“Most of what I say is complete truth. My edit button is broken.” ― Myra McEntire
First of all let’s just define what the difference is between these 2 types of CMS (Content Management Systems).
Custom CMS: A Content Management System which has been created and developed by the agency/developer who is building your website.
Open Source: A Content Management System which has been created and developed by a community of developers. Basically the source code is available for editing. Example WordPress.
Now there’s benefits to each of these methods but in my opinion only one clear winner. We get contacted by a lot of clients that wish to do more with their website but the costs they have been quoted by their web developers has been prohibitive because its a ‘Custom CMS’. Worse that that though let’s say you decide because of ongoing costs you want to move the site generally with an ‘Custom CMS’ the source code that runs the site resides on the web developers server. So effectively your website isn’t going anywhere. You effectively have no site and must start again.
I highly recommend prior to starting work with a new agency or web developer you ask them what type of CMS they intend on using. If they say its a ‘Custom CMS’ ask them why they recommend that as oppose to an ‘Open Source’. Also run through some scenarios with them ie so if I wanted to move the site elsewhere in a year could I do that? what if I wanted to add this functionality to my site can I do that myself?
The benefits of an ‘Open Source CMS’ is that its ever-evolving. I’m a huge fan of WordPress. There isn’t much you can’t do with it. Currently there’s over 26k plugins available for it that will do anything from a twitter feed to a full eCommerce shop. Its updated on a monthly basis and you can get ‘under the hood’ if you need to.
I’d be interested to hear of any experiences you’ve had with a ‘Custom CMS’ or if you can recommend any other ‘Open Source’ systems that you feel are on a par or better than WordPress.
By Steven Burles