Which is Better: Custom Development or a Standard CMS?

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Content Management Systems (CMS) make website development easier and more accessible than ever. These platforms supply you numerous pre-coded tools, as well as designs, themes, and pieces of functionality that you can use to construct a site.

With the rise of CMS software, it may seem like custom development is on the decline, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Custom development adds a personal touch to every website, as well as significantly improves its performance and security.

To decide which option suits your company better, it’s important to consider your business needs, as well as the price, development time, and performance for CMS and custom development.

What Is a CMS?

A content management system is a platform that allows you to create your own website using the already coded functionalities and themes. Normally, using a CMS relieves you of the necessity to know any programming language, although it is possible to change various elements and design pieces by coding. CMS platforms offer extensive collections of plugins, in-built features, and themes that you can access or purchase.

In custom development, professionals use different tools, for instance, PHP and Laravel framework, to build a website from scratch. All features and designs are, therefore, unique and created to fit your specific requirements. You can learn more about custom development services here.

How Does a CMS Differ From Custom Development?

Development Time

It is always faster to develop with a CMS than build a site from scratch. The development time depends largely on the complexity of your desired website, but CMS platforms provide the backbone of every site, as well as ready-to-use themes and various features.


Since CMS platforms give you access to already functional bits of features, these tools are significantly cheaper than custom development services. Even though developers can reuse their code sometimes, creating each button for your site from scratch takes more time and effort than dragging and dropping it in a CMS’s editor.

Performance and Stability

Unlike it is with custom-built websites, when it comes to using a CMS, the site’s performance depends on its complexity. CMS platforms can compete with websites built from scratch when these pages don’t have large user traffic and intricate features. In other cases, custom development ensures better customer experience and the site’s reliability.


Custom-built websites are much easier to modify when your business starts growing. Since using a CMS limits you to the platform’s infrastructure, it is frequently difficult or altogether impossible to expand the site’s capabilities when you start gaining more customers.


On the one hand, a CMS helps you navigate your site easily, making any changes via a user-friendly interface. The CMS also takes care of the infrastructure, which means you only need to contact the platform’s support services if something goes wrong on their end. On the other hand, maintaining your own website can be easier because you know the ins and outs of it. In general, if you have a dedicated team to perform maintenance, a custom-built website is a better option in the long run.


CMS platforms can provide stunning designs that may suit your needs perfectly. If you feel comfortable changing bits of code to customize a theme to your liking, give CMS a try. In case a unique and specific design is your priority, however, it’s better to have a team of professional web designers to collaborate with.


Custom-built websites beat CMS platforms when it comes to security. With CMS, you rely entirely on the third-party’s protection, while a site developed from scratch allows you to take full control of ensuring its security. While using a CMS lifts the burden of thinking about security off your shoulders, it also leaves you at a greater risk of having your page compromised.

CMS vs. Custom Development: How to Choose?

Before you make your choice, it’s important to understand that whether a CMS will suffice your needs has more to do with the business’s purpose rather than size. Bloggers, artists, musicians, and other creators who don’t require exceptionally complicated functionality can greatly benefit from using a CMS. You would have to tweak the existing themes or even create a new one from scratch, but the main functionalities and backend would be covered by the platform.

On the other hand, if your business focuses on providing services or products instead of mainly showcasing your work, custom development is a better option. A professional team of developers will build a more stable and unique site than any CMS can offer. Both the design and functionalities will also be tailored specifically to your needs, enabling you to take into consideration your target audience, brand style, and other marketing elements.

In short, decide in favor of custom development if your budget allows it. In the long term, it will be easier to maintain, update, and interact with a website when it is built from scratch. However, if you wish to get a feel for your new idea of a web page, or the features you require are incredibly simple, a CMS is a good tool to create your site fast and avoid spending unnecessary resources.

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design trends, inspiration, design freebies, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

1 thought on “Which is Better: Custom Development or a Standard CMS?”

  1. The article is completely misleading as it never considers any cache solutions in CMS’.
    Also it ignores quite extensive possibilities to increase functionality even on running production-sites when using CMS’ instead it claims that custom made websites are easier to modify; while this might not being wrong it’s much harder to program everything from scratch without possibility to use extensions, templates and plugins. Depending on the structure of any individual programmed site, it might be even very hard to implement some things afterwards.
    I could mention many more things which are either scratched only on the surface or just wrong but I don’t feel that the article is worth it to comment on every mentioned aspect.


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