You've probably heard of WordPress and might have a WordPress site right now. But is it the best for you?
What's wrong with WordPress?
Nothing is wrong with WordPress and for some things it's still the best choice, but it does come with some extra needs to keep in mind. If fact I have a WordPress hosting & management company to help with those extra needs. Things like backups, updates, database maintenance, and good hosting.
How are static sites different?
The main difference, and where they get their advantages come from how they're built vs other options. Let's look at how a WordPress page works first.
- You request a page on the site
- The server looks at the URL and passes the request to PHP (The language WordPress is written in).
- It then makes some database requests to find the content of the page you requested.
- It combines that content with the files in your Theme and any plugins that might be on that page.
- It returns the combined HTML back to your browser and the page loads.
It does that for every request. You can add caching to help, but that also adds complexity.
A generated static site simply returns the HTML for the page you requested. All that processing only happens once when the content changes. That means the page loads really fast. You don't need a powerful web server. There is no database to go down.
But, you might be wondering, I don't want to have a developer update content for me!
Developers typically don't want that either and that's where the APIs come into play. There are content management systems that provide programmatic access to your content. When the content changes, the site is automatically rebuilt and deployed.
I know this is all getting pretty technical, and probably doesn't seem like it matters. Consider how often your content actually changes vs how many times that page is viewed. For a lot of sites, the content doesn't change that often compared to how often the site is visited.
More importantly, I think, is the long term maintenance and server costs are way lower.