So, short answer first, they are simple to use and overall awesome but to really understand why you should consider choosing a static site generator when building your website we have to travel a little back in time and take another look at the internet and website relationship.
The very first website that was built by no other than Tim Berners-Lee himself just so happened to be a homepage for the World Wide Web and it was static, Tim didn’t have much a choice back then because static is all there was.
In essence, the very birth origins of websites were Static built which consisted of a folder on a server containing HTML documents of just 18 tags.
In the same manner, browsers were simple and only just needed to retrieve the HTML files from the servers and display them in a readable manner to the viewer. For the longest of time websites remained simple & static but in time would grow to become creative in design and interaction.
With growth of this magnitude & website designs & development requires more time, energy and focus, the practice of working individually on each page was fast becoming a nuisance.
This introduced automation in the website development realm, templating website development languages was becoming a need of the industry. However as website grew to be more creative and in depth companies also found left with wanting a database to host all those website files, that’s when SQL based databases started gaining popularity.
With the introduction of early development programs like Dreamweaver & FrontPage that provided a means of building content driven websites by allowing webpages to reuse certain parts of a webpage like the header, footer & the content could be housed to some level in a database. But this technique did not prove to be so successful but nonetheless they were the first Static Site Generators.
Dynamic websites changed the game completely with their versatility and amazing ability to bring together pieces of text into an HTML document via data templates being sent back & forth through an open connection to a database connected to a server by loading the code through a PHP Interpreter, this all happens on the move instantaneously, tailored made to each individual visitor of the dynamic site.
But! In a short few years, the world comes to know the vulnerabilities that come with such ease and luxury. Hackers exposed the potential gaping loopholes in security of dynamic website by mass hacking website, some not so nice hackers even resorted to higher degrees of criminality by extortion & blackmail because they were able to lead directly back to the servers hosting the dynamic website files.
To put things in perspective, even today with all the advancements made in website development and security by one estimate roughly 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to exploits & WordPress powers nearly a quarter of the websites on the internet.
For all of its features, dynamic abilities and ease of use, the dynamic platform in our view is just not worth the risk, especially of your website is hosted on a bulk server because the threat than can come from any website hosted on the mutual server.
Cashing the Cache
Caching is a practice used by website developers to help webpages load quicker but caching or better yet cache invalidation is a very tricky business especially with dynamic websites & the kind of distributed caching needed to utilize the full potential of your CDN (Content Delivery Network). Static websites are in this sense different. Static website stick with a simple thumb rules of caching “Every URL will reciprocate the same HTML to every visitor until the HTML file that relates to that URL is specifically changed”.
Even a really well optimized dynamic website is up to 6X slower than a static website! Working with the cache protocols of a static website are a bit more intimidating in the development phase, but in the longer run a static website’s performance, uptime & cost will be significantly lower than that of a dynamic.
to be continued….