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Benefits of using an Open Source CMS

At FSE Design, we use an Open Source content management system – we’re one of the very few leading education web design agencies to do so; and we regularly get asked how this differs to the closed source systems available for school websites.

Here, we bust some of the biggest myths surrounding an open source CMS.

First, let’s clarify the terminology:

Open Source:
Open source content management systems are built and developed by a community of developers who then choose to share their technology with other developers, agencies and businesses alike – providing an innovative platform for building websites. There is no licensing fee to using an open source system and the CMS code can be further edited by other developers, allowing them to customise the system to suit the needs of their clients.

Closed Source:
Closed source content management systems are built and become proprietary software owned by an organisation. In order to use the CMS, the organisation will charge a premium to their clients, who can be bound by the limitations of the software.

1. Flexibility
Our open source content management system is incredibly flexible. As the system has been built by a community of developers and is always being updated – there are always innovative features out there that can be built in & added very quickly and usually, at little extra cost. The options for functionality and personalisation are virtually endless. In fact, our developers have modified the CMS to be completely tailored for the education sector - meaning the modules and features are exactly what you need to communicate to current and prospective parents effectively. 
With closed source, if the feature doesn’t already exist within the system then it will take time for the companies’ developers to build from scratch and implement in to their system – which will of course have a price tag!

2. Cost
Open Source Content Management Systems are much cheaper than Closed Source. The main reason for this is because the client does not need to pay for all the time & resource it has taken a company to build the closed source system – it means we can offer cost-effective websites whilst not compromising on the quality and design.

3. “Lock Ins”
With an Open Source Content Management System, you are not “locked in” to having one agency manage your site forever – your website is YOURS! With Closed Source systems, the code can never be accessed by anyone else as it is the property of the company who built it. If you’re with an agency that has built your site using a closed source CMS and want to change web providers at any point...your current website will have to be left behind too!

4. Security
We get asked this question frequently – “Is your Open Source system secure?” In short – of course! We wouldn't use it if it wasn't... but no CMS is 100% secure! Our CMS is an award winning, robust CMS used by big brands and banks alike!
One of the big benefits of the Open Source system is that because the source code can be seen by the network of developers who are always looking to improve the system – any possible issues or bugs are picked up extremely quickly! With Closed Source systems, similar bugs can remain for weeks as they may only have a handful of developers to try and identify the issue and then work to fix it – no doubt they’ll be great at what they do but when it comes to web bugs...time is of the essence!
Put it this way, with brands such as Microsoft, Peugeot, Heinz, Government bodies and banks throughout Australia such as Westpac, using Open Source Content Management systems – they’re constantly being monitored, tested and retested to ensure they are fully robust. With Closed Source systems, there is little need to test so rigorously, especially when they’re built by small niche agencies, so although the systems appear secure – they’re never really tried and tested.

5. Support
When hiring an agency that uses an Open Source CMS to design and develop your website, an important thing to note is that the support on offer should not be any different to an agency who use a Closed Source system. If you require support, training and assistance with your website – you’ll come straight through to us! Our support is typically immediate - no queue or ticketing system and we are always on the end of the phone to help and guide you whether it's on technical aspects of the site or any new developments you might like to explore.

6. Design
A common myth with Open Source Content Management Systems is that they come with design limitations but we can assure you that with our system that is just not the case. Some systems like Word Press, do allow you to pick from pre-designed templates but at FSE Design, we are a leading design agency that specialise in designing bespoke school websites – our CMS is just popped on the back to allow schools the flexibility of managing their websites themselves!

Open Source Content Management Systems offer a whole host of benefits for your school website, including the flexibility to have a host of school specific modules, including calendars, galleries, newsletters, secure teacher & governor log ins; a bespoke design to showcase your schools ethos; the freedom to own your website; support when and where you need it and a secure system you can rely on – all without paying inflated prices.

To discuss our CMS in more detail, please call the team on 01933 303520.

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