Static vs dynamic websites: which to use?

Static vs dynamic websites: which to use?

Hi, I am Wahaab Siddique and in this article, I’m going to tell you the differences between static and dynamic websites and give you a brief description so that you will be able to choose the desired platform for your website needs.

Static vs dynamic websites: What is a static website?

A static website is made up of a collection of HTML files, each of which represents one of the website’s physical pages. Each page on a static site is thus a different HTML file. You are viewing the actual homepage file when you visit the site.

Even if two pages have the same content (such as a footer), they both have two versions. As a result, if you wish to change the footer, you’ll have to do it twice, once for each page. Static Site Generator is exemplified by Publii.

Publii, Static Site Generator

Static vs dynamic websites: What is a dynamic website?

When a visitor accesses a dynamic website, server technologies (such as PHP) are used to dynamically construct a webpage.

What occurs is that when a user visits a specific online address, the server searches for and gathers a slew of disparate pieces of information, which it then compiles into a single cohesive web page, which is what you see on the screen. WordPress is an example of a dynamic website content management system (CMS).

Wordpress, a dynamic CMS.
WordPress, a dynamic CMS.

Static vs dynamic websites: Benefits of a static website

Because of their relative simplicity, static websites do not necessitate the same level of development expertise as a dynamic website when developing from the ground up. A simple notepad document can be used to build a file in HTML and CSS that comprises the content of any website or blog. This is a good option for those who have just rudimentary development experience and who want to create a website that consists of a few pages that display data.

Static vs dynamic websites: Benefits of a dynamic website

Even while a static website has faster download speeds, dynamic websites make up for it in terms of functionality and ease of use. Dynamic websites differ from static websites in that they can update their data as the user navigates across the website, whereas static websites are best effective when the data does not change frequently.

Static vs dynamic websites: People usually run their blog using a CMS like WordPress

When most individuals start a blog, they instantly choose a platform such as WordPress — or something similar that is also a content management system — to use (CMS).

People typically choose a content management system (CMS) because it is ‘simple to edit and update.’ They are also not aware of the alternatives available to them.

Static vs dynamic websites: A CMS is a dynamic website

A dynamic website is one that is always running code in order to render the website – or in this example blog – in front of the user. There are various disadvantages of running code for each request:

  • Hackers can potentially inject malware into the site and have it execute.
  • Pageloads are slow(er).
  • The Website can become unreliable due to incompatible plugins, malfunctioning database, etc… Essentially, multiple parts need to work together.
  • Hosting costs are high(er).

Static vs dynamic websites: It may be a better idea to run a blog using a static website

Generally speaking, if all visitors to your website must see the same pages and content, then a static website is the best option. In contrast, if different visitors to your site require different material on different pages, then you might consider developing a dynamic website.

In the case of a blog, all visitors must be presented with the same content and on the same pages.

Static Websites address the drawbacks of dynamic websites:

  • Malware cannot be executed on a static website, simply because no code is running.
  • Static sites load super fast. The HTML is already generated, so it can be served to the visitor straight away. No need to render anything.
  • Fewer parts, which means that less can go wrong. No incompatible plugins or corrupt databases.
  • Free hosting is possible on sites like Github or Netlify.

Static vs dynamic websites: Static website can easily be created using a Static Site Generator

It is not necessary to be a coder in order to create a static website. Known as Static Site Generators (SSG), these programs have been around for quite some time. All that is required is that you write blog posts and pages in Markdown and then run the SSG to have the website built for you.

To update your static website, simply make changes to your articles and pages in Markdown and then re-run the SSG. It’s that simple.

One of the more well-known SSGs is Jekyll, but there are others. The fact that most SSGs are command-line-based is something that distinguishes them. This is not a problem for technically oriented users, but it is a significant turn-off for others who are not technically inclined.

Recently there has been a new development, though…

Static vs dynamic websites: A good and easy to use Static Site Generator is Publii

Publii is an SSG which has an easy to use GUI backend. This backend runs on your Desktop. No command-line knowledge is needed.

The ease of use makes it attractive for tech-users as well as non-tech users. Hence this a viable alternative to WordPress and other CMSes.

If you want to know more about Publii, please refer to this post.

Wahaab Siddique

Wahaab Siddique is a Blogger and the Founder and CEO at wahaabsiddique.com and along with this, he is a student of Civil Engineering.