Static or Dynamic (Website)?

Published 9. November 2015.

Cleaning up some hacked Wordpress sites recently reminded me of why I had shifted my own sites away from it and onto simpler tools which create static sites—in other words, just pure HTML/CSS/JS loaded directly in the browser, no server side processing required.

The original impetus for my own move was to remove the headaches and hassles around securing and maintaining Wordpress sites; note though that you could substitute Wordpress here for any other popular framework, particularly a CMS (Content Management System), Wordpress just happens to be a big target due to it's popularity. It isn't that Wordpress is bad, full-stop, but instead that I wasn't using any of the features that would have made the costs of maintaining it worthwhile.

[Sidebar: Amusingly none of the features that I would find useful enough to choose Wordpress were what Wordpress was originally built for, namely blogging. It's evolved far away from it's original purpose as a blogging tool; one of the reasons why this blog began on Ghost.]

How will someone use your site?

Will they be reading articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, or more broadly consuming what you create? Or will they (also) be interacting with either your content or each other?

Only the latter justifies a dynamic site, because it requires a form of user authentication and user accounts to make it work.

[There's a third case here, around eCommerce, but that's far more dependent upon the project's size and type of products being sold. There are solid 3rd party services that can handle transactions without needing to manage a store directly on your site.]