What is the Difference Between a Static and Dynamic Website?
With static websites, each HTML file represents a complete page of a site; the web browser simply retrieves and displays the file. Dynamic websites, however, use server-side technologies (like databases and PHP) to essentially build a web page as a user’s browser accesses the various files. Basically, the browser will find several different pieces of information and then stitch them all together into one cohesive, dynamic web page.
Static and dynamic websites take drastically different approaches to attracting and engaging visitors.
Static sites are good for smaller websites that don’t need to update their content frequently, while large sites with hundreds or thousands of pages are much easier to maintain dynamically. For example, if you wanted to add or remove a link on your website’s footer, you would have to make the change in every HTML file that contains the footer. To update the footer on a dynamic website, you’d likely only edit one file.
Static websites are created manually, likely via coding by hand or by using a static website generator that relies on a command line interface and a text editor that formats content in Markdown. Although dynamic websites can be coded from scratch, you’re more likely to use a web-based interface that handles the programming languages and database connections for you. Drag-and-drop website builders, WordPress, and other content management and publishing systems are prime examples of dynamic site creators.
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