Today, the continuation of the thread related simultaneously to speed of pages and their security. Question: have you ever heard of such a thing as static WordPress website? If not, or if you have heard of it but were not particularly interested in it at the time, I would like to say a few words about it today. But let us start with the basics.
How a static WordPress site works
WordPress is all about PHP scripts and communication with the database, where all the most important information related to plugins, configurations, all the content you publish, etc. is stored. What does this mean for any WordPress site?
When a browser request is made, the server your website is running on performs countless operations. First of all, PHP processes are started, which in the next step ask the database server for appropriate information needed to build the called page. When these data are received, the scripts create a version of the page, which is accepted by browsers, that is the HTML code. Thanks to it, the browser knows what to do next, what requests to send, what JS scripts to execute, what style sheets to download and how to put it all together.
If you think about it for a moment, you can see that a lot of work needs to be done in order for the website to be displayed in the browser. All these processes can take longer or shorter time, which depends on the hosting power (that's why I recommend WordPress hosting), as well as on what kind of equipment we have. Will our browser process data faster or will it catch breathless. This also affects how quickly you will see a web page.
What would you say if we reduced server-side tasks by eliminating PHP processes and database queries? We would reduce them to just the process of receiving a page request and responding quickly. This is how static pages work.
When I started my adventure with websites some 27 years ago, there were no tools like today and not even birds were chirping about WordPress. WordPress was not supposed to appear until 9 years from now.
My first websites were based on HTML. A simple notepad and writing line after line, then it was a bit easier, Pajak appeared 🙂 I think that some readers may remember it and shed a tear now 🙂 I don't know what to say.
I was creating HTML pages. There were no PHP scripts, after all, that language was only just coming into its creators' heads.
What did the file structure look like? The main page was a file called index.html, the sub pages in turn contact.html, offer.html etc... All of them were of course static.
When the server was asked for the home page, it replied with an index.html file and did not have to make any special effort, because its only task was to pass the already finished file to the browser.
Then came the boom in dynamic websites and more and more programming languages. This trend is still going strong and will certainly continue. On the other hand, some users of WordPress and other CMS systems dream of having websites running as fast as possible. They use cache plugins or tools such as NitroPack. I use it myself on How to make a website.
There are also plugins for WordPress that allow you to export what you have done to static HTML files, and this brings us to the point of today's post 🙂 I'd like to share with you my thoughts on this.
What static pages offer
Above all, they eliminate a significant portion of the hardest work on the server side. This is the most important benefit of using such pages. They put less load on your account and are sent faster by the server to the browser. The second, by the way, is increased security. Since there are no PHP processes, in order to break in a hacker would have to know your hosting password and then he can really screw up (use strong passwords!). If the password isn't there, he won't actually do anything. He won't exploit the hole in the plugins because there is none, he won't get into the databases because there is none either. It's just static HTML that won't respond in any way to any attempts to inject bad code, bruteforce attacks trying to crack WordPress passwords, etc. Cool right?
Simply Static Pro plug-in
With it you can export your site to a static version, this takes literally seconds or so depending on the size of your site. Then you either use Github upload and configure the action to upload the files to any hosting account via SFTP, or you download the generated package with the website files and upload them to the correct directory on your hosting account.
How the plug-in works
First of all, you need to have a WordPress installation somewhere on the side. I use the application Local. You build the site in standard WordPress fashion. You install the Simply Static PRO plugin (there's also a free version, but I advise against it due to its limited capabilities), go to the static file generation section in the menu:
You click on the GENERATE button... as in the following screenshot:
Logs related to the operation appear, and at the end you will see a link to download the file package. All this without playing around with the settings, of which there are a bit more here. Default installation and default plugin configuration. It's working 🙂 .
What next? Now you need to go to your hosting account. If you have a file manager on it, you can instantly upload the zip archive and unzip it in the root directory of your site. If you don't, use an FTP client and that's it 🙂 .
Now if you open the right page address you will see it, but it will already be a static page. You will probably immediately feel the difference in its speed 🙂 .
If you want to see how such a page works, I have prepared a simple example. Click on the button below and take a look at how the page behaves. On WordPress locally I had the theme Astra. I imported the landing page example and just changed a few sentences. Then generating static files and uploading them to the server. Here is the result:
It's a great solution if you want to run a fast and attack-resistant website, and you want to do it in WordPress. Unfortunately there are some limitations, because for example running a WooCommerce shop is rather out of the question, unless you will communicate with a shop running on a different address, but this already requires more work. However, there are e-commerce solutions which can be quite simply integrated with such a static website. I will probably write more about this.
If you run a company website with or without a blog or a blog alone, this solution can be very beneficial for you. At least try the free version from the WordPress repository, but as I wrote, I recommend the PRO version because it will give you more features such as form handling, the ability to export to GitHub and further to your own hosting, which can be automated and will not involve you too much.
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