If you are new to coding, like I am, you may have heard that HTML and CSS alone are good for a static website and be wondering what is a static website? This article is going to explain what a static website is and the pros and cons of having a static website
A static website is a website that does not change. All the content is stored on a server, and when someone visits the website, the server sends the user the same HTML file every time. This means that the site does not change based on user interaction, making it a static website.
If the above sounds a bit technical, not to worry, we will break static websites down and share some details about their counterpart, dynamic websites, to highlight exactly what static websites are.
How are static websites built?
Static websites are typically built with HTML and CSS. There is no need for a database or backend scripting language like PHP because the website does not change. You can use a text editor like Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac to create the HTML files for your website. I use VSCode to write my HTML and CSS files.
Static websites can also be built with a website builder like WordPress or Squarespace. These tools allow you to create a website without coding. When paired with a tool like Elementor Pro, you can generate beautiful sites without writing a single line of code as the code is generated for you by the website builder and plugins. However, if you want to customize the code or make changes to the website, you’ll need to know how to code, specifically in HTML and CSS.
Because this blog is about learning to code, we will only consider static websites written with HTML and CSS, not website builders. The main advantage of static websites is that they are fast and easy to build. You do not need a database or backend scripting language, and the code is simple and easy to understand. This simplicity makes them an excellent choice for small websites or prototypes. Here are some additional benefits of a static website.
What are the benefits of a static website?
A static website will always be faster than a dynamic website because there is no need for a database or backend scripting language. This means that static websites load quickly and are great for low-bandwidth or high-traffic situations.
A static website is less likely to be hacked than a dynamic website because there is no database or backend scripting language that can be accessed and exploited.
A static website is simple to build and does not require a database or backend scripting language. This makes static websites a desirable choice for small businesses or individuals who want a simple, lightweight website.
Now that you know some of the benefits of a static website, let us look at some of the disadvantages of a static website.
What are the disadvantages of a static website?
The main disadvantage of static websites is that they are not very dynamic. If you want to change the content on your website, you must edit the HTML files on the server. This can be a challenge if you don’t know how to code. Also, if you want to add new functionality to your website, you will need to code that yourself or find a plugin that does what you need. Here are some additional disadvantages of a static website.
A static website needs to be maintained regularly to ensure that the content is up-to-date and accurate. If the website is not maintained, it will quickly become outdated and less relevant.
2. Limited Functionality
A static website cannot be used to create dynamic websites or to power eCommerce stores. Static websites are limited in terms of what they can do.
3. Expensive Hosting
Static websites require more server resources than dynamic websites, so they often cost more to host, specifically if you are getting remarkably high traffic to your site. This normally would not be a problem for a small business, though. This may not be an issue if you are hosting the website on your own server, but it can be a problem if you are using a shared or budget hosting plan.
Siteground offers great hosting plans for static and dynamic websites that are scalable depending on the amount of traffic you are receiving to your site. Their plans are affordable, and they are the only hosting provider recommended by WordPress.
As we mentioned earlier, there is an alternative to a static website, and this is called a dynamic website, so let us dive in and find out what a dynamic website is and how it compares to a static website.
What is a dynamic website?
A website is dynamic if its content changes in response to user input or interaction. This could be as simple as a news website that updates its stories as latest information comes in or as complex as an online store that displays assorted products and prices depending on the visitor’s location.
Dynamic websites are created using server-side scripting languages such as PHP, ASP.NET, or Ruby on Rails. The code behind these languages is executed on the webserver, sending the resulting HTML pages to the visitor’s browser. This process makes dynamic websites much more complex than static ones, consisting only of a series of HTML and CSS pages delivered to the user in one go.
Dynamic websites can be built using several frameworks, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Popular frameworks include Laravel for PHP, ASP.NET Core for ASP.NET, and Ruby on Rails for Ruby. Just as with static sites, you can also build a dynamic website with website builders like WordPress, and you can make stunning eCommerce websites with a drag and drop page builder like Elementor Pro.
Creating a dynamic website can be a complex process, but the results are worth it – users will appreciate the site’s responsiveness and flexibility. If you are considering building a dynamic website, do your research and choose the right framework for the job.
The main advantage of a dynamic website is its flexibility – content can be updated and changed in real-time, allowing for a more interactive user experience. This also makes dynamic websites more user-friendly, as visitors can get the latest information without visiting the site again.
What are the benefits of a dynamic website?
1. Increased interactivity
Dynamic websites allow users to interact more with the content than static websites. This can be done in many ways, such as providing feedback forms, commenting on articles, or rating products.
2. More user-friendly
Dynamic websites are constantly updated with the latest information, so visitors don’t have to keep revisiting the site to get the latest news.
3. More engaging
A dynamic website is more visually appealing than a static website, as it contains more multimedia elements, such as videos and animations. This can help engage visitors and keep them on the site for longer periods of time.
Just like with static websites, dynamic websites do have their disadvantages
What are the disadvantages of dynamic websites?
One of the main disadvantages of a dynamic website is that it can be more difficult to maintain and update than static websites. With a static website, you merely need to update the files on your webserver to change the content. With a dynamic website, you also need to update the code that generates the pages. Here are three more disadvantages that you should know about dynamic websites.
Vulnerable to attacks
Dynamic websites contain more code that can be exploited.
Dynamic websites can also be more expensive to develop and maintain than static websites.
Is a static or dynamic website better for me?
This is a tricky question to answer as it depends on your specific needs and what you want your website to do. Static websites are cheaper and faster to develop, but they can be more limited in terms of functionality. Dynamic websites are more expensive and complex to develop, but they offer more flexibility and can be more engaging for users.
If you are reading this article as a business owner and you are unsure which type of website is right for you, it might be a good idea to consult with a web developer or design agency. They will be able to help you decide which type of website is best for your needs, and they can also help you with the development and maintenance of your website.
If you are reading this article as someone learning to code, I would suggest starting with a static site simply because it is easier. You will still learn a lot through building a static site. Once you are comfortable with the HTML and CSS concepts to build a static site, then you can move on to a dynamic site.
Remember that a dynamic site requires backend knowledge, which can be a lot to learn. I would advise researching the framework you are going to apply thoroughly and doing a lot of research on what backend language you will learn.
Because I have only started my coding journey in Jan of this year (2022), I have not yet got as far as learning a backend language, so I can give you my personal opinion right now; however, when I am there, I will do my best to update this article for you. To make sure you get these updates, click here to subscribe to my mailing list. As a bonus, you will get a link to the World of Dev discord server, where you can meet other new coders like you!