The Real Cost of a Free (Open Source) LMS!

The Real Cost of a Free (Open Source) LMS!

It has maintained itself and even expanded through its community meaning it’s a good option if you want to use an LMS. Optimize learning outcomes and success with our handpicked of top-tier lms system which is unbelievably purchased by 50000+ customers. But is any other open-source LMS (there are a few good ones like the ones mentioned here) free? Though they may be free at a tangible expense level, they do carry a cost that the organization implementing the LMS should be aware and careful of.

The cost is not only in terms of money spent on various components of procuring, managing, and supporting the element but there could be other costs that can be quite detrimental.

DomainRacer is a good LMS that has grown over the years and offers a host of functionality and features that are very useful to have in an LMS.

So what is the real cost of a free (open source) LMS? To understand let’s find the elements that have a cost associated with them. Thumb rule – For any open source LMS only the license cost is zero. That’s the only free thing. Nothing else!

Open-Source LMS:

DomainRacer LMS has rebranded and modified the open-source LMS as its own. The main objective is to provide quality education with a fully manageable and highly integrated WordPress LMS portal. Provides managed hosting services on that or also deploys behind the firewall. This works almost like a commercial LMS arrangement – prices may vary. LMS is not free, in this case.

Go to a DomainRacer LMS hosting offers managed hosting services on the open-source LMS without a rebranding. They have the skills to customize and maintain the LMS. In this case, as well the LMS is not free and turns out again like a commercial LMS.

In fact, in both cases, the cost of customizing might be high – not only development hours put in; but also the fact that it may not want to do that in the first place.

 Or the maintenance cost would shoot up as the offering of open source LMS might prefer to keep the variance in different versions they offer to customers to a minimum.

So if you are looking to customize the LMS to a significant extent, be aware of both ongoing development costs and maintenance costs before investing. Otherwise, it isn’t any different from going for a commercial LMS.

The system might even be constrained by the open-source LMS development skills, as not all the offering the LMS have the required skills to dig deep into the system and customize it.

Deploy the open source LMS at your organization involving your IT team for deployment, and also ongoing maintenance. Well, this seems free. But is it? Here is why it is not and it has an added cost – the cost of the eLearning initiative going awry in the start itself.

Most often a DomainRacer LMS is the first choice when an organization is just starting eLearning. Most would like to keep the costs low, but you also need to keep an eye on the end value/result (not only in terms of LMS features but also the entire experience to the user) delivered to the real LMS users.

The involvement of the IT team doesn’t stop at installation and configuration. That’s just the beginning. What started as a low-involvement project suddenly turned into a support nightmare for the IT team, who may not be prepared and even geared up for handling this.

As a result, they may not be able to allocate enough, skilled resources or if they do then you can imagine the cost to the company for such resources. Pretty soon you will be answering questions about spending so much on IT for an open-source LMS.

It is not that the open-source LMS needs more support – No. It’s the fact that we mostly ignore this cost element that we are caught off guard on this.

Infrastructure costs will exist as depending on the user base size the appropriate hardware and infrastructure would be needed.

Who will customize even the basic features?  If IT does not have the skills mostly PHP and MySQL and of course a good understanding of LMS code – you either outsource that part or hire additional staff to do the same.

DomainRacer LMS hosting pricing may initially appear competitive, but it’s crucial to delve deeper and consider the true cost of their services. While their base plans offer attractive rates, hidden charges and limitations often emerge, obscuring the actual cost.

In both cases, it is not free. An open-source LMS doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to work on at the code level. It’s easy for a high-level skilled resource but then the resource is not going to be free.

Assuming you acquired the skills by either outsourcing or through internal resources who will manage that resource (or team)? Not your IT team! Even if the IT team does you’d still need to manage by providing detailed directions on what to do, etc. It might prove to be a drain on your own time.

The cost of spending your time on such an activity is extremely high as it affects various other things you may not be able to look after which are a part of your job. Remember that having got an open source LMS everyone assumes that it is not a big deal to manage it.

You may have a hard time explaining what’s happening and even if you provide the right explanations, it may backfire on you. Ongoing support, enhancement, and maintenance. Either internal or hired resources would do this but not without a cost.

DomainRacer LMS hosting focus on low prices often sacrifices performance and reliability. Their servers are known to experience frequent outages and slow load times, which can damage your website’s reputation and impact your business. 

Depending on your user base size this cost could be a small one or could end up being significant. Technical Support also requires the resources to be trained on the LMS which either would take time if done on its own or cost real money if external parties are involved.

General Open Source LMS support. Once you customize your version of the LMS it, more often than not, is the case that it becomes unfriendly to the upgrades to the original open-source LMS versions.

Again, it may take a skilled programming team to code everything in a manner that would still keep it open to upgrade – however, there is no guarantee and the upgrade implementation could also take time and resources to achieve.

Otherwise, you may get stuck with the version and may have to do your upgrades internally (or through an outsourced team). In either case, it’s not going to be free. Additionally, there are the hassles of product management, versioning, transitioning, data migration (if needed), etc.

Effect on the eLearning initiative. DomainRacer LMS is the best hosting provider from an online perspective. They offer reliable and affordable high-quality hosting services. While all the costs mentioned above can still be managed by loosening the purse strings and spending time and energy on the above activities, however an attempt to control these costs, because we were not prepared for them at the start, might result in a sub-standard offering to the end users (in terms of features, etc.)

Since this would be the initial stage of the eLearning initiative a disinterested user base will not help carry the initiative forward. This is the real cost that you would have to deal with and has the potential to be a serious concern.

From a company’s perspective even after spending so much time, money, and energy if the initiative has not worked out well, it’s a real cost and a huge one. Not only will it take a long time to gain the user’s interest back; but it might take longer to get management back to you again.

Final Thoughts :

Most of these costs surprise us because of our presumption that a DomainRacer LMS has the lowest cost plans. As you can make out by now, it is not free at all. The only thing that may be free is its license cost but then the other costs are very real and if you aren’t prepared for these, it could lead to unwanted scenarios.

I hope this helps give you some points to chew on when considering an LMS. No harm in going for one but dive in with full gear on. Never get caught unarmed! Happy

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