What is an Open Source CMS?

by Marco Rosano

The world of tech is rife with impenetrable terms and acronyms, but once you decode them, you can 'Poindexter' with the best of them.

So, what is an open-source CMS? What’s a CMS?!

A CMS is a Content Management System – the system your website most likely built on that also lets you login and make changes, such as publishing, editing, managing and deleting content.

There are two kinds of Content Management Systems: Open-source and proprietary.

Open Source & Proprietary

As the name suggests, an open-source CMS is free to use (i.e. it has no license fees) and has been created and maintained by a global community of talented developers around the world. The source code is available for anyone and any member of its tech community to extend, modify and create new features as required by the community. A proprietary CMS, in a word, is the opposite of this.

Whilst proprietary content management systems do have their advantages, namely setup and out-of-the-box features, you can just as easily achieve an enterprise-level solution with platform support, should you choose the correct open-source platform and digital team to work with. The benefits here can be huge.

So, what's our favourite open-source CMS...?


SilverStripe is a leading open-source web content management system used by Governments, private enterprise & not-for-profit organisations around the world. As a platform, it provides the perfect balance of flexibility, robustness and usability that make it stand out from other CMS solutions currently available.

Being open-source, it’s free to use and has no ongoing license fees. It’s underpinned by a large developer community (which we actively contribute to) and has many resources for expansion and customisation. FYI, we’re also a certified SilverStripe development partner.

SilverStripe presents no limitations on the developer, or designer, in terms of producing fully responsive and compliant site builds to be completed with ease and confidence. SilverStripe supports delivering scalable solutions for page weights, with integral image compression, resampling and scaling in place to ensure that the users experience is kept at a high standard.

SilverStripe interfaces focus on the content author and provide a simple way to ensure that your internal teams are able to present your message with as little friction as possible, allowing for a more engaged end user and improved ROI over other solutions.

In addition to the above, below are a few more reasons why we work with SilverStripe:

  • Because it is both a framework and CMS, it is well-suited to implementing digital platform management solutions while maintaining supreme ease of use for website authors.
  • SilverStripe’s extensible framework allows for highly customised CMS interfaces for highly tailored content models.
  • And because SilverStripe is open-source, you are not locked into a particular vendor. SilverStripe partners and members of the Developer Network all over the world are able to service your needs should you require local development resources.