A good comparison between Open-Source CMS and Custom CMS

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Kieron Hughes, in his article, compares both, Open-Source CMS and Custom CMS. What he says is true – when you go to a company to build your website, more than often, you will be asked to build your website on a cms. No one wants to use static web pages today. Scalability, flexibility and robustness , that a CMS offers is not what we get from static sites built from scratch.

If you haven’t read the article, here’s what he says:


Once your website is launched you may presume that nothing needs to be changed and that all your requirements are taken care of by your developer. But, this he says, is never true. You will agree too. As your site matures, there may be many changes you now want to incorporate. You may want to enhance your site for better accessibility and usability.

Using a custom made CMS means you are usually locked in, with the web company. You will have to contact the company and pay for the service for anything that needs to be changed. However small the change or update may be, like updating a home page image or content.

The value of an open-source content management system means that you can usually complete the changes yourself, and if not, there are hundreds of support forums and people available to help you along your way.


With static websites, one of the most common problem is when you want to add more content to your site, you need to code the html pages. Even for a simple form that you may want to have on your site, it may be tedious to add functionality of sending mails or accepting forms etc. Hence, we see scaling a static site is challenging.

With custom-made CMS, it may allow adding pages very easily, but you need not go back to your web design company for small changes. Again, you will need to pay for the service and get it done.

All this can be done easily in house, if you have open source CMS set up.


Most web companies that develop using custom content management systems often try to get you involved in ongoing maintenance contracts, or simply don’t provide the client with the neccasary details to pass on to another company to use (such as FTP and CMS login details).

This is definitely bad for two reasons,
1. You are tied to the original web-design company for any updates you want to make on your site.
2. If for some reason, you are not in good terms with that company and do not want to give the contract to them in future, you won’t be able to get any changes made at all in the future as you do not have any login details shared.

Further Kieron  says, a large aspect of running a succesful business is being efficent with money, so you shouldn’t want to be paying ongoing contracts or one-off charges where they are simply not neccasary. If the worst comes to worst and you can’t count on the original company to make changes (or you don’t want to go back to them), this is potentially going to cost you a lot more money as the simplest solution for a new company would be to rebuild the website entirely (using an open-source content management system, I would hope).

In the end he summerizes:

Not all custom CMS are bad – as they may be needed in some cases where an open-source solution doesn’t do the job in hand. But for 5 or 10 page websites for a standard business, or websites without the need for bespoke solutions, there is simply no need to restrict somebody or cause potential issues in the future.

WisdmLabs also develops search engine friendly websites with WordPress, which is open-source content management systems. It also has a whole heap of support online.

Akshaya Rane

Akshaya Rane

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