Static vs Dynamic Websites

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 27th, 2011

What is a static website? What is a dynamic website? 
What kind of website do I need?

A static website is one that seldom or never changes.  This means that once the site is designed and uploaded to a location on the Internet it is considered complete and not updated very often (other than annual or semi-annual maintenance). A viewer sees the exact same thing every time they go to the website.

While this may sound boring, static websites can be made more interesting through the use of slide shows, email forms, rollover buttons and programming such as Javascripts. Think of a static website as an online brochure.

A dynamic website's content is regenerated every time a user visits or reloads the site. The owner, viewer or automated programming can change the content constantly. This is done through the use of one or several databases located on the website hosting server.

Database driven websites are used for interactive websites such as online sales, blogs/message boards and sites that contain large amounts of information.  The data (or content) of a webpage is stored in the database and is retrieved when the viewer clicks on a specially programmed button or link.

An example of dynamic information is shown below. While this example is rather simple, dynamic sites can be very sophisticated and provide viewers with tremendous amounts of information with just a few mouse clicks.

There are many static websites on the Internet, you won’t be able to tell immediately if it is static, but the chances are, if the site looks basic and is for a smaller company, and simply delivers information without any bells and whistles, it could be a static website. Static websites can only really be updated by someone with a knowledge of website development. Static websites are the cheapest to develop and host, and many smaller companies still use these to get a web presence.

Advantages of static websites

  • Quick to develop
  • Cheap to develop
  • Cheap to host

Disadvantages of static websites

  • Requires web development expertise to update site
  • Site not as useful for the user
  • Content can get stagnant

Dynamic sites on the other hand can be more expensive to develop initially, but the advantages are numerous. At a basic level, a dynamic website can give the website owner the ability to simply update and add new content to the site. For example, news and events could be posted to the site through a simple browser interface. Dynamic features of a site are only limited by imagination. Some examples of dynamic website features could be: content management system, e-commerce system, bulletin / discussion boards, intranet or extranet facilities, ability for clients or users to upload documents, ability for administrators or users to create content or add information to a site (dynamic publishing).

Advantages of dynamic websites

  • Much more functional website
  • Much easier to update
  • New content brings people back to the site and helps in the search engines
  • Can work as a system to allow staff or users to collaborate

Disadvantages of dynamic websites

  • Slower / more expensive to develop
  • Hosting costs a little more

Summary

Many sites from the last decade are static, but more and more people are realising the advantages of having a dynamic website. Dynamic websites can make the most of your site and either use it as a tool or create a professional, interesting experience for your visitors.

This article aimed to tackle some of the questions faced by website owners. 

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.