Open Source vs Paid Platform Website Builders

It’s becoming increasingly popular to use a paid platform content management system (CMS) to build websites. There are all kinds of them out there, from the most popular, Squarespace, to the more generic, GoDaddy Site Builder. It’s never been easier for someone to have a presence online.

But choosing the right platform to build your website is one of the most important decisions you can make. It’s perfectly fine, to use a paid CMS. Some of them, like Squarespace, seem to be in it for the long-haul. They’ve developed a reliable piece of software that lets just about anyone start a website. You just have to be willing to “pay-to-play” and you have to be willing to go along with their company policies and changes.

What can happen with a paid platform

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of positives to using a paid platform. They’re easy for anyone and while they’re not bullet-proof, their security measures are usually on-point. However, a lot of companies are often testing the web market whether you realize it or not. And when they don’t consider it be profitable, they cut it from their business model.

The above statement is from one of my clients who used to use the Yahoo Site Builder. They were alerted with this statement one day and were forced to rebuild their website somewhere else. Yahoo’s reasoning you ask? Website design wasn’t in their best interest anymore and they simply chose to refocus and serve their customers elsewhere. It happens, and it’s rough when you’re on the receiving end.

Another moderately shocking web platform closure was from Adobe, the leader in graphic design software. Adobe ventured into the realm of website content management systems with Adobe Muse. Muse looked promising. It was a visual site editor that also gave clients some ability to make updates to their website. They held on long enough for me to even try it on a couple of small websites.

Then, one-day website designers everywhere were greeted with the following statement:

I was actually pretty shocked by this, considering it was Adobe. Muse looked promising, but again if it doesn’t fit the business model, anything is subject to being retired.

Why I still use Open Source

Open source content management systems have been in it since the beginning. Some of the most popular you’ve probably heard of are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. They’ve had their fair share of ups and downs and still carry a heavy list of pros and cons. But, they’ve all been able to withstand the test of time and have found stability thanks to the enormous community bases that support them.

I started out using Joomla, and at the time it was ahead of the game. However, its foreign community group and lack of security always made web maintenance a headache. I was constantly fighting the “bad guys” and stressing about plugin upgrades. Drupal was ok, but I never grew to love its editor enough to turn a client loose with it.

Then I started dabbling in WordPress. The community was awesome and very focused on proper security techniques. The plugin library was also immense and allowed you to scale your site quickly and easily. This CMS could make simple little brochure sites or take on large-scale website structures with ease. WordPress is my go-to to this day and it hasn’t slowed down. It just keeps getting better.

What about your website

At the end of the day, use a CMS that’s right for your scenario. Make sure you put in a good amount of research and stay wise to companies who might be testing the web market. Play the long game and you should be fine.

Nick Winters

Nick performs New Media Communications at Chelan County PUD. In his spare time, he takes on freelance projects and fun creative opportunities via Pixel to Press.




Project Inquiry

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.