Open source content management systems have seen a lot of use over the past decade. The most successful of these is WordPress which seems to be the default choice of many businesses. WordPress and other popular open source content management systems share many of the difficulties common to off-the-shelf software: they aren’t designed to suit anyone’s particular needs. Their features and characteristics are the end result of long ago legacy work as well as inputs from the entire community of users. For WordPress, this community consists of millions of users. It’s likely that most of these users are making compromises to accommodate the needs of the many. Here are three reasons why defaulting to popular content management systems is unwise:
The more popular the content management system (CMS), the bigger the target for the hacking community. When millions of websites have an identical CMS infrastructure, the motivation is great for hackers to specialize in the CMS. On the other hand, a custom-made CMS is off their radar. In addition, finding inherent weaknesses in any CMS requires effort, and the payback isn’t there for hacking a unique one-of-a-kind content management system.
A byproduct of the arms race between the WordPress development community and the hacking community is the never-ending WordPress updates you will have to install. In addition to these security patch updates, there will be other updates that add new features, many of which are irrelevant to your needs. Failure to install the security patches leaves your website vulnerable. Sometimes these updates cause incompatibilities and conflicts.
Technological Innovation Is Passing You By
WordPress and several other popular content management systems are over a decade old. Using them locks you into what is essentially a stagnant technology. An example of this is the database driven dynamic website. Websites using WordPress and other popular CMSs assemble each page on the fly for each of its visitors. A database is queried for the various page components which are then assembled while the visitor waits. While this allows tremendous flexibility, it is hugely inefficient when the web page content is the same for everybody. Why assemble every page from scratch when a single HTML file will do? This on the fly assembly causes sluggish page loading speeds and eats up server resources.
Sites that don’t rely on databases are called static websites. They can look just as “fancy” as any dynamic website but will have blazing fast page loading speeds and are more reliable because fewer things can go wrong with them. While they don’t interact with the visitor, many third-party services exist for this purpose such as Disqus for commenting and Google custom search for installing a search bar. Static website generation has seen tremendous innovation in recent years.
The point is, with custom software development, you can have anything you want in a CMS while leaving the headaches of WordPress and other open source CMSs behind. For more information on our custom software development capabilities, contact us at Spiralogics.