Open Source Options for Your Website
Here, we’ll explore open source software, how it differs from closed source software, and how to choose the best option to suit your unique business website objectives.
While most business owners and decision makers don’t get into the nuances of computer coding themselves, it’s important to understand the types of software that are available and how they can benefit the business. Working alongside their technical support, business owners can identify their organization’s technology needs and determine the best type of software to use to create their website.
What is Open Source?
Open source is a type of software where the source code is available to view, modify, and share. Because anyone is able to participate in creating open source code, it’s often developed collaboratively in a public environment.
Source code is typically unseen by users other than the computer programmers who created it. It’s the behind-the-scenes part of software that developers create to determine how an app or program functions. Through the source code, they are also able to fix flaws in the software or improve it over time.
In contrast to open source, closed source or proprietary) software is controlled by the person or business that developed it. With closed source software, only the developer(s) within the organization can make changes. Additionally, the code is not available for public viewing or modifying.
Open source projects encourage collaboration, public participation, and transparency. Some examples of open source software include Mozilla Firefox’s web browser, the Python computer programming language, or WordPress.
The Benefits of Open Source Software
There are many reasons why a business would choose to work with open source software. A recent survey reveals that more than half of the businesses in the study either have a current open source project or are planning on establishing one. These are some of the reasons why:
Open source software is often more secure than proprietary software because the community monitors any issues and discusses them online. Any opportunity for a security issue to arise is quickly resolved because so many developers are monitoring the software and each has their own best interests in mind, as well as the interests of the community.
With proprietary software, no one outside the organization is aware of any glitches in the system that may compromise security. This means that if internal staff members aren’t watching closely, the opportunity for security breaches increases.
Overall, the idea is that more eyes on open source software means that problems will be identified and fixed quickly.
Because of open source software’s flexible, modifiable nature, businesses can easily create customized solutions to meet specialized needs. One example of customizable open source software is WordPress, where businesses of all sizes can create websites that are easily customized and tailored according to their criteria, whether it’s adding an eCommerce element, customer service chatbots, or blog posts.
Nearly all open source software is free to use, although there are some exceptions. This allows companies the opportunity to create software solutions that meet their website needs without the hefty costs associated with developing your own proprietary software.
Just as open source software is more secure because there are more developers viewing it, it’s also more reliable as well. Bugs that lead to slow load times, error messages, or other user-facing failures are short-lived because they are quickly identified and fixed by the online community.
Open source software is rigorously tested, improving reliability, and gives businesses the peace of mind they need when choosing to develop their website using this type of technology.
Open Source Options for Your Business’ Website
When it comes time for your business to create a website, there are several great open source options to consider. Businesses across every industry and of every size use these platforms for building and running their websites and eCommerce stores. Here are some of the popular open source website development platforms for business:
WordPress powers approximately 75,000,000 websites. There are many reasons why WordPress is such an attractive option, including scalability, extensibility, and flexibility. WordPress provides users a stable, well-tested foundation upon which they can customize to their own needs for almost any situation. Sites are customizable through the 50k+ plugins and 11k+ themes available to choose from.
WordPress is also a user-friendly platform with a small learning curve, making it accessible to businesses of all types. Whether you are creating your own company blog or a multi-national eCommerce site WordPress can handle it. For local businesses or companies like Disney and The New Yorker, WordPress is the platform of choice.
Joomla is the first runner up in terms of popularity after WordPress, with more than two million active websites running on the platform. While that ranking is decreasing as WordPress is on the rise, Joomla still has a very active community of users. Joomla is also a good choice for businesses because it offers several important benefits.
The platform allows businesses to use different templates for different content types, which many users find to be a convenient and powerful way to present their brand. Joomla also offers benefits like support in multiple languages without the need to install a separate plug-in.
Similar to WordPress, Joomla is in use by businesses both large and small, including sites like Ikea and Holiday Inn.
Approximately two percent of websites utilize the Drupal platform. Drupal offers many of the same benefits as WordPress and Joomla, but its claim to fame in its scalability, easy-to-use interface that hides non-administrative options from users, and its unified manner of handling users, webpages, and comments.
Some of the biggest organizations that use the Drupal platform include NASA and the Dallas Cowboys.
Making the Best Choice for Your Business Website
Setting up a website for your business or migrating to a new platform is no small feat. When you do it, you want to do it right. Based on its many benefits and widespread use, WordPress is our recommended choice.
As we’ve seen, WordPress checks all the important open source boxes in terms of security, reliability, and community support. It also boasts the largest web market share – for good reason. WordPress’ benefits for business are numerous, especially when it comes to security and customization – two of any organizations’ main concerns.
Working with our team gives you not just the best of WordPress, but also a partner in your business success. Since 2004, we’ve provided organizations of all types with digital solutions, whether in design, development, or any other capacity online.
Instead of using technology for technology’s sake, we work towards your goals. To get a start on your web strategy contact our team today