Static versus dynamic publishing

Now that Movable Type 4 has been released and leaped ahead of WordPress, the old discussion of static publishing versus dynamic publishing shows up again. Movable Type by default uses static publishing (it generates static HTML files with are served to the visitor) while WordPress uses dynamic publishing (all content is served directly from the database). What method is better?

As usual, the answer is: it depends…

Static publishing requires less server resources per visit, but it takes longer before updates (entries, comments and template changes) are visible. With dynamical publishing, your changes are immediately visible to your visitors, but you’ll need more power to serve those pages.

For most bloggers it won’t make any difference, as they hardly tweak their templates and receive few comments and visitors. However, if you like tweaking your templates, you might want to go dynamic, and popular blogs are better off going static.

But wait, I can hear you think: there are some very popular blogs using WordPress… That’s right, and without exception they use some kind of caching method to lower the server stress. On the other side, Movable Type can also run in dynamic mode (which is what I use for this blog), and you can specify for each template whether it should be served statically or dynamically, allowing you to optimize your site’s performance.

Conclusion: for low-traffic sites, it doesn’t matter whether you publish static or dynamic. If you have many visitors you probable want to use static or hybrid publishing.

Jeroen Sangers @jeroensangers