What type of CMS to choose for my company, Open source, Owner, SaaS?

Oriol Escofet 05 June, 2020 4 minutes of reading
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Probably one of the most important decisions you must make when starting the project of creating a new web page (or migrating an existing one), is deciding what type of CMS to choose when creating it. It is important to have a good foundation that meets your current and future needs, since every process of creating or migrating web takes work (and money). Asking yourself the right questions, knowing the market and deciding correctly will allow you to lay a good foundation on which to grow a good digital strategy.


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From DigitalMakers we want to give a hand in this important stage, that's why we have thought of a series of articles that can help you. To start, in this article we explain what a CMS is and what main types exist on the market.


What does CMS mean?

CMS are the initials of "Content Management System".

Basically it is the software that allows you to manage the publications, in this case especially from web pages or blogs. That is, the system by which you can modify the contents of your web page, publish new ones, delete old ones, etc. Most important of all, it does not require programming code knowledge to perform these tasks.

CMS can be classified in many ways, for example according to the needs they cover; There are specialized CMS in blogs (like Wordpress), in wikis (like wikimedia), in education (like Moodle), in forums (like phpBB), on websites (like Drupal, Joomla, Hubspot ...), in ecommerce (like Shopify ), etc.

But we in this first article will basically divide them according to the ownership of the software. why are we doing it like that? Very simple, because two important aspects when choosing CMS must be security (let's not forget that behind the CMS there is a bbdd and in many cases with sensitive data) and cost. Obviously it is also key what they allow you to do technically, but in general terms in the three categories that we present below, you will find some system that adjusts to the needs of your project.


CMS Open Source

Open Source means that the source code on which the CMS is programmed has been released free of charge for you to use.

This input can make you decide automatically, especially when cost is an important factor for the budget you have.

But you must bear in mind that behind this "free" there are generally a series of associated costs and a loss of security if you do not want to assume them.

The best known cases that can be included in this category are Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla, if we talk about eCommerce we can also add Prestashop or Woocomerce (linked to Wordpress).


 In favor

ok The CMS is free, therefore there are no licenses to pay.

ok In general there is a community behind each CMS that creates plugins, templates, page builders, etc. That they allow you to cover a good part of the needs that may arise. Account, many of these plugins or templates, are paid.

ok The popularity of some of these CMS makes it easy to find operating manuals or forums to help you answer questions or needs.



KO These systems generally have associated costs, they require you to hire a server, to install the CMS, to carry out maintenance, updates, backups, etc. In this article we explain the importance of web maintenance.

KO Open Source CMS can have security problems, in many cases the plugins are not well verified, they can dirty the database and generate holes, we must be careful and we always have the web well updated.

KO The basic CMS is prepared for people who do not have great technical knowledge. But if your page has more specific requirements, it requires technical knowledge to be able to carry them out.

Challenge #askdigitalmakers


CMS Owners

A proprietary CMS is a content manager that has already been created by a company, with its own more or less flexible characteristics, and sells it as a product, at a certain price.

Some examples of this type of CMS are Adobe Experience Manager, Kentico, Sitecore


In favor

ok Being a closed product generally makes security, database stability and technical maintenance better. It works with controlled environments, where it is easier to foresee problems.

ok In case the provider is a specialist in your sector, the CMS will probably already be thought and worked to satisfy all the needs that may arise.

ok You will not have to worry about installations, or platform and server updates, since the same provider takes care of it.



KO They are usually expensive, both the cost of the license and the cost of development.

KO There are fewer providers that can develop the tool, and there is usually no community behind it that does independent development.



Saas is an acronym for "Software as a Service", basically it is a software distribution model where software and data are hosted in the cloud, and accessed via the Internet from a client.

Therefore we could say that it is a proprietary CMS, but with an idea of operation similar to that of Open Source. In fact, for example, Wordpress uses both modalities. There are many well-known platforms that use this model, some simpler and very popular like Squarspace, Wix or Shopify and others more professional like Hubspot. The fact that the best-known SaaS CMS are the first may lead to think that they are unprofessional systems, but in no case is this.


In favor

ok The fact of working with a SaaS, does not have to worry about installations, servers, etc. the CMS "is a web" where you can connect from anywhere and the provider is in charge of server management, maintenance, backups, updates.

ok They are CMS that are treated as closed products with your needs in mind. You have to choose the CMS well to see that it meets your requirements.

ok They are usually easy to use and give a professional result.

ok Despite the fact that in some cases in order to get a good performance to pay premium packages, they tend to be cheaper than open source software and much more than proprietary software.

ok Despite not being free software, they usually have communities behind them that can help you in the development and management of content.

ok There are Saas, such as Hubspot, that allow you to integrate the CMS with other essential tools for your company, such as CRM. We leave you an article of a success case of Wordpress migration to Hubspot.

ok Commissioning is immediate.



KO In many cases they are designed for small businesses or simple websites, when wanting to do more complex things it involves paying premium packages.

KO By not having control of the software, it could occur, especially in the case of free platforms, a loss of the web in the event that the provider ceases to exist.

KO It requires a good internet connection, everything works online and without it it can be difficult to work.


As we said at the beginning, the idea of the article was to give you a first brushstroke of what a CMS is, why it is important to choose the right one and show you some pros and cons of each category.

If you have doubts, or want us to talk about a CMS more specifically, as we always tell you, you can write to us and we will be happy to answer you.

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Oriol Escofet
Graduat en Multimedia i Màster en experiència d'usuari, l'Oriol és un enamorat de tot el que fa referència al mon on-line, desde desenvolupar pàgines web a editar videos, passant per l'analítica i l'estratègia digital, pensant en l'usuari final per ajudar-lo a que aconsegueixi complir els seus objectius amb eficacia i eficiencia.
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