Should You Use an Open Source or Proprietary Web Platform?


Should You Use an Open Source or Proprietary Web Platform?
There comes a time when you have to make that decision to build a website for your business or your brand. The trick you’re going to run into is deciding WHAT platform you should build your website upon that will stay within your budget. Luckily, today web development can be performed on an open source Content Management System (CMS) that requires much less work (and expense) than websites of yesteryear.

Many website service providers will build you a custom site on their proprietary website platform so they can keep you locked into using them for continuous revenue generation — through site updates, additions, and modifications.

They’ll tell you it’ll be too much work for you to do on your own, and they’ll justify their rates as reasonable because “they understand their in-house platform and can’t guarantee the effectiveness of the open source platforms available today.” What they don’t want you to know is that it’s not hard to find a new web developer willing to work with what someone else has already put together for you if you decide to “jump ship.”

What’s more, you CAN guarantee the effectiveness and credibility of open source CMS platforms because today there’s a massive community of developers ready and willing to help you out if you’re ever in need. You’re not locked into a software program that nobody else knows how to use. And you can realistically make changes to your site by yourself with little or no coding experience, and with tech support one click or call away.

For small- to medium-sized businesses,
an open source CMS may be the right fit for you and your budget.

Developers are now specializing in using open source CMS platforms because not only are they easier to use, but they are modular, integrate with other software application programming interfaces (APIs), and are search engine optimization (SEO) friendly.

Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of each platform:


  • Are built and maintained by groups of interested people all over the world — While there is typically one controlling body, they belong to no one.
  • Make the source code available to all — Anyone with the skills and time can extend and modify the code and create new functionality as required.
  • Can be hosted anywhere — You can host an open source website with just about any ISP or hosting company on their servers or on your own.
  • Are typically free — or at least the software itself is. Customization, design, and hosting are not free.


  • Are built and maintained by a single company — You know exactly who to call to make big changes or to ask a question.
  • Typically do not allow access to the source code — The best of them do provide an open framework (or API), so they can be extended by others.
  • Are typically hosted by the company that created them — Some may be hosted elsewhere.
  • Typically require a license fee of some sort — Often this fee is built into the hosting charges.

For more information about how to effectively get yourself started with an open source CMS, contact Cultivate Communications today to set up your appointment in determining the right path for your business. We're here to help!

Image Credit: Thank you to Louise Docker for sharing this creative commons photo.