What is a static website and how to create one

Ever wondered about what is meant by a static website? Are you curious about the uses of static websites and how they differ from dynamic ones? Dive into the article to explore this essential term in website development.

Lucie Simonova

Updated on Feb 1, 2023

Published on Oct 6, 2022

Deciding between a dynamic or a static web page will probably be one of the first important things you do when building a website.

Unsure of what those terms mean? Stick around for our high-level overview; this time focused on static web, so you can be one step further to making the essential initial decision.

What is a static website?

To start off, let’s take a look at the meaning of a static website. A basic definition of a static website could be as follows: A static website (also a static web page or a static web) is a website that appears the same for every user, despite the user’s settings and preferences and other factors like location or local time.

As Pluralsight elaborates, a static web is made up of “fixed code” stored on a web server. When a user uses a URL to request a page from the server, the server ships the code back without any alterations. As a result, these sites are delivered to users precisely the way they’re stored.

Static sites pros and cons; how do they work?

To help you get an even better understanding of what a static site is, let’s go a bit beyond the basic static web page definition. The “fixed code” of a static site is a series of HTML files, where each file represents a physical page of a website.

This means that if you want to update or alter something on your pages, you will have to go and manually change every HTML file. Similarly, if you want to add a new page, you will simply need to create a new HTML file.

These sites are mainly used to display information, but as HubSpot explains, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be engaging. They can include visuals like images and videos, links and clickable buttons, or forms and downloadables.

Pros and cons of static sites

While researching static web development, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of static sites.

Let’s start with their benefits:

  • They are easier to build – they don’t require server-side languages, only client-side technologies like HTML, CSS, and client-side JavaScript
  • They are faster – the users are less likely to experience issues like pages that won’t load, which is essential for a positive user experience and better SEO rankings. Did you know that according to Semrush, page speed has been a Google ranking factor since 2010?
  • They are secure – because these sites don’t process user data, this data can’t be stolen. Also, with the help of a CDN, or a content delivery network, they are much more immune to attacks
  • They are cheaper – for those wondering how much a static website costs, there is also good news. Compared to dynamic sites, the hosting of static websites is cheaper

However, running a static site doesn’t come with positives only. The biggest con of these sites may be the offer of a less tailored experience.

Do you want to serve real-time data and offer a more dynamic experience? Then dynamic websites are a better option.

What is a dynamic website?

Unlike a static web page, a dynamic website shows different content and information to different visitors. This is done based on factors including the user’s settings, local time, or location.

Dynamic sites don’t store each page as an HTML file – what they do instead is build pages “on the fly” by creating customized HTML files for the user in question, after he or she requests a page with a URL.

In addition to client-side technologies, these sites require server-side scripting languages like Python, Ruby, or PHP, which can alter and write HTML files without needing a person to do it manually.

Dynamic site examples include news websites, e-commerce sites, entertainment sites, or social media sites.

An example of a dynamic site.
Twitter’s interface changes in real time with new tweets, making it a great example of a dynamic site.

Uses of static websites and static website examples

Now that we explained the dynamic and static web page definition, let’s check out some static website uses illustrated by examples. Static sites are mostly used to display information.

In the following list, take a look at the 5 static websites mentioned by HubSpot:

  • Portfolio websites
  • Resume websites
  • Brochure websites
  • One-off landing pages
  • Other informational or read-only sites

If you want your site to only transfer information that doesn’t need to be frequently updated, a static web page is a fast and cost-efficient way to go.

If you, however, want to tailor the experience on your site to individual users, a static information website won’t be enough. For more interactivity and personalization, dynamic websites are your best choice.

How to create a static site?

Based on your knowledge and experience, there are different ways to create a static site. If you’re just starting out, static web development might be a good learning experience. In that case, you may opt for building your website from scratch and start writing HTML pages directly.

To help you create speedy and easy-to-load static sites, you can also consider a static site generator (SSG). SSGs apply prepared content against templates and generate a structure of static HTML files.

There is a number of static site generators you can choose from, such as:

Did you know that SSGs can help you launch a secure and fast-performing site, but adding a headless CMS like Kontent.ai can really set you up for success?

Create static sites with Kontent.ai

A modular content platform to store your content will help you collaborate with ease and create stellar content for your static site.

With Kontent.ai, the team will have access to an easy-to-use editing interface and first-class collaboration features so everyone can breeze through the whole process.

Flexible workflows will help you make sure that consistent content is published on time. On top of that, you can set up role permissions to avoid overlapping responsibilities and duplication of work. 

Keep processes moving with flexible workflows.
Keep processes moving with flexible workflows.

Thanks to the benefits of headless, rest assured that your content will look and feel great on any device and channel. Interested in trying out all Kontent.ai features for free? Start our free Kontent.ai trial, with no credit card required.

What’s next?

We hope that this article made it a little easier to understand what a static page is. What now? Connect with us! 

Where are you on your web development journey? Will you be opting for static websites, or are dynamic sites a better fit for you? Let us know on our Twitter!


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