Static and Dynamic Websites

Websites can be classified into two main categories: static websites and dynamic websites. Although both types of websites are displayed in the users’ browsers, there are differences between them and a web-developer needs to be aware of these differences before he can go and talk to a potential client about the cost of developing their website and the client’s expectations from the website.

Static Websites

Over the past decade, many static websites have been created. These websites can be considered similar to a brochure where a product or service is presented to the reader without any way of interacting with that information through the delivery medium. Basically, a static website just contains one or more pages and the user can navigate to these pages using the links provided by the developer. This is an example of a static website.

A static website is usually used by individuals/small companies to create an online presence and present their services/products to a broader audience along with a telephone number or email address which the potential client can use to get in touch.

A static website can also be used as a placeholder for a dynamic website while the dynamic website is under development.

Advantages
  • Static websites can be developed fairly quickly.
  • Static websites are cheaper to create and maintain.
Disadvantages
  • To modify the content of a static website, one has to be knowledgeable in the ways of web-development.
  • If the content of the site is not updated regularly (this can be a caused by a lack of web-development jutsu), the content of the website becomes obsolete rendering it useless for any potential clients.
When to create a Static Website

Static websites can be used when:

  • The content of the website is not expected to change (the example website falls within this category).
  • The static website is a placeholder for a dynamic website and is being used as a tool to acquire a web-presence.
  • The client does not want to spend any money (this happens a lot, you could argue with the client all you want but if they’ve made up their mind that they’d only spend so much to get the website developed, it is usually impossible to make them change their minds). In such cases, it is often impossible to create a dynamic website while remaining within the development budget.

Dynamic Websites

The content of dynamic websites is easily modifiable and different users maybe presented different information.

Dynamic websites can be further classified as

  • Websites where the content of the website can be modified by the site-owner through a simple browser-based interface (a WordPress blog like the one you are reading)
  • Websites where the content displayed to the user varies depending on the user (Facebook).
  • Online retailer websites where content to the site can be modified by certain users and consumed by other users (Amazon).
  • A website with a comments section where the users can leave comments regarding the services/products offered (Slashdot).
  • Online forums where users can post messages (Linux Forums).
Advantages
  • Dynamic websites offer a richer experience to the user.
  • The content of dynamic websites is easier to modify and does not require web-development knowledge.
Disadvantages
  • Dynamic websites take longer to develop.
  • Dynamic websites are more expensive to develop and maintain.
When to create a Dynamic Website
  • Unless the content of the website is not supposed to change over an extended period of time, it is always preferable to create a dynamic website if the budget allows for it.

Although both types of websites have their advantages and disadvantages, with the growth in awareness about the importance of the Web as a medium to attract clientele, people have come to appreciate the advantages offered by dynamic websites over static websites, the killer features being the ease to modify the content of the website and the ability to interact with clients directly on the Web.

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