Would you rather have sashimi or sushi? Do you need a shampoo for scalp eczema or dandruff? And what does this have to do with your Content Management System? Not much. Only this: sometimes in life you are faced with choosing between two things that are very similar but do impact your final outcome. Which is right for you? When you are trying to choose a CMS for your website, do you want to go with an open source CMS or closed source? What’s the difference, and which will be the more effective platform for your site?
Open source software is that which is worked on by a variety of people. They check codes to make sure that the specific program is easy to use and effective. Mozilla Foxfire is an example of an open source program; third party add-ons allow for great customization. Open source CMS options have another big advantage: they’re typically free. “Free” is the keyword for a lot of users, and this is why they opt for open source CMSs, like Joomla or Wordpress. Here are a few more advantages:
• There are typically a lot of users, so you can find documentation and support much more easily than with a closed source CMS. You will find forums, how-tos, and more devoted to open source CMSs, which makes it easier to use.
• You have the benefit of advances from the variety of people working on the program.
• You can often change the program to accommodate for your unique needs.
There is a drawback, however. Because open source programs are tremendously popular, they are better targets for hackers and security vulnerabilities. HP tested a variety of applications from Joomla and Wordpress and found a great deal of vulnerability (not necessarily in the core application but in the add-ons). While it may be quicker or cheaper to develop a site with an open source CMS, you will have to spend more on security and support.
The benefit of closed source CMSs, like Telerik or Sharepoint, is that while they are not necessarily more secure, they do handle vulnerabilities and issues for you. You don’t have to spend development time and money on these, which can be a huge advantage for some companies. The downside to closed source CMSs, though, is that they are typically more expensive, and fewer people are working on them. This means you may find less support and information readily available.
Which is right for you? That depends on your needs and development budget. Both can be excellent options.