The Difference Between a Static vs. Dynamic Website

When you’re getting started on building a website, you’ll likely notice that there are many options available to you on how to build, design, and customize your website. One of the first decisions you should make is whether to create a static website or a dynamic website, the latter of which is the most popular […]

Bryan Miller
Bryan Miller

Sep 27, 2021 | 10 min. read

static vs dynamic websites

When you’re getting started on building a website, you’ll likely notice that there are many options available to you on how to build, design, and customize your website. One of the first decisions you should make is whether to create a static website or a dynamic website, the latter of which is the most popular option on today’s internet. A static website is shown in any type of web browser with the exact appearance that it has when it’s stored.

This type of website consists of web pages that contain fixed content coded with HTML. If you use a static website, any user who enters your website will see the same thing as every other site user. You don’t need to understand web programming in order to build a static website. Because of the simplistic nature of this website type, it’s useful for people and businesses that want to create websites with anywhere from 1-5 pages. While it’s possible to maintain a site with many static pages, doing so can be time-consuming and costly.

In the event that your website is set to contain dozens or hundreds of pages, you should consider using a dynamic website, which offers more freedom when building the site. A dynamic website is a type of site that focuses on functionality and engagement. Any user who visits the website can interact with its information in a number of different ways. In order to build a dynamic website, you may need to have programming skills and will need to use a database design.

When building a static website, the only coding you’ll need to know is HTML and CSS. Dynamic websites, on the other hand, can use server-side and client-side scripting languages, which include everything from JavaScript and ASP to PHP. There are three separate components of a website that can be static or dynamic, which include the code, the delivery, and the client browser.

Even though dynamic websites are being used by an increasing number of businesses, both static and dynamic websites have their advantages depending on the reason you want to build a website. If you are looking to create a personal website or want to make an informational site with only a few key pages, a static website may give you everything you need.

As for dynamic websites, they offer more functionality and provide site owners with the ability to offer users more engaging content. Dynamic websites also tend to rank better with search engines like Google. If your website is set to be a comprehensive eCommerce website or is meant to contain hundreds of pages, you should think about opting for a dynamic website. This article offers a more in-depth look at the differences between static and dynamic websites.

Parts of Your Website That Can Be Static vs. Dynamic

As touched upon previously, there are three parts of your website that can be either static or dynamic, which include the code, the delivery, and the client browser.

Any code you place on your site can be static or dynamic. Static code refers to any content on your web page that’s hard-coded to the page. On the other hand, dynamic pages incorporate code by referencing a content management system or some other type of external database.

As for the delivery of a page, it’s possible for the delivery to be static or dynamic in nature. If your website is built with static delivery in mind, this means that your website contains pre-rendered pages that can be cached before being delivered by a content delivery network. When you create a dynamic page, the delivery of this page occurs in real-time whenever the server makes a request.

The third and final type of content that can be static or dynamic involves the client browser. It’s possible for the browser to dictate whether your website is dynamic or static when the user sees it. Static websites will look and function the same regardless of the browser that the visitor is using when they enter your website. In comparison, dynamic pages use client-side JavaScript in order to ensure that pages are dynamic in real-time.

Advantages of a Dynamic Website

When you’re attempting to make a decision between creating a static website or a dynamic website, you should first look at the pros and cons of each option. There are several distinct benefits of making a dynamic website, which includes low maintenance costs, being able to connect with a powerful CMS, and database connectivity.

Since a dynamic website needs to be connected to a database, you can quickly request information in a structured manner, which allows you to request and display content however the user would like to view it. This is a highly efficient method of requesting site information.

Because your website connects with a database, it can also be connected to a content management system of some sort. Content management systems allow you to more effectively manage your site content. Some of the more popular CMS platforms include WooCommerce, Drupal, and WordPress. With a CMS at your disposal, you can benefit from increased flexibility when creating your website.

The most popular content management systems make the website building process more streamlined, which allows you to focus on making the content and layout of your website as appealing as possible. When looking at the maintenance costs of a dynamic website, there are very few costs associated with managing this type of website since it can be connected directly to a CMS. The only instances when costs will increase substantially include when you make changes to the basic design or when you add extra features and functionality to the website.

Disadvantages of a Dynamic Website

man looking at a laptop screen

Even though the benefits of dynamic websites far outweigh the negatives for most site owners, there are a couple of issues that you should be aware of. For one, there are some design limitations with dynamic websites. In order to generate content on a web page, you must pull the content from a database and tell it to display a specific way no matter which type of content is being pulled. Many site owners opt for using a one-size-fits-all method to their design in order to reduce the complexity of the website.

Most content management systems provide site owners with templates they can use to build their websites. If you want to expand beyond the design limitations that occur with a template-based website, you could customize each page of your website. While this approach is time-consuming, it allows you to improve the design of your dynamic website. Another issue with dynamic websites is that the upfront costs are relatively high. These costs occur when you connect to a database and create your website’s foundation. Adding extra features with third-party plugins can also increase costs.

Advantages of a Static Website

If you decide to use a static website, there are several advantages of doing so. For one, static websites offer added flexibility. Each page you create can have a different design and layout, which allows you to build a wholly unique website. Upfront costs are also lower when compared to a dynamic website. You won’t need to connect your website to a database, which should keep costs down.

Another notable benefit of static websites is that load times are extremely fast. When pages from a static website are housed in servers, they have already been rendered. Since static websites don’t contain a database, complex scripting, or templating languages, they should load in an instant.

Disadvantages of a Static Website

code on a computer screen

Despite the advantages of using a static website, these websites aren’t right for everyone. It’s usually more difficult to make updates to a static website. Unless you have experience with using CSS and HTML coding, even the smallest of changes can take time to complete. In fact, the original developer you hired to create the website may need to make these changes for you.

Static websites have also proven to be difficult to scale for many site owners. As your business or brand grows, you may need to add more pages to your website. The issue with adding new pages to a static website is that each individual page must be built from scratch, which can take time and money to do. Another disadvantage of using a static website is that maintenance costs can be high. If ever you decide to make changes to your website, your costs will increase.

How to Choose the Right Website Type

Now that you have a better understanding of the pros and cons associated with each type of website, it should be easier for you to determine which option works well for your business and brand. There are a number of other factors you can take into account when trying to decide between the two. For instance, you should ask yourself how many pages you need. If the website is going to use 10 pages or less, a static website may be right for you. On the other hand, any website with dozens or hundreds of pages should be a dynamic website.

If you want to build a simple brochure site or blog, consider making a static website. Personal websites can also use a static design. In the event that you want to provide customers with personalized content or gated content that can only be reached by logging in, you should think about using a dynamic website. The same is true if you would like your website to scale. Keep in mind that building a dynamic website gives you the opportunity to connect your site to a content management system like WordPress, which makes it easy for you to change the site content without even knowing how to code.

With the above considerations in mind, you should be able to choose the website type that matches your vision and provides your users with the kind of experience they’re looking for.


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