The two types of websites you will come across while surfing the web are static and dynamic. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference, unless they know what to look for, but, there are some significant differences between these two types that impact their functionality, security and maintenance.
What is a Static Website?
A static website is one where each web page within it, is a separate HTML file which only displays the content from the source code of that individual web page. Thus, a static website does not have dynamically generated content (data pulled from a database and arranged in a variety of flexible ways). One way to tell if a website is static is to look at the page extension, which usually ends in .html or .htm However, WordPress websites can be made to display the .html extension when using plugins such as .HTML in URL or Add Any Extension to Pages, or by modifying the functions.php file with a little code to add the .html extension to your Permalinks.
Drawbacks of a Static Website
A major disadvantage of a static website is that it generally requires web development knowledge/skill and web editing software such as Dreamweaver, to edit/update it. This can be problematic if you’d like to update your navigation, create pages, add, change or delete web page content. However, there is a workaround, where you can utilize an online CMS such as CushyCMS or Surreal CMS, that would enable anyone to make simple edits to static web pages.
Advantages of a Static Website
A website utilizing only HTML is generally more secure in that the only way to hack and infect it would be through the hosting provider or FTP as there is no SQL database, plugin or core publishing software vulnerabilities to worry about.
Generally, static web pages tend to load faster than dynamic web pages because dynamic websites tied to a database. If the database is inefficiently organized or bloated, or if there are too many queries, a web visitor could have to wait a few seconds for each query, increasing page load times.
What is a Dynamic Website?
A dynamic website is one that implements server technologies (such as PHP or ASP.NET) to build a web page at the moment a person visits the web page (otherwise referred to as building a web page “on the fly”). WordPress is a prime example of a dynamic website publishing platform where the programming language PHP is used to access a MySQL database in a way that enables information to be manipulated based on input from the web visitor.
Drawbacks of a Dynamic Website
Because modern dynamic websites utilize a database, there is always a security risk from attacks against a database, plugin or vulnerabilities resulting from outdated core publishing software.
As mentioned earlier, dynamic websites can have longer page load times due to database inefficiencies, poorly written scripts, etc. that results in too many database queries and other inefficiencies.
Advantages of a Dynamic Website
Easier to Update/Edit
When you manage a dynamic website with a CMS such as WordPress, updating and editing it can be a breeze. Generally, you won’t need any web coding knowledge.
One of the best features of a dynamic website such as WordPress is the ability to use plugins. Plugins are great because they extend the functionality of the website.
Which is Better, a Static or Dynamic Website?
The vast majority of websites being built today are dynamic utilizing powerful CMS publishing platforms (software), the most popular of which is WordPress along with others such as Joomla!, Drupal, Magento, etc. The benefits of a dynamic website far outweigh the few disadvantages and for most purposes, is considered by many, the better choice.
If you would like to learn more about static or dynamic websites, contact the web design experts at Prominent Web Design in Scottsdale, AZ.