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Open Source Vs Proprietary CMS


In this day and age, it is important that your business has a website. More and more people are favouring online shopping to going to shops, and filling out online forms instead of ringing the company. Your website has to be ideal for your customers; you have to be able to provide your clients with all the online tools and information that they need and expect from a modern-day website.

The first big decision you have to make when you are thinking about your web site comes before you’ve even started building it; open source content management system or proprietary content management system?

Open Source CMS, like WordPress, lets you construct your website by yourself, with the help of the Open Source community. There are many open source CMS platforms, including Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Opencart to name but a few.

Internal or Proprietary CMS means that a separate web company custom builds your website using code such as HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL. Web companies tend to have software that is not open source and had taken years of development resulting in their software that they host and support for you.

Both methods have pros and cons, and it is important to compare them and choose the method that’s most appropriate for your business and your website needs.

What are the positives and negatives of a Proprietary CMS?

Positives of having a web company create a website using internal systems

  • Internal CMS companies provide their customers with support that’s readily available when you need it. Companies will talk you through everything you need to know and help you solve any problems in your site swiftly; a good internal CMS company values their customer and ensures that they receive the service they need.
  • Sites that are built by professionals are much better than a website that you make yourself. Both the aesthetics and the coding will benefit from professionals building your site.
  • An important aspect of your website is the speed; if your customers have to wait for every single page to load, they’ll leave your site within a couple of pages. CMS companies will make sure that your website loads swiftly to avoid deterring customers.
  • CMS companies will provide you with a unique, custom design that’s not dependent on a set design.
  • If your site goes down for a day, you could be losing up to hundreds of customers. With professional companies hosting your site, they’ll keep your site online.
  • Retaining search engine rankings is difficult; it is important that your website be changed from time to time. The company that manages your site or if you have a proprietary CMS, then you will have the ability to change your content as and when you want to.

Negatives of having a web company create a website using internal systems

  • The cost of proprietary CMS is higher than open source content. With the level of support this comes with, it is well worth it. Freelancers and one-man band outfits do not have the skill or time to deal with multiple support requests or cannot dedicate the time needed to help.
  • In many cases, you cannot keep the Proprietary CMS and move it to a separate server. You can ask for a static rip of your website and then you can give the code to the next development company. They will integrate their version of a CMS into your site, or you can choose not to have a CMS and simply have a static website. However, you will not have the ability to make any changes or amendments.

What are the benefits and negatives of Open Source CMS?

  • If you need to, you can move the site to a different server quickly and easily.
  • There’s an incredible range of skills in the community; for instance, WordPress hosts 20% of all websites currently online in the world. Many skilled developers can be hired to carry out a change or bespoke development on the website for you at a cost.
  • There is a vast range of additions and plug-ins that you can add to your site, especially in WordPress.

What are the benefits and negatives of Open Source CMS?

  • Beginners in Open Source CMS rely on the community, which could lead to confusion, frustration or even malicious software being installed on your site.
  • Using Open Source CMS could result in messy coding and wasted time; poorly coded or overly complicated plugins could affect you later on when you return to change your site. There are also SEO issues because too much extra code gets added to the website.
  • Sites using Open Source CMS can be difficult to manage if you have not had any prior coding lessons or experience.
  • Because Open Source CMS is community-based if the community moves to a new system, anyone still using the old system will be abandoned.
  • The vast range of options can be a detriment; it is possible to spend hours trying to find the options that are suited to your site, searching through numerous plug-ins to find well-made add-ons.


Open Source CMS is more suited to smaller websites and people or businesses that just need a quick web presence. Lots of enterprises are sold open source systems because they get told they own the website. Which is right but your websites’ most expensive attribute is the content that you put on there. If you change your site the only thing that you ever need is the content; images, products, descriptions, PDF’s and Video. So it makes no difference whether you own the website or not, every web company by law has to give you your content when you move away from them.

The reason most businesses have an open source system is because they get sold one by a sales representative. Someone who does not have the skill level or experience to make a bespoke website using code like PHP and MySQL. Not true in every case but nine times out of 10 it is. The world now is full of youngsters and graduates who have some knowledge of being able to create an Open Source website. They do not have the skill in being able to make anything more than a simple brochure style website by using an off the shelf product!

Proprietary CMS is more suited for professional companies that need custom design and custom development and also the support and guidance of experienced software developers and online marketing experts. A well-established web company will employ an array of designers and developers that will have built hundreds if not thousands of websites in their careers and can help advise, train and educate their clients. Admittedly it can be more expensive to use a web company but if they already have hundreds if not thousands of customers it usually means they are doing something correct.

Your website can be upgraded. The staff that work for a web company will go out of their way to make sure you are well looked after and that your website stays updated and working with all the latest technology.

By choosing a professional CMS company, you can be sure that they’ll provide consistently fantastic results without disrupting your day-to-day business.


Source by Duncan Maund