What is Jamstack? – A Guide For Non-technical Leaders


Why even bother with Jamstack?

Before diving straight into what is Jamstack, let’s get some context.

The environment of digital business is technologically complex, and without at least a decent knowledge foundation, it’s super easy to get lost, miss many opportunities, and do things the wrong way, even without knowing it.

This is why we love to think that a website is a kind of a living and evolving creature, that adapts to your clients’ needs, and constantly changing digital environment.

And Jamstack enables you to do just that – adapt fast.

So this guide has been made for two main reasons:

  • To explain the core complexities of the web environment, so you can feel more comfortable with your decisions
  • show you how to make a digital business more efficient from a technical point of view.

So, what is Jamstack, actually?

What is Jamstack?

So, to make it simple, Jamstack is a modern web development architecture that enables you to build static pages and websites based on the microservices methodology. It also gives you all static advantages, like great performance, high traffic resistance, fast load speed, safety, great SEO, etc.

Thanks to caching everything in a Content Delivery Network (CDN), Jamstack sites run smoothly every time.

Why is it called Jamstack?

There was a day when JAMstack was considered as a mashup of JavaScript (the code), reusable APIs (the website’s infrastructure), and a Markup (pre-rendered final result).

Not anymore.

Netlify (a Jamstack creator) went away from the technical JAM acronym and made it more of a development philosophy instead of a name based on some technical features.

In other words, you don’t have to use JavaScript or API to build a Jamstack website.

jamstack workflow

What is the Content Delivery Network?

Normally hosting service serves the site from a single location, in the case of CDN, each unique user is served through a server that is geographically the closest to his location.

What is Jamstack used for?

So, one of the most frequently asked questions is: Should I use Jamstack?

And although we love to think that you can use Jamstack in every single case there is, we are also humble enough to admit it’s not entirely the truth.

Yet, many business cases prove that using it just makes perfect sense and brings many of its technical advantages to become business advantages as well.

If you got a bit tired of reading, I’ve also made a dedicated video on When to use Jamstack, and when not.

youtube video about when to use jamstack?

When to use Jamstack?

For example, if you want to build:

  • eCommerce websites – your Jamstack website will definitely help you engage your customers (page speed and better UX) and rank higher in Google search results (SEO & UX, and oh yes, Core Web Vitals). Consequently, it may lead to a conversion rate increase.


Find our how did we build a front-end for web app for insurance company using Jamstack

  • Software and SaaS websites – the first impression matters a lot, so making it great by building a site that will load in a blink of an eye – sounds effective!
  • Custom Landing Pages – you can use unlimited customization and super speed to enhance UX, and get better organic and advertising results, as well as combine it with a proper Content Management System to make it super easy for the marketing team to build and optimize such pages.
  • B2B company’s websites – B2B customers want someone they can trust with their money. Period. They don’t just buy stuff, they buy assets that they hope will pay them back, so building trust around those assets seems to be a reasonable direction. Your trustworthiness and professionalism can be elevated with a clean, and modern look, that will raise your chance to be chosen.
  • Online services – Although Jamstack was mainly associated with the concept of static pages, it becomes more and more dynamic over time, so using it for websites like news portals, (crypto)currency, and stock exchange websites that use real-time data became a great idea.

We are going much deeper into the details and pain points of a specific business case in our dedicated article on when to use and when not to use Jamstack.

Ready to migrate to a Jamstack architecture?

When not to use Jamstack?

It might not be a good idea to choose the Jamstack approach if:

  • Your budget is limited – using Jamstack means hiring skilled developers, which is costly in both, hiring internally, and outsourcing option. On top of that, if you want to rebuild your website to Jamstack, you should be aware of how complex this build process is, and how many fundamental changes have to be done.
  • You are not ready for big changes – In most cases, choosing Jamstack means also choosing new CMS, creating a new look, rebranding, etc. As I’ve mentioned, such an endeavor means lots of changes and is costly, so it is also a great idea while doing rebranding, or rebuilding the marketing strategy.
  • You don’t have enough technical knowledge (or budget to pay for it) – coding is required as well as working with APIs to use full Jamstack potential. Yes, you can connect a website to CMS (which makes updates painless), but it still requires skills. If you don’t have JavaScript or React knowledge, you should lean on developer experience.
  • You are just starting out – Jamstack is not beginner-friendly when compared to such solutions as WordPress. Therefore, if you are a small company that wants to start a business online, something easier like WP might be a better option.
  • You prefer using plug-ins – coding knowledge and specific skills are required to build Jamstack websites, and except for Gatsby, most of the technologies don’t allow for using ready-to-use plugins to add new features without much coding.

Pros and cons of using Jamstack

Although Jamstack comes with many great advantages, there are also a few features that make it less effective in specific areas.

Let’s list some of the most important pros and cons of using it.

Pros and Cons of Jamstack

Three main benefits of Jamstack

User Experience

One of the most important benefits of using Jamstack (and reasons to choose it) is the possibility to build a great custom user experience. In a world full of look-alike websites and shops, it’s a great way to differentiate your business from the competition.

Also, it’s not only about building a good-looking site – it should be also user-friendly from a page speed and performance point of view.

Ask yourself – would you come back to the place where you had a terrible experience? Like waiting in a line in the shop with a huge line, 10 checkouts, and only one of them working?

The same rule applies to websites and webshops – the first impression will either encourage you to or discourage you from coming back. 

If the overall experience is terrible, it’s less likely you will come back. 

User experience is also important for Google and its crawlers. They even gave some suggestions to implement the user experience of our website or online store.

Essential things for Google:

  • Easy-to-read, relevant and helpful content
  • Responsive design
  • Fast page load speed
  • Clear and well-organised site architecture

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

There are a few reasons why Jamstack sites are SEO-friendly.

First of all, Jamstack means getting complete control over the website’s content and structure, and consequently, over the SEO possibilities. Adding custom metadata like the titles, meta descriptions, and alt text is easy. It helps Google crawlers with reading and indexing your website’s content.

Another thing that helps with indexing is that Jamstack websites are static – they consist of HTML files. Thus, it solves many typical problems with improving a website’s SEO.

Google loves Jamstack because of one more reason – its high performance and fast page load speed. As a result, such websites are rewarded with higher rankings in search results. Consequently, it leads to more visitors, leads, and sales.

Want to switch to Jamstack?

Performance and speed

In general, the page load speed and the performance of a website are:

  • Important SEO ranking factors
  • Affecting user experience (positively or negatively)
  • Impacting conversion rate (positively or negatively)

Let’s retake a look at some stats to highlight the importance of speed and performance.

  • Almost 70% of site visitors admit that page load speed has a huge impact on their buying decision (Unbounce).
  • 47% of site visitors expect that a website will load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% of site visitors will abandon a website if they need to wait more than three seconds till it fully loads.

As Jamstack websites pre-generate specific pages at a build time, it increases the page load speed and performance.

Besides that, all pages are stored on a Content Delivery Network closest to the user that visits a website. It also increases the page load speed.

Reasons to use Jamstack

Other benefits of Jamstack

While the three main benefits include user experience, SEO, performance, and speed, it has so much more to offer for digital business websites.

  • Better Google rankings
  • Total safety
  • High traffic resistance
  • Headless integration
  • Serverless functions
  • Future-proof
  • Reusable components
  • Cheap and portable hosting
  • Easier maintenance
  • Omnichannel approach (works on any device)
  • Developers love it

Cons of Jamstack

While it may seem so, Jamstack is not all rainbows and unicorns. Apart from many benefits, it also has a few cons and limitations.

  • Coding may be required – If you want to make any updates on your website or landing page and it’s not connected to the headless CMS, you will need either some coding knowledge or the help of a qualified developer.
  • Some technologies are not plugin-friendly – great user experience and total freedom in customisation have their cost – you won’t be able just to use any plugin you want. All the work needs to be coded, except for Gatsby.
  • Generating preview takes time – Jamstack sites are static (with dynamic features) so you need to “build” it each time you make a change. If your website is kind of big, it can be a real pain. However, Gatsby and Next.js creators are working on a solution for that.

If you want to go deeper, we made an article with a more comprehensive list of Jamstack pros and cons.

Best Jamstack technologies

Using Jamstack requires choosing technologies that will be responsible for the front-end and back-end layers. We gathered some of our favourites below.

  • Gatsby JS – open-source React framework with a massive ecosystem of Plugins, Themes, and Starters that boost the development process
  • Next.js – open-source React framework that supports both static site generation and server-side rendering
  • React JS – a JavaScript library used by developers to build user interfaces and a base for different frameworks like Gatsby and Next.js
  • TypeScript – open-source programming language built on top of JavaScript, which works great with Node.js and offers IDE support

Use the power of modern tech stack.

Pagepro’s favourite Headless eCommerce platforms

  • BigCommerce – SaaS eCommerce platform following the latest digital trends which can be used for headless eCommerce
  • Magento (Adobe Commerce) – an eCommerce platform dedicated to bigger players, which offers many rich features, headless architecture and various third-party integrations
  • Saleor – an open-source headless eCommerce platform that puts GraphQL first
  • Shopify – SaaS eCommerce platform which allows vendors to sell anywhere in the world with many features like Point of Sale (POS) system
  • Contentful – API-first content management platform to build digital experiences with features like localisation and personalisation
  • Sanity – a flexible content platform built for developers by developers. It allows for collaboration and customisation in real-time to build data-driven content applications
  • Strapi – an open-source headless CMS built with JavaScript which offers things like customisable API or internationalisation
  • WordPress – the most popular CMS globally, which powers more than 40% of websites in the world. Thanks to Jamstack, WordPress websites get a new life by becoming headless
  • Prismic – it’s a Content Management System and a tool for editing online content. It lets you choose your technology, framework, and language and then easily manage your content.

If you hesitate about which CMS you should use for your Jamstack project, read our comprehensive article on the comparison of different Jamstack CMSes.

Examples of Jamstack Static Site Generators (SSG)

  • Gatsby – is one of the first and most popular new-age static site generators, yet Gatsby lately provides also dynamic, optimized websites and a cloud platform.
  • Next.js – at the moment, probably the most interesting tool for building both static and dynamic pages. Definitely, the one loved the most by developers that bring a lot of great possibilities to Jamstack and website optimization.
  • Hugo – fast framework is written in Go (aka Golang) for building sites with content-supporting features like unlimited content types and taxonomies or customisable URLs
  • Jekyll – simple Ruby framework for building personal blogs or organisation sites
  • VuePress – static site generator based on Vue written by Evan You for keeping (technical) documentation in order

Best Jamstack Static Site Generators: Next.js vs Gatsby JS

Next.js and Gatsby JS are absolutely the most popular static site generators used to build Jamstack websites.

However, it’s important to know the similarities and differences between these two, as they both do a great job, but in different use cases. Let’s make the final decision easier.

Table with advantages of Jamstack static site generators - gatsby and nextjs

First of all, both are for building performant and SEO-friendly websites.

Next.js and Gatsby are also:

  • Using React.js
  • Following the Jamstack architecture
  • Simplifying web development (as they provide a boilerplate – a fixed structure to follow during the development process)
  • Selected by big players like hulu, TikTok, InVision (Next.js) or Impossible Foods, Figma, SendGrid (Gatsby)

These are the similarities. Now, let’s jump to the differences.

The main difference is that Gatsby JS is just a static site generator, while Next.js offers both server-side rendering and static site generation.

Static site generation (SSG) means that the HTML is generated at build time and reused on each request.

Server-side rendering (SSR) means that the HTML is generated on each request.

Other differences:

Next.jsGatsby JS
Data handlingDevelopers can choose how to approach data fetchingYou need to use GraphQL
CommunityA quite small showcase of websites built with Next.js (around 100 websites)Agency program supporting agencies using Jamstack
A quite big showcase (more than 1000 websites)
Plugins, themes, extensions, integrationsEncourages developers to build everything from scratchMany ready-to-use plugins

If you want to learn more, you can read our article in which we compared Next js vs Gatsby JS. Or, if you don’t feel like reading, you can watch our video on the same topic.

Youtube video about Gatsby vs Nextjs comparison

Jamstack alternatives

Of course, Jamstack isn’t the only choice out there. Below you will find short comparisons versus its alternatives such as WordPress, SPA and MERN.

Jamstack vs WordPress

WordPress is an example of monolithic architecture, while Jamstack is an example of headless architecture, and that’s the main difference between these two. The good news is that businesses that enjoy using WordPress don’t have to give up using it, as it pairs well with Jamstack.

Other differences:

  • Jamstack websites are more secure as there is no direct connection to the database or other sensitive data (because the front-end layer is separated from the back-end layer)
  • Sites built with Jamstack don’t rely on a server as they are pre-built and serverless
  • Static sites (aka Jamstack sites) are faster than dynamic sites by default
  • WordPress handles everything needed for a website to work, so you don’t need additional technologies or solutions
  • WordPress is less demanding than Jamstack when it comes to managing content or required technical knowledge

Speaking of WordPress, you can use it as a great headless CMS!

Jamstack vs SPA

A Single Page Application (SPA) is a web app or website that rewrites the current page with new data instead of loading it from scratch. Thus, it feels like browsing a native application.

To put it simply, SPAs are Jamstack sites, while not all Jamstack sites are SPAs.

The main difference between these two is that Jamstack sites consist of pre-rendering static HTML files while SPAs load content when users request it first.

Jamstack vs MERN

MERN stands for MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js, and these are the technologies that make up the stack. On the contrary, Jamstack doesn’t limit developers when it comes to choosing technologies to use. Furthermore, it doesn’t require using particular libraries or frameworks as a must. Instead, Jamstack refers to JavaScript, API, and Markup.

If you’re interested in more alternatives, check out this article: 10 Best Jamstack Alternatives to choose in 2021

Jamstack for eCommerce

As you already know, Jamstack can be used not only for corporate websites or landing pages but also for building online webshops. Such a way of eCommerce development is getting more and more popular as it takes advantage of headless architecture a lot.

If you want to read more about what Headless eCommerce is, check out this article.

Pros of Jamstack for eCommerce

Building a webshop is way more complicated and demanding than setting up even the most advanced website. Some Jamstack benefits are common for every industry, but let’s look at them specifically from an eCommerce perspective.

  • Ability to sell products everywhere – which results in higher revenue. With Jamstack, you can display and sell your products on multiple platforms like Amazon or Facebook. Also, you can manage all digital sales channels in one place instead of managing them separately.
  • Improved time to market – which results in time and money savings. Jamstack offers reusable and premade components that boost the development process. Consequently, it leads to faster time to market, which means savings in both time and money.
  • Developer experience – which results in faster development. This benefit is strictly connected to the previous one as thanks to the developer experience, time to market is improved. Also, Jamstack gives developers the possibility and resources to use APIs so webshops owners can stay with their favourite platforms like Shopify. Thanks to that, developers can focus solely on front-end development. It cuts not only the development time but also the amount of money spent.
  • Unlimited customisation – which results in a greater user experience. A digital world is full of lookalike webshops offering the same shopping experience. With Jamstack, you can build a truly custom storefront to adapt your webshop to customers’ needs and expectations. Thanks to that, you will undoubtedly stand out from the competition.

Best eCommerce Jamstack platforms

BigCommerceMagento SaleorShopify

Check out the comparison of 6 Top Jamstack Headless eCommerce platforms here.

Jamstack FAQ

We’ve answered the most popular questions about Jamstack, check it out. 

Ready to switch to Jamstack?

Further readings

If you are a knowledge seeker, and you still search for more information to make sure you make a better decision, we could definitely recommend tons of readings, but it’s good to start from the following articles:

Chris Lojniewski

CEO at Pagepro - React & React Native software house specialising in building tailor-made web applications for clients around the world. Chris is currently spearheading a mission close to his heart: making development frictionless. His philosophy transcends the conventional, recognising that while modern tech, especially React & React Native, is a game-changer, the real revolution lies in combining cutting-edge technology with effective processes, creative exploration, and strategic foresight.

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