Server Side Rendering Vs. Client Side Rendering: What’s The Difference?

I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and simple. If you have a lot of content, most likely you have a CMS (content management system). Some have these in-house and others move hosting to a completely different platform that is better equipped to handle the traffic and server load. This is where client side and server side rendering come into play. The questions is, what’s the difference, and which one is best for you?

So, in this article, I’ll be diving into both of these to give you the run-down. That way, you can decide which one is best and why there is such a big difference between the two.

Heard of server side rendering? What about client side? Here’s what you need to know:

Server Side Rendering

Server Side Rendering (SSR) is, in short, a technique for rendering a normally client-side only single page on the server and then sending a fully rendered page to the client. Think of it like a drag and drop. The server is grabbing one thing from your site and sending it to the client – like a middle man. The benefit in this, however, revolves around the performance of the page. This not only includes your side, but on the client side as well. Pages are faster and usually interactive in record time for that first interaction sequence.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved SEO as bots are able to crawl these better
  • Faster load times (initially)
writing website copy

Client Side Rendering

Client Side Rendering (CSR) involves Javascript. More specifically, instead of receiving content directly from the HTML document, users receive the JavaScript that then renders the site using the browser. This is actually a newer method of rendering as Javascript continues to be more involved in sites. Although this process does make time to interact quicker (but can drag down overall page speed since it loads the whole page rather than in pieces like with SSR), it can have an influence on how bots crawls your site.

That being said, here are some key benefits:

  • Incorporates lazy loading
  • Rich interactions
  • Easier deploys

Truth is, both have their pros and cons. It all depends on what your goals are for the page and website as a whole. You may only care about speed and not SEO. Or, the complete opposite. However, if you want the best of both worlds, that is also possible.

By making your initial first page load (meaning, the very first time a page loads when someone visits) structured through SSR you are able to get that faster, initial load time while also ensuring that crawlers can search the site well. Then, for any secondary pages, CSR can be implemented in order to help faster render and reload time. It’s a win-win.

So, what do you think? Have you decided which one is best for you? Either way, it’s a tough decision and knowing your goals and objectives for your site helps you get there.

Published by Stevie Howard

I am a digital marketer that has experience in a variety of fields including social media, SEO, SEM, lead generation, content strategy, and more.

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