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How to Convert a WordPress Site to a Static HTML Website

WordPress –  is one of the most flexible platforms letting users build websites of any type. It combines ease of use and versatility in terms of page customization or third-party integration. Millions of websites across the globe are built using this popular CMS platform. The only task it cannot fulfill is creating static HTML pages.

Website owners may have various reasons to go back to HTML versions. Some might crave for faster page load speed while others care about security concerns. Whatever the reason is, the process of converting a WordPress site into a static HTML website is quite a challenge. It requires some time as well as special instruments, skills, and patients.

This article will cover all essential issues of the converting process describing the key reasons to return to the HTML website version as well as occasions when such an idea will not work.

Why You Should Convert WordPress Site to HTML

The CMS lets users build websites that have a dynamic nature from the origins. In other words, every time you access a WordPress website, it is forced to download all pages and content dynamically. This fact may have a negative effect on the page loading speed.

A static website version might be a good solution to the problem. Converting your WP-based pages may let you benefit from improved site stability and speed. Security concerns appear to be another reason for converting to a static HTML website that reserves no space for hackers or scammers to exploit the website data. At the same time, no dynamic data storage means faster page load.

Summing up the reasons, you might need to convert your website due to the following:

  • Security Purposes – there is no need for servers to render pages every time a new user visits your website. The only send HTML code instead of making it harder for hackers to exploit the data.
  • Faster Performance – dynamic pages load slower if compared to static versions, as there is no need for servers to generate pages and data on the go.
  • Fewer Errors – static pages claim to deliver better stability. They are less prone to errors related to the database connection.

Despite the fact, static pages look more reliable, WordPress dynamic nature is hardly a drawback. It will all depend on the website type, its structure, amount of pages, content volume, etc. In other words, having a static version is not always a good idea.

Read also:
Building a WordPress website – a complete tutorial how to create your own WordPress website.

WordPress Website versus HTML Website – What Is The Difference?

The major difference here is the nature of the systems and degree of coding expertise required. WordPress is a Content Management Systems (CMS), which lets you design, edit, customize and publish the content. The use of the system does not require deep coding awareness yet it is still preferable to possess at least baseline programming expertise to be able to deeply customize your project.

WordPress Editor

HTML, in its turn, is a language, which allows creating static web pages and then editing them using corresponding knowledge. Awareness of other languages, apart from HTML, is preferable here as well to be able to design truly professional websites.

HTML Editor

CMS is quite easy and intuitive to use. It comes with a set of integrated features and drag-and-drop tools that make the system application quite enjoyable – just like the editing process itself. As opposed to it, HTML websites comprise hundreds of lines of code. You have to be able to work with them to avoid the bugs and errors that may put your project at risk.

WordPress is known for its abundant integrations, which definitely threatens your project security. This is especially true, if you pick and use themes/plugins (mostly free ones) developed by unknown third-party designers. HTML websites are more secure in this respect as it is you, who are responsible for your project safety, being aware of all the codes you use when launching it.

WordPress Website Elements

Websites created with WordPress have a unique structure that differs from the typical structure of sites started with other platforms.

When you just start exploring the website development niche, you may come across the notion of the hierarchical structure of a site. This means that the entire website consists of multiple pages, which are further grouped into sections that, in their turn, are organized into larger sections etc. Such a system of content organization corresponds to a multi-level menu system. This is a kind of hierarchy a website should feature to be structured properly.

When it comes to WordPress, the situation is quite the opposite. Websites powered by the CMS generally have a network-based structure, which may seem confusing for beginners. A website here is not just a mere set of pages, but a complex encompassing a number of elements.

To be able to set up a full-featured website with WordPress, it is crucial to understand how it is structured first. Actually, all parts of the website can be divided into two groups – technical and SEO components. Let’s review them in details below.

Technical Elements of a WordPress Website

To understand what makes up a WordPress website, you should initially start with the technical components, which ensure its functionality.

Admin Dashboard

Dashboard WordPress

The WordPress admin dashboard is the central control panel where website administrators, editors and content creators manage and maintain their WordPress websites. This is basically the first screen you see when logging in your project. It presents a snapshot of the current website status, including recent activity, statistics and other essential information.

The dashboard is highly customizable, letting users arrange and display widgets that are most relevant to their needs. Common widgets include quick draft shortcuts, site activity logs, comment moderation etc.

The WordPress admin dashboard performs a very responsible task – content management. This is where users can create and edit posts, add/delete/duplicate pages, and manage other types of content through the intuitive content editor. They can also work with media files like images and videos, organizing them into libraries for easy access. The dashboard offers a user-friendly WYSIWYG editor, making it easy for users to format and style their content without deep coding knowledge.

Templates

WordPress-Templates

Templates make up the entire website design. They come as a set of files that determine the project’s visual appearance for users. In WordPress, templates are stored in the wp-content/themes folder. You can install them from the dashboard – they are available in the “Themes” submenu of the general “Design” menu.

Plugins

WordPress-Plugins

Plugins are extensions that enhance the website functionality. It is impossible to set up a full-fledged WordPress project without them. Most plugins are available for free (just like WordPress templates as well as the CMS itself). These plugins are stored in the wp-content/plugins folder. However, there are those that are available at extra cost, being developed by third-party web designers. Such extensions are frequently even more secure as compared to premium ones.

Database

Wordpress database

Database is another crucial component of any WordPress website. This is a chart where all articles, pages, settings, user logins and passwords are stored. Even though users don’t directly interact with the database, this website element still matters a lot for its structure. You can access the database from the hosting control panel, namely through the PHP MyAdmin app. However, it is not recommended for beginners to make direct edits in database settings. This may have a negative impact upon the website’s functionality.

SEO Elements of a WordPress Website

Speaking about website elements, we can’t but mention those components that contribute to its online visibility, that is the SEO aspects. When it tackles WordPress sites, these include pages (static and dynamic), posts and multimedia content. Let’s discuss them further.

Static Pages

Static pages in WordPress websites are the digital equivalent of traditional, unchanging printed materials. They feature content that remains consistent over time, such as an “About Us” page, “Contact” or “Services” pages. These pages serve as the foundation of a website, providing essential information about the business, organization or individual behind it. Static pages are easy to create and maintain as their content generally remains unchanged. They provide a consistent and reliable source of information for visitors.

Dynamic Pages

As opposed to static pages, dynamic pages are designed in WordPress to adapt and evolve with time. They are generated on-the-fly, often getting content from a database. Dynamic pages are commonly used for elements that require frequent updates like blog posts, news articles, product listings and comments sections. They use templates and themes to maintain a consistent design while dynamically loading and presenting content. Dynamic pages make it possible for website owners to regularly publish fresh and engaging material to drive the attention of the target audience.

When it comes to WordPress website structure, the CMS manages to seamlessly combine the benefits of static and dynamic pages, letting website creators mix the unchanging information with dynamic and regularly updated content. This dual approach allows presenting vital information while staying connected with the audience through the latest updates and interactions.

Posts

Posts belong to dynamic website elements. They are best suited for publishing articles and other valuable content. Posts are among the most valuable elements of a website when it comes to SEO and promotion. They allow you to regularly update your site with fresh, relevant material that can attract and engage visitors.

Multimedia Content

Multimedia files include images, videos and audios that are also essential for a website and play a positive role in its promotion and content perception. This is especially true for images, which enhance the visual appeal of your content and engage users.

Categories

WordPress categories are used to organize and label content in order to simplify website navigation. They fall into 2 types – broad (general categories like News, for example) and specific (subcategories like Industry News, Business News, Even News etc.). A new page is automatically created for each new category.

Tags

Tags are somewhat similar to categories. The major objective of their creation is also content labeling yet their use a bit differs. As opposed to categories that are quite broad and describe the content type or the general post subject matter, tags are more specific and detailed. They are needed to indicate keywords and subjects, which are relevant to a post. Each tag has its own page, but they don’t have sub-tags, however. Just like categories, they are also assigned to posts.

Menus

A menu is the major form of website navigation. WordPress allows creating several menus to further integrate them in various project parts. For instance, you can insert one menu in your website header and another one in the footer. It’s only up to you to decide that.

To sum it all up, proper management of WordPress website elements is crucial for building a full-featured project that not only provides information but also ranks high in the search engines. That’s exactly what any site is generally launched for.

HTML Website Elements

Website development is generally a complex process that involves multiple aspects. Building an HTML website is even a more challenging and time-taking task that requires preliminary programming proficiency and expertise. To be aware of your website structure, we have enlisted the major components it should involve. Have a look at them below.

Website Design

Website design has a direct impact upon users due to the proper content organization and its visual representation. This is how the project interacts with visitors.

Typically, web designers are responsible for design creation. They have to create the logical structure of all website pages as well as develop methods for content presentation that should perfectly comply with visual website appearance.

The design is developed for each web page individually based on the functions it performs. An eCommerce website, for example, has a page where products are displayed as well as a user’s shopping cart page. Obviously, these pages should have different designs based on their intended purposes. The purpose of the cart page is to facilitate quick and convenient shopping, while the product pages aim to inform users about product features and allow comparisons with other items.

The same approach should be applied to other website pages, taking into consideration the project specialization as well as the message each page conveys.

Layout

Layout implies the process of writing special code for web browsers. Such files have the HTML extension and are only displayed in web browsers. It is essential to check that the layout design should be presented consistently across all browsers, whether it’s Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

Programming

Programming constitutes around 50-70% of the entire time/effort invested in the website development. The programming part of the website is a comprehensive concept. It ensures that numerous site pages have the same design yet different content. Additionally, the programming code is responsible for visual effects and other tasks. Due to programming, a website becomes dynamic.

Content

Website content encompasses all the material available on the website, including text, images, videos, flash files and other media. Content is often confused with design elements, but these are completely different things. Design is more about “how to add” elements, while content deals with “what to add” in general. When it comes to textual content, it fills any web resource with meaning, letting users find the website in search engines. Interesting content is the key to increasing traffic, readability and key performance indicators like calls, sales or email subscriptions.

If a website comes with a CMS (Content Management System), its owner can independently fill its pages with content. The system allows doing that with no special web design knowledge required. populate the site’s pages with content.
However, if you don’t have time to handle website content creation on your own, you can delegate this task to content managers. Their role primarily involves filling the website pages with ready-made content.

Domain Name and Hosting

A domain name is a unique website address, while hosting is a service provided by specialized companies that store all the data required for correct website performance on its servers. The structure would be incomplete without these elements and the website itself would be unavailable online.

Hosting implies allocation of free server space for website hosting and storage. To ensure that a website is always visible to users, its owner must have a unique domain name and reliable hosting.

This is generally a simplified description of the major HTML website elements. As you may understand, the knowledge and effort of different experts will be required to set up such a project. This obviously has a direct impact upon the project cost.

How to Convert from WordPress to a Static HTML – The Ultimate Guide

If you have made up your mind to convert the website into a static HTML version, you may choose several paths. Some of them are pretty simple while others require a specific background. In this article, we made our best to cover all the available options.

Plugins and Online Converters to Move From WordPress to HTML

The entire process of website migration might appear to be a tricky business. However, some plugins will make the task a bit easier to complete. Let’s have a look at the most popular plugins and online converters available for WP users out there.

Simply Static Plugin for WordPress

Simply Static

Initially developed as an open-source plugin, Simply Static Plugin was designed to meet users’ converting needs. The plugin actually creates a website HTML copy with all pages from the original WP version. The converting process with Simply Static covers JS and CSS, images or other types of files containing links. Another great feature is the plugin ability to replace actually all types of URLs including offline, relative or absolute ones.

WP Static HTML Output

WP2Static

This WordPress plugin makes it possible to generate a static HTML version of your WordPress website. This is a helpful starting point for moving to HTML as it creates an archive of your site’s content. After exporting, you’ll need to separately deal with website styling and scripting.

CMC2CMS

How to Convert a WordPress Site to a Static HTML Website

This is an online migrations service that also offers WP to HTML converting services. It allows transferring content, images and even metadata to ensure the most complete project migration. You will have to provide your WordPress website URL and the system will do the rest for you.

Converting WP to HTML Using Site Generators

Popular static site generators might also be a good solution. They act practically in the same way as plugins though with some slight differences. Here are some examples:

  • Jekyll static site generator. The tool is perfect for those who need to convert small websites like blogs or portfolios. Supported by GitHub, it uses ready-made template directories with different text and file formats. It not only converts the website but also renders it to generate a stable static HTML version.
  • Pelican static site generator. This instrument may work out for those who deal with formats like Markdown or AsciiDoc. A great benefit is that the site generator has special features that put ease on the sitemap files generation, which is crucial. At the same time, it supports RSS feeds, analytic tools, integration with social media platforms, etc.
  • HTTrack to Convert a WP Site to Static HTML. It is a good instrument for those who want to check the way their website will look after converting but before going online. The system comes as an open-source platform with the functionality to download your website keeping the same structure. It uses local storage with created directories specifically for your website files and images. At the same time, HTTrack creates the site’s HTML letting you browse the project offline.
  • Strattic Site Generator. This is a powerful innovative tool to transform dynamic WordPress projects into high-performance static HTML sites. The platform not only enhances website security by serving content through a CDN, but also optimizes performance with caching mechanisms. Moreover, Strattic simplifies seamless content updates through its continuous deployment workflow, ensuring that website owners can effortlessly maintain and update their sites.
  • HardyPress Site Generator. The tool generates HTML web page copies to further deploy them on a CDN so that your visitors could access it. By transforming dynamic WordPress sites into static HTML versions, HardyPress eliminates the need for server-side processing, reducing vulnerability to web attacks and ensuring fast-loading web pages. HardyPress comes with Contact Form 7 and email support in all subscriptions, built-in SEO tools and one-year backup plan.
  • Shifter Site Generator. As an all-in-one static WordPress host and site generator, the solution eliminates the need for server-side scripting and databases. It integrates with Square for those who need an eCommerce software and enables automated WordPress backups. The tool also supports contact forms and on-site search features to enhance project scalability and SEO options.

In other words, you get a mirror site that has been downloaded on the local drive. It has the same structure as your initial WP project with all dynamically generated content including comments, recent posts, related articles etc.

The main downside is that you will need to compress the files, as the tool saves them separately. Moreover, the system is pretty complicated to use. You are supposed to know how to access file manager or FTP client to upload the archive with the content and website files with their further extraction depending on the directory.

Manual Conversion of a WordPress Website to HTML

In some cases, it is better to come up with a new HTML website rather than opt for migrating tools. It is not just about complexity or technical issues. Some static site generators do not support vital website elements such as contact forms, native WP-navigation tools etc. In other words, you might find your static version with some crucial blocks lacking.

This is where you may face the need to manually convert your WordPress website to HTML. This solution will give you full control over the final result. Listed below are the major steps to complete the task independently:

  1. Backup Your WordPress Website. Before making any edits or transferring your WordPress website entities, it makes sense to back up the previous version. The process implies database and website files transfer. You can use a WordPress backup plugin or your hosting provider’s backup feature to complete the task.
  2. Prepare the Tools. To manually convert your WordPress site to HTML, you’ll need a text editor (Notepad, Visual Studio Code etc.) and an FTP client (FileZilla, for example) to download files from your server and to upload HTML files back to the server.
  3. Export the Content. Login to your WordPress dashboard and access the “Tools” > “Export”. Choose “All content” and click the “Download Export File” button. This will create an XML file with your posts, pages, comments and other content.
  4. Export Media Files. You can export media files from your WordPress website, using the FTP client. To do this, navigate to the “/wp-content/uploads” directory on your server and download the required media files (images, videos etc.) to your local computer. Mind that you will have to manually link these files in your HTML pages later.
  5. Create HTML Files. Using the text editor you have selected earlier, start creating HTML files for each of your WordPress pages and posts. Copy the content from the WordPress editor and paste it into the corresponding HTML file. Make sure to include HTML, head, and body tags along with other styling (CSS) and JavaScript.
  6. Format Permalinks. URLs frequently come in the “yourwebsite.com/post-title” format in WordPress. When it tackles HTML files, you’ll need to manually create distinct and descriptive URLs for each page and post. Use lowercase letters, hyphens instead of spaces and ensure the URLs are consistent with your previous WordPress URLs.
  7. Create Navigation Menus. Go ahead to manually create an HTML list with hyperlinks to each page or post for the navigation menu on your HTML site. Ensure that the links are correctly formatted to navigate between pages.
  8. Handle Images and Media. Find the media files you have downloaded before and upload them to your web server, have chosen the appropriate directories. Manually update the image and media file URLs to point them to these files on your server.
  9. Test Locally. Take your time to test the website locally before uploading HTML files to the web server. To do this, open each HTML file in your web browser and navigate through your website pages to ensure that all links, images and other elements work correctly.
  10. Upload the Project to Your Server. Upload the HTML files and directories containing images, CSS and JavaScript to your web server using the FTP client. Ensure that the file structure mirrors your local setup.
  11. Update DNS Settings and Configure the Web Server Parameters. If you decide to move your website to a new domain or server, go ahead to update the DNS settings to point to the new location. Additionally, make sure to configure the server parameters to handle your HTML files correctly, setting up any required redirects or rewrite rules.
  12. Test the Website Online. Having uploaded your HTML files to the server and configured the required parameters, test your website online to make sure it works as required. Check for broken links, missing images and other possible errors that could have emerged in the result of the conversion process.
  13. Adjust SEO and Analytics Settings. Don’t forget to reconfigure SEO settings and add analytics tracking code to your HTML pages if you have used these tools for your WordPress website.

As you can see, the process of converting your WP website to HTML is not as fast and simple as you might think. It also required at least baseline programming knowledge and expertise. Otherwise, you may encounter problems that will be difficult to cope with.

The Bottom Line

Converting your WordPress website to a static HTML version might appear to be a good solution to some problems. It might be a way out for small and less complex websites requiring faster load speed, improved stability or security. On the other hand, the process is very complicated and requires some deep knowledge.

Moreover, it is not just you pick a tool and convert the site in just a few clicks. This is a long-lasting and complicated process that does not always result in what you expect. You need to consider several options including the building of a new HTML site from scratch.

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