Static Website vs Dynamic Website
One of the questions a good web designer asks their clients is: What kind of website would you like? Static or dynamic. You might be thinking: But what do they have to offer? How beneficial each could be for me? These are good questions. The answer is, it depends on the kind of functionality you would expect from your website. So let’s dive into it and let me explain what each can do for you.
What is Static Website?
Let’s first try to understand what a static website is. You might think of it as a brochure or a company profile on the internet. Typically it’s a small, 3 to 5 pages website built to showcase what your company is about. The main purpose of it is to inform your visitors about who you are and what you do.
– Fast to load
– Cheaper than dynamic sites
– Typically for small businesses
– Content is served directly
Since a static website is a lot like an internet brochure, it is mostly for companies or individuals who don’t intend to update them often. So if you are looking to build your online presents, want to be easily found on the internet, but you are too busy to write a blog, this kind of web site is perfect for you.
What does Static Really Mean?
So what about if I wanted visitors to send me emails from my website? Since it’s static they wont be able to… right? Wrong. Static website only means (without getting into technical details too much) that the content is delivered as is. It is not being generated dynamically from databases. Once its created, it’s created. It’s static. This doesn’t mean however, the visitor can’t communicate with the site owner. Facilities like interactive forms, galleries, animations are all supported in static websites.
Advantages of Static Website
The development cost of a static website is lower than a dynamic one. This is due to the fact that no external database handling system like WordPress or Joomla! is needed. The pages are physical files and are served directly from the server.
They are Fast
This is one of the undeniable benefits of static websites. Since the pages are loaded as they are, without any database interaction, they can be much faster than in dynamic websites. Our expectation to page load speeds have changed tremendously over the years. While, even five years ago it was common to ‘put the kettle on’ while the page was loading, today we expect them to load fast. Even if the page isn’t fully loaded after 3 seconds, we become impatient. Well at least some of us. Me included. It’s also worth mentioning, search engines reward the faster loading sites. This is because they guarantee better user experience and less frustration.
As mentioned before static websites are for companies who don’t intent to change them often. So you don’t need to worry about putting up new content in the blog section just to make the site look up-to-date. In fact you don’t have to do anything to the site once it’s created.
Example of Static Website
Disadvantages of Static Website
What can be considered as a disadvantage of a static website is that certain skills are required to make content changes. If the owner decided to update the site, they would need a basic knowledge of web languages and infrastructure. Common solution is contacting your web developer and request a change. Most times these changes are written into a maintenance contract.
What is Dynamic Website?
So now let’s have a look at dynamic websites. In essence a dynamic website is a website where pages are created from different pieces. These pieces can be files and database stored information. The pages are no longer static. They are being created in a dynamic process, therefore the name – dynamic. A good example of a dynamic websites can be a Content Management System (CMS) like Wordpress or Joomla!. In these systems to display a page, server needs to look for information in numerous files and database. Some pieces of this information are responsible for structure, some for content.
– CMS stands for Content Management System
– CMS is a form of Dynamic Website
– Worpress and Joomla! are CMS
Advantages of Dynamic Website
You are in Charge of Content
The main advantage of dynamic websites is that the owner can change and update the content without any knowledge of web languages. This is possible because once the website is set up the owner has access to ‘Backend’. The backend is a kind of control panel. Here with a use of simple buttons and wordprocessing tools its very easy to find the page you are looking for and change it. Adding pictures and videos to your pages is very easy as well.
– Extended Functionality
– Online shop
– Owner can Create New Pages
You can Add New Pages
Not only can you change the pages in the backend. You can also add new ones! The cool thing about it is that you can add as many pages as you would like.
You can Update the Look
The content and the way the site looks are separated in CMS. Content Management Systems use visual template system also known as themes. Themes can change the look of the site completely with content remaining unchanged. They can easily be controlled from the backend. You can upload a new theme and apply it to the site without developers intervention.
You can Run a Blog
One of the more common uses of CMS (dynamic website) is running a blog. In the same way we can add Pages to our website we can also add Posts or Articles. These will display on a Blog page once its set up.
You can Run an Online Store
E-commerce website or online shops in other words, can also be created with CMS. Since we know the owner can add pages and posts in CMS, in a similar fashion you can add new products to the store. The backend will also allow you to track your orders receive messages and much more. Again no coding skills needed.
Example of Dynamic Website
A good example of a dynamic website is the one you are on at the moment. This site was created using WordPress platform.
Disadvantages of Dynamic Website
The work the server needs to perform when putting a page together dynamically is greater that with static one. Therefore dynamic websites can be a bit slower to load. A good web designer however, can maximise the performance making sure the speed loss is minimal.
Higher Development Cost
With all that functionally comes a cost. Developing a fast and functional dynamic website is more complex and consequently takes more time. That will reflect in the development cost.
Which one is best for me?
Now armed with all the knowledge from this article I am going to go back to what I said in the intro. It depends on the functionality you expect from a website.
If you are looking for:
- building your online presence,
- cost effectiveness,
- fast website that will rank well,
- minimum maintenance
Static website could be the one for you.
If however you are looking for:
- running a blog,
- being able to change your pages,
- extended functionality,
- e-commerce site
Dynamic website (CMS) could be better solution for you.
The choice is yours.
In the end let me just mention that both website types can (should) be responsive. Responsive in other words means mobile and tablet friendly.
If you are looking to build a website for your business or a personal one contact me for free advice and quote.