I want to have a CMS to promote some products of mine.

I wonder if I should download a free, open source CMS and host it myself or if I should pay for an online CMS?

What are the pros and cons for each of them?

Are there other things I should consider as well?

Share your thoughts, thanks.

  • 1
    Are you talking about the same CMS, but hosted vs. self-hosted? – gravyface Sep 18 '10 at 13:46

I think it really depends on the level of customization you see yourself needing in the near future and how much time you want to dedicate to managing your CMS.

A hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CMS will get you up and running quickly but they may have a restrictive set of plugins you can install that doesn't meet your feature requirements; they likely won't allow you to have access to the source code or they may not permit any code-level, API-based customizations either. There also may not be a migration path: i.e. if you want to move to your own hosted solution down the road as your business grows, you may not have access to the database or a sufficient enough "export" function to get your content out in a usable format.

On the flip-side, a host-your-own open source CMS requires diligence in maintenance: you need to make sure you're upgrading regularly (there's usually a regular stream of security patches being released; CMSs are a big target for hackers). Like anything else self-hosted, you need to watch your logs, clean-up any comment/forum spam, manage caching, and so on.


A significant advantage of an open source CMS is that you're not strongly tied to its vendor. If you're not happy with a hosting provider, changing will only cost a little time and the loss of paid-in-advance fees at the original provider. On the other hand, if you have to abandon one CMS for another, you're pretty much rewriting your site from scratch. For a CMS, to avoid vendor lock-in, you need:

  • a perpetual license;
  • the right to use the CMS on any hosting solution;
  • access to security updates even if you break your relationship with the vendor;
  • the right to make improvements to your copy (some locales may grant you this right no matter what the license says).

There's a middle ground between self-hosting and proprietary online CMS: many hosting providers support open source CMS. You should decide not between self-hosting and proprietary CMS, but between self-hosting and open-source externally-hosted.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.