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Open Source Vs Commercial Content Management Systems

Cygnet Infotech

When the marketing team decides to build a website, usually the first step is to select the right CMS for building the website. From the plethora of options available in the market, it can be a perplexing task to zero in on THE BEST CMS. The size of data incoming, outgoing, stored and processed is directly proportional to the size of the organization. The nature of your business plays a vital role in selection since usability and applicability of the end product is what matters. Hence, the speed of your website, its performance and the security plug-ins being used ought to be on the top in your list of considerations.

According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, CMS is divided into four different quadrants namely leaders, visionaries, niche players and challengers. These are purely defined based on the completeness of the vision they have versus their ability to execute the requirements supporting the vision. Just as it is not advisable to go with the leaders in the industry when the niche players could better support your needs, using the CMS that trending might not be the best solution for you.

An open source CMS with a set of plug-ins could be the right choice for small and medium businesses or even for enterprises seeking a static website. Whereas for a complex business, what suits the company best would be a commercial CMS that is customizable and tailored according to their specific requirements.

In this article, we have critically gone through the various aspects of both open source as well as commercial CMS. Let’s start by exploring what is the difference between open and commercial CMS and what parameters you need to consider while choosing one.

Open source CMS are largely available to the public, mostly free of charge. They have an open community that contributes to the creation of the web content management system. This community consists of developers and coders from around the world that provide codes and plug-ins to choose from. Some plug-ins are free while some you have to pay for. The most popular open source CMS are WordPress and Joomla.

Commercial CMS also known as proprietary CMS, they are developed as well as owned by a single company, and the users usually need to buy a license. Commercial CMS comes with various functionalities and are integrated with all the required plug-ins. They do not allow a third party plug-in. The most popular commercial CMS are Sitefinity and Sitecore.

Below is a tabular representation of the major differences between an Open Source and a Commercial CMS and its advantages and disadvantages.

Open CMS Commercial CMS
  • No cost to use the software
  • Freedom to choose from a world wide community of website developing companies
  • Plugins available to enhance your site’s functionality
  • Encourages innovation
  • Required to buy security plug-ins
  • Higher risk of hacking since the source code is known to many
  • Web hosting, site maintenance, support and organic upgrades are included
  • Commercial CMS doesn’t allow third-party plugins
  • Consistent user interface
  • Security features integrated
  • Specially-trained support team
  • Stronger security
  • Personalized web designs as per users' requirements

Whether to choose an Open source CMS like Drupal or Joomla or to go with a commercial CMS like Sitefinity or Sitecore, it all boils down to available skill sets, usability, requirements, the need of an IT support and your budget allocation for Marketing and IT. Below is an overview of the most popular open source and commercial CMS.

Features Drupal Joomla Sitefinity Sitecore
Website https://www.drupal.org/ https://www.joomla.org/ www.sitefinity.com/ www.sitecore.net/
Vendors Acquia Joomla Telerik Sitecore
Type of CMS Open Open Commercial Commercial
Latest Version Drupal 8 Joomla 3.4 Sitefinity 8.2 Sitecore XP 8.1
3rd Party Plug-ins Yes Yes No No
Usability Technical expertise is required but they are introducing easy to use features for developers with new versions Technical expertise required is lesser than that of Drupal but more than WordPress Requires a team of highly skilled developers and a support team for the end user/client company Requires a team of highly skilled developers and a support team for the end user/client company
Practical uses Easy editing and reviewing, SEO friendly URL, taxonomy, multiple user management Wide numbers of extensions, Joomla’s structure, SEO friendly terminologies Custom fields for pages, Video embedded in menu, Categorizing and tagging pages, Enterprise Content Management Migration flexibility, Enterprise Content Management, Easy management of content and repeat terminologies
Companies using these Virgin Group, Cisco, Verizon, Novartis, Kentucky Derby Harvard University, Linux, MTV Greece Microsoft, Tata Global Beverages, BBC, Audi, EasyJet, Toshiba, Suzuki, Oxfam, Panasonic

Over and above these comparisons, there are a few parameters that we shall explore in our next blog post, that will provide a deeper insight into the kind of features and benchmarks you should have while choosing a Content Management System. Check this space for more.

Cygnet Infotech

Cygnet Infotech is a CMMi level 3 and is ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2008 certified, 18 year old global technology provider enabling ISVs & enterprises through emerging technology, software engineering, technology consulting, SAP Implementation, advisory & maintenance services. It’s proven 18-year track record boasts of successfully delivered 1400+ valuable software solutions to its diverse clientele across the globe using a global delivery model.

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