Web Design and Development

Dynamic vs Static Website: Know the Important Difference

There are key differences between a dynamic vs static website that make each a good choice, depending on your needs.

What’s the right web design and development approach for your small business?

Would your business thrive better with a static and straightforward website? Or would your audiences appreciate a dynamic and adaptive website more?

With billions of people connected to the internet, keeping an online presence somehow levels the playing ground for businesses of various sizes. Multinational brands and small businesses may both tap their target audience using the same digital marketing techniques. In some instances, small players are able to take the center stage with the right digital marketing strategy and precise execution.

Websites – a modern business must-have

As of today, there are billions of web pages crowding the internet superhighway, and they’re all vying for users’ attention. How will your business stand out and reach your target audience? Let’s start with the basics: Your official business website.

According to a Google study, 83% of US shoppers searched for a business online before visiting its physical store. Think of your website as your store-front, business catalog, or drive-through counter. Only, it exists online, and accessible anywhere there’s a stable internet connection.

Through this website, your potential customers learn about your business, products, and services. Even better, they might also sign-up as a lead or make a purchase through these websites.

There are different types of websites. Each with a unique value to different types of businesses. The most common types are dynamic and static websites; choosing one or the other will help you grow your business, as long as it’s the right fit for you and your customers.

Dynamic vs static website – which do you choose?

In deciding the better type of website for your business, it’s helpful to understand how websites work. Let’s start with static websites.

In a nutshell, when a user types in a web address, their browser sends a request to a server where the content of a website is stored. This server then delivers the code for the web page to a browser which, in turn, displays the page to the viewer.

Static websites

In a static website, the server delivers a web page based on pre-written HTML and other code (CSS or JavaScript). The page content is pre-uploaded to a server in a user’s browser in advance.

It’s composed of HTML (or CSS, JavaScript) files, each representing a page of the website. If you want to update a content in a static website, even if such content is identical in every page, you would need to do so on each page.

All websites in the early days of the world wide web were static. This type of website is ideal for pages whose content doesn’t change often such as company profiles, blogs or those that primarily offer informational content.

Here are examples of static websites:

  1. Resume websites – A digital version of a traditional paper resume typically uses a static web development approach. Information on educational background and work history don’t change often that require real-time dynamic pages.
  2. Portfolio websites – Similar with resume websites, portfolio websites may be built using a static web approach which doesn’t need to be updated/revised frequently.
  3. Splash landing pages – This type of landing page stirs a user’s interest to click through another page. These usually have a powerful call to action to entice a user to visit the main website. A splash landing page is built using a static web page, which doesn’t require any other feature other than its informational content.
  4. Read-only sites such as blogs – Websites for information dissemination purposes only, except those that require frequent updates like news outlets, are built using static websites.

Dynamic websites

In a dynamic website, the server pulls data from a data source, loads it into a template, and creates the HTML code in real time. It is considered as “on the fly” since it dynamically builds web pages right when a user types in the web address. PHP is a popular server technology for dynamic websites. It searches for pieces of information that it then writes into a web page.

A dynamic website is recommended for web pages whose content changes frequently and websites that display unique pages to each user such as social media sites in which users access their personal profiles.

Check out these examples of dynamic websites:

  1. Twitter – Social media platforms are dependent on user-generated content, and allows personalization of user profiles. These functions are possible in dynamic websites.
  2. BBC – A dynamic web development approach allows news websites to update content frequently particularly for breaking/developing news stories.
  3. Netflix – Streaming websites such as Netflix used a dynamic web development approach to allow content to be chosen and displayed based on a user’s location, viewing history, etc.
  4. Amazon – Marketplace platforms use customer data in displaying products. Ads are also displayed dynamically that match a user’s demographics and search history.

A dynamic website, however, shouldn’t be confused with “dynamic elements”. While you may have a static website, you may include dynamic elements your users may interact with such as forms and buttons.

Should you go for a cheaper static website or a more flexible dynamic site? Let’s assess both sides of the coin.

Static vs. dynamic websites: the pros and cons

Each website development approach has its upsides and downsides. Understanding these can aid in deciding which you should choose for your business.

Pros of static websites

  1. Simpler and faster to build. You can create a static web page with only HTML. Unlike in a dynamic website, there’s no need to work on the programming languages used by browsers to pull the data and generate the web pages.
  2. More affordable. Static websites are generally less expensive than dynamic websites because these are easier to develop. There’s no need for frequent updates or revisions on web page content.
  3. Loads more quickly. Dynamic websites that render in real-time load a second or two longer than static websites. Since static web pages were already made and uploaded in advance, these have faster load time, hence with lower bounce rate.
  4. Easier search engine ranking. Search engine crawlers can easily rank static websites since the content already exists. It is also easier for you to optimize your web pages in advance before uploading them to servers. This could boost chances of ranking high on search engines.

Cons of static websites

  1. Content updates or revisions can be tedious. Updating static web pages requires more work than a dynamic website. Each HTML file is a separate page already created, so if you need to change a design element on a page, you will need to edit every single page. This can be tedious, repetitive and prone to human error.
  2. Personalization is restricted. Today’s internet users want to interact with websites. They want to see content that matches their needs and interests, and want to have the ability to update their personal profiles. These are not possible with static websites whose content were already created and uploaded in servers.
  3. Limited features. In general, static websites offer limited features which can be frustrating to users. Users would want to get information, create their accounts, and make purchases in one go. However, you may now include dynamic elements such as fillable forms in static websites, though are still limited compared to dynamic websites.
  4. Harder to scale. Static websites are harder to scale due to the manual work required for updates or revisions.

Pros of dynamic websites

  1. Easier to revise and update. Unlike in static websites, you don’t need to make changes on every page if needed. Updates may be done across several web pages all at once. For much easier page revisions, you may use your dynamic website with a content management system (CMS) to update content on your web pages. No need to know HTML in managing your website.
  2. You can focus on your content. Updating your dynamic website is made simpler with available web apps that even non-technical people can do the job. This unloads your team’s work so you could focus on producing quality content and improving your search engine optimization (SEO).
  3. Offers user login capabilities. If you plan on selling products on your website, it’s a must that your users are able to create profile pages with their account information. This would make their shopping experience efficient and safer. You could have this functionality by opting for a dynamic website.
  4. Efficient scalability. Tedious manual work isn’t needed for dynamic websites. Hence, these are often easier to scale than static websites.

Cons of dynamic websites

  1. More complex to build. The initial development of a dynamic website is more challenging than a static one. You will need technical knowledge in various programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, as well as the languages used in the server side.
  2. Costlier to build and host. Due to the complexity of building a dynamic website, it’s also more expensive to develop and to host. It’s likely that you will only spend a lot during the development stage since you can easily update the pages on your own using a CMS.
  3. Slower load time. Dynamic websites tend to load longer than static ones because its many features and functions. This could affect bounce rate, and ultimately, user experience.

Weighing in each – how do you choose which is best for you?

The better approach would primarily depend on your purpose and budget.

As mentioned earlier, a static website is best for web pages in which you don’t have to change the content frequently. If you need a company website or a blog, static pages will work well for you.

If you’re running a limited-time promotion, a static website approach is a more practical option than dynamic one. You may simply take down the page once the promo or campaign ends.

Because of its straightforward approach, a static website is more affordable than a dynamic website.

Dynamic sites may take longer to initially code and are more expensive to build than static websites. But if you’re going to update your content frequently, such as if you’re running an ecommerce website, a dynamic website is a more cost-efficient choice.

Any initial savings from a static website will not offset the additional time and effort you’ll need for future updates and revisions on your web pages.

You should also consider how your choice of web development would affect your SEO efforts. It’s easier for search engine crawlers to rank a static website since its content is already uploaded on servers – crawlers see web pages as users do. However, the time and effort required in updating static web pages are better off spent on SEO such as boosting content marketing.

Dynamic websites may not be easier to rank for search engines, but these are more flexible for changing SEO trends. You can easily revise pages based on new optimization signals, and allot more of your time and resources in creating quality content.

A digital marketing company with its team of web developers and marketing specialists can help you decide, develop and maintain the website that matches your purpose, budget and branding.

Key takeaways

More than half of the global population actively access the internet. For businesses, maintaining a strong online presence has become non-negotiable. Begin by building a website that matches your purpose and supports your online branding and digital marketing efforts.

  • Select a static website if you need a website for information purposes only such as to introduce your business and offers.
  • Choose a dynamic website if you want a website that you can update frequently, allows user log-ins and may include various functionalities.
  • Work with a digital marketing company with the expertise and technologies to build the right website for your business.

What type of website are you currently working with? Let us know over on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

For more stories on web design and development, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so we can send it straight to your inbox.

Never miss a beat.
Get regular updates in your inbox
on what's new on digital.