Headless CMS

HubSpot CMS versus a headless CMS

Read time: 5 min

From traditional CMS to headless architectures. Businesses have no shortage of options when it comes to building and managing their digital platforms. Recently, marketing & service platform HubSpot decided to join the club, increasing your options even further. But how does Hub CMS compare to a headless CMS?

HubSpot CMS

HubSpot is originally designed as a CRM (customer relationship management) system that helps businesses deliver a seamless customer experience. From attracting visitors to generating leads and closing deals: with HubSpot, companies can deliver a premium customer experience for their clients.

Not too long ago, HubSpot expanded its services with a content management system called Hub. According to HubSpot, Hub is a CMS that allows you to easily ‘create and personalize website pages for every visitor – optimized for conversion across every device. The CMS includes features such as SEO recommendations, a fully integrated CRM (HubSpot’s core), a drag-and-drop editor, and pre-built website themes.

Traditional approach

Hub CMS is like a traditional CMS, where the backend and frontend are connected. This makes the CMS especially useful for marketers that already use the marketing and sales tools offered by HubSpot. Hub’s integration with the HubSpot CRM enables you to track visitor engagement on your website and use that information to create personalized messages. We call this type of structure a ‘monolithic’ setup, where the vendor (HubSpot) covers all features under one umbrella.

One-stop shop

This setup means Hub CMS is like a one-stop shop for all marketing and sales-related content efforts. However, it can also limit creativity and vendor flexibility because of its integrated setup. One of HubSpot’s most frustrating limitations is the fact that it serves as a closed-loop system, where all products are housed under one solution and it’s often impossible to integrate external features with Hub CMS. 

Hub CMS Pros & Cons

👍 User-friendly

👍 Easy to implement     

👍 Focused on marketers familiar with HubSpot CRM

👍 Faster time-to-market

👎 Creative limitations

👎 Vendor lock-in

While Hub CMS is ideal for creating impressive business websites that are easy to modify as a marketer or content editor, more robust and diverse platforms are preferably built with a headless CMS

Here’s why.

Headless CMS

A headless CMS is a backend-only content management system that makes digital content visible through an API. This means a headless CMS disconnects a digital platform's frontend (the presentation layer) from the backend (the database.) The biggest benefit of a headless approach is that you can work front-end independently. You simply create, manage, and publish content in the backend environment, and deliver it on all possible frontends with an API. Whether it’s a mobile application, a website, or a digital display.

Best-of-breed approach

While the architecture of solutions such as Hub CMS can be limiting due to their monolithic setup, a headless CMS gives you the freedom to build your own frontend in whatever design and medium you see fit. A headless CMS is, in its essence, a so-called best-of-breed solution, where you can choose the right features that are rich in functionality and meet all your needs. This means you can implement every feature you desire, simply by integrating them into your headless structure. 

Developers can pick and choose their ideal framework for this, granting them lots of creative freedom. It also gives you access to the latest technology – something that a monolithic solution generally doesn’t have (simply because they’re too busy developing all other features as well).


Another benefit of a headless CMS is that it allows you to work more agile. With a headless CMS, the backend is purely designed for storing content and isn’t tangled up with tools you’ll never use. And because of the backend and frontend being separated, there’s zero downtime during maintenance.

There’s a catch, too, and it’s related to its time-to-market. Headless CMSs require both backend and frontend development to implement the structure and design the content in the best way possible. This means you need to spend more time on frontend and backend development. Building the ideal infrastructure you desire doesn’t happen overnight, so the time-to-market is generally longer when creating a brand-new digital platform. It’s something to keep in mind when deciding between a monolithic or best-of-breed solution. 

Headless Pros & Cons

👍 Development freedom

👍 No vendor lock-in

👍 No technical limitations

👍 Cost-effective when implementing open-source solutions

👎 Requires more groundwork

👎 Longer time-to-market

The verdict

While the decision to choose one solution over the other ultimately depends on your individual needs, we strongly believe that it’s wise to refrain from a traditional approach. Committing to a solution might be user-friendly for marketers and editors, but it also limits your flexibility and freedom.

If you don’t mind being tied to a single solution and its roadmap, that’s perfectly fine. But if you care about getting access to the latest technology and best-of-breed features, look beyond solutions such as Hub CMS. If you have the time to design your own architecture, it’s definitely worth it.