A content management system is the backbone of your website. When it comes to choosing an open source CMS, you'll need a robust platform that allows for Web authoring, collaboration and document management, in addition to administrative and design tools.
According to Kathleen Reidy, senior analyst at 451 Research, an enterprise market research company, the acceptance of open source in the enterprise has grown steadily since 2005, and so has availability of open source CMS options.
"There's more acceptance and awareness of open source CMS in the enterprise today, but there's also more options," she said. "Ten years ago the projects existed but there [weren't] many options for a commercial entity to engage with."
Having a commercial partner is key for large businesses using open source software, and for some organizations it might be a requirement. Instead of buying software, what you purchase is the commercial package -- a subscription for add-ons, custom code, updates and support from a reputable service partner.
In the mid-market, companies are more apt to have a team responsible for building on the open source CMS to make it work for the organization.
"In the large organizations, there is often a requirement that you must have a commercial support contract for open source software," Reidy said. "But there are some large organizations with technical teams and they download Drupal or any open source CMS and off they go."
Small businesses might find an open source CMS to be cost-effective, as they might not need a commercial support contract. A small business can create a website on its own, hire a developer or work with a small IT shop with roots in Drupal or Joomla design.
Three popular opensource CMS choices: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
If you're looking for an open source Web CMS -- and there's really no reason to not look at open source options today -- Joomla, Drupal and WordPress are among the most popular choices.
For a public blog, a newsroom or any type of site where you need to put sequential thoughts in order, WordPress is the best choice. It has a reputation for being easy to use, though you may find it difficult to create a website that isn't primarily used for blogging or news.
The core WordPress software is built by hundreds of community volunteers. You can use WordPress on your own by downloading the latest stable release, or you can sign up with a Web hosting provider that offers a WordPress install.
WordPress has thousands of plug-ins and themes to expand your website, and there is plenty of official documentation, a large community-based online support forum and a number of tutorial sites, like WPLift, to get you started. Some of the high-profile companies using WordPress include TechCrunch, Pepsi Refresh and Comedy.com.