5 Disadvantages of Using a Custom Made CMS Rather than Joomla

One of our non-regular Joomla clients revealed to us their wish to build their own CMS. They told us that the number one reason why they’re doing this is because maintaining a large Joomla website is very costly. They also cited other reasons, including having to go through the trouble of updating their site every time there is a new Joomla release, the absence of some functionalities (extensions) that they need, the generic Joomla core that is not optimized by default for their website, and the fact that their website is constantly under attack because, well, it’s a Joomla website.

What was surprising to them is that we agreed with everything they said: yes, maintaining a large Joomla website is costly, and yes, updating it is not fun, and yes, Joomla is a generic open source product that must be customized to accommodate a serious website. But again, these issues are inherent to any open source mainstream CMS, including Drupal and WordPress. Naturally, the client told us that since they’re moving to a custom made CMS, they won’t have any of these issues, right? Well, as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…

You see, creating a custom made CMS is no fun job, and, to this date, we have yet to witness a case where the client converted to a custom made CMS and not regretted their decision later on (that is, of course, if the custom made CMS reaches the deployment phase, as many of these custom made CMS projects end up being killed after a couple of years because they were only supposed to take 4 months), and this is mainly because of the five following reasons:

  1. Being at the mercy of developers: A common problem that most companies do not foresee is that when they switch to a custom made CMS they will instantly become at the mercy of their developers. What if their developers suddenly leave during the project? What if the code is so (unnecessarily) complex that other developers would not be able to decipher it? What if they use obsolete libraries or products? This is by far the most crucial problem to consider if you want to switch to a custom made CMS.
  2. The myth of perfect security: Joomla has always been criticized for its security, but this is mostly bad reputation that is lingering from almost a decade ago. Joomla’s security at the moment (we’re in June 2018) is top notch. The same cannot be said about custom made CMS’s, which are always thought to have perfect security, but this is just an illusion. In reality, the security on any custom made software is extremely feeble, but, since it is not open source, its potential exploits are only known to a limited number of people (including the original and the current developers, which make these developers even more dangerous). We have seen the code of quite a few closed source CMS products, and we are confident when we say that their security is worse than that of the worst CMS on the market.

  3. The inability to catch up with technology: In most cases, by the time a custom made CMS is finished, the technology it was built on becomes already obsolete, which is not a huge problem. But, the fact that this obsolete technology will not change for many years to come exposes the CMS to many issues, such as sticking with a very old (and exploitable) environment just for the sake of keeping everything working.

  4. The very expensive development work: All transactions in this world are subject to supply and demand. If gold, for example, was in huge supply, then it would’ve been very cheap, but it is not, and so are the developers who can work on custom made CMS (we’re not saying that such developers are like gold, which is often not the case, we’re just saying that they’re rare). A very simple task, such as changing a font in the template, can take a couple of weeks and can end up costing the client tens of thousands of dollars. Imagine what would the cost be for introducing a new feature on a custom made CMS.

  5. Bugs, more bugs, and a very unfriendly GUI: Ever worked on or seen a closed source CMS? Then you may already know that the 3 prominent characteristics in such a product are bugs, more bugs, and an extremely unfriendly GUI (Graphical User Interface). The thing is, unlike mainstream CMS’s, custom made CMS’s do not get tested by thousands (if not millions) of people, and that’s why they end up really, really buggy and with a horrible GUI, resulting in a very bad experience, and ultimately causing decent staff to quit.

We hope that you found our post helpful and convincing. If you still want to dump Joomla and have a custom made CMS developed for your business, then why not contact us before to discuss your case? We are eager to help you make the right decision. Please note that our super affordable fees apply!

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