CMS & Web Experience Management

CMS Leader WP Engine Launches Atlas

The Complete Headless WordPress Platform for Exponentially Faster Dynamic Sites
content management system

WP Engine, the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company, today announced Atlas, its new headless WordPress product line. WP Engine’s Atlas is the complete headless WordPress platform, enabling exponentially faster dynamic sites with the flexibility and security that comes with headless solutions.

WP Engine, the world’s most trusted WordPress technology company, today announced Atlas, its new headless WordPress product line. WP Engine’s Atlas is the complete headless WordPress platform, enabling exponentially faster dynamic sites with the flexibility and security that comes with headless solutions. Delighting both developers and content publishers, Atlas brings together the customer’s choice of modern development framework with powerful front-end Node.js hosting and headless WordPress all in one complete package, providing one trusted partner, one price, and one support organization with the expertise to troubleshoot everything that’s included.

“Headless solutions are absolutely the future of enterprise WordPress, yet there isn’t one end-to-end solution out there that includes the dynamic Node.js layer, the static CDN layer and the Headless content management systems (CMS) layer, in one package,” said Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine. “That’s why we created Atlas. Using the modern frameworks they prefer, developers can build personalized, omni-channel experiences integrated with backends at the speed normally reserved for static brochure sites. Marketers maintain critical publishing functionality lacking in other headless CMSs like post previews, SEO optimizations and pages they can control. With Atlas, developers aren’t forced to choose between incredible site performance and dynamic experiences. And they can keep the open source CMS platform that drives 40% of the web, now upgraded to support developers’ modern architecture. It’s the best of all worlds.”

Why Headless Matters
In short, headless WordPress simply means “no WordPress front-end.” Companies who use an entirely headless solution will typically host a separate JavaScript application for the front-end, which pulls specific WordPress data via APIs — the WordPress REST API or the WPGraphQL plugin.

Headless WordPress provides developers the ultimate flexibility and freedom for the “right tech, right job,” easy integrations with other software, additional layers of security and the ability to future-proof the CMS for marketers who gain a new level of flexibility and control of the content. They can anticipate new channels, new devices and the ability to publish more broadly and to any device.

Developer Pain Points
Today’s developers are under pressure to deliver highly performant and secure omnichannel digital experiences that rank higher and convert better on a platform that easily scales and integrates with an increasing array of martech SaaS tools.

Solution engineers have had to fill in the gaps to architect a complete stack that meets these’ needs. In doing so, they faced significant time-to-market delays, had to hire talent to manage multiple systems, lacked transparency on total cost of development and had to jump through a lot of technical hoops to troubleshoot.

Depending on the choice of existing technology, various limits or trade-offs exist:

  • Monolithic CMSs can restrict content publishers’ content types and location, and prevent developers from using modern JavaScript frameworks.
  • Static site generators solve for client site speed, yet they inhibit easy content updates, limit dynamic site builds, and lack custom APIs to integrate with other corporate systems.
  • Native headless CMSs are fast and provide supreme front-end flexibility for omni-channel and internet of things (IoT), but can get expensive with scale, forfeit an agencies’ expertise in WordPress, and lack critical CMS features like SEO, layouts, and authoring workflows that restrict publishing.

Atlas: The Complete Headless Solution for WordPress
WP Engine is the leader in managed WordPress, as well as the leader in large WordPress sites, in terms of number of sites, agency partnerships and WordPress tools. It’s also the fastest among the top WordPress hosts with the highest percentage of sites that load in less than 200ms among all other WordPress platforms. This speed advantage is a critical feature given WordPress now powers 40% of the entire Internet, making it the most dominant form of website in the world.

WP Engine’s Atlas is the only headless solution that includes the dynamic node layer, the static CDN layer, and the Headless CMS layer in one package. It’s also the only headless solution where the front-end and back-end work in harmony, to deliver features that aren’t possible when other solutions are sold separately and not bundled together, like post previews and SEO.

Atlas Node Engine: The Fastest Global Node Platform
With Atlas’s proprietary acceleration technology for managed Node.js hosting, developers can build dynamic omni-channel experiences with static speeds. Features and benefits of the Node engine include:

  • Auto-Scaling, Auto-Healing Node.js Platform
    • “Deploy it, and forget it” infrastructure effortlessly supports traffic surges
    • Auto-heals on infrastructure failure and protects against downtime
  • API-First Platform
    • 100% of the platform managed via API, allowing integrations both between WP Engine services (e.g. User Portal) and corporate systems (e.g., SFDC, HubSpot)
  • Static CDN
    • Provides boost to image-SEO plus improved load times
    • Enhances security, increased scalability and performance
  • Multi-Environment Support
    • Support for multiple live environments, e.g. “dev / stage / prod,” on JavaScript-side and the CMS-side, supporting any development workflow
  • Environment Variables
    • Secure place to store site config & “secrets” like API tokens. Allows for identical code b/t staging + production, but different configuration
  • Build & Error Logs
    • Verify code behavior, identify & debug issues, monitor usage analytics
  • Custom Domain Mapping
    • Enables you to customize domain names so they are easy to remember and reflective of your brand

Headless WordPress CMS
Atlas brings the features of WordPress into the world of headless. Benefits of this combination include:

  • Post Preview
    • Lets publishers edit content without having to submit a ticket to IT
  • Internal Hyperlink Preservation
    • Preserves the existing URL structure to protect SEO rankings
  • WordPress Lockdown
    • Automatically suppresses content from an active WP theme to minimize site visitors’ confusion and avoid SEO penalty for duplicate content
    • Read-only file system ensures changes cannot be made to your site’s code via the WPAdmin Dashboard + disables the ability to install/update plugins, themes, WP core files
    • Uses authenticated tokens to lock down the WP API, protecting it from hackers.
    • Blocks malicious XML-RPC traffic to your site

Developer Framework Optionality
Developers gain the freedom to build on preferred JS frameworks to accelerate launch success. These features include:

  • Modern Tech & Frameworks
    • Decoupled CMS lets developers use modern frameworks including React, Angular, Vue, Next.js, Frontity, and Gatsby
  • Starter Themes
    • Well-designed, performant starter themes create a quick and easy on- ramp for developers
  • Visual Portal
    • Easy platform deployment, monitoring, troubleshooting via portal streamlines workflows
  • Command-Line Tool
    • 100% scriptable so developers can configure the platform from their keyboard or write scripts to automate anything
  • Automated Github Deploys & Branches
    • Lets developers control when and where code is deployed
    • Automatically pushes GitHub projects + branches to live environments via secure connection
    • Decreases time-to-innovation and supports CI/CD initiatives

Developer Resources for Headless
In tandem with the launch of Atlas, WP Engine invites all developers interested in headless WordPress to join the conversation at developers.wpengine.com, where they will be able to access content featuring product documentation, best practices, tutorial videos, and more.

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