What is a dynamic website?

Most websites these days are dynamic. This term refers not to motion on the screen but to activity behind the scenes, in the dim recesses of a web server. A dynamic site has a lot to do: it runs scripts (programs) that communicate with a database and then build pages as they are requested (which is what you do when you navigate to a web page by either clicking a link or typing a web address into your browser’s address bar). A static site uses neither a database nor scripts and doesn’t ask much of the web server. Its pages are prefabricated, ready to serve up to you when you request them, no assembly required. It’s a lot like using the file browser on your computer: you double click a file and it opens. Simple.

The power of dynamic sites is impressive: ecommerce, online banking, and social media of all sorts are just a few examples of online activities that would be impossible without highly sophisitcated code and robust, massive databases. But most sites aren’t like that. Most sites, possibly yours, are just some content and a contact form. You can use a database-oriented system to manage your content, but you don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, expose that system to the world. Why? Because the power of dynamic sites comes at a cost.