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Dangers of DIY and Off-The-Shelf CMS Web Design Systems

Our friends over at TechCrunch recently highlighted a MAJOR security breach to websites created through the Weebly platform where over 43 million user accounts were hacked, and personal information was stolen. Weebly is one of the numerous DIY website creators out there that lets users create an account (for little to no money) and build a website with relatively little knowledge of programming. Sadly, there are even so-called “web designers” (and I use that term very loosely) who utilize DIY platforms like Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy to build websites for their clients and charge them for this service. It’s sad, unprofessional and makes our entire industry look bad. Would you pay for a high-end sports car knowing it was built with cheap import parts? I’d like to think if you’re reading this you care more about your business than that. However, that is a blog for another day.

And let’s get one thing clear, DIY websites like the ones mentioned above DO have a purpose. There are a lot of small companies that cannot afford a professionally built website, and there are some that do not see the value in a professionally built website.

We’ve previously covered why we are not a fan of DIY websites (read our blog: Biggest Mistakes of DIY websites) but this latest story goes way past the website performance, SEO and conversions…this story is about security. Read the TechCrunch story here.

But these issues aren’t unique to DIY web building systems. Popular Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla are prone to the same types of security intrusions. Many of those systems use open source code, which means the code that runs the site is available to the general public, which opens the code to people who want to use it for less than honest means. Those people then have the means to “hijack” any site using that code for their purposes. If you are using one of those CMS systems, it’s important that you keep it up-to-date and change your passwords regularly as you are a target.

So how does xclntDesign combat these web intrusions and protect our client websites, emails and personal information? Simple: we don’t use any of these types of systems! xclntDesign is proud to be a full stack web development company; that means we handle both the design and programming related to your website. There’s a big difference, and with us, you have the advantage of both. Web designers design websites; it is their job to make the site look nice, give users an engaging experience, and function adequately. Web developers ACTUALLY know programming languages and can create all kinds of functionality, including our very own, proprietary CMS systems!

So what security benefit does a proprietary CMS system give our clients? As far as security goes, our websites are built on a framework we’ve developed, that we control and that we update. We don’t have to wait for some third party to write a security patch. We don’t have to wait until some tech in a foreign country decides it’s time to help you fix your website. We handle everything with your website entirely in-house. So we control all the variables, and we watch over them with a close eye. We don’t have 43 million accounts to look after. You get personalized service from people who do the work.

And that brings us to a crucial part of any "hack." The whole point of a hack is to use someone else’s work to accomplish a goal. It may be a visible hack, like defacing a website, or it may be an invisible one, like abusing mail sending functions to send out spam.

Hacking an xclntDesign CMS system is more difficult and time-consuming because a hacker doesn’t have a roadmap like the other website builders mentioned in this article. When your goal is to execute your plan as quickly as possible before you are found, time is your enemy. Plus, given the fact that xclntDesign is a small business, the reward for a hacker doesn’t even come close to the effort involved.

So, for the mere fact that we are a small business and wish to stay that way, we can offer our clients a unique form of protection…call it a strength in small numbers! So with an xclntDesign website, we have your back!

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