The dangers of open-source

Date: February 4, 2013 Author: Mantis System Categories: Web Tools

Today, most websites, large or small, are made with content management systems. Some of the most popular options out there are open-source, such as Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal.

You may be wondering just what 'open source' means.

Basically, open source solutions, like Wordpress, mean that the source code that the system is built on is accessible to anyone and everyone, anywhere in the world.

There are benefits to this type of CMS. Having the system source code available to everyone means that talented developers can contribute powerful and effective plug-ins, components and features to the overall system and many can be installed separately onto each site, or they can be combined and used as part of an overall 'theme'.

One of the drawbacks to this method of adding features onto your site is that these plug-ins developed by contributors often require version updating, at least several times a year. To someone with little to no experience in managing a website, updating these plugins can be an intimidating task. What happens when your update isn't compatible with your version of the CMS? What if you needed to update the whole system before upgrading a specific plug-in? What if the update breaks a part of your site?

Who do you call to help update and manage your open source website? The difficulty in keeping everything working properly is that many times there's no support available for the CMS you're using. Even if you hire a company to manage your open-source site and deal with these problems for you, they may not be able to resolve the problem if the original developer who built your theme or plug-in is unavailable. Many times support emails will sit in someone's inbox for months going unanswered.

The other significant issue that arises with open source solutions is that many plug-ins or entire systems can be exploited. Not every coder out there has the best of intentions and sometimes they can find security holes in your site, thanks to having access to the source code. Once they find these holes, your site is left to the mercy of developers who can install malware, or carry out other harmful actions that can affect both you, and more importantly, your customers. If someone is affected by malware they caught from your site, chances are you've lost them for good as a potential customer.

What's the solution?

One of the best things you can do to avoid problems is to choose a closed-source, proprietary content management system. CMS' like these are much more reliable, because the teams who built the system can maintain it for you. Any updates or plug-ins are added on behind the scenes, on a secure, restricted system that only the creators of the CMS have. You'll never need to worry about having to upgrade anything or risk someone hacking into your site with a closed-source CMS and many proprietary systems can easily offer the same kind of tools that any open-source system can, only much more safely and securely. Also, the teams behind these CMS' are always available to field support emails and phone calls.

Want to find out more about the benefits of a closed-source CMS? Contact us today and we'll answer any questions you may have.



Comment posting has been disabled. Only registered users are allowed to post.