TABLE OF CONTENTS

10 Best Jamstack Alternatives to Choose in 2021

Tomasz Grabski
By Tomasz Grabski
jamstackpagepropicture

You probably already know what the Jamstack approach is, and yet there may be a few reasons you search for alternatives to it.

Sure, we would like to say that Jamstack is a good solution in any case, but, despite being Jamstack advocates, we can’t do that.

A wide range of Jamstack benefits are encouraging, but this modern approach to web development has its costs and limitations.

So, is there anything similar you could use that has the same sort of advantages as Jamstack?

Of course, it all depends on your specific business case and what you ultimately want (and can afford) to achieve, so before jumping into Jamstack alternatives, let’s talk about when to use Jamstack and when not, to make sure your case is definitely not for Jamstack.

We’ve also made a short video to help you make a final decision:

Want to learn more about Jamstack?

If you want to learn more about Jamstack itself, where it came from, why it became so popular, and how to start with it, read our Jamstack guide for business people.

Also, our Jamstack FAQ would be helpful to help you answer some questions you won’t find anywhere else. For example, about expected prices, or timeframes.

If you’d rather watch a video, here is one with Colby Fayock – one of the experts in the field of Jamstack development.

When to use Jamstack?

People decide to choose Jamstack for different reasons – mainly to grow their businesses online. Benefits of this approach that help them to do that are:

  • Blazing fast performance – Jamstack websites load within a blink of an eye as they are static sites with many optimisation-related features. It’s even more important after the introduction of Core Web Vitals.
  • SEO efficiency – as Jamstack sites are fast, light and easy to scan, they are favoured by Google, which rewards them with higher search rankings. 
  • Omnichannel – those who choose Jamstack can convert both web and mobile users as Jamstack websites work on any device.
  • Rich user experience – Jamstack and headless CMS is a perfect combination. You can create a website the way you want without compromising its speed.
  • Future-proof – using Jamstack is like protecting your business from the future necessity of investing in web development once again. You will not only keep up with the modern technologies and save time and money but also stay ahead of the competition.
  • Complete security – Jamstack websites have no direct connection to the database or other sensitive information.
An inforgaprhix showing reasons tu use Jamstack development approach

Although these are benefits that everybody running a business would like to get, there are some cases when Jamstack may not be a great idea.

When not to use Jamstack?

Think twice before choosing Jamstack if:

  • You have no coding knowledge
  • It seems to be too complicated for you
  • You have a small budget
  • There is a tight deadline
  • You want to use plugins
  • You don’t want to build from scratch

Let’s take a look at each one of these reasons.

Reason #1: You have no coding knowledge

Jamstack is not one of the drag-and-drop page builders (more on them later). Therefore, you need to have coding experience, including JavaScript and working with APIs. If you don’t have one, maybe you could hire someone to take care of the development from start to finish. However, it still requires some knowledge.

Reason #2: It seems to be too complicated

Creating a Jamstack website or webshop is not that simple as, i.e. setting up a WordPress website. You need to create a front-end layer from scratch and then connect it through API with a back-end layer. In some cases, you need to connect third-party tools, too. It might be discouraging enough to drop the idea of using Jamstack – especially in the case of bigger projects.

Reason #3: You have a small budget

If you want to build a simple website, the cost of using Jamstack isn’t that high – usually, you will have to spend around £4k – £8k.

However, it might grow few times if the project is more complex and involves UX/UI design. In that case, you may have to spend £6k – £30k (depending on the size of the project).

A big and complex project entails even higher costs – around £20k – £80k.

Depending on the complexity of your project, Jamstack might be simply too expensive.

Reason #4: There is a tight deadline

Creating a simple static website using the Jamstack approach may take from 1 month up to 3 months. So, if you want to set up, say, a landing page fast, it might be better to use some drag-and-drop page builder.

Reason #5: You want to use plugins

Plugins are the easiest way to implement new features into the website. However, building a Jamstack website or webshop requires coding and plugins can’t be used.

Reason #6: You don’t want to build from scratch

Sure, there are pre-made components you can use to build Jamstack websites, but most of the work needs to be coded. On the contrary, some of the Jamstack alternatives don’t require coding at all.

Jamstack alternatives

So, what to do when jamstack is actually not what you have been looking for?

Maybe you would like to get similar SEO results, but still be able to easily edit your content on your favorite CMS?

Let’s have a look on most popular ones. Our list is mostly based on people asking for comparisons of such technologies and platforms with Jamstack.

Here’s a list: (Use the menu on the left to navigate between Jamstack alternatives)

  1. WordPress
  2. MERN
  3. SPA
  4. React
  5. Squarespace
  6. Weebly
  7. Webflow
  8. Wix
  9. Shopify
  10. BigCommerce

Let’s go over each one of them to help you get a better overview.

Just mind that, as we said already, choosing Jamstack or its alternative really depends on your specific business case and goals you want to achieve (and costs you are ready to pay for such achievement).

However, if you are hesitating between choosing Jamstack and other ways, let us give you a short intro to each alternative.

Jamstack alternatives: WordPress

Short description

WordPress is a self-hosted open-source content management system written in PHP. It’s by far the most popular CMS globally, with 40% of the market share (according to W3Techs).

There is good news for those in love with WordPress – you don’t have to give up using it because it pairs well with Jamstack. The point is that you can use WordPress as a headless CMS and build a custom front-end or storefront on top of it.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
It’s free and easy to host wherever you wantResponsibility for maintenance, security, updates, and backups (unless you are using managed WordPress hosting)
Multiple themes, add-ons, extensions and pluginsIt takes some time to learn WordPress basics as it doesn’t come with a drag-and-drop page builder
Possibility to turn WP into an eCommerce platformAlthough coding isn’t required, knowledge of HTML and CSS (and some PHP) will make things much easier
Expandability (i.e. by adding new features)Weak on security (hackers are often attacking WordPress websites)
Easy customisation with a lot of optionsIt needs some speed and performance optimisation
Many integrations due to high popularity
A huge community ready to help
Many available WordPress developers

However, the main problem with WordPress is that it becomes easily overweight by plugins. In other words – the more plugin you add, the slower your website will be, and that affects your SEO results a lot.

But what if you don’t want to use Jamstack, and yet keep WordPress with you? After all, it’s easy to manage and super user-friendly.

Is there any way you can optimize WordPress to become much faster than it is now?

We have some good news here – WordPress Gutenberg blocks!

Jamstack vs WordPress with Gutenberg

The main idea of the Gutenberg tool is to be able to edit/build web pages using blocks and to make WordPress a more intuitive environment for creating web pages.

On top of that, you can build the entire library of custom fields that you can use in the future, which will make it super easy to edit and build your landing pages from scratch.

But what’s more important – you don’t need to use heavy plugins anymore to add features! Once you build a custom block as a feature (which is much lighter and has far less logic to use), you can use them again and again, and it won’t affect your page performance like a plugin would.

Finally, while with Jamstack you will always need the help of a qualified developer to make things happen, in this case, you just need a developer to build custom blocks that you will use almost like a drag and drop page builder.

Thanks to that, WordPress is not a content editing tool only anymore. It can become a really decent page builder.

Popular use cases

  • Simple personal blogs
  • Small and Medium Enterprise
  • Corporate websites
  • Online stores with small amount of products

Pricing

WordPress itself is free; however, you will still need to pay for domain registration and hosting. Pricing will vary depending on the service provider you choose, but these are the most popular: BlueHost, DreamHost, WPEngine.

Examples

99% Invisible

99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts about design.

99% invisible website screenshot

The Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Chicago that oversees Obama Presidential Center.

The Obama Foundation website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: MERN

Short description

MERN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js – four technologies forming the stack. The difference between Jamstack and MERN is that the former doesn’t require using particular technologies. In consequence, those who choose Jamstack don’t have to use specific libraries or frameworks.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Developers need to know just one programming language – JavaScriptLimited core React functionality – in some cases, it’s necessary to use third-party tools
Open-sourceNot recommended to use for large scale applications
Huge community and on-demand supportDirect calls to backend servers aren’t supported
Many available developersYou need to build from scratch
MVC (model view controller) architecture support
High performance due to Node.js and its asynchronous nature

Popular use cases

Although you can build whatever you want using the MERN stack, it’s best suited for projects that are JSON-heavy and will have a dynamic interface.

Examples of such projects include:

  • News aggregation websites
  • Todo apps and calendars
  • Workflow management

Pricing

Free as technologies from the MERN stack are open-source.

Jamstack alternatives: SPA

Short description

Single Page Application (SPA) is a web application (or website) that re-renders the content on a page in response to the interaction, like clicking a link instead of reloading the entire page. This way, browsing through SPA is like using a native application.

The main difference between Jamstack and SPA is that Jamstack sites consist of pre-rendered HTML files, and SPA loads content only if users request it.

One more thing – SPAs are Jamstack sites, but not all Jamstack sites are SPAs.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Fast loading timePoor SEO
Great user experienceHigh usage of browser resources
Advanced features are easy to addSecurity issues
Low bandwidth usageJavaScript support is needed (if the user disables JS in the browser, SPA won’t work correctly)
Data caching
Easy to debug

Popular use cases

  • SaaS platforms
  • Social networks
  • Closed communities

Pricing

Frameworks that you can use to build a SPA like Meteor or React.js are open-source. However, there are costs like hosting, development, maintenance, etc., and these depend on a specific case.

Examples

Grammarly

Grammarly is an online writing assistant available on all devices.

Grammarly website screenshot

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms and social networking sites on which users post and interact with short messages called tweets.

Twitter website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: React

Short description

React.js is a JavaScript library to build user interfaces. It’s an open-source framework created and released by Facebook in 2013. Since then, it’s being maintained not only by Facebook but individual contributors and companies as well.

React quickly became one of the most wanted and loved frameworks because of its focus on user experience and simplicity of development.

One thing worth mentioning is that React is the core of Jamstack frameworks like Gatsby and Next.js.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Great user experienceHigh pace of development
Performance and speed enhancementLack of proper documentation (however, opinions about that are divided)
SEO efficiency
Cost-effectiveness
Popularity (which means on-demand support and a lot of developers)
Shortened time to market
Development time and experience
Reusable components

Popular use cases

  • Single Page Application (SPA)
  • Social networking web applications
  • Data-heavy dashboards
  • eCommerce web applications

Pricing

React.js is free to use as its an open-source framework.

Examples

BBC

BBC is one of the oldest media companies in the world.

BBC website screenshot

Discord

Discord is a place to talk over voice, video, and text – the alternative to Slack.

Discord website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: Squarespace

Short description

Squarespace is an all-in-one solution for those who want to build a website. It allows users to use pre-built templates and a drag-and-drop editor to create or modify particular website pages.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Good-lookingQuite slow page loading speed
No need for third-party toolsUsability of the editor could be improved
Hosting is includedCustomisation is limited and might be painful
24/7 supportYou don’t own the website (i.e. you can’t host it on your server)
Pre-built templates (both free and paid)
Low monthly cost
eCommerce module (so you can sell products)
Mobile apps for Android and iOS
Blogging feature

Popular use cases

  • Simple corporate websites
  • Personal blogs and portfolios
  • Small online stores

Pricing

PersonalBusinessBasic CommerceAdvanced Commerce
Pay monthly$16/month$26/month$35/month$54/month
Pay annually$12/month$18/month$26/month$40/month

Examples

New Inc

New Inc is an incubator for art, technology and design located in New York City.

New Inc website screenshot

Fighting Eel

Fighting Eel is an online store with fashion apparel designed and made for women in Hawaii.

Fighting Eel website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: Weebly

Short description

Weebly is a free drag-and-drop website builder that you can use to create a website, blog or online store. However, there is one hatch – it’s free, but your URL will look like businessname.weebly.com. If you want a custom domain, you have to upgrade to one of the premium plans.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Easy to use drag-and-drop builderLimited customisation freedom (you might need knowledge of HTML and CSS in some cases)
Many available themes and templatesAdding a custom domain requires a premium plan
Many integrations with apps and add-onsLimited image editing options
Auto-save function
Competitive pricing
Fast page load times
Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Popular use cases

  • Regular corporate websites
  • Simple portfolios and personal blogs
  • Simple eCommerce stores

Pricing

Plans for websites

FreeConnectProBusiness
$0$5/month$12/month$25/month

Plans for online stores

ProBusinessBusiness plus
$12/month$25/month$38/month

Prices apply when paid annually.

Examples

The Box Bros

The Box Bros is an online store with hand-made wooden boxes for wrapping up gifts.

The Box Bros website screenshot

Fusedale Design

Fusedale Design is a showcase of the design work of Nick Fusedale.

Nick Fusedale website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: Webflow

Short description

Webflow is a no-code platform for building websites and online stores visually. However, “no-code” doesn’t mean that you can’t insert custom code if needed – you can.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Total design freedomLack of desktop application
Great performance and high page load speedLimited code customisation
Good SEOA bit of a learning curve
Option to export code and host website elsewhereConfusing hosting plans
Secure hosting with SSL certificate
Drag-and-drop editor
No coding knowledge required
CMS that you can adapt to your needs

Popular use cases

  • Corporate websites
  • Marketing websites
  • Landing pages
  • Learning platforms

Pricing

There are two types of plans – site plans (added per site) and account plans.

Site planes are divided into site plans and eCommerce plans.

Site plans

BasicCMSBusinessEnterprise
Paid annually$12/month$16/month$36/monthContact sales
Paid monthly$15/month$20/month$45/monthN/A

You can check the detailed pricing on Webflow’s official website.

Examples

Michael Kors Collection

It’s one of the websites created by the Michael Kors brand.

Michael Kors Collection website screenshot

Hologram

Hologram is a global IoT (internet of things) connectivity platform.

Hologram website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: Wix

Short description

Wix is a free website builder. It’s free as long as you want, but if you need more advanced features like a custom domain or the possibility of selling products, you need to upgrade to one of the premium plans.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Simple drag-and-drop interfaceYou can’t switch a template after selecting one
More than 800+ customisable free templatesNot best choice if you think about starting a blog
More than 200+ apps are available via the marketplaceSwitching to another platform is tricky
Affordable premium plansWeak SEO
Easy to use and understandProblems with responsiveness
Domain and hosting included with paid plans
Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) that can create a good-looking website based on your answers to a few questions

Popular use cases

  • Personal websites
  • Portfolios
  • Small business websites

Pricing

Premium plans are divided into (1) website plans and (2) business and eCommerce plans.

Plans and pricing depend on your geographical location. You can check the details about plans and pricing on the official Wix website.

Examples

Tobias Becs

Tobias Becs is a highly successful football freestyler.

Tobias Becs website screenshot

Industrial Jewellery

Industrial Jewellery is an online store with jewellery inspired by industrial materials.

Industrial Jewellery website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: Shopify

Short description

Shopify is a high-performant and popular eCommerce platform that is rapidly growing. It allows you to build a good-looking online store in no time.

The good news is that you can pair Shopify with Jamstack to fix some of Shopify’s limitations.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Good SEOIt might be pricey (especially if you decide to install premium apps)
Simplicity and ease of useMore advanced customisation may be hard (Shopify uses, own template language called Twig)
Many available themes (free and paid)It’s hard to move to another platform
Many available apps (free and paid)
Popularity (developers are easy to find)
Fully-hosted
High customizability
24/7 support
Many apps and features that help with marketing

Pricing

Basic ShopifyShopifyAdvanced Shopify
$29/month$79/month$299/month

You can also choose Shopify Lite that helps you add products to any website ($9/month) or Shopify Plus that is suitable for high-volume merchants.

Examples

Detour

Detour is an online store created by specialty coffee roasters from Canada.

Detour website screenshot

A Book Apart

A Book Apart is an online store with books for people who design, write, and code.

A Book Apart website screenshot

Jamstack alternatives: BigCommerce

Short description

BigCommerce is a modern eCommerce platform for online stores of any size – for small businesses, mid-sized ones and large enterprises.

Similarly to Shopify, you can also pair BigCommerce with Jamstack.

Main pros and cons

ProsCons
Friendly admin pageNo access to the server
Easy to use drag-and-drop builderLess popular than other platforms (i.e. Shopify)
Hosting is includedLess scalable and customisable when compared to open-source solutions
Variety of free and premium themes
Possibility to edit code
15-day free trial
Detailed customer data that is available right in the admin panel

Pricing

StandardProPlusEnterprise
Paid annually$29.95/month$71.95/month$269.96/monthContact sales
Paid monthly$29.95/month$79.95/month$299.95/monthN/A

Examples

BEARPAW

BEARPAW is a brand of boots, shoes and slippers available to buy online.

BEARPAW website screenshot

Rivet & Hide

Rivet & Hide is an online store with menswear.

Rivet & Hide website screenshot

Summary of Jamstack Alternatives

Let’s now get a wider overview of all the Jamstack alternatives and how do they compete with each other in different aspects.

We have been making this comparison from the perspective of building a quite simple website, without any super-custom features.

Easy to startEasy to manageCustomizationSpeedPerformanceSEO efficientDev costMonthly cost
Jamstack🔴🟡🟢🟢🟢🟢🔴🟢
WordPress🟢🟢🟡🟡🔴🟡🟡🟢
MERN🔴🔴🟢🟡🟢🟡🔴🟢
SPA🔴🔴🟢🟡🟢🟡🔴🟢
React🔴🔴🟢🟡🟢🟡🔴🟢
Squarespace🟢🟢🟡🟡🔴🟡🟢🟢
Weebly🟢🟢🟡🟡🔴🟡🟢🟢
Webflow🟡🟡🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢
Wix🟢🟢🟡🟡🔴🔴🟢🟢
Shopify🟢🟢🔴🟡🟡🟡🟡🟢
BigCommerce🟡🟡🔴🟡🟡🟡🟡🟢

Still not sure if Jamstack is right for you?