The Perils of Using Open-Source Software for Business Websites `

Today, using a Content Management System (CMS) to maintain website content is a necessity for every size of business.

Open-source options like WordPress are popular choices due to their flexibility, large community, cost-effectiveness, and the vast number of plugins available with a click of a button.

However, these benefits can also cause problems.

WordPress Problems

Over the years, WordPress has dealt with several hacks that have put millions of business websites at risk for security breaches. It got hit in the spring of 2023 with Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), putting sites at risk of attacks and malicious scripts. As a result, sites may unknowingly give access to sensitive information.

This vulnerability exposed brings to light the inherent risks and potential dangers of using community-based software for something as crucial as your public website. Many of these problems, such as plugin failures, won’t be fixed.

What you save in CMS costs you may pay for later in security remediation.

In this post, we will review some of the potential issues of security concerns involved with using an open-source Content Management System.

1. Security Vulnerabilities

The sheer number of websites running on the WordPress platform makes it a prime target for hackers. Identifying a single vulnerability gives the opportunity to exploit hundreds of millions of websites. Hackers are quick to exploit any weaknesses or vulnerabilities, and these exploits make it around the world wide web very quickly, well before companies are aware there is an issue.

2. Impact on customization and Scalability.

While WordPress and other community-based CMS have a vast array of themes and plugins to quickly update website functionality, you may find they are spending more time struggling with updates, patches, and security changes than scaling the website. It can become a challenge to effectively customize and scale when you are constantly dealing with these issues.

3. Critical Dependency on Third-Party Developers

Open-source projects rely heavily on third-party developers to create themes, plugins, and other add-ons. This helps the ecosystem grow very quickly and offers an ever-expanding list of features. Reliability and support from these external contributors can be a challenge. You may often find a plugin or theme used on your website is no longer maintained or has been completely abandoned. This may leave your team with the responsibility to patch or re-write custom code they are unfamiliar with or find a new solution.

4. Reliable Support

While the open-source community offers many valuable resources there are limitations with relying solely on community-driven support. In times of crisis, website owners need immediate and reliable assistance. The lack of official support can result in delays, frustration, and high costs.

Understand Open Source Software

The recent vulnerability affecting over 3 million WordPress websites serves as a stark reminder about the dangers of relying solely on open-source solutions. While there are benefits to using a solution such as WordPress it is important to understand the risks that inherently come with it.

Is WordPress a security risk? Yes. All CMS have some security risks. Some more than others. As a website owner, you need to plan to minimize the risk.

How to Keep Your Website Secure

It is vital that your development team is regularly doing the following:

  • applying updates
  • employing security measures
  • using best practices for website security
  • has a plan in place to address compatibility, security, and plugin issues.

If any of these areas are lacking, or you don’t know how to manage these issues, let us know and we can check to see where your site may need more security.

The LRS Web Solutions Content Management System, LRS Antilles, was designed and built by our team on-site. We built it and maintain it, so we make sure it is reliable and secure. We made our plugins. We do our updates. All in-house.

How to Keep Your Website Secure

While no system is 100% protected, LRS Antilles has multiple safeguards in place to help prevent XSS attacks.

Our developers are aware of XSS entry points during the build process and encode user input to prevent malicious code from being exploited through online forms.

Sites built with Antilles also utilize Content-Security-Policy HTTP headers to prevent unauthorized scripts from running. Before each major release, Antilles is also scanned by a 3rd-party auditor to identify any potential vulnerabilities.

If you are in the market for a new website and Content Management System, consider LRS Antilles. Check out our blog post comparing Antilles to WordPress.

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