Which Open Source CMS Is Right for Your Business?

Open source Web CMS software is a good option for any sized business. We look at three open source Web content management systems -- Drupal, Joomla and WordPress -- and help you pick the best one for your organization.

By Vangie Beal
Mon, March 05, 2012

CIO — Choosing between proprietary and open source Web content management systems (CMS)is a hot topic these days. As commercial adoption of open source CMS becomes more common, it means more open source projects to choose from and a variety of commercial products and services to support it.

A content management system is the backbone of your website. When it comes to choosing an open source CMS, you'll need a robust platform that allows for Web authoring, collaboration and document management, in addition to administrative and design tools.

Any Business Can Use an Open Source Web CMS

According to Kathleen Reidy, senior analyst at 451 Research, an enterprise market research company, the acceptance of open source in the enterprise has grown steadily since 2005, and so has availability of open source CMS options.

"There's more acceptance and awareness of open source CMS in the enterprise today, but there's also more options," she said. "Ten years ago the projects existed but there [weren't] many options for a commercial entity to engage with."

Having a commercial partner is key for large businesses using open source software, and for some organizations it might be a requirement. Instead of buying software, what you purchase is the commercial package -- a subscription for add-ons, custom code, updates and support from a reputable service partner.

In the mid-market, companies are more apt to have a team responsible for building on the open source CMS to make it work for the organization.

"In the large organizations, there is often a requirement that you must have a commercial support contract for open source software," Reidy said. "But there are some large organizations with technical teams and they download Drupal or any open source CMS and off they go."

Small businesses might find an open source CMS to be cost-effective, as they might not need a commercial support contract. A small business can create a website on its own, hire a developer or work with a small IT shop with roots in Drupal or Joomla design.

Three Popular Open Source CMS Choices: WordPress, Drupal and Joomla

WordPress powers the Pepsi Refresh Everything Blog, a Pepsi marketing campaign that gives away millions in grants each month to fund great ideas.

If you're looking for an open source Web CMS -- and there's really no reason to not look at open source options today -- Joomla, Drupal and WordPress are among the most popular choices.

For a public blog, a newsroom or any type of site where you need to put sequential thoughts in order, WordPress is the best choice. It has a reputation for being easy to use, though you may find it difficult to create a website that isn't primarily used for blogging or news.

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