Open Source vs. Proprietary: Which CMS is Right for You?

Open Source vs. Proprietary: Which CMS is Right for You?

These days, a well-designed website is one of the keys to success. Given the current situation, it looks like an increasing number of businesses will be relying on a website to perform most of their operations. If you don’t have a website yet, now is the perfect time to set one up. The first major decision you’ll have to make before you build your website is whether you should go for an open-source content management system or a proprietary content management system.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System, most commonly known as a CMS, is software that helps businesses efficiently manage and modify their website without needing any specialized technical knowledge to perform these operations. You’ll be able to build your business’ website without having to write code from scratch. You won’t even need to have any coding skills at all.

Proprietary CMS vs. Open Source

Proprietary CMS is designed and supported by one company. It’s usually hosted by the same company that owns it. You’ll have to pay a fee to use it and you won’t receive access to its source code.

Proprietary CMS companies will furnish you with on-call support whenever you need it. For example, Sitefinity will provide you with an experienced developer who can work with you to create the site your business requires. These professionals will help you build a website that has both solid coding and aesthetics. In the event that your site crashes, you’ll be able to receive quick and responsive maintenance that will help get it back online. They’ll also be able to keep you visible on search engine rankings as well as help transfer your site to a different server, if needed.

Open Source CMS is recommended for a smaller business that needs a fuss-free web presence. When you use this type of program, you won’t be owning the website itself. Instead, you only own the content that you upload on it such as products, descriptions, video files, images, and PDFs. An Open Source program doesn’t have a dedicated support system, but it does have an active and dynamic online community across a host of forums and blogs. There are plenty of options and third-party plug-ins for just about anything and everything you need for your website, as well.

How to choose the right CMS for you

Now that you understand the difference between the two programs, it’s time to choose the right one for your business. Answering the following questions will help you figure out which one suits your business’ needs and preferences.

  • What purpose will the software serve?
  • How will the software fit into your infrastructure?
  • What are your content requirements?
  • What attributes will it have?
  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • What are the long term goals of your business?

If you manage a midsize or large business that needs long-term dedicated support to improve your website, a Proprietary CMS is your best bet. This is especially true if your business depends on your website to conduct most, if not all, operations. Meanwhile, an Open Source CMS is great for a smaller business that needs to keep costs down and doesn’t heavily rely on a website to operate.

Both programs have their respective strengths and weaknesses. These different factors will come to play when it comes to your final decision. Your choice depends on your priorities as a business.

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