dynamic and static

What is dynamic and static?

In general, dynamic means "energetic or forceful," while static means "stationary." In computer terminology, however, dynamic usually means "capable of action or change," while static means "fixed."

Differences between static and dynamic

The terms dynamic and static can be used in a variety of ways, so their processes and differences depend on the system they describe. However, there are a few common characteristics of static and dynamic.

Static systems are usually less intricate, take less time to develop and have faster loading times. The disadvantage of static components is that they aren't interactive, which means they can't always perform required, complex functionality.

Dynamic systems can handle more complex functionality and can perform customized returns based on user, channel or application. The disadvantage of dynamic components is that they require more time to load and develop.

Static vs. dynamic websites

Websites are examples of how systems can work dynamically or statically. When a user requests a webpage, the web server where the page is stored returns the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) document to the user's computer, and the browser displays it.

On a static webpage, this process is the only action that happens. The user might interact with the document, but it has no capacity to return information that is not pre-formatted. On a dynamic webpage, the user can make requests for data contained in a database on the server that will be assembled on the fly according to what is requested.

Static webpages are better suited for information that rarely changes, while dynamic webpages are better suited for ever-changing content such as forms, search functions or comment sections.

Static and dynamic terminology

Static and dynamic can relate to a number of different topics, such as websites, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, programming languages, marketing content, cloud computing subscriptions and data hashing.


Static websites don't use external databases, are written in HTML and display the same information to every user. Dynamic websites generate content automatically based on the user. An example of a dynamic website is Instagram, which tailors each feed based on the user and updates dynamically over time. A set of HTML capabilities generally known as dynamic HTML helps developers create dynamic websites.

IP addresses

Most IP addresses are dynamic IPs, which are IP addresses that can change at any time. Static IPs reserve the same address every time. Organizations with dedicated services or host computer servers can purchase or request static IP addresses.

Programming languages

In a dynamic language, such as Perl or Lisp, developers can create variables without specifying their type. This creates more flexible programs and can simplify prototyping and some object-oriented coding. In a static programming language, such as C or Pascal, a developer must declare the type of each variable before compiling the code, which makes the code less flexible, but also less error-prone.

Marketing content

Dynamic content is copy that doesn't remain constant and can change depending on the customer or channel. Dynamic content usually generates from back-end systems. Static content remains the same across all applications, such as a slogan, logo, or terms and conditions.

Cloud computing subscriptions

When a subscriber chooses a cloud computing service, they can choose between a dynamic or static pricing model. A dynamic subscription adjusts to how much or how little of a service the customer uses, while a static subscription has a fixed price independent of usage.

Data hashing

Hashing is a method of indexing or retrieving items from a database either dynamically or statically. Dynamic hashing occurs when the set of characters grows, shrinks or reorganizes based on how users access the data. Static hashing occurs when the hash function length remains the same.

Editor's note: This article was republished in December 2022 to improve the reader experience.

This was last updated in December 2022

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