With every bricks-and-mortar business turning to the internet to reach out to a wider audience, it has become quite necessary for almost every business to establish a fully functional website. A website not only helps you to stay in touch with your targeted audience around-the-clock but also increases your conversion and ROI.
Web sites are available in a variety of sizes and shapes but they can be easily divided into two main types – static websites and dynamic websites. There was a time when only static websites exist but with the advancement in the web technologies, you can now build dynamic websites.
When it comes to building a website, the type of website you choose to build plays a major role. It can also make a huge difference in the functionality of your website. However, before you dive into creating your site by randomly picking one of the types, you should know which type of website would be suitable for you.
Today, in this article, we are going to discuss static and dynamic web pages and the major differences between these two.
What are Static and Dynamic Websites?
A static website includes a series of HTML and CSS files where each HTML file represents a web page of the website. In static sites, the format and number of pages are fixed which offers fixed information to the client. Even though two webpages of the site consist of same content such as header or footer, both webpages would have two different versions of the same. So, in order to make changes in the header or footer section, you need to make the changes in both the files manually.
This is how sites were created in the early days of the internet.
Dynamic websites use server technologies to create web page dynamically when someone visits the page. When a user visits a certain web address, the server looks into the bunch of variety of pieces of information to write a single united webpage which is then displayed to the user. In a nutshell, dynamic websites can change the webpage dynamically while the user is accessing the page on the browser. Server-side programming (JSP, ASP.net, PHP) is used to change page’s content at run time.
What is the difference between Static and Dynamic Web Pages?
1. Easier design updates
Dynamic websites offer easier design updates since you do not need to make changes in every page to simply change in one piece of information on the page. In dynamic sites, each element of the page is different therefore, it is a lot easier to modify a particular element on different pages, all at once. As an instance, let’s say you need to make modification in the header section of your site, you only have to modify your header page (that holds the information of this page) and it will automatically be updated on all other pages that have that file.
However, in the static website, as we discussed, you would need to make modifications to each file to modify the header section of the website. And this constant editing usually leads to errors and bugs in the code.
2. Loading speed
The loading and browsing of static sites are faster than dynamic websites. Why you ask? Well, dynamic websites send requests to the server to display the content of a particular webpage which approximately takes 90% of the total loading time. However, static websites have nothing to do with server and therefore, directly load on the client’s browser without communicating with the server.
3. Web technologies used
Static websites have been around since the inception of the internet. These sites are created using HTML and CSS while dynamic sites are built using various different programming languages such as JSP, ASP, Perl, Python and PHP. Today, a majority of webmasters are making use of content management systems to create dynamic websites without messing up with any of the programming languages.
4. Easier content updates
Dynamic websites allow easier content updates since all the elements of a page are separate and are not dependent on each other. In fact, the content management systems such as WordPress, Magento, Drupal and more make it even simpler for non-technical webmasters to update and modify all the content of the webpage without having to mess around with the coding. The webmaster doesn’t have to know about HTML to build a new page. Dynamic sites let you focus on creating content instead of creating webpages for your website.
On the other hand, in order to update content on a static site, a webmaster needs to be familiar with HTML, which makes it quite difficult for every webmaster to update the content on their own.
5. More flexible data
A Dynamic website offers flexibility and versatility since it pulls together a bunch of different page elements to create a whole page. It lets you save all the content into the database from where it can be fetched and edited whenever it is required. Dynamic websites even enable you to load the same content from the database across multiple sites. Databases also make it a lot simpler to load, categorize and search your content in dynamic ways. However, you cannot do all of this with your static websites that have fixed content on each web page.
Static Vs. Dynamic: Which one to use?
Static websites have actually become a thing of past because of their inflexibility. Therefore, a number of people are turning their focus to dynamic sites to keep up with the ever-changing online world. However, if you are planning on adding only a few pages and have enough HTML knowledge, perhaps you can give the static website a try. But if your site requires regular updates, like a blog, dynamic site is the right solution for you.