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Static vs Dynamic Websites

Phil Phil Feb 07, 2021 · 7 mins read
Static vs Dynamic Websites
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When it comes to the ultimate categories of websites on the internet, there are two kinds to know about - static and dynamic websites. Which one you’ll end up using depends on your requirements and what kind of elements you want on your page.

Static and dynamic websites differ in many ways and are used for different purposes. Firstly, static websites are mostly coded entirely in HTML and display the same fixed content to every user that visits your page.

On the other hand, dynamic websites can be programmed to display different content depending on various factors for different users. Dynamic websites can be used to show things like regular updates, weather forecasts, and live chat. However, they are more resource-intensive and require more development work.

What Are Static Websites?

Static websites are those that are coded predominately in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They are simpler to develop and display the same content to every user. They don’t make use of server-side programming languages, so they’re easier to build. The initial cost of creating and hosting a static website is considerably less than dynamic websites. Some of the many uses of static websites are for displaying informational content or web pages that rarely change.

Static Site Advantages

Simplicity

Static web hosting is straightforward and to the point - no fluff. Static websites have fewer technical issues, more consistent design elements, and no moving parts. They’re more practical for simpler pages that display information and don’t need dynamic features.

Requires Less Development and Resources

The requirements for building static websites are much less than that of developing a dynamic one. Static websites do not use server-side languages like PHP, Java, ASP.net, etc. Instead, HTML hosting and CSS code can be generated locally without the need for a server.

All these factors mean static websites are the more cost-effective option. For development on a budget, many companies feel that a static website is a cheaper and more effective way to get a site up and running.

Faster Render and Load Times

Static website hosting has simpler programming overall because they predominantly utilize only HTML, CSS & JavaScript to be built. Without other server-side languages like Java and PHP, load times can be several times faster.

Disadvantages of Static Websites

Difficult to Update Content

Static websites are more difficult to update because they are are developed without a Content Management System using with HTML, CSS & JavaScript. In order to update a static web page you require to have some programming knowledge to modify the HTML. If you have to hire a web developer to make these changes then frequent modifications can become expensive.

Limitations in Functionality

Static websites can be pre-buffered and display the same content. But it’s not possible to have actionable elements and feeds on these websites, which means they have comparatively less functionality.

However, the positive side of this is that static websites are quicker to build and that they have comparatively faster load times.

What Are Dynamic Websites?

Unlike static websites, dynamic websites are not pre-rendered and often make use of server-side languages like Java, PHP, and ASP.net. They showcase different content dynamic websites that are good for pages that display. Story updates, weather forecasts, and web applications are just some of the possibilities with dynamic websites.

Examples of dynamic websites are Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. Since dynamic websites can gather data from different sources on-demand, it is possible to have login systems and e-commerce elements on these sites.

Advantages of Dynamic Websites

Pull Data From Various Sources

Dynamic websites can connect to multiple sources to populate webpages with information. This is especially useful if the content of your page is dependent on the user. For example, email and account systems pull data from servers to fill their pages with constantly changing information.

You can have dynamic elements in your websites that users can interact with and gain information from. If done tastefully, dynamic websites can offer users a rich experience that keeps them engaged.

Take Advantage of Content Management Services

With dynamic websites, you can take your website development to the next level by connecting to a CMS like WordPress or Shopify. This gives you further power to change and adapt themes, page layouts, and so much more! Not only this, but you get the added benefit of easily being able to update your site over time through a control panel rather than code.

Low Modification Cost

Dynamic websites created and managed by Content Management Servies like Drupal or WordPress are easy to modify over the long term. This makes the cost of modifications negligible because you can easily edit the content yourself your a CMS control panel.

Disadvantages of Dynamic Websites

Resource Intensive

Dynamic websites typically require a backend server to host the website. These servers have limitations and can only smoothly handle a certain number of visitors at once until they are queued which leads to a slow loading website. At this point dynamic sites require larger more expensive servers. Consequently, this can lead to high running costs as a website becomes more popular.

Initial Outlay May Be Greater Than Static Websites

At the start of developing a dynamic website, you’re more likely to incur greater costs than if you were developing a static one. CMS development fees, buying themes, data feeds, and other upfront costs are included in the cost of developing your website. All these factors add up to dynamic websites, costing more than static websites initially.


Static Websites vs Dynamic Websites: A Brief Overview

Static Websites Dynamic Websites
- Dynamic websites are simpler to code because they use HTML and CSS for development. - More complicated to develop, may require development with a CMS.
- Comparatively faster load times. - Dynamic websites take relatively longer to load.
- Less initial cost. No need for CMS subscriptions, data feeds, etc. - More expensive to develop because of more advanced website elements.
- Content remains the same for every visitor. - Content can be easily customized.
- Use HTML, CSS & JavaScript with no server-side languages. - Use PHP, Java, ASP.net etc.

What Is the Future of the Web?

With advances in static web technology, there’s a shift away from resource-intensive dynamic websites to simpler static websites where possible. Today, it’s easier to have static websites without sacrificing practicality. However, there will always be a place for dynamic webpages.

For this reason, it again depends on what the need of the developer is. Since both dynamic and static websites have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s fair to say that they both are here to stay.

Static vs Dynamic - Which Is Right For You?

Finding out which type of website is right for you depends on your personal requirements. Before deciding which type of website is right for you, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Does my website need a login system?
  • Does my website need a dynamic data feed?
  • Does the content on the page change frequently?
  • Will I be storing a database of customers?
  • Is page load time important to my website?
  • Does the website need to display custom content to each user?
  • Is my development budget suitable for a dynamic website?

If you need to have rapidly changing informational feeds, interactive elements, and actionable buttons and games on your site, you may be better suited to go for a dynamic website. Keep in mind that you’ll be sacrificing faster load times and simplicity, and you’ll have a bigger initial expense to get the website hosting up and running.

But if you’re working with only a few pages that never need to change, the only way to go would be with a static website. For example, if your website contains just ‘Home’, ‘About Us’, ‘Contact Us’, and other such informational pages, static pages are your best bet.

Phil
Written by Phil Follow
Hey, I'm Phil. I write about all things web related.