Are you struggling to decide between a custom website vs a content management system for your online business? 

With both the options having pros and cons, choosing between the two can be challenging for businesses and individuals. 

In this blog, we will do a CMS vs. custom website comparison to help you make an informed decision.

What is CMS (Content Management System) Website?

A CMS or Content Management System enables users to build, administer, and modify the content of their websites with ease and without the need for in-depth technical expertise or coding abilities. 

It provides a user-friendly interface, often with a visual editor, where users can easily create and organize web pages, publish content, and manage various aspects of their website, such as design, layout, and multimedia elements. Some popular CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.

Benefits of CMS Website

CMS websites offer numerous benefits that simplify website management, customization, and optimization. Here are some of them:

Key CMS Website Benefits

Ease of Use: CMS websites make it simple for users to develop, update, and publish material on their websites. They do this by providing a user-friendly interface and intuitive content management tools. Because CMS platforms are so user-friendly, fewer coding skills are required, allowing people to administer their websites independently of web developers or other technical professionals.

Customizable Design Templates: CMS platforms offer many design templates or themes from which users can select to develop aesthetically pleasing websites. These templates provide versatility in design without requiring a great deal of coding or design knowledge because they can be altered to reflect the branding and style preferences of the website owner.

Built-in SEO Features: CMS platforms often come with SEO tools or plugins that enable users to improve their website’s visibility in search engine results. These features assist users in increasing their website’s search engine exposure and organic traffic. Examples of these features include adaptable URL structures, sitemaps, and meta tags, among others.

Extensive Plugin Ecosystem: CMS platforms often feature a sizable ecosystem of plugins and extensions. These add-ons provide more functionality and simple features to incorporate into websites. Users can choose from many plugins to enhance their websites without needing custom development with features like contact forms, social media integration, eCommerce capabilities, analytics, and more.

Cost-Effectiveness: CMS websites can be less expensive than custom websites, especially for small to medium-sized organizations. The pre-built templates and plugins offered by CMS platforms eliminate the need for considerable custom development, saving time and money. 

Furthermore, the simplicity of content management provided by CMS platforms enables companies to constantly update their websites without paying extra for ongoing maintenance or technical support.

Drawbacks of CMS Website

While Content Management Systems (CMS) have many benefits, there are a few drawbacks that must be taken into account. Three key downsides of a CMS website are listed below:

Disadvantages of CMS Website

Potential for Website Bloat: CMS platforms frequently offer many features, themes, and plugins, which might result in a bloated website. Using bulky themes or installing excessive plugins can harm how quickly pages load and use up server resources. Website bloat has the potential to degrade the user experience and impede website optimization efforts.

Security Risks: Security hazards on CMS websites are appealing targets for hackers as they grow well-known and frequently used. CMS websites may have security flaws if not regularly updated and maintained. They use outdated plugins, themes, or core CMS files, potentially resulting in data breaches, malware injections, or unauthorized access to the website.

Limited Customization: Though CMS platforms provide various customization options, they might be restricted in terms of in-depth customization. Users are limited by the flexibility and capabilities offered by the CMS framework, which might not perfectly match certain design or functionality requirements. The website may need to be customized in ways beyond what the CMS can handle, which may call for highly technical programming abilities.

What is a Custom Website?

A custom website refers to a website that is made expressly to match the individual demands, objectives, and aesthetic preferences of a person or organization. Unlike websites that use pre-built templates or content management systems (CMS), custom websites are designed utilizing custom code and distinctive design components.

The development process involves building a website’s architecture, designing unique layouts and user interfaces, and adding functionalities to the project’s unique specifications. Custom websites give you complete control over the structure, functionality, and user interface, enabling you to build a distinctive online presence.

Moreover, custom websites are built using a combination of programming languages, frameworks, and tools that best suit the developers’ and project requirements and preferences. Some commonly used programming languages for custom website development include JavaScript, Backend Programming Languages, etc.

Benefits of a Custom Website

A custom website has several benefits compared to pre-built templates or Content Management System (CMS) platforms. The benefits of having a unique website are as follows:

Key Custom Website Benefits

Unique Design: With a custom website, you can develop a one-of-a-kind look that expresses your company’s personality. You can work directly with web designers to make sure your website stands out from the competition, complements the aesthetics of your brand, and offers a memorable user experience. A bespoke design aids in establishing brand trust, producing a powerful visual impact, and differentiating your company in the online marketplace.

Higher Flexibility and Control: Custom websites provide you with greater control and flexibility over the functioning and features of the website. Contrary to CMS platforms or pre-made templates, you can customize every element of your website to suit your unique requirements and tastes.

You can decide how various pieces are organized, how the material is displayed, and how website visitors interact. This freedom enables you to design a website that properly supports your corporate objectives and offers a distinctive user experience.

Advanced Functionality and Integration: Depending on your unique needs, custom websites allow you to include sophisticated functionality and integrations. A custom website can fit your unique business requirements by designing custom forms, deploying sophisticated databases, integrating with third-party services, or providing interactive aspects.

Increase engagement and conversion rates by providing your website visitors with a more seamless and dynamic experience.

Better Scalability: As your firm expands and changes, scalability is essential. When creating a custom website, pay attention to scalability as it enables extension and adaptability in the future. You may quickly scale up the infrastructure and add new capabilities as your website’s traffic grows with few restrictions.

Whether you need to handle growing user interactions, add new features, or expand product catalogs, custom websites give you the flexibility to meet your evolving needs.

Drawbacks of Custom Website

A custom website offers numerous benefits, but it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks of this approach. The following points explain the drawbacks of a custom website:

Disadvantages of CMS Website 1

Higher Costs: Compared to pre-built templates or CMS platforms, creating a custom website requires more money upfront. Professionals with specialized training are needed to create custom websites, such as web developers and designers, who get paid more. 

Custom development often requires more time and resources, contributing to the overall higher cost of creating a custom website.

Longer Development Time: Building custom websites requires more time than pre-built templates or content management systems (CMS). This is so that they may be developed specifically to the demands and specifications of the business, which necessitates considerable planning, design iterations, and development phases. Writing new code from scratch throughout the custom development process can take a while, especially for intricate websites or functionalities.

Need for Ongoing Maintenance: Custom websites need constant maintenance to guarantee optimum performance, security, and compatibility with developing technology. It includes frequent updates, feature upgrades, bug repairs, and security patches. Businesses must set aside resources and have a maintenance plan to maintain the current custom website and deal with any problems that may develop over time.

CMS vs. Custom Websites: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between a custom CMS website development or a custom website depends on various factors and the specific needs of your business. Consider the following factors while choosing between the two:

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Custom development is more expensive as compared to using a CMS. Although they can access many libraries, frameworks, and reusable parts of code, developers will create the architecture from scratch, putting more strain on your budget than a less flexible but fully functional CMS. 

If cost is your decisive factor, you should be ready to choose CMS developers. However, connecting with a software development business and explaining your proposal is highly advisable. It might be easier to estimate your project’s cost precisely with prior industry expertise.

Development Time

Since CMS systems are pre-configured, they save time during development. Depending on your desired capabilities, you may need a day to several weeks to customize the site. The need to spend months creating and integrating particular functionality is effectively eliminated by the abundance of themes and plugins that are readily available. 

A content management system is the way to go if you need a site prototype quickly or want to obtain feedback on your project before spending more money on bespoke development.

Performance and User Experience

In general, a custom-built website will function better than its CMS version. CMS platforms produce comparable outcomes on small projects with less user traffic and complex features. 

However, as your firm grows, you can find that improving user experience requires improved performance, design, and efficiency.

Regardless of the functionality you choose to employ, CMS platforms may not perform as well as custom-built websites because of the number of capabilities they provide.


Every CMS system includes a comprehensive set of standard features. They become accommodating initially as you may use pre-coded elements rather than making them from scratch.

However, when customers seek to integrate more sophisticated features, boost the site’s performance, or increase its accessibility, this benefit of CMS platforms soon turns into a liability. Your website must scale as your company expands, and CMS platforms must be improved to develop genuinely scalable solutions.

Custom-built websites are not invulnerable to scalability; they are just as likely to operate poorly and be challenging to update or modify. But when the need comes, high-quality custom solutions will be more convenient and less expensive to upgrade.


In a typical CMS, the platform’s provider is in charge of offering the required security. On the one hand, it’s practical because you can forego spending money on creating and maintaining the site’s security.

However, the level of security typically needs to catch up, mainly because large CMS platforms with common security standards are attractive targets. Additionally, your CMS will rely on various plugins offered by outside businesses, which could pose security threats.

Custom development considers security in each situation, ensuring your website has enough protection. 

Design and Branding

A CMS often provides a selection of themes and templates that have already been created and may be modified to fit your brand. This may be useful if you’re working with a small budget or need more design knowledge. The modification choices could be constrained, and your website might resemble others that use the same theme.

On the other hand, a custom website gives the user total control over the branding and design. You can collaborate with a skilled designer to produce a one-of-a-kind, custom look that precisely matches your company identity.

Functionality and Features

CMS platforms frequently have a wide range of integrated features and functionality. These can be modules, extensions, and plugins that enable you to expand the functionality of your website without writing a lot of code. However, these options may have limitations, and not all plugins may be available for your specific CMS.

You can implement any functionality and features with a custom website. You can create a unique user experience and ensure your website meets your requirements.

Technical Knowledge

CMS platforms are made to be user-friendly, making it simple for those with no technical knowledge to administer and update their websites. They provide user-friendly content editors and intuitive user interfaces. However, additional technical skills can be needed to customize features or troubleshoot difficult problems.

You’ll need a qualified developer or development team you’ll need a qualified developer or development team for the design, construction, and upkeep of a custom website. There is more requirement for technical knowledge for this with an increased number of experts.

Support and Updates

CMS systems frequently release regular updates and security patches to keep the system current and secure to keep the system current and secure. To help you with any problems or inquiries, they often provide a support system that includes forums, documentation, and customer care.

On the other hand, with a custom website, you or your development team are in charge of upgrades, maintenance, and support. You must ensure your website is updated frequently, and if problems occur, you might need outside assistance.

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Examples of CMS and Custom Websites

Here are some of the top examples of CMS and Custom Websites for your understanding:

Examples of CMS

  • WordPress


WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS platforms worldwide. It has an intuitive user interface, a robust ecosystem for plugins, and a large selection of themes. It is renowned for being adaptable and scalable, making it appropriate for various website kinds, from blogs to e-commerce storefronts. As it is so flexible, users may use themes and plugins to change the appearance and functionality of their websites.

  • Joomla


Another well-liked CMS, Joomla, strikes an excellent mix between usability and adaptability. It is renowned for being sturdy and extensible, which makes it ideal for building intricate websites and web apps. Users of Joomla can add unique features and customize the look of their websites using a variety of templates and extensions.

  • Drupal


Drupal is a potent CMS frequently picked for its adaptability and scalability. Large and complicated websites, such as those for government portals, academic institutions, and business-level applications, are frequently built using this technique.

Drupal’s sophisticated user control capabilities, vast customization possibilities, and modular architecture make creating fully customized websites with particular features and workflows possible.

Examples of Custom Websites

  • Apple


Apple’s website illustrates a specially designed website that reflects the company’s brand identity and displays its goods and services. The website has special features and animations that complement their brand aesthetics and is created to offer a smooth user experience.

With a personalized website, Apple has complete control over the layout, features, and user interface to give users a unique experience.

  • Netflix

Netflix 1

Netflix is a great example of a website designed to meet its streaming platform’s requirements. The website is made to offer an intuitive user experience, tailored suggestions, and seamless streaming across various devices.

Users can access Netflix’s vast content catalog through a highly customized website that the company has created and links with their backend systems.

  • Tesla


Tesla’s website features electric cars and enables customers to browse several models, personalize their choices, and even buy a Tesla online. The website offers a distinctive user experience by combining interactive features, compelling aesthetics, and easy navigation. 

Tesla’s custom website is completely controlled, allowing it to precisely match it with its brand and business objectives regarding features, style, and e-commerce capability.

Success Stories with CMS and Custom Websites

Here are some success stories to demonstrate that both CMS and custom websites can achieve remarkable results, depending on the specific goals and requirements of the project. 

  • CMS Success Story: The Huffington Post

CMS Success Story The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is a popular online news and media platform initially created using a WordPress CMS. It started in 2005 and expanded quickly to become a significant news source. The Huffington Post could quickly produce and manage vast volumes of material using a CMS. A user-friendly interface offered by WordPress made it simple for their team to write, edit, and publish articles.

The Huffington Post was able to customize its website with various features, including social sharing, comment areas, and multimedia integration, with the platform’s flexibility and robust plugin ecosystem. The CMS’s scalability greatly aided its ability to accommodate its expanding content categories and rising readership. The Huffington Post’s success exemplifies how a CMS can support content-driven websites and promote quick expansion.

  • Custom Website Success Story: Airbnb

Custom Website Success Story Airbnb

Airbnb hosts who provide distinctive lodgings can connect with guests through its international online marketplace. Instead of relying on a CMS, Airbnb chose a website that was specially made for them. Airbnb constructed a custom programming platform that complemented its business model and user experience objectives. Users could utilize the website’s sophisticated search and filtering features to find the best lodging options depending on their preferences.

Additionally, Airbnb developed a trustworthy booking platform that processes millions of transactions globally. The ability to effortlessly connect numerous third-party APIs and services was made possible by the bespoke website creation, which made features like payment gateways, user verification, and reviews possible. The key to Airbnb’s custom website’s success is its capacity to provide a seamless and simple user experience while managing a sizable amount of data and intricate business-specific capabilities.

How can PixelCrayons Help in Choosing CMS or Custom Websites?

PixelCrayons can assist you in choosing between a CMS vs a Custom Website by leveraging their expertise and experience in web development. We can thoroughly analyze your requirements, business goals, and budget constraints to provide tailored recommendations.

We conduct a detailed assessment of your design and branding needs, functionality requirements, technical expertise, and support expectations. With our in-depth knowledge of various CMS platforms and the capabilities of custom website development services, we can guide you in making an informed decision.

Connect with us to hire web developers ensure a smooth and successful implementation of your chosen solution.

Key Takeaways

The demands and objectives of your business ultimately drive the choice between a CMS and a custom website. For instance, a CMS platform can be preferable if you’re looking for a quick, affordable solution that requires no technical know-how.

On the other hand, custom web development services may be a better option if you need more flexibility, customization, and control over the look and functionality of your website. 

Therefore, when determining which choice is best for you, it’s crucial to consider elements like budget, timeline, technical experience, and your organization’s specific needs.

Additionally, it is advised that you speak with a qualified provider of web design and website development services that can help you decide wisely based on your unique needs.


What is the difference between a CMS and a website?

A website is an online location that provides users with information, material, and functionality. It comprises webpages, pictures, multimedia, and other things that may be accessed via a domain.

Contrarily, a CMS or Content Management System is a software program or platform that enables users to add, edit, and manage digital material on a website without having in-depth technical expertise. A CMS is a system or tool to build and maintain websites effectively.

Should I code a website or use a CMS?

Your particular goals, level of technical expertise, and project needs will determine whether you should create a website from scratch or utilize a CMS. Coding a website from the ground up may be an appropriate alternative if you have coding expertise or a development team and demand total control over design, functionality, and customization. It enables you to design a completely unique website that meets your requirements.

On the other hand, adopting a CMS can be advantageous if you want a more user-friendly approach, wish to manage content simply, and have limited technical experience. The pre-built templates, themes, and plugins offered by CMS systems make creating and administering websites easier without a deep understanding of coding.

What is the disadvantage of using a CMS to build a website?

Although CMS platforms have many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks. The restrictions on customization are one drawback. Creating an entirely original design can be difficult because CMS themes and templates can be constrictive. 

Furthermore, if not properly managed, the reliance on plugins and modules for functionality might result in compatibility problems or security risks.

In addition to requiring frequent updates and maintenance to make the website safe and effective, CMS platforms can also be resource-intensive. Some CMS platforms may include licensing fees or scalability restrictions, especially for large or complicated websites.

What is a custom CMS website?

A custom CMS development service is a website created utilizing a content management system but with a personalized and tailored approach. It involves substantial customization to match a business or individual’s unique style and functionality requirements instead of just depending on pre-designed templates and themes. 

Incorporating branding components consistent with the organization’s identity, establishing specific features and modules, and generating distinctive page layouts are a few examples of this customization.

With the capacity to build a distinctive and personalized online presence, a bespoke CMS website combines the flexibility and simplicity of content administration provided by a CMS platform

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