Headless Drupal 8

Headless Drupal 8 is quickly becoming a priority architecture for enterprises seeking to better engage customers across a growing number of channels devices. Headless Drupal architecture decouples Drupal’s back-end capabilities for managing content from the front-end tools for rendering and displaying content on websites, mobile devices and other digital experiences. With a decoupled Drupal architecture, digital teams are free to use any front-end technology they believe is best suited to deliver content to customers.

Implementing a headless content management system for Drupal requires a platform where developers can build both traditional Drupal sites as well as decoupled Drupal experiences. That’s why more organizations are turning to Acquia Cloud Platform when seeking a solution for implementing headless Drupal 8.

Headless Drupal 8: the basics

A headless Drupal 8 architecture allows developers to use any technology to create the front-end experience – the point where users interact with content – while relying on Drupal’s powerful back-end functionality to continue storing, managing, organizing and serving data.

This type of headless CMS system is especially helpful as enterprises serve content to channels, devices and media that are rapidly growing in number and diversity. CMS systems no longer just deliver content to websites – they must also serve mobile sites, smartwatches, native mobile apps, IoT devices, conversational UIs like Siri and Alexa, digital signage, virtual reality programs, CRM systems, chat platforms, fitness trackers and scores of other devices.

With a decoupled CMS or a headless Drupal 8 architecture, developers can choose any tool to render the front-end content, providing them more freedom and flexibility to choose the best front-end tools for any job.

Acquia provides more front-end choice with headless Drupal 8


Acquia Cloud Platform provides a powerful cloud-native web hosting platform for building and managing Drupal-based digital experiences. As a fully managed solution, Acquia Cloud provides powerful developer tools out of the box, built-in security, real-time monitoring and troubleshooting and world-class support to enable digital teams to build better web, mobile and other digital experiences. Now, with built-in support for Node.js, Acquia Cloud also enables developers to use a single platform to create projects with back-end Drupal applications and server-side rendered front-end applications.


With a headless Drupal 8 architecture enabled through Acquia Cloud, developers have multiple options Ffor building sites. They can build fully decoupled Drupal sites and applications, where Drupal’s role is only to manage content and expose it to other front-end servers through web service APIs. Alternately, developers can work with a hybrid (progressively decoupled) Drupal architecture, where JavaScript is layered on top of the existing Drupal front-end to improve the user experience on a webpage. Developers also have the option of continuing to build sites with traditional Drupal, where Drupal has control over both the presentation and the data layers.

Key features for building headless Drupal 8 sites

Highlights of Acquia’s support for headless Drupal 8 include:

  • The ability to create once and publish anywhere: With headless Drupal 8, marketers and publishers can save time and reduce syndication complexity by using Drupal as a central repository for content and easily delivering it to any experience, channel or media.
  • More freedom to design the front-end: Developers and designers can use any technology to create the front-end experience. They can choose tools they’re most comfortable with or solutions that will create the most compelling experience for users.
  • Easier resourcing: Any developer of technology can easily communicate with a headless Drupal 8 CMS to build their applications.
  • A less complicated development process: With headless Drupal 8, front-end and back-end teams can work independently of each other rather than being blocked or delayed by the other team’s lack of progress.
  • An API-first approach: Decoupled Drupal lets developers use a set of APIs for data consumption rather than needing to build out an entire stack.
  • A single source of truth for content: Headless Drupal 8 enables content creators to store all their content in a single place, eliminating problems with multiple documents and versions and simplifying content control and branding management. 

Why Acquia is #1 for headless Drupal 8 deployments

Acquia is an open digital experience platform designed for building, running and optimizing Drupal-based experiences. Acquia was founded by the same open source pioneer who founded Drupal, providing Acquia teams with unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the core technology that powers both Drupal and decoupled Drupal applications. Having invested in the development of headless Drupal for over five years, Acquia’s support for Node.js runtime has sealed its reputation as the #1 choice of developers for headless Drupal 8 projects.

FAQs: What is headless Drupal 8?

What is headless Drupal 8?

Headless Drupal 8 is an architecture for Drupal 8 that decouples Drupal’s back-end content management functionality with its front-end content presentation tools. With a headless Drupal 8 solution, developers can use Drupal’s powerful back-end functionality to expose content to any other front-end system, enabling them to design the front-end experience using tools they are more familiar with or that are more appropriate for a particular interface.

What are the benefits of headless Drupal 8?

Development and marketing teams can use a headless Drupal 8 architecture to adopt a create-once-publish-anywhere approach to content management, storing content in Drupal’s powerful back-end and delivering it to many different channels and devices. Headless Drupal 8 also enables developers to use the best tools available to create any particular digital experience and to enjoy a more streamlined development process with the ability to use a single platform for creating both back-end applications with Drupal and server-side rendered applications with a JavaScript framework. 

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