In our last post, we discussed when to build a website in WordPress, and when to build it in Sitefinity. We did get a couple responses privately, as the readers didn’t want to call out their CMS on the blog (which I completely understand).

Extending on that premise, let’s talk about support options.

Where you get support for a website, especially after it’s live, makes a big difference in selecting your CMS. If you choose a CMS made by one developer on his own time, chances are you won’t get much in the way of support a year later. But choosing a CMS made by a full-fledged business, with developers on staff and working daily, means you have reliable support for a long time.

“Support” in this case refers to a broad umbrella of help you may need. Any of the following issues require support for the CMS:

  • Page rendering issues
  • Load failures
  • Customization
  • Help with setup
  • Version upgrades
  • Security patches
  • Hacks
  • Bugs
  • License expirations & renewals

Our customers have run up against every one of these issues, both in Sitefinity and WordPress. (Except for the “Hacks” issue; none of our Sitefinity customers have ever been hacked.)

Which CMS was used determines the type of support options available. The support options available determine whether the issue is fixed quickly, slowly, or not at all.

Let’s examine Sitefinity’s support options, and WordPress’.

WordPress Support Options

One of WordPress’ strengths is also its weakness. Automattic developers the WordPress core software. However, third-party developers contribute the vast library of WordPress Plugins and Themes.

Some of these developers provide support for their Plugin or Theme. Some do not. Automattic contributes some support resources, but it doesn’t cover every part of the WordPress behemoth.

Which means there’s no “one number to call” if your WordPress site isn’t working properly. You’ll have to find the support option which coincides with the part of your website that’s not working.

These are the Support Options available to WordPress users.

  • WordPress Codex (Free). The Codex is a huge knowledge base. You’ll find plenty of documentation on WordPress’ functions, how to use it, and how to get support. Make this your first stop for WordPress support.
  • Forums [Official] (Free). This is your second stop. If the Codex didn’t help with your issue, post in the forums (the “Fixing WordPress” forum is devoted to troubleshooting).
    • CAUTION: If you receive an answer from someone else on the forums, take a moment to click on their account name. You’ll see a profile window, like the one below.
      WordPress Forums Profile
      Read through the links on the left – “Topics Started,” “Replies Created,” and “Reviews” in particular. What you’re doing is verifying that this person is legitimate, and that the advice they’re giving is sound. I have heard of hackers “helping” people in the forums by supplying them with infected code.
  • Third-Party Developers (Paid). For plugins and themes. An ecosystem has grown up around theme development. Which I find great in terms of support. The plugin/theme will have support links in its documentation.
    • Two examples of plugin/theme developers: ThemeForest, Yoast (Makers of SEO Plugins)
  • Third-Party WordPress Support Agencies (Paid). If you need regular support help, you can contract a WordPress agency for the work. Many of these do exist. Here’s a few examples:

If you’re uncertain of whom to ask for WordPress Support, the WPBeginner Blog has a good starting point: How to Properly Ask for WordPress Support and Get It

Sitefinity Support Options

As Sitefinity is maintained by a private company, the primary support option is contacting that company, or its partners.

These are the Support Options available to Sitefinity users.

  1. Progress’ Sitefinity Forums (Free). These forums are frequently used by Sitefinity developers. Many of whom are happy to assist others with support-related questions.
  2. The Sitefinity Support Center (Free/Paid). This contains documentation, a knowledge base, a link to the forums, support tickets, and a phone support link. There’s a lot of (searchable) information hereā€¦useful for solving small problems. I’ve consulted it many times when a page edit causes a strange layout error, or when I’m uncertain which widget works best.
  3. Progress Sitefinity Support [Direct] (Paid). Progress does provide a support ticket system to Sitefinity licensees. You’ll need a Progress ID to access them. Please note, Progress may forward you to a partner for the support you’ve requested.
  4. Progress’ Sitefinity Partner Support (Paid). This is where we come in. We’re one of a number of Sitefinity Partners, certified to provide technical support directly to a Sitefinity customer. Unless the issue stems from the CMS itself, chances are your best support bet is a partner.

What support options you can use depend on your Sitefinity license. This page provides a reference table: Sitefinity Support Offerings.

For example, every Sitefinity edition gets weekly bug fixes. But you’d need at least a Professional Edition license for Phone Support.

Factor in Support When Choosing Your CMS: It Helps After Your Website Goes Live!

A CMS is a piece of software. At some point, it will need maintenance.

Arranging Sitefinity Support

Remember, support is something to consider BEFORE you select a CMS, even though it comes after the website is live. By the time you’ve built the new website, you’ve invested hundreds of hours. Switching your CMS because the available support is bad means you’ve wasted all those hours.

When choosing your website’s CMS, consider how often you’ll update your website. How long can you wait on minor support issues? Do you need a reliable channel for support each & every time, or can you bounce between a few?

While we prefer Sitefinity’s support model, for its stability and single-channel accessibility, WordPress does indeed have support options available.

Where do you get support for your website? Please comment or email with the support option, and (if you like) what you think of your support experience so far.

Sitefinity vs. WordPress: A Support Perspective
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