One of the most attractive features a web hosting company can offer is a script installation tool that allows users to install open source web applications with a few clicks. In doing so, web hosts can easily offer ready-made websites to customers without incurring a big expense or requiring the user to do extra work.
Because of these benefits many web hosts now offer certain open source apps with quick installation software, but not all hosts offer the same apps. The following are 6 apps that all web hosts should offer because of their usefulness and market demand.
WordPress has essentially become the default choice for news, magazine, and blog websites. The open source blogging software, which also has a cloud service equivalent at WordPress.com, offers a wide range of publishing features for both single bloggers and publications employing several writers with a range of privileges. WordPress is highly extensible and easily updated from its administrative backend.
One of the most widely-used content management systems (CMS), Joomla is a versatile app that many professional websites use in a variety ways. A Joomla site can easily be any type of site, from a blog to ecommerce shop, with its extremely large collection of extensions, most of which are freely available from joomla.org. Templates, extensions, and other addons are installable from within the web-based backend.
Behind WordPress and Joomla, Drupal runs on more websites than any other open source content management system. Many large companies, educational institutions, and government offices use Drupal. It can function in an environment as simple as a blogging platform or as complex as an entire interactive community website. Like the others on the list, it is also highly extensible. Drupal can function as a standalone CMS, a multi-user community site, and even a collection of interconnected websites.
There are a plethora of good open source ecommerce applications out there, but Magento holds the biggest piece of the web pie, according to some market share reports. The company behind Magento offers both paid and free versions of the open source ecommerce application, and many big-name companies use it to power their online stores. It is extremely flexible and offers many of the modern features one would expect on a competitive online shopping site.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a unique type of tool that businesses use to coordinate their dealings with customers before, during, and after sales. Most major software corporations offer expensive CRM solutions, but if you need something free and open source, SugarCRM is a great choice. While its code may be free, the company also offers paid services, and many businesses, big and small, rely on it.
Although we most commonly associate wikis with Wikipedia, many websites now offer Wikis for documentation, user collaboration, and general information. MediaWiki is the software that powers Wikipedia and several of the other wikis around the web. It is light yet powerful and can run on most web servers. Despite the obvious benefits, however, it is not particularly easy to install, requiring administrative privileges. A host that offers free installation does its customers a great service.
There are many other open source applications out there that are worth considering, so you should not limit your web host search to only these, but most reputable hosts offer the aforementioned web apps for free installation because of customer demand and their proven benefits.
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