar to Joomla! because they both provide administration and content creation for a website. However when you edit and publish content with Joomla! the server is exposed to the internet and used to deliver content to the visitor by dynamically generating the pages. A headless CMS is remote from Internet which is why JAMstack websites are more secure. The headless CMS renders static HTML pages which are deployed to a content delivery network which is why they are faster.

Can I keep my existing content?

The simple answer is yes. YouDoCMS headless CMS and some static site generators such as Hugo and Jekyll offer import from Joomla! to migrate to static HTML. In some cases the headless CMS will include a familiar HTML editor such as TinyMCE which is the same as the Joomla default editor. So if you are migrating you can be confident that you can edit and manage content just like Joomla!.

Can I use sh404SEF for my SEO?

sh404SEF is possibly the most popular SEF extensions for  Joomla!. sh404SEF optimises SEF URLs and manages metedata however it does not provide structured data which is now Google's preferred option. For SEO JSON-LD and SEF multiple extensions are required.  YouDoCMS headless CMS include structured data, SEF pretty URLs automatic 301's plus Flesch reading ease score, key phrases and synonyms. If you are migrating from Joomla! your Google search ranking will not be affected.

What is a static site generator?

Headless CMS incorporates a static site generator. This is an extra step in the publishing process but many in the Joomla! world will understand the benefits of staging server to preview content before publishing to a live website. A static site generator renders the static HTML pages locally from the headless CMS content for local preview in the browser. To publish the site you simply rebuild choosing the public domain is the target. The pages are then deployed to the content delivery network and are available on the Internet.

Can I use Joomla! SEF URL routing?

YouDoCMS headless CMS supports Joomla! system settings when migrating. The options for search engine friendly URLs , URL rewriting and add suffix to URL are all supported. Therefore the Jamstack sitemap is the same as the Joomla! original. 

Hosted vs Deployment

Joomla! is hosted on a server which is exposed to the Internet this is the big security risk.  Support for Joomla! 3 ends 17 August 2023 so many sites are faced with major upgrades. This problem does not exist with a headless cms which deploys to a content delivery network which are secure by design.

Hosting Cost vs Build Costs

Joomla! requires a server for hosting and there are also many hosted headless CMS such as Contentful which can become very expensive. Joomla! will always incur a hosting fee and many headless CMS incur both hosting and build fees while the server compiles static pages. YouDoCMS headless CMS runs on your local computer therefore you do not pay any hosting or build fees.

Plug-in Costs

The Yoast Seo and UpdraftPlus site backup plug-ins are two of the most popular upgrades in the Joomla! ecosystem. Yoast currently costs £99 pa and UpdraftPlus is £70 pa. With these plug-ins enabled plus hosting the annual cost for basic Joomla! site is in the region of £300 per year. 

Web Server Logs

AWS CloudFront and Azure both offer server logs included in the free plan. Cloudflare also supports logs (paid). YouDoCMS integrates with CloudFront to download and import the logs on demand. Server logs offer a number of benefits compared to JavaScript site analytics because they cannot be blocked by trackers in the browser. Server logs inc 404 errors occurring due to missing content for example when you update or rename a page. YouDoCMS includes automatic deployment of rewrite rules to avoid 404 errors from old non-existent url requests. 

Site Analytics

YouDoCMS includes server log analytics which is linked to your content to provide common metrics such as entry and exit pages, bounce rate, visitor geolocation and search engine crawl monitoring. AWS CloudFront and Azure both offer analysis via the server logs which means you do not need JavaScript tracking. Firebase is reliant upon Google analytics which can be blocked by browser extensions. However if you are an existing Google analytics user then Firebase is the best option. Cloudflare also provides JavaScript analytics (paid). See site analytics.

Site Backup

A headless CMS inherently includes redundancy because you build a static version of the site therefore you always have the most recent copy available both locally and in the cloud. YouDoCMS also includes a whole site backup of the static pages, images, template's and the database. This functionality is included in both the free and paid for versions.

Site Search

By default Joomla! incorporates fulltext search of the entire site. This is achieved by indexing pages and posts and dynamically searching the database. Together with the ability to login this is the feature most frequently targeted by hackers. Headless CMS incorporate site search with a prebuilt index such as the service provided by Algolia. YouDoCMS integrates with with Algolia instant search to update the search index every time you build pages and deploy the site.


Speed and Security

Faster speed is known metric for Google particularly for content-focused websites. The visitor is less likely to spend time reading your content the longer they have to wait for the page to load. For example did you know that both Joomla! home page and Rochen the Joomla! partner use Cloudflare to serve static pages and not the Joomla server? Test this on

  • Sites load 50% faster.
  • Faster sites have a higher search ranking.
  • 100% lighthouse score.
  • 100% secure cannot be hacked.
Go Serverless

Lower Cost

For hosting a website with the Joomla! partner a basic single website is £96pa.  If an SEO extension is included the cost is £190. Using Digital Ocean droplets plus extension the cost is over £240pa. Both these options will be slow with a poor lighthouse score due to JavaScript included in pages. A typical hosted headless CMS such as ButterCMS will cost approximately £500+ pa.  

  • YouDoCMS free or £30pa
  • Free cloud deployment
  • Multiple sites
  • SEO and backup included
Compare Hosting

Switch to headless cms

YouDoCMS combines the flexibility of Joomla! with the speed and security benefits of a static site generator. In addition the built-in search engine optimisation features, web log import and site analytics together provide the tools you need to build, manage and deploy a static site to a CDN.

  • Free and paid options.
  • GUI HTML editor.
  • No hosting fees.
  • Cloud CDN integration.
  • Algolia Site Search.
  • SEO key phrase and readability.

“If you need multiple users and prefer to use a hosted system then Joomla! 4 is a great option.

If you are maintaining two or three non e-commerce websites and would like to reduce your hosting costs then YouDoCMS headless CMS can save you £150 per year per site.

If you are a Joomla! user converting an existing website to a static site and use extensions to provide search engine optimisation then YouDoCMS can import your site and simplify the transition to JAMstack.”

Paul Dennis