5 Best Headless WordPress Hosting

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Many service providers today offer WordPress hosting, whether generic or highly optimized plans. However, headless WordPress requires more significant consideration since most sites configured this way are demanding.

The fundamentals of headless WordPress hosting primarily lie in scalability and reliability. Only in this way can you effectively combine WordPress’s usability with more advanced features like omnichannel content delivery and truly optimized performance.

This usually calls for a robust solution like Cloud hosting. However, some regular service providers can also cut corners. Here are our top recommendations for the best headless WordPress Hosting.

1. Cloudways

Cloudways - Best Headless WP hosting
Cloudways provides the perfect ingredients for a seamless Headless WordPress journey

Website: https://www.cloudways.com/headless-cms-hosting

Founded in 2012, Cloudways has emerged as a prominent managed cloud hosting platform player. They enable businesses to quickly deploy and manage websites on top cloud infrastructure providers like Digital Ocean and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Why Cloudways?

Cloudways is in a unique position in the web hosting industry. It helps users streamline Cloud deployment at highly reasonable prices. Simultaneously, the company offers innovative solutions like Cloudways Autonomous for high-availability WordPress hosting. 

Despite the in-place management platform, Cloudways allows developers to deploy their applications directly from Git. However, this needs to be done over SSH to work. Another bonus for developers is support for continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), further streamlining development processes. 

These significant factors place Cloudplace at the forefront of headless WordPress hosting. In addition, the traditional bits and bobs are also present. These include server monitoring, security patching, and more.

We shifted to Cloudways as our primary hosting provider years ago. Since then, we’ve never looked back. Instead, things have gone so well that we’ve moved almost every site we own to Cloudways. How’s that for the best recommendation ever?

Pros

  • Flexibility – No-contract, pay-as-you-go plans
  • Multiple Cloud infrastructure providers are available
  • No initial prepayments or renewal price increases

Cons

  • Basic support is pretty lackluster
  • Email hosting is not included

Cloudways Pricing

Cloudways pricing plans are tiered, with Digital Ocean being the cheapest, starting at $11/month. Prices rise as you move up the tier and access more resources. All plans have 24/7 support, advanced caches, free SSL certificates, and more.

2. WP Engine Atlas

WP Engine - Best Headless WP hosting
WP Engine is a WordPress-centric hosting provider.

Website: https://wpengine.com/

WP Engine serves customers in more than 150 countries worldwide. The company empowers businesses to create and manage their WordPress websites via enterprise-grade solutions, tools, and services. Of particular note is their headless WordPress offering, Atlas.

Why WP Engine Atlas?

Atlas is an optimized Headless WordPress platform designed by WP Engine. Its entire premise is to offer an enterprise-grade Node hosting platform with accelerated technology for managed Node.js hosting.

That means you get interesting features like auto-scaling, auto-healing, API-First platform, and multi-environment support. WP Engine claims that Atlas is the only headless solution that packages the dynamic node, the static CDN, and the Headless CMS layers in one.

Developers can choose from most modern frameworks, including Next.js, React, Angular, Vue, Frontity, and Gatsby. The platform also supports Faust.js, a JavaScript framework simplifies building Headless WordPress websites.

Overall, Atlas claims to provide high-speed hosting with up to “10x performance.” It also includes a global CDN, smart scaling, and auto-healing Node front-end hosting. You also get the basics, like pre-configured environments.

Pros

  • WP Engine is WordPress-centric with expert support
  • Impressive 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Excellent performance and reliability

Cons

  • 99.99% SLA only applicable to the premium servers
  • Plans are relatively pricey

WP Engine Pricing

WP Engine offers tiered plans starting from the basic Essential WordPress plan at $20/month. Build and adjust your hosting plans along your website via customizable options. Their plan for headless WordPress comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. 

3. AWS Lightsail

AWS Lightsail  - Best Headless WP hosting
Lightsail is AWS’ solution for implementing a seamless Headless WordPress

Website: https://aws.amazon.com/lightsail/

AWS needs no introduction. It is a comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. One such product is Amazon Lightsail, a Cloud-based Virtual Private Server (VPS) solution.

Why AWS Lightsail?

With Amazon Lightsail, you launch a WordPress site in headless mode on a virtual server. Lightsail runs as an instance, your typical VPS in the AWS Cloud. 

Amazon claims that a Lightsail instance usually does not use the whole CPU. However, if you require a performance burst, Lightsail uses burstable performance instances to boost performance as and when needed. 

Lightsail supports six Linux or Unix-like distributions (Amazon Linux, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, and others). Additionally, application templates (WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Nginx, Node.js, and more) automatically install when you create a new instance.

Each Lightsail instance has a built-in firewall to restrict traffic to your instances based on source IP, port, and protocol. Also, you can integrate your Lightsail instance with some of the over 90 other services in AWS through Amazon VPC peering. 

Pros

  • Predictable billing
  • High reliability
  • Robust elasticity

Cons

  • Resources are limited by region 
  • Plans and billing can be confusing

Amazon Lightsail Pricing

Amazon Lightsail’s virtual servers are tiered and differ depending on the operating system. Like others, you pay more if you need more resources. For a limited time, Lightsail is extending its free tier to include three months free on selected packages (Linux/Unix). 

4. Kinsta

Kinsta - Best Headless WP hosting
Kinsta offers a highly customized dashboard that’s convenient and powerful

Website: https://www.kinsta.com/

Established in 2013, Kinsta has been serving thousands of clients from 128 countries around the globe. They began with managed WordPress hosting, then expanded to Application and Database hosting. 

Why Kinsta?

Kinsta offers WordPress hosting on Google Cloud fast servers (C3D and C2 VMs). Headless WordPress is offered via DEVKinsta, a local development suite. Each website here is deployed within an isolated software container, ensuring privacy and resource optimization. 

One of the most notable points about Kinsta hosting is its strong performance. It employs advanced caching mechanisms and server-level optimizations, reducing latency and enhancing overall performance. Hence, there’s no need to worry about API requests in Headless WordPress deployment.

You can choose from Static Site Hosting or Application Hosting depending on your needs. For the former, you access pre-built static sites or sites built with modern static site generator (SSG) frameworks that utilize Node.js. 

For the latter, Kinsta supports various applications built with multiple programming languages for greater hosting flexibility and more robust features, such as comprehensive analytics covering real-time and historical data.

Pros

  • Kinsta solutions are optimized for WordPress
  • Built on Google Cloud servers
  • WordPress-centric customer support

Cons

  • Considerably expensive plans
  • Hourly backups are addon at a fee

Kinsta Pricing

Starting at $35/month, the WordPress Starter plan is a bitter pill to swallow. That said, Kinsta offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Notably, Kinsta Static Site Hosting is free. However, it only covers 100 static sites and limits storage to 1GB per site.

5. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform - Best Headless WP hosting
GCP is known for its high-performance global network infrastructure

Website: https://cloud.google.com/

GCP is one of the most well-known Cloud computing services. Known for its cutting-edge innovation, Google supports almost anything on GCP, from virtual machines to containers and load balancers.

Why Google Cloud Platform?

GCP features enhanced performance, almost limitless scalability, security (data privacy and security features), and flexibility for your WordPress site. Its key strengths lie in virtually limitless computing power and the availability of big data processing tools. 

Although user-friendliness isn’t a top consideration in headless WordPress, GCP makes life easier for developers. You can also take the headless approach through Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which is a whole story in itself.

GKE is touted as the industry’s first fully managed Kubernetes service with Kubernetes API, 4-way autoscaling, release channels, and multi-cluster support. More interesting is the ability to easily break down a legacy application into microservices via this solution.

Also, if you’re interested in using AI, GCP’s machine-learning tools will give you the necessary AI prowess. The ready-to-use AI/ML components integrate easily with other platforms to enhance your product offerings.

For example, Retail API, made of discovery AI solutions such as Retail Search, Recommendations AI, and Vision API Product Search, gives a personalized search and recommendation experience to help convert customer intent into sales.

Pros

  • Comprehensive suite of applications
  • Constantly innovative with new enhancements
  • Excellent for big data storage and analysis

Cons

  • Nightmare pricing structures
  • Fewer regions and availability zones than AWS and Azure

Google Cloud Platform Pricing

Try the Google Cloud Platform for free and enjoy $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads. You can also use over 20 products for free (up to the monthly usage limit). Once your free trial ends, you continue with $13.17/month for starters. 


About Hosting Headless WordPress Sites

What is Headless WordPress?

Headless WordPress is a modern approach to website development where the front end (what users see) and the back end (where content is managed) are separated.

In traditional WordPress setups, the front end and back end are tightly integrated, meaning changes to the back end directly affect how the website looks and functions. With Headless WordPress, the back end still uses WordPress to manage content, but the front end can be built using different technologies, such as React, Angular, or Vue.js.

Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS
The differences between traditional and headless CMS (source: Hubspot).

Advantages

  • Flexibility: Developers have the freedom to use any front-end technology, allowing for more creativity and tailored user experiences.
  • Performance: By decoupling the front end, websites can be faster and more responsive, as they can be optimized independently of the back end.
  • Scalability: Headless setups can handle larger amounts of traffic and data more efficiently since the front end and back end can be scaled separately.
  • Security: With no direct connection between the front end and the back end, the attack surface is reduced, potentially enhancing security.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Complexity: Setting up and maintaining a headless WordPress site requires more technical knowledge and resources.
  • Cost: The need for specialized skills and possibly more infrastructure can increase costs compared to traditional WordPress.
  • Maintenance: Regular updates and management of both the front end and the back end require more effort and coordination.

Who is Headless WordPress For?

Headless WordPress is ideal for large websites with complex functionalities that need high flexibility and performance. Think eCommerce platforms, large-scale blogs, content-heavy websites with constant high traffic, and such.

Also, companies that need to deliver content across multiple channels such as web, mobile apps, IoT devices can also benefit from a headless approach – as it allows content to be reused and presented in different ways.

Examples of Headless WordPress Site

TechCrunch, for instance, uses Headless WordPress to manage its extensive content library while ensuring a fast and responsive user experience. Similarly, The New York Times and Al Jazeera leverages headless architecture to ensure content consistency and high performance across different platforms (read more). Weglot’s headless setup allows for efficient multilingual content delivery, enhancing its global reach.

These examples illustrate how different industries can harness the power of Headless WordPress to meet their unique needs and deliver exceptional user experiences.

What is Headless WordPress Hosting?

Headless WordPress Hosting is a service tailored to support the unique requirements of headless WordPress websites. Unlike traditional WordPress hosting – which is optimized for the integrated front-end and back-end setup, headless WordPress hosting focuses on providing the infrastructure needed for the decoupled environment.

Choosing Factors for Headless WordPress Hosting

  • API Performance: Since the front end communicates with the back end via APIs, the hosting provider must offer excellent API performance to ensure fast and reliable data retrieval.
  • Scalability: Look for hosting that can easily scale both horizontally (adding more servers) and vertically (adding more resources to existing servers) to handle traffic spikes and growing content demands.
  • Security: Ensure the hosting provider offers robust security measures, such as SSL certificates, DDoS protection, and regular security updates, to protect both the back end and the front end.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN can significantly enhance performance by delivering content from servers closest to the user. Check if the hosting provider offers integrated CDN services.
  • Developer Tools and Support: Hosting providers that offer tools like Git integration, staging environments, and robust technical support can make development and maintenance easier.
  • Reliability and Uptime: Ensure the hosting provider guarantees high uptime and has a reliable infrastructure to avoid downtime that could impact your site’s availability.
  • Cost: Evaluate the pricing structure to ensure it aligns with your budget, considering both the short-term and long-term costs associated with scaling and maintaining a headless WordPress site.

Final Thoughts

There are several reasons why this list of headless WordPress hosts is so diverse. Part of it is due to cost, but the larger part is simply for product complexity. If you’re running a more demanding website and have the tech staff available, by all means, go for AWS or GCP.

However, smaller businesses are more likely to find them way too complex and expensive. Because of that, we almost always recommend considering Cloudways. It’s the perfect balance of outstanding performance at decent prices, ease of use, and deployment.


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Article by Timothy Shim

Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.
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