Differences Between Open Source & Closed Source Website Software

Cost, support, usability, security and innovation are points of differences for open and closed software.
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You are in need of a new website. Should you go with an open source or closed source software option for it? Sometimes it’s not a clear cut decision, with pros and cons for choosing either solution. Today we’re going to explain the differences between an open and closed source website to help you decide on what to use.

What is Open Source Software?

Open source software for a website is available for everyone. Technically free of charge, it is software which anyone can use and access. The source code within it is visible and known to others, and it can be modified free of charge by those who know how to. Open source software (OSS) is continually being modified by web developers, so the way it works and looks can often change too.

What is Closed Source Software?

Closed source software (CSS) is private and not available for the public to see. It is owned by a specific person or business who pays for the right to use it. The source code is not shared with others, nor can it be modified without permission.

Differences Between Open Source & Closed Source Software

There are five key differences between open source and closed source website software:

  1. Cost – open source is free to access and use, but it doesn’t mean it won’t cost you at some stage if additional add-ons are necessary. Closed source is pricey, as it is designed specifically for the user.
  2. Support – support for closed source website software is far better, because you have paid (or still are paying) for their service. You will receive specific assistance which meets your needs too. With open source, you are generally relying on public forums or privately hiring someone to support you.
  3. Usability – there are user manuals written for OSS, but these are generally aimed at developers. CSS does provide detailed user guides written for the person or type of person whom it was created for. There is support available to help understand these further if necessary.
  4. Security – security is a big issue for OSS. With it being available to everyone, there’s always the possibility that what you have has been altered in a negative way, such as with a trojan or bug. While there are regular updates available, you need to rely on them to be published. For CSS, the security levels are much higher, with only limited people having access to the source code. Updates are done automatically too, reducing the efforts you need to make.
  5. Innovation – a closed source website can only be edited by the developers. While this requires additional fees, you get exactly what you were needing. With open source sites, as there are many contributors to the adaptation of the code, new advances are often made.

If you’re still unsure about which type of web software source to go with, get in touch. We’d be more than happy to discuss what your specific requirements are and help you to select the best option for your business.