Open Source v Custom or Proprietary CMS

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When building a business website, once you have defined what you are trying to achieve, one of the first and most important decisions you will have to make is which Content Management System (CMS) you will use.

Deciding which CMS to use to build your website on is vital: this decision affects every aspect of the design and development of your website.

What is a CMS? – it’s the computer application used to build, publish, edit, modify and maintain your website. It is designed to allow you to login and make changes to your site without having to update the code.

Although there are many different CMS platforms available, they can be split into two different types: open source and proprietary.

Open Source CMS

Open source applications are those for which the code required is readily and freely available to use, copy, or edit. This freedom encourages collaboration and innovation, thus allowing web designers and developers to bolt on small pieces of software (plugins) to enhance the operation of the CMS.

WordPress – which is used by about 1 in 5 of the world’s websites – is an open source CMS and its open source design is hugely popular with businesses.

This is because WordPress allows users easy access to make updates to the content, whilst also having the flexibility to extend the functionality of the CMS to meet changing business requirements.

Custom CMS

 A custom CMS is a bespoke application that is built specifically for your website.

A custom CMS gives the developer a lot of flexibility and control over the code and functionality. However, this personalisation can increase the cost when compared to open source or even proprietary CMS systems.

These systems may be more susceptible to bugs, and often require extensive testing before being rolled out.

Using a custom CMS locks your business into using that provider for the ongoing hosting and support of your site. Moving to another provider may be difficult, and might even involve starting from scratch.

Proprietary CMS

A proprietary CMS is an application that is built using privately held code. These applications are designed and controlled by the companies that create them.

These can be free to use, but may include fees to add additional functionality modules, charge a subscription, or run advertising.

There are a number of website builder CMS platforms on the market, including GoDaddy and Wix.

The selling point of these systems is that they can be easy to use and simple to understand. However, this can also be their limitation, because there is necessarily narrow scope for personalisation or additional functionality. Web design technology is also changing fast, and users of proprietary CMS platforms are dependent on the CMS provider keeping up.

Open Source v Custom or Proprietary CMS

On the face of it, a proprietary CMS sounds like the solution for business owners: they are inexpensive and easy to use and you may not need a web developer.

However, in general they are quite limited in the functionality they can deliver. The control over the solution – and ultimately your website – lies with the company that owns the code and any updates and changes are at the discretion of the company owner.

Companies using proprietary CMS systems may also find it difficult to switch CMS providers without starting their website build from scratch, due to potential restrictions from the company they are using.

Using a custom CMS may seem like the high-end approach with flexibility in functionality available. However, they can be costly to build, more likely to contain errors, and lock your business to a provider for hosting and updates.

This is why at Jigowatt we passionately believe that open source CMS platforms are the best solution for our customers. We use WordPress to design our clients’ websites.

It provides a versatile solution that can be simple or complex, depending on the unique requirements of the user.

Open source systems can move quickly to keep up to date with consumer trends and changes in technology, whilst giving companies flexibility in what they do with their website.

Why not get in contact with us at Jigowatt and find out how an open source CMS can enhance your business.

Written by Luke Reid Webbie

Luke is an aspiring Front-End Developer who also enjoys WordPress theming. Luke is eager to expand his knowledge & take in as much code as possible.

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