Bespoke Vs Open Source CMS - Which is Best?

Bespoke Vs Open Source CMS – Which is Best?

By Sadie on January 8, 2010


A Content Management System (CMS) is a hassle-free way to look after your website, instead of relying on web designers and web developers to change images and content the customer can control the website themselves.

I saw this article on HowDo Media’s website today about how Bespoke Websites are bad for the client and good for the agency. This has sparked some interesting debates from members of the development community as a lot of agencies pride themselves on creating excellent bespoke systems from scratch.


Considering a Bespoke CMS?

Bespoke Content Management Systems (CMS) can take up a lot of development time, but the benefits are you get exactly what you need from the system. For a client that needs their website to work in a particular way, perhaps it is an innovative idea, bespoke is usually the best way to go. Traditionally Open Source systems are built using a programming language called PHP. This is not as compatible with certain databases and Microsoft servers, so if a client wants a site built in ASP or ASP.NET, they may be limited to open frameworks, therefore, a bespoke CMS may be the best option.

If an agency builds a bespoke CMS, this can make it very difficult if you leave the agency and go to someone else for web development needs. This is fine if you are happy with your agency, but if for any reason you leave, it can take new developers a long time to understand the system and some agencies will copyright the code.


Advantages & Disadvantages of Open Source CMS

With an Open Source CMS you cut down development time significantly. Open Source systems are worked on by numerous talented developers, they are updated easily so your system will not become out of date. You can also add features and plugins to enhance the basic CMS. For example, recently a client requested a Facebook and Twitter link to their website; the website was built in WordPress long before Twitter was popular, but as they had kept updating the platform it was easy to add a Twitter plugin at very little cost to the client. This is all thanks to the work of other developers!

One of the downfalls of Open Source Content Management Systems is that the source is available to everyone. A while ago WordPress and PHPBB (the Open Source forum platform) had a series of spam attacks. Luckily due to the Open Source community reacting quickly, this was fixed quickly and an update was produced. The chances of spam attacks are low and could happen to any site, Open Source or not, but Open Source does have a higher level of vulnerability.

At Falkon Digital we will do whatever is needed to provide our clients with the best CMS for their needs. We have built ASP.NET Content Management Systems and Flash CMS’s but for PHP we tend to use Open Source. Due to our ethos of keeping costs low, we try to use Open Source more than building a CMS from scratch. We feel as long as our clients are happy there is no point in trying to reinvent the wheel.