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What is the difference between a static and a dynamic QR Code?

What is the difference between a static and a dynamic QR Code?

The most common QR Code type is a QR Code with an encoded URL. When scanning such a QR code the user is either being linked to your website directly (static QR Code) or he is redirected through a tracking URL to your website (dynamic QR Code). The following example explains the two approaches in more detail:

Static QR Code

Static QR Code directing to a website
The static QR Code redirects directly to the target website

Does not expire

An advantage of static QR Codes is that they have no expiry date and always work as long as the target URL is online.

Can be scanned unlimited

Static QR Codes can be scanned any number of times as long as the target server can process the requests.

Content can be read offline without an internet connection

If you only save text content such as events, contact information or WiFi connection data instead of a URL, these can also be read without an Internet connection.

Redirects directly to the target URL

With a static QR Code the user sees immediately where he is being redirected when scanning the QR Code, because the target URL is directly encoded into the QR Code. But what if for some reason the target URL is broken, removed or you just want to redirect the user to a different URL? If you have printed the QR Code already on thousands of magazines, you have a problem.

The content of a static QR code can NOT be changed and NOT be tracked after creation and you can NOT change a static QR Code into a dynamic QR Code

Unfortunately, you cannot change a static QR Code to a dynamic QR Code. Therefore, a static QR Code is called a static QR Code. Once printed a static QR Code can never be changed again. You can only change the target URL of a dynamic QR Code. Please always use dynamic QR Codes to avoid broken QR Codes.

Dynamic QR Code

Dynamic QR Code architecture
Dynamic QR Code that links to a website on smartphone through a tracking server

QR Code Tracking with GDPR compliant analytics

With a dynamic QR Code you are not only able to change the target URL of the QR Code after publishing but also track from where, when and from who the code has been scanned. This is accomplished by routing the user through a tracking server first and then redirect the user to the original URL. The first URL is called the tracking or Vanity URL. The data we collect is anonymous and cannot be assigned to any person and therefore it is compliant with any data protection regulations like GDPR or CCPA.

Change the target URL after printing the QR Code

When you create a dynamic QR code, you have the option of changing the target address at any time. We often keep getting inquiries like:

We had a high-volume catalog printed with QR Codes and accidentally deleted the underlying YouTube videos. Can I link the QR Codes to another video?

If you already have a QR Code campaign running and are using dynamic QR Codes, changing the destination address is easy without having to reprint the QR Code.

Changing the target URL of a dynamic QR Code does not change the appearance nor the structure of the QR Code.

But even if a typo has crept in or you forgot to put the http-protocol in front of the link (some QR code readers do not recognize the link if the protocol is missing), you can easily correct the target URL.

Schedule redirects

Scheduled redirects

Another use case for dynamic QR codes are campaigns that should only be forwarded to a URL after a certain date. For example, you can create a time-controlled forwarding that links to a dummy page by a certain date and only forwards to the actual target page from the key date X.

broken link

We regularly check your dynamic QR codes to see whether the target address of a QR code is still available. Our link monitor automatically informs you by e-mail if it discovers an orphaned link. You can then point the target address of your dynamic QR code to a valid URL.

Supports slim tracking URLs for better readability

Shortened tracking URLs have another advantage: due to the smaller number of characters encoded in the QR code, the QR code can also be printed out smaller and still remains readable. The following example illustrates a QR code with a long URL on the left and a tiny dynamic QR code with the slim short URL on the right.

Regular URL vs Short URL
2) A shorted URL:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert a dynamic QR Code to a static QR Code?

No. The URL in the QR code is either a shortened URL that runs through our server (dynamic) or the target URL is encoded directly in the QR code (static). It is not possible to switch between static and dynamic QR Codes as these are different URLs.

Can I convert a static QR Code to a dynamic QR Code?

No. The URL in the QR code is either a shortened URL that runs through our server (dynamic) or the target URL is encoded directly in the QR code (static). It is not possible to switch between static and dynamic QR Codes as these are different URLs.

Be careful when choosing a QR Code service

Always be careful when using a QR Code tracking service. Some providers route the user through a landing page first, where an ad is displayed before continuing to the target URL. Another risk is if the tracking server goes offline, the dynamic QR Code will not work anymore. There are also providers where it is not immediately apparent that the offer is subject to a fee and the QR code only continues to work if you pay.

Therefore, we recommend you to use our fast and secure infrastructure. We do not display any ads and you can create both – static and dynamic QR Codes – for free. Moreover, we offer you a white label solution to create dynamic QR Codes that contain your own domain. This ensures you always have full control over your QR Codes, and you are not depended on our service. You can change to a different provider and export all QR Codes from us at any time.

Last update 2 months ago

How do I find out if a QR Code is dynamic or static?

Decode the QR Code first. Dynamic QR Codes have mostly shortened URLs encoded and therefor they are less crowded and they are smaller than static QR Codes.