Open Source vs Proprietary

Open Source vs Proprietary

Open Source vs Proprietary

There are two options when it comes to choosing your website platform – open source or proprietary. They both have their pros and cons, and one may very well be more suited to you or your business. Each business does require the same key element – a web development platform which easily enables impactful design and  user experience.  

There are some questions you will need to ask yourself before making a decision. What is your budget? Do you wish to sell products online or display your services on a brochure site? Are you planning on growing your business? What are the risks of choosing one option over the other?

Here, we’ll dive into exactly what open source and proprietary are and the key differences between the two.  

What is open source?

Open source platforms are essentially software that can easily be accessed and utilised by developers without needing to purchase a license. Open source refers to the open source code availability for multiple people to alter and tweak. The source code is behind the scene coding which determines the front facing design and usability for users. 

Pros of Open Source

Open source is a more budget-friendly option and includes free basic templates. For instance, bloggers starting out and businesses offering services tend to use open source as it acts as an efficient interface for providing information to an audience and it doesn’t require a cost investment. If you have a low budget or are a small business, open source may be the best option.

A key benefit is the flexibility this platform offers, allowing multiple users to access your site and edit when needed. Once set up, web pages can easily be added by those who don’t aren’t experienced in web development. 

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Cons of Open Source

You won’t receive 24/7 support or assistance. When issues arise, your website will display the issue until you can eventually resolve it through troubleshooting. During this time, it’s likely you will lose out on potential customers. Your site only has an average eight seconds to capture users’ attention before they click out.

Arguably the biggest downfall is the fact open source websites are more prone to viruses and security risks due to the source code being easier to access by all, including those with bad intentions. This is something you will need to seriously consider when choosing your platform. 

The owner is responsible for updating the system as required. This means if these updates aren’t undertaken by the owner, your site can become outdated and even become unsupported, like that of Magento 1. In 2020, it was announced Magento 1 would no longer update and instead was being replaced by a faster and more secure version – Magento 2.  This left businesses to either remain on Magento 1 and face imminent security risks, migrate to Magento 2 or build a completely new site elsewhere. 

Open source platforms:

Magento, Joomla, WordPress and Drupal

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What is proprietary?

Proprietary platforms are also called closed platforms due to the coding being owned by the original author or web developer. Unlike open source, proprietary requires payment through a paid licensing agreement. This payment gives you the ability to create a bespoke, customised website, with more features than that of a closed source platform.

Pros of proprietary

To put it simply, proprietary software allows you to create a more advanced website with a curated navigation and design to perfectly match your branding. The site can grow as your business grows, with the ability to display as many products as you desire. Utilising proprietary ensures a more secure site as your source code is less accessible. And rest assured, with your payment plan, you will receive 24/7 support to fix bugs immediately. 

Cons of proprietary

The cost. While proprietary will cost you, you get what you pay for. However, your business may not necessarily need this investment if you are a small business or primarily service based. 

In addition, you should be selective on which platform you pick so those who are inexperienced with web development have the ability to make alterations as required. Certain proprietary platforms, such as Squarespace, are user-friendly. 

If you need to discuss the suitable option for you, get in touch with our experts for free advice.

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Proprietary platforms:

Sitecore, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Enterprise Content Management.