What is a CMS?

Posted on 12th April 2016

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System is a web based tool that allows business owners to update their own website quickly and easily from any computer.  Typically a Content Management System (or CMS) will allow you to add text, images, audio, video and links to your website.

When you buy a website you should always make sure that a Content Management System is included in the package.  After the website is live you may want to update products and services, customer testimonials, news, staff information, contact details, and much more.  Without a CMS you will rely on your website design company to make changes, which introduces delays and is costly.

What types of Content Management System are there?

Different web design companies provide different types of Content Management System .  Some create their own Content Management System specifically for their clients (these are known as In-House) whereas other web design companies use ready-made systems that are available online (these are known as Open Source).

What is an Open Source system?

If your web design company has not invested in their own Content Management System then they may well be using an Open Source system that is provided (usually free) over the Internet by a third party company or by a community of programmers. 

This means that the system will not be designed by your web design company and you will be relying on the third party to provide updates, fix problems, add improvements, and to ensure the system is secure.

What is an In-House system?

If your web design company has built their own in-house Content Management System this means that they have invested in creating a system specifically for their clients.

Their system will have been designed to integrate smoothly with their websites and to match the needs of businesses like yours.  With an In-House system your web design company has full control over the functionality, security and reliability of the system.

What are the benefits of an Open-Source system?

If your web design company has not invested in their own Content Management System then they will probably be using an Open-Source alternative.  These ready-made packages are often provided free or at low cost over the Internet. 

Typically web design companies might use systems like Wordpress, Blogger, Joomla or Drupal. Usually these systems are created by a variety of programmers working on the software around the world. There may be a multitude of options and settings that can be hard to set up, configure, and use to update your website.

What are the benefits of an In-House system?

In-House systems are devised for a specific group of users.  This means that In-House systems tend to be much easier to use because they only have the features you need, not features for many different types of websites and other purposes.

Security is also easier to control because the programmers are employed In-House and the system is hosted In-House.  This means that your web design company is in complete control of the system.

What about Customer Service?

With an In-House system you are guaranteed knowledgeable customer service because the company that built the Content Management System is providing the support.

By their nature Open-Source systems do not themselves provide customer support which has to be provided by your web design company, even though they have not designed and produced the Content Management System themselves.

What About Ownership?

If you buy a website with Toolkit Websites you become the full owner of the bespoke work that we create for you. 

In addition to this we can provide you with a full html copy of the website via email, as a backup.  Should you ever wish to move to another web design company you can easily use this to move your website.

What About New Features?

Open Source systems require significant amounts of programming to be customised, as the programming is controlled centrally and is the same for all users.  With an In-House system your web design company is in full control and can easily add new features. 

At Toolkit Websites we add features and updates to The Toolkit automatically and ensure that you don’t need to worry about applying these to your website.  With an Open Source system adding new updates can cause problems with your website so you need to be careful.

What About Security?

Open Source systems can be the target of hackers.  If an Open Source system has not been recently updated then it might contain security bugs that can be exploited by hackers.  This means that your web design company must diligently update the Open Source system for your website to ensure that it is always running the very latest version. 

Failing to do this could mean that your website becomes compromised, be taken offline, or be used for spamming other web users.  With an In-House system your web design company will constantly  update the system for all clients without need for your input, so your peace of mind can be assured.
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