Should I use frames?

HTML documents that are displayed together in one browser window. For example, you can place a hyperlink on one frame and have the page to open up in another frame.

Many website owners out there usually resort to use frames in their layouts. The reason being, less coding is needed and the fact that it is so easy to use makes it a favourable option. Listed below are the advantages of using frames:

  1. Frames allow multiple web pages to be displayed on the screen.
  2. (Static) navigation is always visible on your screen because the only thing that changes when you click on a link, is simply the frame’s content.
  3. Frames make the site load up faster as only the frame’s content will change. The other features of the site such as the layout, images, links, etc need not be refreshed every time a visitor clicks on a (internal) link. In short, using frames reduce the server load.

Yet, there are also the cons or disadvantages of using frames, and they can be read below:

  1. The most important disadvantage of using frames that need to be highlighted is the issue with search engines. Search engines will not be able to index pages that contain frames. This is because the index page normally contains no more than a frame (or two), some navigation links (or simply links), and a few images that serve as the layout. Because of that search engines will have too little information to report hence the failure to index the pages.
  2. When a visitor types in the specific URL to a page of a site, the visitor would be redirected to the actual page of the site, without the frame. For example, a visitor types in, the visitor would be redirected to actual.html page, and it will not appear in the frame.
  3. Printing contents that are placed in frames can be difficult compared to contents in normal websites.
  4. Though most modern browsers have the capability to view frames, some don’t. When they view a site that uses frames, all they see would be the error message “Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames” and they will not be able to see the contents inside the frames.
  5. Individual pages cannot be bookmarked because the URL will always be the same and that is the index page.
  6. People can “get stuck in the frames”. This happens when a visitor clicks on a hyperlink that leads to another site but instead of opening the new site on a fresh tab/window, the new site is opened in the frame instead.
  7. Too much frames in one page are just way too annoying. This is a psychological effect.

There are of course, other advantages and disadvantages of using frames but these are the only ones that I can mention here.

Even though there are more cons as opposed to pros in using frames, frames DO have their usefulness when used carefully and wisely. Otherwise, they can be a pain in the ass. So before you make a decision whether you want to implement frames into your site, think carefully and weigh your options.