I specialise in static-HTML web design. So what does that mean, anyway?

In a nutshell, there are two kinds of websites online: dynamic, and static. These terms refer to how content is generated when a user requests a page from your website.

If you have a dynamic website – for example one built on WordPress or Drupal – each page is dynamically built anew every time a user requests it.

If, on the other hand, you have a static website – for example one built on Jekyll or Hugo – the entire website is pre-generated before a user requests any page.

The advantages of static-site technology are many:

  1. Speed. Static websites load considerably faster than their dynamic counterparts. How fast? Try 10x.
  2. Security. Static websites don’t have a database, and there are no server-side scripts to process. So there’s nothing to hack. By comparison, a few years ago a study found that 70% of WordPress installations were vulnerable to hacker attacks.
  3. Maintenance. You don’t have to constantly update your CMS, plugins, widgets, template code, etc. just to keep your website running like it should.
  4. Upfront costs. Developing a website using static-site technology doesn’t take nearly as much time as developing a website on WordPress or Drupal. This also means it’s a lot cheaper.
  5. Running costs. There are no plugins or server-side CMS frameworks to update, and your static HTML files take up very little space. That means you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars every month just to make sure everything is running properly. That is money you can spend on something else – for example by investing in continuous website improvements so you don’t have to start from scratch with a new website every three years. Or you could just drink piña coladas by the beach.

This sounds awesome. So why isn’t everyone using static websites?

Great question, reader! For a long time, dynamic-site technology was the industry standard – and for good reason. It enabled non-technical users to edit content with relative ease, and made e-commerce, comment sections, and many other great features possible.

However, the tech world constantly changes. In the past few years, developers and other Silicon Valley types have spent considerable money, time, and energy on static-site technology.

Companies like CloudCannon, Forestry, and SiteLeaf (among many others) offer great content-management solutions that enable non-technical users to easily edit the content on their websites without any of the drawbacks of traditional CMS. Companies like Snipcart make e-commerce integration simple and fast. If you want a comment section, it takes literally seconds to add Disqus to your static site.

For the vast majority of people and businesses, there’s nothing you need that static-site solutions can’t handle.