Dangers of bespoke CMS

Published: September 2012

Beware of bespoke content management systems, a can of worms

If adopting a bespoke CMS works for you and your business, that’s all well and good but we have heard time and again the horror stories of bad CMS and that clients feel like they have been sold a can of worms.

“If you open a can of worms, you do something that will cause a lot of problems and is, on balance, probably going to cause more trouble than it’s worth.”

A can of 9 worms…

Although a bespoke CMS has some advantages, we mostly hear from frustrated companies who wish they had never opted in to it. So, make sure you are fully aware of these nine dangers of a bespoke CMS before you start working with your development team:

Lack of Control

Every time you need to make an amendment (whether to text, images, etc.) you may need to call on your web developers. Not great if you have regular website announcements to make.


The bigger systems have multiple staff on-hand to fix any problems but how responsive are the developers who built your site? The last thing you want is problems that they do not have the time (and you don’t have the money) to fix.


A bespoke CMS will be tested by the developers, and potentially involve feedback from the client, before finalising the system. The larger, opensource programs undergo in-depth, rigorous tests and receive feedback from thousands of users meaning the system is built to a higher standard and more fully tested.

User Guides

When people need answers, many turn to the internet for quick, accessible and helpful advice but if your CMS is built especially for you, there will be little or no help guides available which means you are relying solely on the developers.


If you decide that you’ve had enough of the bespoke CMS, it can be a slow and tedious process for your new developers to switch your site to an opensource provider. The worst-case scenario is that you are effectively ‘locked in’ and cannot change company.

External Support

Making amends and fixing bugs takes time for your developers which can be a pain if they are busy on other projects, so just be aware that aside from your developers, there is a lack of support. This can also lead to lack of cooperation if you decide to change agencies in the future too.


To design and build a bespoke CMS can be very expensive. If you see a ‘good deal’ make sure you are extra wary as the cheap options are usually not very reliable or safe.

User friendly

Most bespoke systems are not as user-friendly and are usually not as stable as their opensource rivals.


To put this in perspective, WordPress has multiple developers whose full-time job is to make updates and improvements to their system. You are unlikely to find a developer (and team) who are dedicated to ensuring your bespoke CMS is kept up-to-date.

If you have encountered any other disadvantages of bespoke CMS be sure to share your experiences of bad CMS with us at and we’ll give you a mention!

The pest controllers

We can help you banish the bespoke CMS for good and introduce you to open source platforms that give you maximum control of your site without any hidden charges or complicated processes.

Here to save the day are the best open source content management systems online today; WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

Call 0191 456 6199 or contact us if you are thinking of making the switch from your bespoke CMS to opensource as we would love to help you.

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