What is a static website?

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18 October 2021

Static websites make a statement. They give your users a near instant content experience on both desktop and mobile, they are easy to build for developers, they are inherently secure, and they rank brilliantly in Google. If performance, security, and stability matter to you, then you’re in the right place.

Thanks to Jamstack, the use cases for static sites are expanding by the day and world-leading businesses are choosing static to launch modern, high-performing websites. Take a look at our Community Showcases to see some of the incredible things people are doing with static site tech.

Let’s explore why your next project should be static.

Static versus dynamic websites

The difference between a static site and a dynamic site is a little technical, but worth understanding. With a dynamic site, the server gets the content from a database and builds the page in real time for each single visitor. With a static site, the site is pre-built, so when a visitor loads a page, the server simply returns a file. This is why static websites appear near-instantly, while a typical dynamic site can take seconds to appear.

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The benefits of static sites

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They deliver a much faster user experience. If you run a transaction-driven site, then giving your users a fast experience is a key differentiator against your competition.

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Effective SEO

They are easier to rank in Google. Google has also recognized the importance of speed and favors sites that deliver a fast user experience.

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They are inherently more secure, because static sites aren’t running code on page load.

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Developer friendly

They are easy to develop and maintain. Unlike WordPress sites that require endless patches and updates, static sites are inherently simple. They just…work.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators (SSGs) address the pain points of dynamic websites, while bringing some of the advantages of a dynamic website to the static site world. With an SSG and a content management system (CMS) like CloudCannon, you can programmatically build static web pages, retrieve content from a database or API, use layouts and includes just like on a dynamic site. The difference is that an SSG goes through a build process that pre-renders all of the pages on the site, meaning that the site serves the same page and displays the same information to every person viewing it. Any time a developer or content editor changes the site’s content or any source files, CloudCannon rebuilds the site, generating an entirely new static website for users.

If you’re looking to learn a new SSG, there are plenty of beginner tutorials and community resources to help. 

Building a static site with CloudCannon

CloudCannon makes building and maintaining static sites super easy. It brings all of the elements you need to build a static site together in one place and simplifies the whole process. As with a dynamic site, you still need a developer (or an agency) to build your site, but once it’s built the process of editing and maintaining the content is very similar.

To get going, you are going to need either an in-house developer or an agency that knows how to develop static sites. If you’ve got that sorted or are a developer yourself, then simply sign up to our free developer plan and start building your site.

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