Websites in the past were mainly built through HTML and CSS, without requiring any need of dynamic functionality over a server using programming languages such as PHP, JSP and .Net among others. It made life quite simple then. But the hectic maintenance and addition of new pages and information made the task cumbersome over time. This gave birth to technology known as content management system, commonly abbreviated as CMS.
A content management system is a tool that provides backend administration to authors or web owners to create and delete information such as pages, images etc. A CMS helps in generating menus, pages, insertion and deletion of images. WordPress, also used by Medialinkers web design agency, is a powerful CMS used actively by 25% sites on the internet today.
Like every platform, CMS too has its downsides such as:
- Difficulty to work with custom texts or components
- Relies on server for work
- A software or a database failure can cripple your site
How About Static Site Generator?
There is a technology known as Static Site Generator which makes use of a hand-coded site in addition to a full CMS, offering the benefits of both. It helps in generation of static HTML sites which use CMS like concepts such as templates. The information is extracted from database however it uses Markdown files. The generation of sites occurs on a development machine or a staging server, resulting in the deployment of HTML files to a live web server. But the users on the front end are oblivious to the difference. Popular static site generators include the likes of Pelican, Jekyll, Huga and Metalsmith.
CMS are usually constrained to user options due to their connection with a database. For example, addition of a Twitter widget requires addition of a plugin or some shortcode for the custom functionality. The widgets can be inserted through a snippet in a static site, and do not have boundaries of a CMS.
Offers Better Performance
Majority of CMS application use plug-in-powered cache systems to reuse and generate pages when required. This is useful but increases the maintenance, validation and re-generation work to cache pages. Static sites are pre-cached pages which never expire, as the files can be minified for deployment. In short, a static site always performs better than a CMS-powered version.
Doesn’t Rely on Server
CMS code uses backend languages such as PHP which has to be run through server. This means that for every CMS, the latest PHP web server extensions, database such as MYSQL extensions and other necessary files need to be installed. The dependencies need to be installed and maintained as well. Platforms such as WP require less effort compared to other applications, however it is still not possible to update any part for creating chaos.
On the other hand, a static site is light in weight and can be hosted on any server as it relies on HTML for information. It doesn’t need any installation, updating or server maintenance.
Most of the times, CMS returns errors such as “Failed to build a database connection.” These problems can arise from a certain surge in traffic to crash database or to restrict the active links. The static site is simple and doesn’t require any connection to database. Even though a web server crash can cause issues but doesn’t happen mostly.
There are a number of reasons why hackers are looking to access your site. Compared to CMS sites, a static site is difficult to attack, due to its little or no server-side functionality. It cannot be accessed through database security or scripting loop holes. Hackers can attack through FTP or SSH, however this would damage the pages or files. Also a quick git status will alert the break-in attempt. This makes it simple for web owners to change passwords and regenerate the site from scratch again.
When looking to build a static or CMS site, you can contact the Kennesaw web design services.