Open Source Vs. Closed Source

When it comes to website development and design, you need to decide on which content management system (CMS) you want to use. There are many CMSs available to choose from, so it’s all about working out which one is best suited to your needs and budget. However, the first thing you need to determine is whether or not you want to used an open source CMS or a closed source CMS. Not sure what the difference is? Read on to find out.

Open source content management systems

An open source CMS isn’t technically ‘owned’ by anyone; it’s overseen by a controlling body, and managed/improved/worked upon by interested individuals.

: Advantages

There many advantages to using an open source CMS. Firstly, an open source CMS is free – and for many DIY web design in Toorak this is the deciding factor! Additionally, these types of CMSs make the source code available to everyone, meaning those with the right skills can actually modify the code and extend the functionality as required. Another main advantage is that open source CMSs are generally pretty easy to use and manage (for example WordPress), making them ideal for those who aren’t as tech savvy. Lastly, due to the popularity of open source CMSs, there’s plenty of information and support available (think ‘how to’ articles) for beginners.

: Disadvantages

The main disadvantage of an open source CMS is the fact that they are little easier to hack. This is due to the fact that so many people are familiar with the code; for larger companies, sometimes it’s just a little too risky.

: The best open source CMSs

For product management (e-commerce sites) the best three are:

•    Magento
•    Zen Cart
•    osCommerce
The top 3 general-purpose options are:

•    WordPress
•    Joomla!
•    Drupal

: Closed source content management systems

Closed source CMSs (also referred to as proprietary systems) are generally run and owned by one company. Most do not allow access to the source code, however the good ones do offer open framework – meaning others can work upon them if necessary. Closed course CMSs are usually hosted by the company that owns them – and they virtually always come with a licensing fee.

: Advantages

For larger businesses that just want a great-looking website with minimal hassle, a closed source CMS can work well – as the ‘behind the scenes’ side of it is left to the hosting company. Closed source CMSs can also be more secure (especially when it comes to e-commerce sites), and website development in Southbank don’t have to spend as much time securing the code (like they would have to with an open source system).

: Disadvantages

Firstly, there’s the cost involved – meaning a closed source CMS is less accessible to individuals and small businesses. Perhaps most importantly, fewer people understand or know how to use the CMS, meaning you’re really at the mercy of your hosting company. If they happen to shut up shop, you could be left with a site that barely anyone can do anything with. There’s also less scope to alter or extend your website down the track – and if you decide that you want to, you’ll need to find someone who is experienced with your particular CMS.

: The best closed source CMSs

For product management (e-commerce sites) the best three are:

•    Shopify
•    Volusion
•    AspDotNetStorefront
The top 3 general-purpose options are:

•    CushyCMS
•    Telerik
•    Sharepoint

: Find the one that’s right for you

When it comes to selecting a CMS, it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you based on your budget, needs and technological knowledge. Take the time to research the different systems available – it’s worth it in the long run.

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