Online event registration software: own, open-source or paid solutions – pros and cons (part 2: open-source solution)
In the previous post, we described the most important elements related to the development of custom online event registration software. Today’s entry is entirely devoted to the description of the advantages and disadvantages of free (or little paid) open source solutions. In the last of these series of posts we are going to address the advantages and disadvantages of commercial online event registration systems, which can be quickly launched on the website.
Online event registration based on open-source solutions
Using open source content management systems based on open code (eg WordPress, Joomla) with additional extensions or plugins for handling registration you take full risk of potential threats, such as system failure, server failure or (constantly) hacker attack and virus infection. We have written about the advantages and disadvantages of these two open-source solutions (in the context of creating websites) in separate posts:
- WordPress – a simple CMS system for training companies and conference organizers
- Joomla – training and conference sites for demanding clients
- WordPress vs. Joomla – content management systems comparison
Let’s look at these content management systems in the context of using them to register participants for training courses or conferences. In our considerations we omit the applications used to create forms (eg Google Forms), because they are tools designed only for conducting surveys – they can’t be treated as part of a professional registration system in any way.
Pros and cons
Please note that the more popular a system is – in this case WordPress – the more vulnerable it is to attacks by hackers. In principle, attempts to hack into the administration panel or inject foreign code into files on the server are made on daily basis.
The biggest advantage of this type of solution is the low initial cost of system implementation – all you need is to order your own hosting server, run a free content management system and install a little paid registration tools (plugins).
The biggest drawbacks of this model is a complete lack of control over the operation of the application. The source code of the system is provided by enthusiasts of creating free software, and plugins – by commercial entities. Both components are subject to frequent updates, even several times a month.
A separate issue is the threats related to the security of the collected information. In the context of the applicable provisions on the protection of personal data (GDPR) this point is particularly important. As we wrote earlier, open-source solutions are subject to constant hacker attacks. If you don’t update your software constantly, you risk stealing information. This means that free solutions aren’t completely free – to ensure data security (especially in the case of the open-source system) you should hire specialist. And that is an additional cost.
Information on the scale of the threat of hacking attacks for WordPress is available here:
Solutions based on open source code are successfully used to create websites: for a conference, a product or a company. However, they can’t be recommended as the basis for the online event registration system to entities whose main activity is the organization of training courses or conferences.
In the era of today’s requirements related to the protection of personal data, the decision to use open-source software doesn’t seem to be rational. The need to constantly update security measures, and thus incur additional costs, should rather lead to the consideration of other solutions:
- developing your own online event registration software;
- use ready-to-implement systems available online.
The first option entails the need to incur significant financial expenses and is not recommended for individuals or companies that have no experience in software design.
In the case of the second option, the choice of systems is quite wide and it is worth choosing a product that suits your needs well.