What are the difference between static and dynamic websites?

4 min


Static Webites

A static website is a normal set consisting of several HTML pages that are linked together by hyperlinks. Since the very foundation of the Internet,  all websites have been static. They represented standard documents visited by various users to obtain any information of interest to them. Such sites have the following disadvantages:

Mixing design (content design) and content (semantic content)

The HTML language (Hypertext Markup Language) to date, which is the standard for hypertext markup, is designed specifically to represent the appearance of the page.

While pages of static sites exist directly in the form of HTML pages, and almost always except for the information part for which the user visits the site, they contain a certain “service frame” – a header and a cellar, a navigation menu, some additional text blocks, banners, quick links to the main sections of the site, etc.

Therefore, on such pages, which display specific documents, very often content and design (both pages in general, and individual elements of it) are mixed. Hence, we have a lot of negative consequences that arise when publishing new documents or editing existing ones, – they should all be made uniform. And if there is a need to swap some functional blocks of the site, or add a new item to the general menu – then you will need to edit all existing pages.

On modern sites, usually, every important document or page has several links to itself – this is, for example, a link from the catalog of articles, and a link from the main page of the announcements, and a link from the menu items. Therefore, the publication of new material is not only the actual addition of the page itself, but also the editing of all the other pages that, in one way or another, affect this action, and this at times increases not only the laboriousness of the process but also increases the risk of errors.

The complete absence of dynamics

Here everything is less clear and without words: in what form the document or page of the site was made, in this form it will be displayed for the visitor – no interactivity and response to the user’s behavior:

  • The complete absence of such features as registration and user authentication. A good site should be able to “learn” its visitors, support various mechanisms for taking into account their behavior on the pages of the site so that the owner of the resource knows and responds to user requests;
  • The fundamental impossibility of dividing users into different groups with different access rights to the information contained on the site, its creation, and editing. This impossibility follows directly from the above paragraph;
  • The impossibility of personalization of users of the site. In this context, personalization means the functionality of customizing the site to the requirements and preferences of each user individually. For example, to show for wholesale buyers or customers one information and prices for goods, and for retail consumers to show retail prices and some individual offers;
  • Lack of opportunity to connect such interactive solutions as forums, chats, guest books, questions, and answers, is all that promotes communication of the site’s audience not only with each other but also with the site administration;
  • Loss of integration with external applications, in particular, e-mail, to create an automated subscription to various newsletters: news, mailings, price lists, special offers, updates, and the like.

All of the above things (and many problems that simply cannot be mentioned within the framework of one article) are in principle unworkable within the technology of static sites, and in this case, programming intervention cannot be avoided.

Great difficulties with updating the information on the site:

A static site, without prompt and regular updates, risks losing to all competing projects. In this case, the information prepared by the content manager for publication must be approved by the management of the company or the owner of the resource and sent to the programmer or webmaster to enter this information on the resource. Thus, changing the old one or adding new information is more expensive, since more people are involved, and the process is considerably more complicated.

And imagine for a moment that you need to add a new section, and put a link to it on each page, and such pages you already have a thousand? Or do you decide to change the whole design of the site without affecting the information? You have to do almost the entire site from scratch. It’s not just long and time-consuming – it’s ruinous and inexpedient!

Dynamic Websites

The content of such sites is stored not in the form of static HTML pages, but is located in the database, and is displayed “on the fly”, directly at the user’s request. There are quite a lot of programming systems and widely used and widely recognized programming languages, for example, PHP, Perl, ASP, etc.

With their help, you can create the basis for a flexible site of any complexity, but this, of course, not everyone can, and the threshold of entry into this subject area is very high. In the process of creating such a site a new person is added – a programmer in one of the programming languages, as a result of which the development increases in terms and becomes more complicated.

But one programmer cannot develop a functional and create an acceptable design for the future site – this is possible only when working in conjunction with the designer. With this approach, the information content of the resource will be separated from the graphic, by creating a special site template, on the basis of which future pages of the site will be generated, taking into account the required design.

Another plus point of dynamic sites is the relatively easy administration of the resource, through the administrator’s panel and possibly inexpensively the development of the project.

Thus, if your site consists or will consist of many pages or a fairly frequent process of updating it, the advantage of the dynamic structure is obvious. And your developers do not have to completely process all the pages with a minor update of the design or when new sections of the site appear. The separation of design and information content is the main distinguishing feature and the most significant advantage of dynamic sites.

And here there is a clash with the dilemma: ordinary sites on HTML pages are difficult to maintain, archaic, and not suitable for presenting complex data structures. Dynamic sites do not just put forward new requirements for their creation and maintenance, they are much more expensive to develop, as well as the content of a new staff unit – a programmer. And here was found a way out in the form of creating high-quality sites on the CMS.

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