The Static Website Renaissance

Static websites are once again on the rise. Read about the advantages of static websites and which generator you might consider using.

The internet started with very simple static websites that contained some blocks of text and a few links. The first web page ever created was completely static. Today’s websites contain images, videos, user interaction and fully-developed web applications that are as powerful as those you run on your desktop.
But let’s not forget that static web pages are still very much a part of today’s internet. Advancements in how we design static websites have made them a viable choice for millions of website owners. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s look at the difference between static and dynamic websites.
What is a static website?
A static website is built up of – unsurprisingly – static web pages, which are delivered to the user precisely how they’re stored on the web server, rather than being generated by a third-party web application.
Basically, the user accesses the static files that make up the site directly from the web server. The files are then displayed in the browser, making up the web page. There are no databases or applications involved with changing the website each time it is accessed.
What is a dynamic website?
A dynamic website is generated by an application that processes server-side scripts. Dynamic web pages use a database that is stored on the server which can cache and then deliver the website that the user requests. This is usually done by using server-side scripting, which adjusts and builds the web page each time the user requests a page.
With a static website, each page is a separate HTML file that is stored on the server.
With a dynamic website, the page is built dynamically when the user visits the page.
What is the advantage of a static website?
Static websites are great for simple websites that won’t require constant updating or user interaction. For example, portfolio sites are often static since they’re simply displaying images and content that don’t need to be changed every single day. Here are some other reasons you might want to consider a static website:

  • Increased speed – static websites can be up to six times faster than dynamic websites.
  • More secure – since a static website doesn’t require a database, there isn’t really anything a hacker can go in and intercept.
  • Simplicity – no worrying about databases or server-side scripts.

What are the disadvantages of a static websites?

  • No dynamic content – you can’t pull data from a database, meaning each page appears exactly like when you created the HTML file.
  • Limited user interaction.
  • Difficult to maintain – every time you want to make a simple change to your site, you have to edit each HTML file. If you use a CMS with a dynamic site, all you have to do is edit the template.

Is a static website right for my needs?
If you need a website that won’t require constant updating and maintenance, then a static website might be perfect for you. Many small businesses choose static websites because they simply want their name on the web. They don’t demand full-on user interaction or web apps, but instead prefer their information to be easily available to the world.
This isn’t to say that a static website is boring and nonfunctional. With HTML5 and CSS3 you can create a website that includes videos, images, and just about any design aspect you’d like to include.
Static Website Generators
If a static website sounds like a good fit for you, you can use a static website generator to simplify the process. These generators make it easy to see the changes you make as you go along, rather than having to wait until you’re all done with the site to see what you’ve changed. A static website generator can also make it easier to upload content to your site. Here are some popular generators you might consider:

  • Jekyll – widely used static website generator that creates ready-to-publish websites.
  • DocPad – powerful generator that comes loaded with layouts and plugins.
  • Hugo – performance-based website generator that allows for maximum customization.

What do I need once I’ve created my static website?
That’s where we come in. In order to get your website live on the web, you’ll need a domain name and a web hosting solution. WestHost provides cheap domain names and feature-packed web hosting plans to set your website apart from the rest. After your site is built you’ll have full access to make updates and change content.

Choose WestHost to store your site for increased performance and lower prices!