Static or Dynamic Site?
Static or Dynamic Site? Which one to choose?
Recently, we often come across quite controversial opinions about static and dynamic sites. Some colleagues put dynamic sites on a pedestal and declared them the only good solution.
Such statements are profoundly false because they are extreme and do not take into account all factors.
Therefore, let’s first clarify …
What is a static and what is a dynamic site?
It is important to emphasize first of all that the concepts of “static site” and “dynamic site” are purely technical and have nothing to do with dynamism or static in the design or functions of the site! The terms “static” and “dynamic” are related only to the technical means and methods applied in the construction of the website.
With the static site, each page of the site is built on its own. It is usually a single file or a series of linked files that contain at the same time all the elements of the page – both the design and the content of the page itself – texts, photos, etc.
When a visitor clicks on the address of that page, the server directly sends it ready for viewing to the user’s browser.
Unlike a static site, with a dynamic site, the design (general site layout and navigation) is defined in a separate, common to all pages template, and the content of each individual page is contained in a database, from where it is “called” for the “dynamic” generation the page.
When a visitor clicks on a menu item on a dynamic site, the content management system (CMS) “orders” the necessary content from the database, and on this basis the requested page is “assembled” at the moment, and only then is it sent to the user.
In other words …
Unlike a static page, which exists and is available at all times, a dynamic page does not actually exist permanently but is created (dynamically generated) only when requested by a user.
Which is better: dynamic or static site?
Not long ago, I came across a claim on a colleague’s site that static sites were like “the old black and white newspapers”, with which the colleagues apparently wanted to convince us that only a dynamic website was the only good and “modern” solution.
As we already wrote above, such statements are profoundly false!
Both static and dynamic sites have their pros and cons, and here are the pros and cons of each solution:
First of all, due to the lack of server processing and database connection, a static page loads incomparably faster than the same dynamic page, and this ratio can reach several hundred percent (several times faster)!
A static website allows virtually complete freedom in creating a design tailored to any client’s requirements.
A static website allows for better search engine optimization on each individual page, which can dramatically improve a site’s Google ranking.
Since a static site is usually built and updated on a local computer and only then “uploaded” to the server, the site owner always has an up-to-date backup copy of his site. This is usually extremely important when restoring the site in the event of a server crash or security breach.
Both migrating (moving from one server to another) and restoring a static site happen incomparably easier and faster – in a matter of minutes – as opposed to a dynamic site, which can take hours to migrate or restore.
A static site is more difficult to update and this is usually best done by the web designers themselves.
With static sites, it is more difficult (sometimes impossible) to create more complex functionalities such as searching, sorting, filtering, etc.
You can read more about the topic of static websites in the article dedicated to “Advantages of a static website“.
Dynamic websites are equipped with a content management system that allows a trained person from the owning company to update and supplement the content of the site without having to call the web designers for everything.
Dynamic sites allow the creation of more active functionalities such as product sorting, searching, and filtering by a given attribute, etc.
Because with a dynamic website each page is generated “on demand” by complex software, it takes significantly more time on the server and a dynamic page typically loads significantly slower than a static page with the same content.
Dynamic sites are generally much more vulnerable to hacker attacks and malicious actions. They are managed by complex software (CMS) and modules to it, written by different programmers, which in itself carries unpredictable risks.
For the same reason, a dynamic site necessarily needs regular technical support. A dynamic site left without regular maintenance and updating of its modules usually falls victim to hacking within months.
Because dynamic website content is created and updated directly in the server database, owners usually do not have an up-to-date backup copy of the content, which leads to risks of information loss in the event of a server crash or site hacker attack.
Dynamic sites are generally more difficult to fine-tune for search engine optimization, and all other things being equal, a dynamic site will generally rank worse in search engines than a well-optimized static website. Some dynamic site management systems (CMS) even try to mimic the behavior of a static site in order to “please” Google.
Instead of a summary, we will advise you on the following:
A static site is more suitable for you if:
- The purpose of your site is primarily an online presentation of your company and it will include a small number of pages (up to 20 – 30).
- You do not intend to update the information on the website very often (daily or weekly).
- You realize that everyone has to do their job, and your job, as a professional in your field, is not to update websites.
A dynamic site is more suitable for you if:
- You plan for your site to contain many tens or hundreds of pages that will be changed and updated frequently (daily or weekly).
- You are planning to build a completely online-based business (online store).
- You have the necessary resources (staff with the necessary training) for regular and competent maintenance of the site.