Difference between static and dynamic website

There are two basic types of sites: static websites and dynamic websites. The main difference between the two lies in the generation of content: a static site has fixed, predefined content that does not change. In contrast, a dynamic site can be updated in real time with pages that change, front end side, depending on the user’s actions, and that are added automatically, back end side, without manipulating the source code.

The importance of understanding the difference between static and dynamic websites therefore falls on functionality, how sites generate and deliver content, user experience and platform management.

Better one or the other? Although there are differences and characteristics that determine pros and cons, the choice between the two depends more on the objective of the project: whether you want to create an eCommerce, a blog, or offer services that require online bookings, you need a dynamic site. If you need to create a showcase site or a corporate presentation site, better use a static site. 

Let’s see, then, what are in detail the differences between static and dynamic site, pros and cons, and their relationship with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and finally also the first steps to start a site in WordPress.

What is a static website

A static website consists of fixed, immutable pages that, once created, are returned as they were stored on the server.

Their content remains unchanged for each person who visits unless they are changed manually. Whenever a user accesses a page of a static website, they see the same content as in the original version of the website. Examples are the ‘about us’ page or a privacy policy.

Characteristics of the static site 

The static site is built with HTML and CSS that define the structure and visual appearance of the site. The pages of a static site are composed of files such as text, links, images and videos, which are uploaded to the server and sent to the user’s browser.

Static sites do not require dynamic programming languages, scripting or databases. In fact, all on-page elements cannot be customized based on user interactions or specific requests.

Although static Web sites are easier to create, manage and host, faster to load, precisely because they do not require interaction with databases or server-side processing, yet they are less flexible than dynamic sites and have limitations in terms of interactive and customized features.

Just to be clear, to update the content of a static site, you need to change the HTML code of each page.

That’s why when choosing between static and dynamic websites, you have to consider the type of project you want to implement, considering that the former are suitable for some types of site, such as the portfolio, showcase sites and landing pages (landing page).

What is a dynamic website

Built with server-side language and technology, dynamic websites offer a more interactive and personalized experience, as they generate content and have it displayed dynamically and in real time, based on user-generated actions or content, browser requests, factors such as time of day, language, geographic location, and other elements.

Characteristics of the dynamic site

In a dynamic Web site, data and content are organized in a database or a backend content management system (CMS), which links to the pages of the site. In fact, dynamic websites are more complex to create and manage, as they require the use of server-side programming languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby or Java, and a database such as MySQL or PostgreSQL.

The web pages of a dynamic site can be generated at the time of the user’s request, allowing for the display of customized and updated content.

Just for the sake of argument, in this case, examples of dynamic websites are eCommerce sites, within which new pages can be added to expand inventory, displaying different products based on purchase history; news or real estate listings portals, forums, Social Networking platforms; blogs created with CMS (content management systems).

The substantial difference between the two is, therefore, their ability to adapt and react to user actions: static sites are ‘fixed,’ while dynamic sites can change and adapt. But in the latter case, the costs are higher and the technical skills required, more advanced.

Technologies for Static Websites

1. HTML (HyperText Markup Language): a markup language used to create the structure and layout of web pages.

2. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): language used to define the style and appearance of pages (fonts, colors, and layout).

3. JavaScript: client-side scripting language that is used to make the site interactive and integrate functionality to static web pages.

Technologies for Dynamic Websites

1. Server-side programming languages: PHP, Python, Ruby or JavaScript (Node.js), with which to generate dynamic content and interact with databases.

2. Databases: data storage and retrieval systems, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL or MongoDB, that store information used to create dynamic content.

3. Frameworks and CMS: tools and platforms, such as Django (Python), Ruby on Rails (Ruby) or WordPress (PHP), to facilitate the development and maintenance of dynamic websites.

Advantages of Static Websites

Simplicity: Static sites are easier to create and maintain because they do not require advanced programming skills or database management.

Speed and performance: Static web pages load faster because they are pre-generated and do not require server-side processing to generate the content.

Composing a static page prioritizesloading speed, resulting in an improved browsing experience. Since the content of this type of site is pre-written and delivered directly from the server, caching is easier and the content is less likely to load with delays or UX (User Experience) problems.

Static websites require less server power and, not having a database or client server infrastructure to manage, they are of course faster. 

Certainly late SEO this represents an advantage because Google-and it makes no secret of this-gives precedence to the fastest and best performing websites.

Ease of hosting: Static sites require simple hosting space, without the need to manage databases or application servers.

Security: In theory, static web pages are potentially more difficult to breach. Static websites are considered more secure because they do not have databases or server-side code that could be vulnerable to attack. Static pages do not connect to a database and do not use external extensions and plugins, i.e., all those elements that can be entry points for external attacks.

Reduced hosting costs: Static website hosting is usually less expensive, as it does not require additional server resources for dynamic processing.

Disadvantages of Static Websites

Limited Functionality/Lack of Interactivity: Static websites offer less functionality and customization than dynamic websites, such as user management, shopping carts, or database-driven content creation.

Update difficulty: Changing the content of a static website requires manual intervention in the source code of each individual page. This can be time-consuming and resource intensive.

Limited scalability: static site involves management limitations with

The increase in its size. Each page of the static Web site must be built as a separate entity. For a site with multiple pages, it is necessary to create each page individually.

Changes to a static website must be made page by page, and when websites are loaded with more content or content that changes quickly, this becomes much more challenging.

Advantages of Dynamic Websites

Interactivity and functionality: Dynamic websites integrate advanced interactive features, private areas, contact forms, comments, user authentication, real-time chat, content customization based on user preferences, and app and service integration.

A pretty good example is Netflix, which offers content to users based on their location and suggestions based on their preference history.

Content Management: Dynamic sites rest on CMS content management systems, which allow content to be added, modified, or deleted, without having to intervene in source code or design. Pages are automatically created and modified at the same time, because changes made to one dynamic page are automatically applied to thousands of other pages.

Scalability: A dynamic website can generate and manage a greater amount of content and users quickly and easily. Even if it starts with just a few pages, without a concrete plan for growth, it leaves ample room for maneuver over time, allowing pages to be added without putting a hand to the code and without space problems, provided the hosting is up to the task, of course.

Disadvantages of Dynamic Websites

Complexities: Development and maintenance of dynamic websites require advanced programming, database and server management skills.

Hosting costs and resources: Dynamic websites require a more advanced and expensive hosting infrastructure, as they require additional server resources, server-side script execution and database access.

Security: dynamic websites can be more vulnerable to attacks, due to the presence of server-side code and databases.

But this problem can be solved by adopting a number of security and protection measures, from DDoS protection to SSLSL certificates, SQL etc., which a good provider will be able to recommend and provide.

Performance/Loading Speed
: The data to be fetched from db’s and the complex instructions they have to process can penalize the page loading speed of dynamic sites. But this can be remedied by choosing a fast server and with some optimization techniques.

What is the best solution between dynamic and static websites?

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, which is important to consider in the smallest details at the design stage.

The choice between static and dynamic sites should depend on the goals of the project and the target audience. After identifying these factors, the most suitable platform will be sought.

For a simple showcase site a static site is preferable, while for a site with frequent updates of content and advanced features, such as those mentioned in the previous paragraphs, it is advisable to opt for a dynamic site. 

The ideal solution may be a hybrid formula, that is, a site with static pages enhanced by dynamic content.

Dynamic WordPress website: how to develop it?

To develop a dynamic website using WordPress, one of the most widely used CMS in the world, you can follow these steps:

  1. Register a domain name and purchase a hosting service that supports WordPress.
  2. Install WordPress: Log into the control panel of your hosting service and install WordPress. Many hosting companies, like ours for example, offer services in which the installation of WordPress is included.
  3. Choose a WordPress theme that matches the design and functionality you want, but most importantly performs well and is fast. In the official WordPress website you can find several free themes that can be customized, and with premium solutions.
  4. Add plugins: with WordPress plugins you can add extra functionality.
  5. Dynamic content management: WordPress allows you to create pages, articles, categories and tags.