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The hidden costs of using open source website platforms (Is Wordpress really free?)

Amazingly, Wordpress is used by 26% of websites out there. At first blush, this sounds like it'd be a good thing, right? After all, the more people that use something, the better it must be! Not necessarily. It could actually end up being a negative for your website.

Content Management systems like Wordpress began as blogging platforms that people would be able to set up and manage themselves. From there, they became wildly popular because of their open source nature. Their code base is created and updated by programmers who all contribute to making it a better product. And it doesn't cost anything to download, so how could you beat free?

But are open source systems really free?

It's misleading to think of open source as free since the only part of it that's free is the actual code base itself. In order to create a unique website on your hosting platform tied to your domain name, it'll mean hiring a designer/developer to implement and design around.

Let's break this down ...

  • Having to keep up with core software updates (old software makes your website vulnerable)
  • Keeping your plugins up-to-date
  • Spam bots swarming your comment sections

If you have a hobby site or a blog, then Wordpress is a great option since it is easy to download and install on your servers. You can purchase pre-baked templates if you want to save money on development and don't mind a cookie-cutter mold to put your website into. But for a true business website, a custom website design built on a solid (non-open source) code base makes it more reliable and less prone to hacking.