Dynamic web pages are an essential part of today’s Internet. They take a lot of work off the shoulders of website operators by using scripts to dynamically load or display certain content. They can also display web pages differently on different devices so that every visitor can recognize the content. Especially in the eCommerce sector, which continues to grow, dynamic websites that are also mobile optimized are a must.
Dynamic website – the most important facts in a nutshell
- Dynamic websites offer users a number of advantages. This is because websites are thus displayed in an optimized manner on various end devices, including mobile.
- A responsive design of a website is even honored by Google since September 2020.
- Dynamic websites take a little longer to load than static ones, but can also access a personalized database in return.
Without scripting languages like ASP or PHP, complex websites would be almost unthinkable. Online stores, content management systems (CMS) or news sites would quickly become unmanageable and the maintenance of these sites would go beyond any scope.
In the best case, each subpage should always look the same. Dynamic websites simply work with variables. The menu, for example, is inserted dynamically. The PHP file simply says that a menu appears at a certain place, the data for this is in the database. Here they are maintained centrally and then output dynamically on each page.
User data can also be processed in dynamic pages. This includes among others:
- Login pages
- Member areas like in forums
- Web pages like Facebook
Although the basic structure looks the same for everyone, the content is loaded individually. In forums, for example, this includes private messages and which subscribed forum posts you haven’t read yet. Maybe even suggestions of what other forums or posts you might like.
Dynamic web pages are computationally intensive, especially on the server side, but they offer many advantages over static pages.
Dynamically adapt web pages to the browser size
But dynamic websites can do even more. Here, dynamic does not only mean that personalized content is made available via scripts and databases, although this of course makes up a large part.
For some time now, the correct display of websites on other devices has also become more and more important. Since tablets and smartphones are becoming more popular, mobile-friendly responsive websites are on the rise. Quickly search for new recipes, see what’s happening in the area or check emails. That’s part of the standard today, just like mobile shopping.
But not every online store can be programmed like an app. For this, a responsive website is available that adapts to the end device used.
In the source code of these pages is then, wrapped in CSS, approximately this instruction:
If the screen is wider than 960 pixels, use Roboto font size 16 for <h1> headings; if the screen is between 450 and 960 pixels, a <h1> heading in Roboto should be only 12 points.
This is a very simple application possibility, there is much more beyond that, because:
- This allows you to display tables differently when they would otherwise not fit on the small screen,
- Position images below the text rather than next to it, and even change the background color.
Google also honors this display. In its “mobile first” offensive, Google has reached several milestones to make mobile browsing more enjoyable. In September 2020, a major update was rolled out, whereby websites that feature a responsive design will be displayed preferentially in search engines.
On the other hand, websites that do not have responsive content will be penalized.
The distribution in the search results is therefore changing, because even websites that were previously very successfully visited can now slip.
A comparison: static vs dynamic website
However, dynamic websites do not only have advantages. They generally take longer to build up, as they are recreated every time they are called up. Large CMSs have already remedied this by creating static HTML files from PHP files, minimizing dynamic page assembly and database queries.
Many people use static web pages as business cards or for job applications. Often these are just one-pagers – web pages that consist of only one page. Sometimes links to PDF files, such as a resume or references are listed, but no active content such as contact or login forms.
They simply provide information that is the same for every visitor. If no huge images are included here, a page opens very quickly and the visitor gets to the desired info faster.
Dynamic web pages load slower because, despite the prepared and cached static content, they still have to load personalized content from the database. In the case of online stores, this is data such as your orders or a shopping cart filled in advance. In return, you can interact with the website, i.e. store user data and perform further personalization.
Creating a dynamic website – Conclusion
Whether you should rather create dynamic websites depends on your area of application. Quickly changing content or larger web pages should be programmed dynamically, as this will save you a lot of work and avoid errors. If you only want to display one information page for each visitor, a static website will also work. Just make sure that the content is displayed responsively and adapts to the device used. Then nothing will stand in the way of the success of your website.