What are static site CMS and what advantages/disadvantages do they have to WordPress?
More people have started playing around with static site CMS’s lately (like Jekyll, Hugo) and for good reason. They’re fun to use, super fast, and now have more options than ever. But does that mean I recommend them for YOU???
Advantages of static site CMS (over WordPress)
- Speed – they’re very fast because they’re very simple. As the name implies, the sites are static. No database or php-processing.
- Secure – they can’t be hacked because they don’t store any information.
- Simpler to code – this is a benefit for skilled developers who like to design quickly and not have to build CMS-compatible themes.
At a first glance, it seems static sites are a huge advantage over WordPress which are often considered slow and insecure…but are these really advantages? And are they even noticeable advantages?
Disadvantages of static site CMS (vs WordPress)
- Lacking functions – most people think they want a simple site until they realize they still need moderately complicated functions like forms, backup tool, design options, conversion trackers, pop-ups, and a million other extensions they might like to use on their. Don’t even get me started on e-commerce or membership sites. Static sites can’t do ANY of this! Having a site that’s fast because it doesn’t do anything, or secure because it doesn’t store any sensitive information is not exactly proof of superiority!
- Low user-share – this means smaller community to get help from, and fewer 3rd-party extensions to choose from.
- Developer-focused – many of these static-sites are not built for non-coders. You’ll need tons of help to do basic things. This can get expensive when you realize you need a developer to anything custom.
- Not free – many people love WordPress for its massive amount of free options. Free themes, plugins, and even the core CMS itself is free. Not so with static sites, you’ll find many things that would normally come free in WordPress will cost you. Even the core CMS itself can cost you a monthly fee.
My final say on static sites
Most people considering static sites over WordPress are concerned about performance and security. Both of which WordPress does VERY WELL with. WordPress can manage an incredible amount of functions and still run very quick, in fact!
- Want a fast site? Don’t bog it down with complicated themes and plugins. Use a cache plugin. It’ll load almost as fast as that static site and you still get to have way more functions!
- Want a secure site? Keep your themes and plugins updated or don’t install any junk. Static sites aren’t 100% secure either.
Ultimately, I feel if you even had to ask the question whether static sites are for you, then I would be 100% adamant that WordPress is the right solution for you. You should never throw WordPress away because you don’t know how to use it. I would say it’s like opting to live in a cardboard box instead of a house because you don’t want to deal with mortgage and locking your doors every night.
99% of you with WordPress issues are suffering because you don’t know what you’re doing and not because the CMS is flawed. This lack of technical understanding would still plague you on other CMS’s as well. Use reputable themes/plugins along with decent webhosting and you’ll be fine.
WordPress is the endgame
Yes, I truly believe WordPress will ultimately be where you end up sooner or later. Sure you can go static now… but then you’ll hit a wall and switch back to WordPress eventually when you realize how limited static sites are (especially for non-coders). WordPress will scale beautifully with your website allowing it every bit of design and feature that you may want in the future, and comes with massive community of free and paid solutions.
So are you saying static sites are never any good?
Not at all. I think static sites may be a nice option if you want a simple site that’s built once and never touched again. But if you plan to update it regularly (like a living/breathing site), static sites will be more cumbersome customize regularly. In all honesty, I can only recommend static sites for people who know how to code or extremely tech-savvy.
So WordPress is the best answer to everything?
Of course not. If you want the benefits of a full-featured CMS with many options but scared of speed or security issues, you could also check out Squarespace or Shopify. Wix may also be a good choice as well. These systems are more locked-in and feel more issue-proof because they don’t allow you the freedom to make bad choices! They may cost you money but it’s money much better spent here than on static site CMS that are way too limited, AND they also include hosting in their fees.