What is an open source? This is a project with an open program code, which can be easily used, distributed, modified etc. It comes with neutral license, that is, it doesn’t have any usage requirements or limitations. Are there open source website builders – let’s find that out.
Open Source Website Builders: Myth or Reality?
Why may anyone need an open source website builder? That’s right: to create personal brand product on its basis and start making money by promoting it. We have to emphasize that there are no open source website builders at all. All platforms of this category are commercial.
You can contradict that some website builders may be used for free. That’s right. A user can register and create a personal website without any charges at all. This, however, doesn’t grant access to system files as well as the right to modify them, even if this access is available. Everything is protected by author rights and technical limitations. Thus, you can use the system, but you can’t own it.
An open source model looks and functions differently. Some CMS (Joomla, WordPress, etc) that compete with cloud website builders are built on its basis. You can use them for free for commercial purposes, create your own products on their basis, sell them and modify the code as you need. These system files are freely available in the global network and are not copyright or technically protected. Use them as you need. This is the essence of open source projects.
It goes without saying that not all CMS are open code platforms. Many of them are paid and you can be sued by their developers for unauthorized use.
As opposed to CMS, cloud website builders cannot be free for the following reasons:
- They require more powerful hosting for the system itself as well as for client websites created with it;
- There is the need to hire specialists servicing the platform, such as programmers, web designers, tech support specialists;
- There is the need to ensure user guarantees. If anything goes wrong because of the developer’s fault, a client will pursue a claim that will have to be reviewed.
This requires notable financial investments. Open source CMS don’t have all the above mentioned issues associated with them. You use the project as it is, bearing responsibility for this. This concerns system files only as these services don’t provide any hosting, servicing or warranties at all. You can download them for free. If you face any financial losses, no one will be responsible for that.
Generally, open source communities organize forums for further discussions and product support on their own, but this is not obligatory. If the developers of an open source project stop working on it, nothing can be done to change the situation. It is up to the web developers to decide that – no one can guarantee anything. If it’s ok with you – you are welcome to use the system. If not – start looking for other available options.
Website builders provide warranty and features that just cannot be free: the platform, support team and hosting to start with. Would you buy the materials, equipment, design the sketches and sew top class clothes to further give them to everyone for free? Definitely, not. The same concerns website builders, which cannot be open source. If such a platform appeared, this could only mean that someone has invested into the project for individual reasons. This is hardly possible, isn’t it? This is business, anyway, and it’s clear that all investments should eventually bring profit.
Let’s discuss the use of open source CMS in detail. What are the pros and cons associated with these platforms?
Open Source Website Builder Alternatives: WordPress and Joomla
We have partially underlined the merits and demerits of these systems. The benefits are as follows:
- You can download the systems for free and use them to your advantage;
- Extensive functionality options;
- Broad system communities: it’s not difficult to find a web developer, an appealing template, a plugin or a module if needed.
Regardless of the complete absence of fees these systems offer, they are a valuable source of income for many people, especially for programmers and web designers. Web studios develop custom made templates and sell the readymade ones, coders write paid modules and plugins, optimizers promote websites for extra cost etc. In other words, there is serious business behind WordPress and Joomla based on the creation, maintenance and optimization of websites. This is the reason of why open source projects keep developing.
The major problem is the discretion. Lots of web developers work in this niche. Not all of them are responsible enough to be entirely trusted. For example, you can set up a paid WordPress or Joomla plugin and your website will stop working. This happens more often than you may think. There are numerous reasons for that: incompatibility of CMS with plugin versions, conflict with installed components, code error etc.
The same is about templates. You have to be very careful when choosing and installing them, especially when working with Joomla. The more components you install, the higher the risk to face security problems is. For example, the database or cache volume can increase, which will result in the decrease of page load speed. This will consequently affect the behavioral factors (users don’t like waiting for something on the web) and search engine ranking. There are lots of such examples. The reason is the same – lack of distinct standardization and quality control within the ecosystems.
CMS is beneficial to experienced users only. They know what plugins to use and what to ignore. Even the combination of components that separately work well may eventually lead to malfunctions. You can spoil your Joomla website, for example, having installed the modules and updated the platform version from the dashboard. It seems obvious that you should update the system when there is such an opportunity. However, this is not always the best option. When working with CMS, you are bound to have fresh reserve copy of your website at hand.
Actually, it’s possible to learn CMS, having worked with it for some time. Those things that are obvious and consistent at first sight, don’t remain the same on practice. It’s possible to find out what plugins and modules are better to use, having tested the system only. This always takes time.
You won’t go without plugin or module installation in WordPress and Joomla. Both systems have poor out-of-the-box functionality. It will hardly be enough to create a simple promo website. Some options will be provided with the template chosen, namely website interface and design settings. You’ll have to add lots of modules then, like social network comments, slider, multilayer menu, social network registration, convenient editor for publication formatting, SEO optimization tools etc. These are just the samples. You may have other needs.
You shouldn’t forget about basic things like hosting purchase, domain registration, database creation, settings etc. as well. A newbie won’t cope with all these tasks without any education at all. Nothing happens intuitively when it comes to CMS. You have to know for sure what and why you are doing. Otherwise, you can just spoil the project or you won’t even be able to launch it.
CMS are great tools for experienced webmasters, who possess the required knowledge base. Joomla and WordPress are definitely decent web building platforms, but they may prove to be too hectic for newbies. This is not to mention the necessity to possess programming knowledge, which is a must here as well. Are you ready to spend your effort and time for that?
The cost of CMS is quite high as well. You have to pay for hosting, domain, some paid modules (if needed) and a template, if you wish to get a unique one. This is expensive. You’ll have to combine these elements into a single structure and set it up correspondingly.
Generally, open source CMS only seem affordable and free for everyone. The majority of people won’t be able to use them effectively. They work good for web design pros aiming at creation of projects meant for further monetization. Only experienced teams of programmers can use them as a tool to modernize and sell products under personal brand. The rest of users won’t get any benefits here. For those people, who wish to bring their website builder to the market, there is a simpler alternative.
I’d Like to Create My Own Website Builder. How Should I Do That?
You can use website builders with White Label support – rebranding of readymade tools to develop personal web building system. In other words, you invest into purchasing the rights to use a readymade website builder, set it up and decide on your own brand, prices etc.
You won’t have to develop a website from scratch. Instead, you will get a readymade product, having paid money for it and having received an opportunity to make profit through its realization.
Such opportunity is provided by many popular website builders like XPRS, Ucraft, uKit, Webydo, Weebly, Squarespace, DudaPro, etc. They come with their own white label terms and costs. An optimal solution is to explore all of them at the websites of these platforms, having discussed the issue with tech support.
There are CMS adaptations to cloud website builders, but it’s much more complicated to do that. You will need extra intellectual and financial resources. It’s simpler and more affordable to use White Label instead.
There are no Open Source Website Builders, but open source CMS exist. For the majority of users, cloud website builders work better when it comes to the development of personal websites and White Label website builder creation. This is simpler and eventually more affordable. Thill will help you make profit much quicker than you could even hope.
CMS attract users by their extensive opportunities granted that you use them properly. However, they are too difficult to be mastered by newbies. Creation of a cloud website builder or modified CMS on their basis seems a mission impossible for 99.9% of people. This requires professional assistance of an experienced team and notable investment of time and money. Generally, website builders are more suitable platforms to manage your business. You are sure about the result and invest less time, money and effort to reach the market much quicker than you have planned.