WordPress vs HTML Websites (2024 Guide)

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Leave a Comment

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WordPress vs HTML Websites (2024 Guide)
Blog / WordPress / WordPress vs HTML Websites (2024 Guide)

Debating how you should build your next website? Both HTML and WordPress websites have their upsides and potential drawbacks. We’ll help you compare WordPress vs HTML websites in this article so you can decide for yourself.

WordPress vs. HTML: What’s the Difference?

Static HTML Websites

HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is the backbone of the internet and the foundation of all websites. Before the days of WordPress and other popular website builders, websites were built from the ground up using mostly HTML (with CSS and JavaScript to add style and functionality). These sites are often referred to as static HTML sites because the pages and content created in HTML are hard-coded exactly how it is to be rendered. That’s why creating and updating large static HTML sites can be more time-consuming, complex, and costly than modern methods.

Example HTML and Rendering

You can create static HTML sites that are suitable for small-scale projects, personal pages, or simple landing pages. They will require CSS (for styling) and JavaScript (for interactivity), and more in most cases. Larger (more complex) static HTML websites will require more complex programming to incorporate the functionality we take for granted with other solutions like WordPress.

WordPress Websites

WordPress simplifies the process of building websites by providing software (including the WordPress editor) that allows non-developers to build a website without having to know anything about HTML, CSS, or JS. Unlike static HTML sites, WordPress site content (the HTML that ultimately gets rendered for the browser) is generated dynamically from a database with each page load. This allows site owners to make site-wide changes from one of the best content management systems (CMS).

WordPress’s CMS simplifies website creation with a streamlined dashboard and seemingly unlimited extendability.

WordPress dashboard

Users can add a theme and plugins to get tailored design and functionality. The easy-to-use visual block editor gives you full control over your entire website on the front end.  And with powerful page builders like Divi, designing templates and site elements can be done more efficiently using no or little code.

WordPress is a robust platform that can create various websites, including blogs, business websites, e-commerce stores, portfolios, and more. Its user-friendly interface and extensive range of themes and plugins make it easier to build and customize websites without any coding knowledge. You could create an advanced eCommerce store in an afternoon with WordPress that could take weeks with HTML (unless you are using pre-made templates and JS libraries).

Learning Curve and Ease of Use

When it comes to website building, WordPress provides a straightforward approach with its dashboard, ability to add plugins, and drag-and-drop builder, streamlining the process for anyone to create and manage a website. However, HTML may be sufficient for making a static site that won’t require frequent updates.

WordPress Learning Curve

WordPress is a user-friendly platform designed to make website building accessible for everyone. Yes, even those without coding knowledge. Its visual block editor simplifies web page design. You can create pages, posts, and even reusable site templates with it.

The WordPress Block Editor

The platform’s admin dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate. It allows users to easily manage website content without requiring extensive coding knowledge. To get a basic understanding of WordPress, users must familiarize themselves with the dashboard and settings. This includes learning to add and customize themes, install plugins, and create pages and posts using the block editor. Also, understanding website structure basics like menus, headers, and footers helps create a well-organized website.

Basic HTML and CSS knowledge can help users further customize their website beyond what the pre-built themes and plugins offer. However, coding knowledge is unnecessary to take full advantage of what WordPress offers.

With tens of thousands of plugins and themes available, users can extend their website’s functionality and design in any way they choose.

Static HTML Website Learning Curve

In contrast, if you are wanting to build a static HTML website, you’ll need a deep understanding of HTML and CSS to build and style the website and make it visually appealing. You’ll need to learn more complex languages like JavaScript to add interactivity and advanced features (but this isn’t necessary for simple sites).

Example HTML Webpage

This can be a steep learning curve for those without coding experience. To gain a basic understanding of HTML, you must learn the language and its syntax, including understanding the structure of HTML tags and how to use them to format text and create basic page layouts.

To style your HTML website, you must also learn CSS, which allows you to apply visual styles to your HTML code. Some popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap help jump-start this process, but you will still have much to learn in order to implement the framework and make changes. Various resources are available for individuals to learn HTML and CSS, including online courses and tutorials from platforms W3Schools, books on web development, and YouTube tutorials.

W3Schools to Learn HTML, CSS, and More

Online communities such as forums, social media groups, and coding bootcamps are also available resources.

WordPress vs Static HTML Customization Options

Customization is a crucial aspect of website building. HTML and WordPress provide different options for customization. HTML offers complete control over every part of the website, while WordPress offers pre-built options that can be customized through themes and plugins.

WordPress Customization

WordPress provides an ecosystem of themes, plugins, and integrations that make it easy to customize your website. Users can choose from thousands of free and premium themes to suit their website’s purpose and style. In addition to themes, WordPress provides an extensive range of plugins for various purposes.

Users can browse and install plugins from the WordPress plugin repository or third-party providers, making adding features without coding knowledge easy.

WordPress 60000+ Plugins

Some of the best plugins that make running a website accessible than using static HTML are:

  • eCommerce plugins to enable you to create simple or advanced online stores.
  • Page builders that help you build beautiful websites without any code.
  • Form plugins to collect any data or submissions from your website visitors.
  • SEO plugins to help your site rank because what good is it if it just sits there?

Static HTML Website Customization

Customizing a static HTML website requires the website creator to have complete control over the design and structure of the website. While HTML templates are available for purchase, editing them requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and other web-based programming languages.

Template Monster HTML Template Marketplace

Template Monster Marketplace for Starter HTML Templates

Front-end development skills are necessary for customizing an HTML website beyond its basic structure and design. Adding advanced features and interactivity to a static HTML website can be challenging and time-consuming without the appropriate skills.

JavaScript is often required to add dynamic functionality, such as animated menus, pop-up windows, and real-time form validation. However, Learning JavaScript requires a significant investment of time and effort. It is a complex programming language that requires understanding programming concepts beyond HTML and CSS.

WordPress vs Static HTML: Hosting

Both WordPress and HTML websites require web hosting to make them accessible on the internet. Web hosting to the service that stores your website files and makes them available online. Hosting providers offer various plans with different features, pricing, and performance levels to suit the website owner’s needs.

Hosting requirements differ between WordPress and static HTML websites. Static HTML websites require fewer server resources and can often be hosted with basic shared hosting plans that cost less. The HTML files themselves are usually accessed via FTP software and edited using a text or code editor of your choice.

CyberDuck FTP Client

WordPress websites are dynamic, generated on the fly using PHP and a database, and typically require more server resources. Because of this, most WordPress hosting platforms include features like specialized caching, automated backups, and optimized server configurations to improve performance and security.

Many hosting providers offer one-click installers for WordPress, making it easy for users to install and set up WordPress quickly. These installers create a WordPress installation, including the necessary files and a pre-configured database. Our hosting guide covers everything you need to know about finding the right host.

WordPress vs. HTML: Which One Should You Choose?

When deciding between building a website with WordPress or HTML, it’s important to consider your specific needs and level of expertise. Suppose you’re looking for a user-friendly platform that offers a wide range of customization options and simplifies the website-building process. In that case, WordPress is the better choice, especially for beginners. On the other hand, if you have coding experience and prefer complete control over your website’s design and functionality, or if you only need a simple static website, then HTML may be more suitable.

In most cases, WordPress is the preferred option for building a new website due to its ease of use, extensive customization options, and educational resources like this blog to help you learn everything you need to know. It’s scalable and can grow with your needs, making it an excellent choice for businesses and individuals. However, if your website project is small and you want to learn the fundamentals of HTML design, go for that.

How to Get Started with WordPress

Leaning towards choosing WordPress? We know it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is a quick guide to help you create the ultimate WordPress toolkit:

  1. Hosting: You’ll want a great host even if you go with HTML. We recommend SiteGround and Pressable.
  2. Theme: Our very own Divi Theme gives you advanced design customization for every part of your website. It’s the most popular theme in the world for a reason!
  3. SEO: Make sure to optimize your site for search engines using Rank Math. They’ve got a great free version as well.
  4. Performance: Nothing is worse than a slow website. Keep your website running fast with WP Rocket or any of the best speed optimization plugins.

Now you’re ready to start building with WordPress!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before we wrap up, let’s answer some of your most common questions regarding WordPress and HTML websites. Did we miss one? Leave a question below, and we will respond!

Which is better, HTML websites or WordPress?
WordPress is better than HTML because it is a content management system allowing users to easily create and manage websites without extensive technical knowledge. It offers a wide range of pre-designed templates, plugins, and customization options, making website building quicker and more efficient than coding from scratch in HTML.
Is WordPress replacing HTML and CSS?
WordPress does not replace HTML and CSS but rather provides a no-code way of creating websites without touching HTML or CSS.
Is it worth learning HTML anymore?
If you desire to learn HTML, it is an excellent starting skill for front-end development. Whether you build static HTML sites or use a CMS like WordPress, this will be a helpful skill. HTML is just the beginning, though. You'll also want to learn CSS and JavaScript to do more in web design.
Do professionals use WordPress?
Website owners and creators of all kinds use WordPress—including professional web designers. It is a reliable CMS with millions of users who help make it a better platform every day.
What is Static-HTML?
Static HTML refers to a website built using HTML files that comprise a whole page of a website. These websites are called "static" because their content remains fixed and does not change unless the developer manually updates the file's code (unlike CMSs that use databases and dynamic content). Static HTML websites do not have any server-side processing or dynamically generated content. As a result, they are simpler and load faster. They may have fewer security concerns compared to dynamic websites built with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or server-side scripting languages like PHP.
Does caching a dynamic page create a static HTML file?
Caching a dynamic page can effectively create a static HTML file of that page. When you cache a dynamic page, the server generates and stores a static HTML version of that page. This cached version is then served to visitors, reducing the need for server-side processing and database queries, which results in faster page load times and reduced server load. It's important to note that caching a dynamic page does not permanently convert it into a static HTML file. The dynamic aspects of the page still exist, but the caching mechanism helps improve performance by serving a static version to visitors whenever possible.
What’s the difference between WordPress and static HTML websites?
WordPress is a content management system that allows you to quickly create and manage a dynamic website with dynamic content. Static HTML websites, on the other hand, consist of fixed web pages that require manual updates. WordPress offers more flexibility and functionality, while static HTML websites are simpler and faster to load.
Is WordPress faster than websites built only with HTML?
It depends on the specific website and how it is built. WordPress can be faster because it has built-in optimization features like lazy loading and caching plugins that can improve website speed. However, a website made only with HTML can be quicker if optimized for speed and has minimal code. Ultimately, the speed of a website is determined by various factors such as hosting, design, and optimization techniques.
Do you need to learn HTML to use WordPress?
No, you don't necessarily need to learn HTML to use WordPress. WordPress has a user-friendly interface that allows you to create and manage website content without any coding knowledge. However, basic HTML knowledge can help make minor adjustments to website design and functionality.
Does using WordPress make web design easier?
WordPress is generally easier to learn than Ghost due to its larger community and extensive documentation. WordPress also has a more user-friendly interface and offers more customization options. However, Ghost is simpler and more streamlined, which may appeal to those who prefer a minimalist approach.
Can an HTML website be converted to WordPress?
WordPress is generally easier to maintain than Ghost due to its user-friendly interface, extensive documentation, and large community support. Its plugin architecture also allows for easy customization and functionality updates. Meanwhile, Ghost may require more technical knowledge and has fewer third-party resources available.
What are the disadvantages of not using a CMS like WordPress?
Not using a CMS like WordPress can result in a lack of control over website design and functionality, limited ability to manage content and updates, increased vulnerability to security threats, and difficulty scaling the website as the business grows.
Is WordPress better for SEO?
WordPress is better for SEO than HTML due to its built-in SEO features, such as customizable permalinks, sitemaps, and alt text, among others. Additionally, WordPress has a wide range of SEO plugins that can optimize website content further and improve search engine rankings.
Is WordPress scalable?
Yes, WordPress is scalable. It is designed to handle small to large websites with ease. It has a flexible architecture that allows for easy integration of plugins and themes to add features and functionality as needed. Additionally, WordPress can handle high traffic volumes using caching plugins and other optimization techniques. Overall, WordPress is a highly scalable platform suitable for businesses of all sizes.
Which is better for e-commerce websites, WordPress or HTML websites?
WordPress is better than HTML for e-commerce because it offers various plugins, themes, and tools specifically designed for online stores. It also provides easy integration with payment gateways and shipping methods, making it simple to manage orders and inventory. Additionally, WordPress offers a user-friendly interface and allows for easy content management without requiring advanced coding skills.

Featured Image via Sammby / shutterstock.com


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