If you’re interested in building your own website, whether it be a personal or business site, it is likely that you have heard the terms ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’ in relation to websites, but what do these terms actually mean, and what is the difference between the two?
At Milk & Tweed, building websites is what we do, so we are well versed in the differences between the two, and luckily for you, we are willing to impart some of this wisdom!
What is a static website?
These changes can only be done manually, one page at a time – even if the element is identical across every page (such as the footer). Therefore, if edits need to be made to every webpage, it could take a very long time.
Advantages of a static website
Easy and cheap
Static websites are easy and cheap to build from scratch. If you have knowledge of HTML and CSS, it wouldn’t be difficult to code a fully-functioning, aesthetically pleasing one without too much effort or cost.
Because of their simplicity, static websites perform better and load faster than dynamic websites. The pages are already built and so require little back-end processing – all the server needs to do is retrieve and display the requested HTML files. Site speed affects search engine ranking, so the quicker a webpage loads, often the higher up on Google it will appear.
Difficult to hack
Another advantage of static sites is that they are theoretically more difficult to hack. Static sites don’t use any extensions or plugins, meaning that there are less entry points to hack from.
Disadvantages of a static website
Difficult to update
Probably the biggest disadvantage of a static website is its inherent difficulty to update. If your website has more than a couple of pages, making any content changes will be time consuming and mundane. This could mean that the content of your website comes across as outdated and stagnant.
Because of the structure of a static website, it can be difficult to scale it to add more content or additional pages once it is already built.
Another area in which static websites are lacking is their ability to personalise the experience for the individual user. Content is exactly the same for every user, regardless of their location, time zone or chosen browser. E-commerce websites, or sites that require multiple language versions are unable to be created properly as a static site.
Examples of static websites
For certain sites, it makes sense that they are created statically. If you are after a quick, cheap and easy way to host content that will rarely need to change, then static sites are the way to go. These sites will be small and limited in content. Resume websites, landing pages and portfolio websites are all examples of static sites.
What is a dynamic website?
A dynamic website, on the contrary, is a site that presents different information to different visitors in different ways, depending on factors such as their location, local time, settings, preferences and website actions.
Advantages of a dynamic website
The main advantage of a dynamic site is that they are extremely easy to update, and you can make sitewide updates without manually changing every individual page.
Dynamic pages are also more scalable, as the server doesn’t store a fixed number of pages and constructs a page when it’s needed instead. This means that, rather than building separate pages in HTML every time you need to add a page, you just need to store the information in a database so that the server-side scripts can construct the page automatically.
Tailored to user
Another important advantage of a dynamic site is that the content can be tailored to the individual user. This means that the page’s content could be based on their location, or amended to reflect their interest or past actions on the page.
Better user experience
Being able to customise what users see and interact with on your site creates a better user experience, often meaning that visitors are more likely to return or complete your call to action, therefore improving your conversion rate.
Disadvantages of a dynamic website
Difficult to create
Because of the additional capabilities of a dynamic site, they can be more difficult to create from scratch. However, have no fear – that’s why agencies such as Milk & Tweed exist! We are able to help you with the design and build of your website, from initial ideas to live pages!
Drop in performance
Similarly, because of the additional capabilities and increased content on each page, there is a potential for a slight drop in performance. Because the individual pages are pulled together by the server, they may take a longer time to load.
Examples of dynamic websites
Most websites that you use today are dynamic ones. Websites such as e-commerce sites, social media platforms, entertainment and streaming sites (such as Netflix) and news websites are all dynamic, as they pull content that is unique to the user. Many sites are hybrid, meaning that they are built with both dynamic and static pages.
Want support with the choice of static or dynamic and help making your website? Our team of website wizards can help. Contact us today to find out more!