Static vs Dynamic Websites

Static Website Design

Static websites is how we built websites when we first started with website design. It is where each individual page is built with HTML and CSS using what is known as a HTML Editor. The best known HTML Editors are probably Microsoft FrontPage (no longer around) and Adobe Dreamweaver (one of the industry standards). Once these pages have been built, they are uploaded to a web server where they become a website. Whenever someone visits your website, these pages will be loaded (displayed) exactly how you uploaded them. The biggest downside to static websites is that you need to be comfortable with HTML, CSS etc to be able to build a web page, which immediately rules out the majority of website owners.

Dynamic Website Design

As the internet developed, we looked for ways to make it easier for the average website owner to make changes to their website; dynamic websites were born. With a dynamic website we use a database to store all the information and then when someone visits a webpage it is built on loading by pulling the information etc from the database. The big advantage of this is that anyone can make changes to information on a webpage by simply changing it in the database. This is where a CMS (Content Management System) comes in. The web designer/developer still needs to build the site and link the relevant information, but the website owner can easily make changes to this.

So what are the Pros and Cons of the 2 types of web design?

Static Web Design

Advantages

  • Pages load fast as they are prebuilt
  • Quite secure as they don't pull data that can be hijacked on build

Disadvantages

  • Need to be comfortable with a HTML editor and coding to make changes
  • Every page needs to be built manually, so takes time and therefore cost
  • Harder to make changes so content can become stagnant

Dynamic Web Design

Advantages

  • Built with a CMS so anyone can easily make changes
  • Easier and quicker to build multiple pages
  • Easy to keep content updated

Disadvantages

  • Pages built on load, so therefore load slower
  • Data is pulled from the database on load, so not as secure as a static page

So to summarise. Static websites load quickly and are quite secure but are harder to make changes to and more effort to build a medium to large website. Whilst dynamic websites are very functional, easy to make changes to and build hundreds of pages, but load slower and are less secure.

So what does this all mean to you looking for a website for your business? Obviously you want a website that is easy for you to make changes to and build as many pages as you need, so a dynamic website seems a no brainer. However, with the growth in mobile phones etc, it is becoming more and more important that your website loads fast. That important, that in 2021 Google added webpage speed as one of the thousands of factors that influences how your site ranks. Not to mention you want a site that isn't going to be hijacked by a spammer or worse. So this would suggest a static website is best; what's old is new again.

What about a third option? Maybe a hybrid of the two?

Hybrid Website Design: Static Site Generation (SSG)

The growing importance of site speed and security whilst still needing dynamic website functionality has lead to the creation of a hybrid type of website. The technical term for this is Static Site Generation (SSG), but lets just continue calling it a hybrid website.

How does the hybrid website work?

Essentially the hybrid site uses a Headless CMS to manage all the website data. A content management system is then added that allows you to easily make changes to your website much like a dynamic website. When you are happy with your website data, you run what is known as a "Build" and your entire website is converted to a static website and uploaded to the web servers. So when someone visits your website, they are shown static pages with all the relevant advantages.

Probity Web Marketing has developed our own hybrid website platform; find out more about WaveDXP.

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