Databases are a fantastic way to store most types of relational data and they
can be relevant to more website projects than you might think.
In this article we'll explore some of the benefits of having a database driven
website as well as looking at some of the draw backs.
What is a database?
We're fairly confident that these days most people have encountered databases
such as Microsoft Access or software based on databases.
Essentially a database allows us to store relational information in a logical
format making it easy to manage and retrieve.
It is possible to take almost any existing database and integrate it into your
website allowing both you and your customers to have access.
Why use a database in my website?
Traditional web pages are nothing more than a collection of images and text
files containing styling information and html. This can make maintaining and
updating regularly changing content a chore.
By incorporating a database into your website you can not only reduce the hassle
and complexity of maintaining and updating your website but also realise some
of the real power behind the web that comes with dynamic database driven website's.
One of the distinct advantages of database driven website's is the power it
gives you when designing and redesigning your pages or even customising the
experience for individual users and content types. With a database powering
your website you need only design and maintain a handful of pages to deliver
thousands of pages of dynamic content.
Another distinct advantage of a database driven website is that it can be made
to be highly searchable and organised making your content far more accessible
to the end user. By having static pages you immediately restrict the way in
which the user can interact with the content.
You can even migrate entire traditional software based systems to database
driven website's and realise the benefits
of web based applications.
What could I use database for?
If you have frequently changing content whether it be news, products, articles,
links, etc a database can be used to manage these more effectively.
Typical examples where a database driven website would be beneficial :
- e-commerce website's with more than a handful of products.
- Content management with regular updates, categorisation, etc.
- Forums and discussion groups.
- Subscription services such as newsletters.
Of course this is not a definitive list by any stretch of the imagination and
the scope for using a database within a website is massive.
What are the down sides?
In the majority of cases the advantages of database driven website's far out
weight the disadvantages but it is important to bare the disadvantages in mind
when embarking on such a project.
You will certainly need someone with a reasonable level of programming and
database knowledge to develop your website for you and this may be an on going
costs during the early stages of development and support for your website. Due
to some of the complexities involved this may limit your ability to make changes
to the website yourself as you would with a static website.
There will also be some technological requirements on your hosting plan. Many
hosting plans support databases and server side programming languages however
if yours doesn't you may need to upgrade or move to another service provider
The cost of the database is usually minimal and in many cases Microsoft Access
will more than meet the needs of your database driven website. In some cases
where you have large amounts of data or a high volume of traffic you may need
to go with a more robust database server such as Microsoft SQL Server or mySQL.
Such databases are very affordable but they increase the technical requirements
of your website developer and website hosting provider.
Many people often overlook the benefits of database driven website's and yet
even the smallest website will develop over time and could benefit from being
Databases add a new dynamic angle to your website giving additional leverage
and accessibility to your content providing a richer and more interactive user
experience whilst at the same time reducing the support and maintenance overhead
associated with maintaining static website's.
Why not contact db net solutions today to find out
if we could empower you with your own database driven website?
Below are some useful links and further reading.