Custom CMS vs. Off-the-Shelf CMS – Which One Should You Choose and Why?

There are many reasons why you would want a content management system (CMS).

It could be that you need a better updated system to maintain your website, redesign it, add newer functionalities, manage your internet marketing or build a new website.

Well… whatever the reason is, the choice of the right CMS solution boils down to your particular business and needs.

You thus have a major decision to take regarding the CMS system you need.

You can either choose to go for an already existing off-the-shelf CMS solutions or to build a custom solution tailored to your particular needs.

Here is an overview of both options to help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of a Custom CMS

Let us start with a custom CMS and its benefits.

It is quite inevitable to survive on the internet without a CMS but it is, even more, difficult to do so when you have the wrong solution in hand.


Generic solutions do not always fit your needs; especially large enterprises and complex sites will find it difficult to be satisfied with general CMS solutions.

Custom or proprietary CMS platforms are built exactly to your measurements and thus eliminates any kind of incompatibility issues.

These types of CMS software are coded to match your site’s needs and specifications exactly. They are also usually developed by programmers with or without the use of code libraries.

Some of the benefits of using custom CMS platforms are explained below:

Comparing a Custom CMS with an Off-the-Shelf CMS

While off-the-shelf CMS solutions have to include loads of coding to suit various purposes and support different types of sites and different types of needs, a custom CMS is very picky on the coding side.

Thus, programming a content upload becomes more efficient with custom CMS platforms.

One downside to custom CMS platforms is that it does not have the advantage of off-the-shelf CMS solutions and software bugs may thus creep into the final solution.

While custom CMS platforms may indeed be more secure and well-tested given the focused development, it may still lack the well proven and well-tested components provided by off-the-shelf CMS solutions.

Also, if you are only looking for some of the basic functionality provided by any CMS, building a custom CMS would be a waste.

This is because building a custom CMS in such a case is only a reinvention of the wheel. It is safe to say that small sites can generally do without a custom CMS unless they have some pressing special needs.

But, if performance and special functionalities are a concern for you, then custom a CMS stands as your best solution.

In terms of cost, both off-the-shelf and custom CMS solutions fare almost equally with a custom CMS actually having lower costs in many cases.

Though the initial investment for building a custom CMS may seem high, the maintenance and support costs involved are low compared to off-the-shelf CMS solutions.

The additional costs involved with off-the-shelf CMS solutions also include the amount of work and resources spent in making it work according to your needs.

Here is a brief comparison table of the two options. 

We hope that the above comparison was useful. However, no information is ever complete! If you have any suggestions or ideas that can further help fellow readers, please mention them in the comments.

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