CMS Hostages Not Required

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Back in the early days of website design and SEO, an organisation could transfer its website from one hosting provider to another by simply copying a few files and images. But, as websites grew in size and complexity, a new system was needed to manage a website’s content. The concept of the Content Management System (CMS) was born which is essentially a piece of software which automates the storage of your website content in conjunction with a database.

Most websites today are created using some form of CMS. Consequently, the process of switching website hosts became much more complicated because all sorts of additional scripts and files needed to be transferred with the raw content of the website being migrated from one host to another. However, if you’re using an open source CMS such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupal, the transfer process is usually straightforward once the CMS in question is actually installed correctly at the new host.

BUT what if your site was created using a proprietary CMS, a bespoke piece of software developed by a website agency or host which nobody else in the world uses? Furthermore, what if your web agency didn’t tell you they built your website using a white-label CMS which they didn’t control?

I’m sad to report that we see this situation fairly frequently. We see it all the time… an organisation switches to a new website agency who promises great things for a low monthly cost only to find that the costs soon escalate and response times fall short of SLA. What’s more, if the client threatens to call time on the agreement, they find they are faced with another huge bill to build a new site because the new CMS is not forward compatible. Furthermore, there is usually another ‘charge’ from the legacy CMS provider to migrate the content over to a new content management system.

So, if you’re having a website developed, do check the name of the CMS which will be used to build it. If it’s not an open source CMS or one which is commonly used by a large number of developers, I suggest you proceed in another direction.

If you are faced with a hostage situation or simply need some informal advice when negotiating a contract to build your first website, please get in touch. We’d be very happy to help.

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As our name suggests, we exist to keep a watchful eye over your online real-estate. Onvigil is a leading UK based digital agency, serving organisations in London, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.

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