Creation and management of websites: Free CMS versus custom platforms

Those who have recently created their own website have certainly heard of WordPress or Joomla.
Which, in some cases, are not enough to meet all the needs.

 One of the most frequent needs among our customers is to be able to manage their site independently. In other words, to be able to modify existing contents at will, add new ones, insert or delete images and so on.

At the beginning, WordPress and Joomla, without necessary technical knowledge, offered the user an intuitive and fast way to regain control of the situation. These two CMS systems have anticipated others such as Typo3 and Drupal or others dedicated to e-commerce such as Magento and Prestashop. Finally, a series of even simpler systems (such as wix.com) have been created that allow you to create a site from scratch directly online. CMS such as WordPress (now the undisputed leader in the sector) have now taken control of the “market”.

Nevertheless, some weaknesses mean that many companies (especially large ones) prefer to pay developers and have a custom-made CMS built.

How come in some areas, such as banking, you still prefer the site in code?

Here are some reasons:

  1. Security: despite many improvements in this field, sites with free CMS are very “puncturable” or have vulnerabilities that a hacker of medium capacity can discover. A customised CMS can develop much more advanced encryption systems;
  2. Stability: it is difficult for a site in WordPress, for example, to do without several additional components called plugins. And many of these can blow up the system when the CMS is first updated;
  3. Graphic limits: it’s true, now systems like WordPress seem to include every kind of graphics possible. But, in reality, especially if you want “wow” effects, it is difficult to find the right combination, or if you find it is never as you want it 100%;
  4. Complexity: there are some sites with very special needs. Just think of sites like those of some furniture manufacturers that simulate a 3D environment built with the modular modules of various furniture. Not that on a CMS is not possible, but, in addition to the complexity of the work itself, the compatibility of codes is far from obvious;
  5. Speed: CMS interact with a database that, by default, slows down the site. Not to mention the many variables such as server speed, photo weight, Java scripts or similar.

Building a Custom CMS can help you get around or reduce most of these problems. There are also other reasons that may encourage the purchase of a custom built CMS. But, unless special needs, it is still worth relying on the world of Open Source because the factors mentioned above are improving fast and the back-office for managing pages are really user friendly (UX). For medium budget and with a good web developer who knows well these CMS technologies, a good monitoring with regular updates can be an excellent solution even for corporate websites.

Not all plugins are reliable. It is therefore up to the developer to know them well and determine the extent to which they are compatible with the needs of customers.

Regarding security against hackers or botnet, even if already integrated into the code, there are shield detectors that can be integrated for prevention into the application itself. Of course, the developer must be vigilant and activate regular backups of the front office, back office and it’s databases.

Developers need to master the administration of servers (UNIX / LINUX / APACHE / PHP / DNS, etc.) to achieve optimal security. In fact, attacks are not only carried out on the application side but also on the server side.

In case of need, ARTELABS ICT Services is able to program ad-hoc plugins to be integrated in CMS or extensions programmed ad-hoc.