What is Better-Customer CMS Vs Open Source CMS

I always see many peoples when they have to take decision regarding to web development then they become confused that where they go for custom

People always ask me my thoughts on whether they should go with a custom Content Management System (CMS) or an open source CMS like Drupal or WordPress.  As a developer I should argue that a custom Content Management System (CMS) is the way to go and is the better option for anyone looking to manage their own website. By convincing clients to go with a custom built CMS, developers lock in clients for the long term. Why? Because custom code is like a custom designed dress or piece of art – not many other professionals will want to mess around with another person’s original work. Granted, you MAY find someone who is willing to tackle the challenge of deciphering and/or reworking someone else’s custom code.  However, chances are that you’ll also be paying double, if not triple what you originally were paying your first developer. Not to mention the fact that custom CMS’s tend to cost more up front to begin with.

I’ve dealt with MANY open source systems and MANY custom systems in my career.  In general, my experience with custom CMS systems has not  been very good. I have had clients whose original CMS web development companies went out of business and needed to have their website rebuilt from scratch. Another company upped the maintenance three times the amount their clients were originally paying, and another company had their system hacked…

I will admit, there are  advantages to both custom and open source content management systems, along with the disadvantages to both. There are times when a custom system makes more sense. However, 9 out of 10 times I will never recommend doing a custom CMS in all honesty. Here are some things to consider while deciding which CMS is best for you.


Price is a huge factor in everyone’s decision. What will be cheaper for you in the short term and/or the long term?

Custom: Companies try to justify unreasonably high costs for a “custom” CMS in saying that they are building you a system from scratch.  Well, most of the time these companies aren’t even building all these components from scratch. Most companies already have a base that was built, that they say is from “scratch” but it really isn’t.

Open Source: Anyone that says open source is free is wrong. It’s not free, but it most definitely will be cheaper to go with an open source system that already has the core of what is needed to develop. So now you are just paying your developer to install the system and theme it, rather than paying someone to create the system, install it, and then theme the system. With open source you basically knock out a step.

Faster To Build

One key factor in your decision could be how fast you may need your website up and running with a certain level of functionality.

Custom: Everything has to be built from “scratch”. I’m not sure how one can argue that a custom CMS would be quicker to build. They could run into one small problem and be stuck for days, weeks, or even months. Not only that, but if you want specific features that they do not already have capability of, they will have to build it from the bottom up. There’s no searching for already built modules, as there would be with open source.

Open Source: Developing in open source is basically like buying a bed from IKEA. You take it out of the box and assemble it to look the way it’s suppose to. It’s much faster than building the bed from scratch (as if you were to go to Home Depot, and buy the plywood, glue, nails, etc.). By using an open source system you are provided with the tools you need to succeed and a ton of support to get the job done quickly and efficiently.


Some developers will argue that by using their custom CMS they can do anything you want. Using an open source system like Drupal, so can we! With the right amount of time and money you can do anything in an open source system. But what’s the big difference?

Custom: If you want something added to the system that is simple, but still has not been built by the developer and it’s not in their “library” your going to have to pay that developer to develop this module.

Open Source: If you had an open source system 8 out of 10 times there already is a module built for exactly what you want, and if there isn’t they can take a module that already is built and modify it to do what you need. Plus there are so many users that use open source, that there are constantly developers out there developing to make the system better and more secure.


Some of the best programmers have been hacked. Remember, there is always someone out there smarter than you. Therefore, you are always susceptible to getting hacked regardless of whether you are using a custom or an open source CMS.

Custom: So you go with a custom CMS and your not technical at all… How do you determine if this developer is skilled enough to build a great system that is secure. What if their idea of a CMS is a crappy back end that just allows you to edit text. And they leave the entire back end open, or they don’t encrypt the passwords (believe me I’ve seen a few of my current clients’ past systems and it has happened!).

Open Source: “Open source is insecure….” First off, this is a common misconception. It obviously depends on what system you use, however, it is NOT insecure. Let’s use Drupal as a great example: there are thousands of developers out there that use this open source system and keep it up to date to keep hackers out. If you use the system correctly and make sure you update the system, then you won’t have any issues.


You will end up paying more on maintenance for a custom system then an open source system hands down.

Custom: A custom system means you are married to the company who built your system until you decide to divorce them and split what you shared. You may be able to grab the design, but they are going to grab their custom system right back from you. If anything needs to be changed, your ex will have to make the changes (and we all know how dangerous that can be). There is no getting price quotes or potentially moving companies. You have to literally go through an entire divorce to get rid of them!

Open Source: All updates are done by developers around the world. Therefore you don’t have to pay your developer to actually update the modules. You just have to pay them to update your modules with other people’s updates. Therefore, it’s much cheaper and more readily available!  In addition, if you want something done most likely it’s already been done. So you don’t have to pay your developer to develop and install, just have to pay to install. If you want a custom module done, there are so many functions already built into an open source systems, that it’s also easier to develop custom modules as well.