The shortcomings of a custom CMS


The shortcomings of a custom CMS

by Sean Corrales

Most web design houses are now offering some form of Content Management System (CMS) and a lot of them are offering up their own custom CMS. At InterWorks, we develop on a wide variety of open source CMS platforms.

At InterWorks, we chose to use open source instead of developing our own in-house solution for a number of reasons, the biggest one being what’s best for our customers. Before you go with a custom CMS, here’s some things you should know.

Limited support
No matter how successful a company is, their CMS will never be as widely used, tested, and documented as an open source solution such as Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla. Drupal, for example, has 300 new members joining it’s community every day. Drupal as a CMS is extensively documented and tested by virtue of it’s massive user community. Don’t forget the vast amount of free support available from this community as well.

Most of the custom CMS solutions out there serve very specific needs and that’s it. Once you step out of the CMS’s built-in functionality, you’ll encounter costly custom development that will quickly drive up the cost.

As a result of being custom, most companies will lock you into hosting with them and charge a license fee for using their CMS. Aside from adding extra cost, most companies that build custom CMSs will only let you host it on their site. If you decide to go with another hosting provider, you can say goodbye to your site: it won’t be going with you. By using open source products, your site is built on a platform that is meant to run on any server, not just the company that created it.

Limited flexibility
Your company is unique: what works for one company doesn’t necessarily work for you. Custom CMSs tend to focus on a core set of functionality and anything beyond that requires costly custom development. Open platforms such as Drupal and WordPress have a huge library of freely available code that can provide additional functionality. With an open platform, your site’s functionality can change and grow with your company. Something that can’t happen without a lot of expensive development in the world of custom CMSs.

More About the Author

Sean Corrales

Lead Web Developer
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