Websites that only use HTML and CSS are called static websites, and websites with scripting are called dynamic websites. When thinking about making your website, it’s important to identify which type of site you want.
To help you decide, here’s an explanation on static vs. dynamic websites.
A Static Website
A static website is the simplest kind of website you can build. Static websites are written in HTML and CSS only, with no scripting. The only form of interactivity on a static website is hyperlinks.
If you intend your website to be a small one (3 pages or less), then a static website might be the easiest way to go. But if you want to share elements between pages (such as logos or menus), you’ll have to duplicate the HTML on each page.
Static websites are easier to make than dynamic websites, because they require less coding and technical knowledge. However, fully static websites are very uncommon these days, since there is so much that scripting can do.
A Dynamic Website
A dynamic website is a website that not only uses HTML and CSS, but includes website scripting as well. There are two main reasons why you’d want to use website scripting on your site:
- you want an interactive web app that people can use, not just read
- you want to be able to share HTML code between your pages.
This website is a dynamic website, for both of the above reasons. It’s not a full-blown web app like Facebook or Google, but it does have interactive elements like contact forms and search boxes. This website also shares the same HTML code for the header, menu and sidebar between all pages of the site.
Is Your Site Static or Dynamic?
A good analogy for comparing static vs. dynamic websites is whether the website could be printed out and still function properly.
If you have a purely informational website that’s designed to be read, then you could print each page out and with the exception of any hyperlinks you may have, it would still ‘work’. It’s a static website. But if your website is an interactive one that people can use and not just read, it’s a dynamic website.
In fact, there are actually two different types of interactivity on a dynamic site – front-end scripts and back-end scripts. Front-end and back-end are sometimes also called client side and server side, and that’s what the next page is about.
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