Static Versus Dynamic Page Width

There's a lot of talk these days about responsive web design, and whether to have a dynamic or static page width is one of the most basic ways a website can respond to a user's browser.

In case you're not sure what these terms mean, a static, or fixed, page width is one which is set to a definite number of pixels (or centimetres), and doesn't change, regardless of whether it's being viewed on a small monitor or a large one. A dynamic (or as I like to call them - stretchy) page width is one that stretches to fit the available space.

Advantages of a fixed page width

The main advanatge of a fixed page width is that you have more control over the layout of the page, and can be sure how it will look across different browser and resolutions. It means that you don't end up with unexpected dead whitespace and you can be sure which elements will line up with each other.

Disadvantages of fixed page width

The biggest problem is choosing the optimum width. This is about balancing the needs of users with small screens with those who have huge monitors. If you choose a width that is too big, then users on smaller screens will only be able to view some of the site and will have to use the extremely annoying horizontal scroll in order to see the sides. However, if you choose a width that is too narrow, then users on big screens will have large areas of empty space on either side, and the website will look silly perched in the middle.

Advantages of dynamic or stretchy width

By keeping your width dynamic each user will have most of the available space used up, without losing anything off the edges.

Disadvantages of dynamic or stretchy width

If the width is constantly changing, then it means that the page elements will be moving around and you have little control over the balance of the page and how the elements relate to each other. Also, if the main text is in a stretchy area, then it may end up being very wide - which is known to be more difficult to read than columns. It is possible to do lots of clever things to ensure different parts of the page stretch in proportion to each other - but this is a lot more effort.

If you're looking for web design in Leeds, or want to learn more about good and bad web design, visit our website.

Why we insist on hosting our websites (to begin with)

We offer managed hosting services with all our websites, because we care about the long term performance of our products and about making a meaningful difference to our clients' businesses.

However, sometimes potential clients look at the budget options that are available online and wonder why we aren't matching those prices. Other times, they want to know if they can use us to make the website, but then move over to cheap hosting to reduce ongoing costs. Some people (heaven forbid) might even suspect that we're simply trying to squeeze as much money out of them as possible. This simply isn't how we do business.

Here's the real reason:

Why we don't complete on price when it comes to hosting

We don't complete on price, because it would mean making huge sacrifices in quality and service, which would result in poor performance and unhappy clients (or going bust - resulting in unhappy us).

A good technological platform with robust backups and redundancy to make sure the website loads quickly and never goes down takes investment, and that costs money. On top of that, we want to make sure our staff are available and have time to deal with each client's query patiently and properly.

We believe that our prices are extremely reasonable when you consider the level of high quality hardware, software and genuine personal service we provide.

Why we won't put our websites on other hosts

In the past we have agreed to make websites and then host them on other servers, but we no longer allow this, because of the headaches that have arisen for both us and our clients.

The problem is that cheap hosts are cheap for a reason. These companies usually sacrifice quality of hardware and software and customer service, in order to drive their prices to the absolute minimum. This means that servers are unreliable and overloaded, meaning the clients' website runs slowly and may frequently dissappear altogether.

It also means that the customer service is impossible to get hold of, unskilled and in such a rush they simply send autoreplies without finding out about the problem properly. This wastes a great deal of time and contributes to high blood pressure and hair loss (not clinically proven).

When this happens, the client comes back to us, and it's our word against their that the poor website performance is all about the host, and nothing to do with our work - which would have worked great if we were hosting it. And because we're soft, we often end up sorting out these problems where the cheap host refuses too.

What do you mean 'to begin with'?

The reasons stated above are why we insist on hosting our websites - not because we're trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of our clients - and to prove it, we DO allow clients to move, but only after we've proven the quality of the website on our hosting and support platforms first.

If, after this has been proven a client still feels they wish to move away, then they can - at their own risk...

If you're thinking of getting a website designed in Leeds, or anywhere across the UK, then give us a call for a chat about your project. We're happy to give free advice and suggestions as well as quotes and proposals.

Or if you need help with your computer - anything from fixing a broken laptop to maintaining a snappy response, then check out our associates, who offer great IT Support Services, from their base in Guildford.

A Dummy's Guide to Web Hosting

We offer managed web hosting as standard with all our websites, because all websites need hosting, and it's a critical part of having an effective, reliable website.

But quite often clients who don't work with technology have no idea what web hosting is, or why they need it. We try our best to explain everything in terms that every one can understand, because a client who is confident that they know what's going on and are in control of the process, is a happy client.

This article aims to explain what web hosting is in very basic terms so that everyone can understand the principles. We don't go into the nitty gritty technical details, so it's not quite as simple as we make out - but it's as much as most people need to know.


What is web hosting and why do you need it if you have a website?

A website is essentially a collection of files, including code files and images. These files need to be stored somewhere. You could keep them on your computer, but then your website would dissappear every time your turned your computer off, and if your internet connection wasn't very powerful, your website might appear unreliable to visitors. Also, whenever someone wanted to view your website, they would be using up your personal intenet connection.

So, instead of having websites live on home computers, there are huge computers which are dedicated to being homes for websites - and these are called servers. Servers are usually very powerful and are never turned off.

Having your computer live on one of these computers is called 'hosting'. Your 'host' is the supplier of the space on the server.

If you found this article helpful and want to learn more about web design and SEO, then have a look at our resource bank.

If you're looking for IT Support services for business or home, then try Unigold 2000.