Static vs. Dynamic Websites

What's the Difference and How Do I Choose? 

The terms "static" and "dynamic" at their most core mean "characterized by a fixed condition" and "characterized by energy and action," respectively. Chances are, you have already stumbled across this terminology being used to describe the state of a website and wondered what it meant in that context. Static and Dynamic Websites are very different in terms of development, pricing, content updates, usability and functionality. With this in mind, we thought we'd provide a short walkthrough detailing exactly what the differences between the two are, as well the prospective pros and cons of each according to your site's needs. 

Static Websites 101

Although you might not be able to tell just by viewing a static site at a glance, they are much less complex in nature, and, in the end, offer less functionality. Static sites are written entirely using HTML with no other external files ( besides the CSS style sheet and maybe some JavaScript)  or databases drawn upon. Basically what this means is that each web page is a separate document, and when it needs to be edited, all changes must be made in that page's HTML. This is likely beyond the immediate grasp of most folks, as you would have to use a program such as Dreamweaver or (gasp) FrontPage, or pay your web developer (us) to do it for you.

How Do I Know if a Static Site is Right For Me? 

Although static sites leave you much less independence in the way of personal updates, they might be a better fit for you if you are looking to get a site quickly and stick to a very modest budget. Just remember that you would also have recurring update fees each time you needed to change the site's content. Basically, if you barely ever have new content for your site, there is no reason not to go with a static setup. 

Dynamic Websites 101

Developing a dynamic website is a lot more involved, but it's worth it in the sense that they offer much greater functionality than their static counterparts. The code itself that they are written in is a lot more complex (Usually PHP or ASP), and the dynamic sites that we build are controlled by a content management system. This means that you will be able to make most necessary updates yourself without any HTML or website software knowledge. Each individual page of a dynamic site is generated from information stored in a database or external file. 

How Do I Know if a Dynamic Site is Right For Me? 

Although initially more costly due to their more complex, and therefore labor intensive, nature, having a dynamic site that is controlled by a CMS will save you quite a bit in recurring maintenance and update fees. They also make it impossible to destroy the layout of your site, as might well happen if you were to make a mistake while attempting to update the HTML of a static site yourself. Dynamic sites give you much more control over adding content, and with very minimal training involved. Typically, it takes about half an hour to learn how to make basic updates to your CMS, as our user-end platform is designed to be as intuitive as possible. Dynamic sites are continuously evolving. They are not only a great way to prevent your content from becoming stagnant, but also offer a lot in the way of future functionality enhancements, such as data feeds or site-wide search engines. 

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