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How to Convert a WordPress Site to a Static HTML Website

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.

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.

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.

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.

1. Use Plugins and Online Converters

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 one of the most popular plugins and online converters available for WP users:

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.

2. Use 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 like 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 site’s HTML letting you browse the project offline.

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.

3. Manual Conversion 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 building a new HTML website from scratch might appear to be a faster and more effective solution. Here is why:

  • Complicated Setup Process. As you have understood from the article, converting your WP-website on your own is a hassle. The process requires mobbing your project to a subdomain first. Then you will need to have all files and plugins download to the original domain.
  • CDN may be required. You static HTML website might call for Content Delivery Network setup. Once again, you will need to handle the process on your own. CDN is vital to managing site assets.
  • Setting Up Redirects. Unfortunately for website owners, plugins and site generators usually do not handle real 301 or 302 redirects. The only way to cope with redirects is to set them up on your website hosting panel..
  • Plenty of Time Required. You are wrong if you think the converting process is fast. It may take a quite a long time. Converting instruments do not just deploy some of the website pages of elements. They handle the process of republishing the entire project, which is hardly a matter of a couple of hours. The bigger website you have, the longer it will take to migrate.
  • Lack of Functionality. Static site generators do not support some essential site sections like contact forms, comments, etc. You will have to look for other ways out.

As you can see, the process of converting your WP website to HTML is not as fast and simple as you might think. From this point of view, it could be a better idea to come up with a brand new project with all pages and sections running smoothly instead of redirecting your visitors to the 404 Page Not Found.

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 It is a long-lasting and complicated process that does not always results in what you expect. You need to consider several options including the building of a new HTML site from scratch.


About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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