The cost of open source software

Written by Adam


Although the giants of software, like Microsoft, have a stranglehold on our desktops, most people have heard of open source software.  These are applications that have been developed and are free to use.  You may have heard of Linux and Open Office (the alternative to Microsoft Office), but fewer people consider the content management systems that are available online.

A content management system allows you access to your own website, letting you change content and, sometimes, other elements, putting you in control.  In today’s fast moving world that is a big advantage to organisations who want to stay up to date.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all content management systems and are all open source.  However, it’s a mistake to think that because you can get a free content management system, you can create a website that is completely free of charge.

What are the costs?

  1. Firstly, you need to buy a domain name.  You will need to pay an annual fee for this.
  2. You need to create your website – this needs a level of expertise (or a lot of time whilst you learn) to produce a professional looking site.
  3. The site will need to be ‘parked’ somewhere.  This is known as hosting and you normally pay a monthly or annual fee for this.
  4. Updates.  This is the hidden cost that people forget about and, without a level of technical expertise, can be overlooked.  This includes installing updates to the content management system and adding security patches for widgets and plug ins.

Most people are aware of the first three on this list, but not the last one, so it’s often forgotten.  Without the security upgrades to protect your site, the code may be open to hackers and the last thing you need is having your site hacked!

If you are suffering from mild panic about your site security – don’t!  You can have that service included in your monthly support package – or, if you want to learn how to look after your site yourself, just ask us about a training session.  However, do something; ignorance is not bliss!


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