When looking for CMS solutions, one of the very first questions you should ask yourself is whether to go with an open source CMS or a proprietary CMS.
The reason is simple: this choice will profoundly impact your future as a web designer, as they offer very distinct options for ongoing support and further developments.
Proprietary CMS : a cozy golden cage
With a proprietary CMS, you can’t access the core code, basically meaning that you are stuck with the software vendor and/or - often overpriced - specialized developers.
Not only most proprietary systems will not grant you programming nor extension rights, but it could even get worse: if the vendor fails, you will most likely have to rebuild your entire website(s) from scratch.
And that’s not mentioning deprecating older versions so that you have to pay to upgrade, encountering insolvable compatibility and security issues down the road, or having support cut off (as we see too often in the software industry) with time.
Open source CMS : freedom and flexibility
On the other end, an open source content management software like SeoToaster CMS will output W3C-standard code for your website, rapidly cutting down on development issues and maintenance costs.
Plus, the CMS source code itself is 100% open to the web development community and 100% customizable to fit your specific needs.
Choosing an open-source solution like SeoToaster gives you a lot of flexibility moving forward.
First of all, having direct access to the code makes the debugging process easy.
Secondly, if you want to extend or customize your CMS - it’s pretty easy as you are not locked in for the long haul. You’ll likely be able to find plenty of other developers that can work with your code.
Open Source CMS vs Proprietary CMS
A quick look at a Open Source CMS vs Proprietary CMS comparison table highlights pros of going with open source software, and cons, which there are pretty much none!
Open Source CMS
Worldwide web development community
Worldwide web development community
W3C standards HTML/CSS
Software vendor’s servers
API, open apps markets
API, restricted apps markets
Free to Low
Medium to High
Low to Medium
Regardless of any other consideration, make sure you take all these issues into account well ahead of time.
If you choose to go with a proprietary solution, be aware that their vendors are really good at minimizing those unavoidable problems.
Case in Point : Adobe leaves thousands stranded
Take a look at what happened with Adobe, which is one of the most reliable brand when it comes to web design. Or so you thought.
In the spring of 2018, out of the blue Adobe announced Business catalyst platform discontinuation, leaving thousands of businesses in the dark as far as website development and management.
What did Adobe do to help out or even compensate those long hours spent learning a platform that would eventually be killed off with no warning?
They apologized and moved on. So if you think going with a premium brand was going to prevent this kind of mishap, well you might be putting yourself at risk to be sorely - and costly - disappointed.
Of course you will still get valuable software and service when you opt for the best ones out there, but this peace of mind does come with an inflated price tag attached to the brands’ name.
CMS for web designers: you can bet on open source
Down the road, building websites on a proprietary system will eventually lead you to face clients asking for features you cannot build for them, until they ultimately drop you for a competitor using a more universal and globally maintained open source system.
By the way - as your customers will eventually find out if they haven’t already- going open source offers them an easy way out, which is the best guarantee against being locked up with you in the proprietary golden cage.
If you are currently putting your entire web design business at the mercy of a sole proprietary software provider, then simply put: just don’t.
Whether considering pricing, flexibility, development capabilities or support cost, choosing an open source CMS solution will always be your best bet for your website’s future.