A static website is a website that does not change frequently. The term “static” is used because a static website doesn’t have any dynamic content such as blog posts, comments, or user accounts that usually appear in dynamic websites. In this blog post you will learn more about static websites and when you should use them.
Static websites are great for keeping things simple and fast. Static websites aren’t dynamic like blogs or sites with CMS backends. Instead, static websites are essentially a collection of HTML files, images, and other assets that are hosted online but don’t require any backend database to function.
Table of Contents
- Static Website Language
- Why Use Static Websites?
- Are WordPress Sites Static or Dynamic?
- How to Create a Static Website
- Pros of Using a Static Website
- Cons of Using a Static Website
Static Website Language
Static websites do not use a server-side language to generate content. Instead, they are composed of HTML pages that are uploaded to a web server and are served to users as-is.
Static websites are also easy to host, so they’re great for small businesses and individuals who don’t need complex functionality or frequent content updates. Static sites can be built using simple mark-up like HTML or plain text files.
Why Use Static Websites?
Most sites that are published using a CMS are dynamic, meaning that their content is generated and stored on a database. This makes the website’s content very flexible, but also requires a web server to be constantly running and connected to update it. If the website owner is not paying to host the server themselves, they are also at the mercy of that server’s uptime.
Static sites, on the other hand, require no database maintenance. This makes a static site very easy to deploy and manage.
Are WordPress Sites Static or Dynamic?
WordPress sites are dynamic. WordPress is a content management system that requires a database to store content such as posts, pages, comments, user accounts etc. The content is then loaded dynamically on the front end for a visitor.
As a CMS, WordPress is good for beginners as well as advanced users since it offers a lot of customization options.
How to Create a Static Website
Before you dive into the guide, let’s look at the tools and resources you’ll need to create a static website.
You’ll need a plain text editor to write your content. There are a lot of different options here, but my personal favorites are Sublime Text and Visual Studio Code.
Static Site Generator
This is a tool that will compile your HTML pages and images into a single, easy-to-deploy, static web page. The most popular static site generator is Jekyll.
You’ll need to choose a hosting provider to deploy your static site. I recommend checking out Amazon’s S3 hosting, where you pay based on how much data you store. Bluehost can also be a cheap alternative.
Pros of Using a Static Website
Here are the pros of using a static website.
Static websites are very fast, since they don’t have to be compiled on the fly like dynamic sites do. If you are in a competitive industry where every millisecond matters, like e-commerce or SaaS, this is a huge advantage.
Unless you’re storing customer data or other sensitive information, a static site is not as vulnerable to hacking attacks like a database-backed site would be.
Easy to Maintain
Unlike a database-backed site, there’s nothing to install or maintain. You just write your content and upload it to the web server.
Cons of Using a Static Website
Here are the cons of using a static website.
A static site is essentially an online brochure — you can display content and images, but the functionality of that site is limited. You can’t add user accounts, log-in functionality, comments, or a shopping cart.
No Real-Time Functionality
Since there’s no database, there’s no real-time functionality like live updates or content feeds. This makes a static site a bad fit for blogging or news sites where content is constantly being added and updated.
Lack of SEO
The most important thing about hosting a website is the ability to rank and be found in the search engines. If you choose to use a static site, you won’t have access to any of the SEO benefits like keywords or internal linking that CMS-backed sites have.
Static websites are great for user experience. But it all comes down to the functionalities you are looking for when building a website.