Websites have now existed for over 20 years with the first one going live in 1993. There are many reasons for having a website; getting found online, selling, advertising, saving time, educating customers, gathering contact information… but have you ever stopped to consider whether you actually own what you’ve paid for?
Websites started out as online brochures that only developers could access to update – this is where they made their money. Then the age of content management systems (CMS) was born, giving the power back to business owners, i.e. the ability to update their own websites.
Many of the CMS platforms were developed using proprietary software, or closed source software. This means that while the business owner could access their website and make updates, they didn’t own the software used to access the website – the platform. They were given a license or right to use the software only under certain conditions. If the web developer shut shop, went on their OE, hiked their hosting prices up or provided bad service – tough. The business owner was stuck there until they rebuilt with another developer, starting from scratch.
Nowadays open source is the way to go. Open source refers to a program in which the code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design. This means that should you become unhappy with the pricing or service from your website developer, you are free to pick up your website and go elsewhere – you own it.
It provides control and freedom. Need to add something to your website? Shop around! With open source, you can get quotes from developers servicing the same platform.
So check what it is that you’ve paid for. It’s common to be told you own the design and/or the content, but without a portable platform – you are stuck.
At Isatrin, we build sites which are content management systems using open source software. In the last few years, the cost of developing with open source software has become equal to, or in some cases cheaper than, proprietary software.
If you want to have a chat about your existing or potential website, feel free to make an appointment with Lisa.