Open Source vs Proprietary Platforms: What Works for Government2Citizen (G2C) Portals

March 16, 2015

Open Source vs Proprietary Platforms: What Works for Government2Citizen (G2C) Portals

Open Source CMS vs Proprietary CMS

Windows vs Linux.

Android vs iOS.

In the battle between open source and proprietary platforms, each side has its supporters, but when it comes to Government2Citizen (G2C) websites, open source seems to be holding its own ground… firmly.

The WS Team did a quick (and informal) survey of G2C websites, and found quite a few well established Government organizations using open-source CMSs, including the White House (, the official sites of Singapore and Netherlands Parliaments, and NASA, to name a few.

To understand this preference, a comparative table with the features of open source and proprietary CMSs can come in handy:


One of the biggest advantages of open-source CMSs is the cost of set up and maintenance; a big deal when it comes to spending taxpayer’s money judicially. Open-source CMSs are also more flexible and tend to be more scalable as well, making updates & overall management easier.

Open source CMSs do have some security vulnerabilities – mostly due to unrestricted access to internal code. Hosting them on dedicated servers with strong passwords and installing security updates as soon as they come out solve these issues.

Open source is not impacted by internal corporate changes such as mergers and acquisitions, which can completely destabilize proprietary systems. A recent instance that comes to mind is the purchase of Ektron via EPiServer, which forces customers to move to EPiServer or rethink the entire CMS tech stack.

Note: WS has deployed multiple open-source and proprietary CMSs in the Government2Citizen sector and is platform agnostic with respect to system integration. Some of our G2C case studies include Singapore Poly, Singapore Science Board and National Arts Council.

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