The Content Management System Choice: Open Source vs. Proprietary

CMS concept.

Proprietary (also known as legacy or closed) content management systems (CMSs) have long been very popular with enterprises looking to create a powerful online presence. Most business owners had the opinion that open source software just couldn’t support their requirements. All that has changed in the last few years, though: WordPress, according to data, is cornering the small and medium-sized business (SMB) segment, while Drupal is being used by large-scale organizations to build highly sophisticated websites and portals.

So should you use an open source software (OSS) or a proprietary CMS to build your brand new website? Here are some brief comparisons between the two options to help you decide:


Being open source, you can download and use the CMS for free – you just have to pay for hosting. On the other hand, with proprietary, you have to pay an upfront or monthly licensing fee and sometimes hosting fee.


You don’t get as many features out of the box if you go with OSS. With proprietary, you get a lot of features without the need for additional development and customization.


Your website won’t be a clone of a hundred other sites on the internet if you use an open source CMS. On the other hand, proprietary systems have a limited number of themes and a site you build with them may not look unique


It is very easy to customize an open source website, provided you have the technical knowledge. It’s very hard or even impossible to do that with closed source software.


You don’t get access to much – if any – support from the developers with OSS. With CSS, you will get setup and management support from a team.


The biggest selling point of an OSS system like WordPress is the huge community of developers working to make it better every single day. Most CSSs don’t offer much community support.

In conclusion, open source software seems to be the better option – unless your business type is better supported by existing proprietary software. We recommend you consult with an experienced CMS web development team to find out which would be the better choice for you.


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