An open source or closed source CMS, what is the difference?

An open source or closed source CMS, what is the difference?

At Solvware, you can count on honest advice. If we feel that a standard software package is right for you, we will not burden you with facts about advanced packages.

What is the point in talking about the speed of a sports car if you only use your car to drive to the supermarket once a week? Sometimes a standard option will do. Like an open source CMS: a standard content management system with which you can manage your website yourself.


What is an open source standard CMS?

An open source CMS is a software system of which the source code is accessible to all and which can be used freely. You can make changes to this software yourself. The only costs you incur are for the hosting, i.e. a piece of web space where you store the files that make up your website. You also pay for special extensions and for setting up an online shop. Examples of open source standard CMS systems include: WordPress, Joomla! and Magento Open Source.


The open source variants:


WordPress is a simple popular way to create your own website, without the need to have a great deal of knowledge about programming. Close to 1 in 3 websites you find on the internet are made using WordPress. WordPress is known for its large community of users, and for the ability to add plugins with new functionalities. This gives you many choices of functions, such as building a (simple) online shop.



Just like WordPress, Joomla! is a free open source CMS system. The main difference between the two is that WordPress focuses more on user-friendliness for beginners. Joomla! requires a little more know-how.


Magento Open Source

There are two Magento versions: Magento e-commerce and Magento Open Source. Magento Open Source is similar to WordPress which is why it is used for smaller online shops and start-ups.

In addition to an open source standard CMS, there is also a closed source CMS variant.


What is a closed source CMS?

As the name suggests, it is a closed system. A closed source CMS is developed by software developers who build the system entirely with their own code. This code cannot be seen or modified by anyone other than the developer.

Within a closed source CMS there are two options:

  • A standard system
  • A customised system

What is a closed source standard CMS?

When you buy a closed source standard CMS, you do not own the source code, but you simply purchase a licence (for a monthly fee) to use a standard, existing CMS.

Possible disadvantages compared to the open source standard system include the cost, the lack of a worldwide community for questions and tips and the access to the source code for new plugins, for example.

The main advantage of a closed source CMS is that it is safer! That is because nobody else can do anything with the source code, it is not an easy target for hackers, for example. Moreover, with a closed source CMS you have one central point of contact. For problems, you simply call or mail the developer’s support department. They know the system inside out and can help you both easily and quickly.


What is a closed source custom CMS?

In this case too, you invest in the development costs of your own customised software. This does mean, however, that you can set up the website exactly as you wish, without any unnecessary limitations. It can be built based on possible future up or downscaling, expansion or modification, so that your website remains future-proof! Of course, security is a top priority here too: the code is unique and cannot be modified by anyone other than the software developers. With the ever increasing number of hackers, this is a safe feeling.

We have given you quite a lot of information about the various options. If you are looking for advice on the best possible CMS in your particular situation, why not contact Solvware for a chat over a cup of coffee!


Need some advice or do you have a custom software development project in mind? Contact us.
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