Web Marketing

Tech - Web Marketing
By: - at March 22, 2013

Learn Why This Website Uses Static HTML Over a CMS

Static HTML Vs CMSBack in 2012 when I was constructing the template and content management for this site ( YurTopic.com ), I was debating whether to use a CMS (Content Management System) or Static HTML.  After experimenting with a few CMS's like Word Press, Mod X, and Drupal, I came to the realization that I wanted the best health and results for this site, and I ultimately chose Static HTML as the winner.  Why? Lets find out..

First Off, What is a CMS?
A CMS stands for Content Management System, and is a software program you install on your web hosting account to manage your website content.  This software uses a database to grab the content to the visitor.  CMS's have been around since the early 2000's, and they are improving with each year.  CMS's are easy to manage by web marketers because making templates and adding new content is relatively easy, especially for web marketers who have little technical experience in HTML.  But there are limitations and drawbacks to CMSs (as explained later).

Here are the Top 5 Most Popular CMSs:

  1. CMS - WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or Static HTMLWordPress - This is the most used CMS on the web.  It has been around the longest and this is exactly why it is the most popular.  It has a large user base, and you will find a large community that will help you get going with it.  There is also a lot of plugins for it.  This CMS is very easy to setup and maintain.
  2. Joomla - This CMS is the second most used CMS.  Joomla is generally more customizable than WordPress, but requires a little more technical knowledge to get it going for you.
  3. ModX - This is a newcomer to the CMS world, and it looks very promising!  I was so close to using this CMS for this site.  I declined it because it just couldn't do all the customizations that Static HTML does for me.  But look out for this one, as I feel this one may pass up the previous two as long as it picks up its user base.  The lack of support was another reason why I left them.
  4. Drupal - Another popular CMS that has been around for awhile.  It is very easy to use and with a relatively large userbase that you can get decent technical support.  I have heard that once drupal sites become huge (as in over 1000s of pages of content), the system starts to lag.  This turned me off, and once again Static HTML looked more and more appealing to me.
  5. TextPattern - This is a nice CMS that is simple and has a lot of nice features.  I feel like the main strengths for this CMS is its speed, security, flexibility along with ease of use.  The drawback is that WordPress can generally do everything TextPattern can but in a more modern easier to use fashion.  TextPattern may be a better choice for large businesses looking for more speed and security.

And What is Static HTML?
Static HTML (unlike a CMS) does not have any software to install, and it does not use a database to create pages on demand, but rather it simply uses physical files and folders on a web hosting account to send the information directly to the web surfer.  Static HTML does not have an interface (installed software) that allows you to tweak templates as a whole, but rather it uses basic "Include" files to construct the templates (as explained later).

Static HTML Vs CMS

Static HTML has these 3 main advantages over a CMS:

  • Static HTML is fastSpeed - Static HTML is lightning fast!  Pages load quicker because it does not have to dig through a database to draw each page.  Google has admitted they are looking for sites that load quick, and it is implemented into their algorithm.  The quicker your pages load, the more that Google will like your site.  Web surfers also like to see fast loading web pages.  With static HTML, you have the fastest loading platform possible.  The more pages a website gets for its CMS database, the slower the site gets.  With static HTML, the site will never get slower when additional pages are added.  And you know what is even worse about a CMS..

    With more and more people using CMSs these days, the more CPU use will be taken up by the database servers that they run on.  What does this mean?  Most people who host websites use a shared hosting account (like what this website uses currently).  Shared hosting means that a lot of users are on 1 computer.  This means that hundreds of users are all using one database server to run all their CMS websites on.  Me, I don't have to worry about this because I am using static HTML, this site does not use a database at all.  And if the database happens to crash on this shared hosting account im on, my site will not be affected and will still load lighting fast - all thanks to static HTML!

    Dedicated ServerPeople who decide to use a CMS and are serious about their site, visitors, and page loads, will want to look into dedicated servers.  Dedicated servers are expensive and range from $150 - $400 per month, but you know that your site will run on it's own computer, so you will have a database server all to you.  This should especially become the case if your CMS site exceeds over 10,000 visits per day.  What's nice about static HTML is that I've had static HTML sites that had roughly 50,000 visits per day with no slow downs!  Most CMSs would be in trouble at this traffic level.  Static HTML sites can live healthfully up to around 150,000 visits per day on shared hosting accounts until a dedicated server would be considered.
  • CMS & Static HTML SecuritySecurity - This is the second main concern with a CMS.  There are loopholes everywhere in CMSs, and hackers are trying to find ways to exploit them every day!  CMS sites are getting hacked into constantly.  Patches for CMSs come out all the time, and people who use CMSs need to stay updated with all patches that come out and you should patch immediately.  Static HTML never needs patching, and there are virtually no loopholes to worry about.

    Now don't let this scare you too much.  If you are just running a simple blog on a CMS, then don't worry too much about security issues.  Just stay up to date with the patches and you will be fine for the most part.  Security should mostly come to a concern when you are running a big business with lots of traffic.  Most major online business use their own proprietary CMSs built specifically just for their site.  Only the most common CMSs (like the top 5 I mentioned above this article) are the ones that hackers are more concerned about.
  • Flexibility - With CMSs, you are restricted to only what it can do.  With static HTML the limits are beyond your creativity!  Most CMSs (such as WordPress) are limited to what it can do as far as template changes and other page tweaks.  Although, WordPress (and others) are slowly getting better in this area.  It can take awhile to figure out how to tweak a WordPress site so it looks and acts just the way you want.  With static HTML, you can change anything exactly the way you want it, with nothing blocking or preventing you from doing something.

    CMSs have major updates periodically that require careful planning when applying the update.  You would need to back things up, and follow a list of instructions on how to apply the update.  Static HTML sites never need to worry about major updates like this.

    Also when it ever comes time to switch to another server, CMSs need their databases transferred over to the new server, their software reinstalled, along with their updates.  Static HTML on the other hand, just has to simply "upload" it's files and folders and that's it!

These are the advantages of a CMS over Static HTML:

  • Ease of Use - CMSs are generally user friendly and easy to maintain.  You can setup a WordPress (or other CMS) site generally quicker than a Static HTML site with very little technical knowledge.  Uploading additional pages is also easy and uses less technical knowledge as well than static html.

    Static HTML is also easy to use, but only if you have experience in it!
    Static HTML IncludesOne thing I would like to mention, is that once a static HTML site is setup and you have properly configured your Include files for a good template, along with using an efficient FTP program to upload your files, then static HTML sites can be just as easy to maintain as a CMS site.

    One of the main reasons why I chose static HTML to run this site over a CMS is that I already have experience working with static HTML sites, so I know what it takes to make a site from static HTML.  One of the main secrets of creating a good static HTML site is all in the INCLUDE files!!!  If you can master Include files, then you can master Static HTML!  Include files are essentially the way your templates/pages get constructed throughout your static HTML site.
  • Template Changes - With a CMS, you can easily make template changes.  You can select a large number of pages and easily assign them a totally different template (without fiddling around with Include files like with static HTML).  This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to use a CMS over static HTML.  With a CMS, you can easily make menu changes across a series of pages more easy than static html.  Also, adding additional pages is more user friendly than static html.  But this wasn't enough to convince me to use a CMS for YurTopic.

My Reasons for Choosing Static HTML Over CMS
Why I chose Static HTML Over a CMSThe main reason why I chose static HTML over a CMS is because I feel like I have SOOO much experience using Include files that I can make a very flexible and customizable site that the main advantages of a CMS (ease of use and template changes) will not be as of a concern for me.  Plus the thought of having more speed, security, and flexibility was enough to convince me to use static HTML over a CMS.  And I really felt like I could make a HUGE static HTML site happen, and so far it is working quite nicely for me!  YurTopic may very well become the largest static HTML example site years into the future.  Will I ever switch to a CMS in the future?  Right now I am thinking no.

Static HTML is simple, fast, secure, and flexible.  Static HTML allows me to do everything I would like, and as you can see, this site you are on, is simple, fast, and effective at delivering content to you in the most efficient way possible.  I have no regrets of choosing static HTML over a CMS.

What Should You Use?  Static HTML or a CMS?
This all depends on YOU.  I do not want to make this decision for you.  You must decide for yourself.  I provided all the information above why I chose static HTML over a CMS, and those are my personal reasons.  It appears that the web is moving away from static HTML and moving to CMSs.  I think that as the future of the web evolves, CMSs will get better, technology will get faster and better as well to handle them.  Right now static HTML definitely is not dead yet and has many years of use for webmasters out there.

Thanks for reading!





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