Posted: 2021-01-05

Closed Source and Open Source - what you need to know.

Whether open-source or closed source web solutions are the best is a question we get asked frequently. Often the understanding of what is open source and closed source in a commercial situation is misunderstood, below we have provided a short but hopefully informative overview.

Open source - The myth

Open source is free, but if a website is built in open source, you need to be a programmer to edit it. You do not get open-source website with content management systems.

Open source - The reality

‘Source’ refers to the code. So if you use an agency who build your website in open source code, there is a charge for the work including, design, coding, content creation and optimisation. Once you have paid for the work that has been done, the code should become yours. Similar to buying a car outright! Open-source websites can feature admin/content management areas just like out of the box closed source platforms.

Closed source – The myth

You can edit what you want on the site and add extra all for a monthly fee, and you own the website.

Closed source – The reality

Only the original coders/owners of the code can make fundamental changes. You get some editing privileges but if you require anything above and beyond that, you are at the mercy of the platform regarding how much it will cost. A closed source website is hosted on the suppliers hosting and not on your own server so again you are slightly vulnerable should anything go wrong. If SEO contracts are required, some closed source platforms need you to use their team for SEO activity instead of sourcing your own provider. In reality, closed source platforms have a place in the commercial world as long as users understand that they are essentially leasing their website and not buying a website.

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