Everybody likes “free,” and if your college or university is strapped to find dollars in the budget to enhance your web presence, you may think an open source web content management system (CMS) is a viable option. In addition to the “free” price tag attached to downloading the core software, higher ed web professionals are typically attracted to open source because:
- It is widely adopted
- There are thousands of modules and plugins to add functionality
- It can be updated on your own schedule
- There are large developer communities
- There are third-party support services
However, an open source CMS isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and those attractions are often downfalls of the software in disguise. There are times when choosing commercial software is not only a better fit for your institution, but can be more efficient and affordable.
Jason Cash, Director of Web Communications at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, found that the frustrations of using an open source CMS negated any benefits the software offered. “Very little of our experience [using open source] was good,” Cash said. “We could force the system to do what we wanted, but because we didn’t have that expertise in house, it was difficult for us to balance what we needed with everything else we were trying to do at that time.”
Before you go down the road of an open source CMS, educate yourself by downloading our white paper: Four Questions You Should Ask Before Considering an Open Source CMS.