Open Source Vs Proprietary CMS Systems | The Key Differences

So, What is the Main Difference between an Open Source vs Proprietary CMS Technology Platforms? As a matter of fact, every website should be easy to use and update, should be built with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in mind. Additionally, it should be able to grow as your business and online strategy equally grows.

Notably, there are numerous technology platforms that may fit the bill, so which one should you choose? Well, that will depend on what your online needs are. Therefore, this article should help you understand the choices niche.

Especially when it comes to choosing between an Open Source vs Proprietary CMS Technology Platforms. And, of course, which among them is designed for small and medium business. However, those with budgets in the tens of thousands typically have a few additional choices. Meaning this is aimed typically at those in the $2000 to $10,000 price range.

Open Source vs Proprietary Systems Software

In the end, the main objective is to have access to a CMS that is easy for you and your team to manage on a day to day basis. Broadly, the platforms can be categorized into two groups. Including, Open Source Systems and Proprietary CMS Software.

Open Source Systems:

In general, Open-source software (OSS) is distributed under a licensing agreement. And which allows computer code to be shared, viewed and modified by other users and organizations.

In theory, it feels like what the Internet was supposed to be all about. But it should also come with a warning label. Below are more additional features. Such as;

  • 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 web site with just about any ISP or hosting company on their servers or your own.
  • Are typically free or at least the software itself is. Customization, design, and hosting are not.

Proprietary CMS Systems:

Closed Source Software can be defined as well as Proprietary Software. Distributed under a licensing agreement to authorized users. With private modification, copying, and republishing restrictions.

Or in layman terms, the source code is not shared with the public for anyone to look at or change. Closed source is the opposite of open source. Thanks, Wikipedia ;). Below are more additional points.

  • Are built and maintained by a single company.
  • Typically do not allow access to the source code, although the best of them provide an open framework (or API) that means they can be extended by others.
  • Are typically hosted by the company that created them, although some can be hosted elsewhere.
  • Typically require a license fee of some sort, although it is often built into the hosting charges.

Open Source vs Proprietary CMS Pros & Cons

For instance, you’re no technical guru and have been charged with finding a web content management system (CMS) for your business. Simple right? And, so are you after an Open or Closed source CMS?  Of course, there’s no need to be intimidated by this technical jargon.

The differences between Open and Closed source software are fairly straightforward. And there are fairly clear pros and cons for each. For one thing, there is no right or wrong answer to the question either.

Open Source vs Proprietary

Your best option will largely depend on your business and its goals. Secondly, the key differentiators between open and closed come down to a few factors. Such as;

1. Service in Open Source vs Proprietary

Open-source Software heavily relies on a loyal and engaged online user community. To deliver support via forums and blogs, but this support often fails to deliver the high level of response.Especially that many consumers expect (and can receive with proprietary software).

These communities must also be found on the web and some would argue there is no incentive for the community to address a user’s problem.

Now, before you go and use Open Source Software such as WordPress for your enterprise needs, there are a few things you need to take into account. Like the ongoing maintenance, security, content migration, etc. Service and support are probably the greatest advantages of using proprietary software (closed).

Ongoing support is a key selling point for users with little technical skills and one of the main reasons people choose closed source over open-source software. Support includes user manuals and points of contact for immediate assistance from viable companies with experts who are intimately familiar with the products and services.

2. Open Source vs Proprietary Cost

One of the main advantages of open source software is the cost; however, when applied to Open Source Software, the term “free” has less to do with overall cost and more to do with freedom from restrictions.

Notably, open source may be cost-effective for your business if you have the in-house capabilities and technical expertise. In that case, to maintain the software, and resources to implement, train and provide support to staff. You should consider, however, the long-term costs of;

  • implementation,
  • innovation,
  • providing support,
  • and investing in infrastructure as your company evolves, technology changes, and your needs grow.

For a Closed Source CMS, depending on the complexity of the system, the cost can vary between a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars. And, which includes a base fee for software, integration and services and annual licensing/support fees.

While the hard cost can be higher, what you get in return is a more customized product from a trusted brand. In addition to higher levels of security and functionality, continuous innovation, and greater scalability. As well as, ongoing training and support and a lower requirement for technical skills.

3. Usability in Open Source vs Proprietary Systems 

Usability is often a major area of criticism for open-source software. For it usually caters more to developers rather than the vast majority of layperson users.

Furthermore, you’ll agree that whether you take in all your time reading them or not, it is of no use. For at the end of the day, you need them and must use them.

For closed or proprietary software, usability is a high selling point (think Apple again). Generally speaking, due to expert usability testing for a more targeted audience. User manuals are also provided for immediate reference and quick training. While at the same time, support services help to maximize the use of the software.

Further, third party systems and developers are also able to use a variety of mechanisms to enhance “closed” source software.

4. Security Features and Add-ons

On one hand, Proprietary or Closed Software is generally seen as more secure. Because it is developed in a controlled environment by a concentrated team with a common direction. This team is the only group that can view or edit the source code. Not to mention, it is heavily audited and the risk of backdoor Trojans or bugs are heavily reduced (though no security can be flawless).

On the other hand, the security of Open Source is often a concern for large companies. Because the software is not always developed in a controlled environment (that’s how the whole Panama Papers debacle started).

As a result, with individual users all around the world developing the software, there is a lack of continuity. And there is a lack of common direction that prevents effective communication. Once more, the software is not always peer-reviewed or validated. Meaning that a programmer can embed a backdoor Trojan into the software while the user is none the wiser.

5. Cloud Technolgy Innovation Cycle

By the same fashion, Open Source Software provides a large amount of flexibility. In addition to the freedom to change the software without restriction. This innovation, however, may not be passed on to all users. Leading to a variety of debatable FAQs and Online Forum Curious Answers from all over.

For example, as to whether customized changes to the original source code can limit the future support and growth of the software. Once more, open-source software providers often struggle to attract large-scale research and development.

Some see the inability to view or change the source code in closed source software as a drawback. When compared to the unrestricted flexibility of open source. Unlike open-source, proprietary software also attracts larger amounts of R&D. In order to regularly offer new products and upgrades.

Like open-source software, closed source software also has dedicated online communities. So to say, that share ideas and strategies through forums and surveys. Fostering innovation and allowing the product to adapt to changing needs.

Summing Up;

In summary, there are pros and cons for both Open Source vs Proprietary CMS System Software. And which is best for you will depend on your requirements. Generally, the key pros and cons of Open Source vs Proprietary largely depend on your technical expertise. Not forgetting, resources available to maintain and update the software too.

Above all, to get a better idea of the right software for your company’s needs now and in the future. If you’ll have more questions and or commentary questions, Contact Us. Eventually, please feel free to share in the commentary box provided below.

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