Benefits and Downsides to Consider When Choosing an Open Source or Proprietary CMS

When you want to create a new website, or want to re-launch your existing website, using a content management system can make the process easy for you. A CMS makes it easy to manage content and the look of your website.

You do not need to have any technical knowledge to use CMS for your site. Without any technical knowhow, you can manage the front end by adding images, integrating social media, publishing posts and adding links. You can also manage what goes on in the backend of your site.

CMS also gives you the option to build your site in a way that improves search engine ranking. If you don’t want your site to rank, you also have the choice of making this omission.

There is no limit to how much you can publish with content management systems and this in effect improves search engine traffic to your site. As you may already know, SEO is dependent on how much relevant content you post to your site.

CMS - Content Management System

CMSs available in the market

The market has a wide variety of content management systems that have different capabilities. Some content management systems are designed with a particular end in mind.

For instance, there are some that are good for managing blogging sites or shopping sites which provides branding and marketing services. Others have wider capabilities and can cover most features you’d find on a website. You can do an online search and get a full list of CMSs and their capabilities.

Another way to look at CMS is from a cost perspective. Some come at a cost (proprietary CMS) and others are free (open source CMS).

There are a lot of arguments for and against open source and proprietary CMSs. Depending on your budget abilities, the size of your company and rules governing compliance in your company, you might opt for a proprietary CMS. But if your organization is small, you might opt for an open source CMS.

Below are more details on the pros and cons of both proprietary and open source CMSs.

The benefits of open source CMS

Benfits of open source CMS

There are various reasons why you should opt for an open source CMS and these include:

It is free

You do not need to pay licensing fees to access and use an open source CMS. At no cost at all, you can access cutting-edge CMSs that are loaded with capabilities that will help progress your online business.

Wide developer community

There are many people who work with open source content management systems. This gives you a wide array of CMS experts to choose from when you want a problem solved.

Can be adapted to your needs

Open source CMSs give the flexibility to make changes and modifications to suit your purposes. Some people even tinker with the code to a point where they develop a new product altogether.

It’s flexible

You are not limited to the templates that come with the CMS. You can import a wide array of templates that have been developed by independent developers and use them with your CMS.

Problems are fixed quickly

Open source CMSs are used by a majority of people and attract a wide number of developers. If you find a bug, you can reach out to developer forums who will create better versions or modules.

Downsides of using open source CMS 

Cost of improvements

You will need to incur costs to hire developers if you need to have certain features built into your CMS. Most developers charge an hourly fee and depending on the length of time the assignment will take, this can prove costly in the end.

Contractors can be dodgy

You risk hiring someone with a bad work ethic or with little experience. This could waste your time and leave you with half-done work.

Lack of customer support

If your site is not working properly, you will not have anyone to assist you. This means that you need to establish a relationship with a good developer who will assist you in case of any issues. This again will come at a cost.

Benefits of Using Proprietary CMS

  CMS as a Rubik's Cube

Dedicated Support 

Support is factored into the cost of the CMS. If anything goes wrong with your site, you can call, email or use the chat service to log in your query with the support team.

Most of the vendors provide 24/7 support services, hence you don’t need to worry about long waits or time zone differences. If your problem cannot be resolved in one call, a technician is assigned to your case to help resolve your problem.

You’ll get help to set up 

The vendor selling you the CMS will set it up for you. You won’t need to read through manuals or hire other people to do the set up.

Organized documentation

You will have access to all the necessary documentation including release updates. This will help you understand your system better and also make it easier to troubleshoot.


Your site is more secure because only the vendor has the ability to tamper with code.


You will be working with a company you know about. No one from the company will try to take advantage of you by sending you malicious code. The vendor is invested in furthering his business and it’s to his advantage to ensure that your business is protected.

Downsides of a Proprietary CMS

You need Licensing Fees 

You require money to access a proprietary content management system. The licensing fees can be an amount that you might not be prepared to incur and this can delay your plans to launch your site.

You will not be able to use a developer of your choice

The CMS vendor will not allow you to use an outside developer. If the support people do not have first rate talent, you will have a lot of trouble in your hands because you might not get proper solutions.

More so, if the CMS developers are slow to release bug fixes, you might be stuck with a problem for longer than you are comfortable with.

Relying on the proprietary CMS developer also means that you’ll have fewer improvements and features and this will be bad for keeping your business site updated.

Based on the above pros and cons of proprietary and open sourced CMSs, you can now make an informed choice on the right CMS for you.

Author bio

Barrack Diego is a developer with 8 years’ experience in project management and web design and development. He likes to share his experiences with other web enthusiasts and has written articles for To find out more visit his website.