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Client-side Rendering vs Server-side Rendering – Choosing the right one

Home - Services - Client-side Rendering vs Server-side Rendering – Choosing the right one

Client-side Rendering vs Server-side Rendering – Choosing the right one

Since the dawn of the world wide web, utilising server-side rendering is the only method to load your HTML doc on-screen. However, these web pages visible on the browser mainly contained texts and pictures. 

Nowadays, there’s a profound change in the scenario. The demands of users have increased with growing technology and services. People send messages, watch videos, shop online, update information online, and become more interactive with the website corresponding to their needs.  You could debate on the fact that these days, websites are more like applications posing to be websites. For instance, present sites offer web applications like Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Client side rendering vs Server side rendering

As the web page gets loaded, it can either be rendered on the server (i.e., server-side rendering) or the browser (i.e., client-side rendering). Both of them are different and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages of using it.

The web users are increasing day by day and this leads to the growing demand of the world wide web. Developers prefer the client-side rendering of websites using frameworks like ember, angular, react.js, backbone, and so on. 

Understanding HTTP Request and Response

The web browser requests the server to load the content of the web, such as HTML, assets, styles, and other data. Request and response duration depends on the following things:

  • Optimal internet connection and speed
  • Distance between the user and the server
  • Website and CDN optimization
  • Number of users visiting a particular website at a given time 

If you are confused about which is the right method, CSR or SSR – think what do you want to create? Have a good read about the fundamental process of both the rendering options along with its pros and cons. Let us understand the concepts in more detail.

Client-Side Rendering

Understanding Client-Side rendering

Client-side rendering is reasonably a new approach to rendering websites. It wasn’t popular until JavaScript libraries like Angular, ReactJS and VueJS started uniting it.

When the user visits the website, and his browser makes a request to the server, the user receives a response with a single HTML file. The file is without any loading screen or content in it. It’s a blank web page until the browser retrieves all linked JavaScripts and compile everything before rendering the content to the screen. Besides that, the initial web page load speed is naturally slow. 

However after that, every subsequent page loading is high-speed. In this context, communication with the server is made on the fly only as needed. Also, there is no need to refresh the entire User Interface after every appeal to the server. The client-side framework updates the UI with changed data by re-rendering that particular DOM element.

Angular and React.js are one of the best examples of libraries used in client-side rendering.

The right use of Client-side rendering

  • An extensive web application with loads of dynamic data requests and processing.
  • A web application with a complex UI and multiple web pages supported by various features.
  • The focus is on making a rich site with an array of users.
  • Write website preference is more than the Reading preference of the site.

Pros of client-side rendering

  • Fast website rendering after initial content loading
  • Smooth navigation access throughout the website
  • Lesser server load from the website
  • Serves remarkable for web apps
  • Rich website interactions are possible using client-side rendering
  • It requires a robust choice of JavaScript libraries.

Cons of Client-side rendering

  • Client-side routing solutions can linger web crawling.
  • Initial request loads the CSS, js, layouts, web page, and some or all content is not included at once.
  • Unpredictable performance – you do not know if the user can open and compile your website on a mobile device with a slow internet connection or not updated browser
  • Low Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if not implemented, ideally.
  • It requires an external library most of the time.

Server-Side Rendering

Understanding Server-side rendering

As we know, SSR is not a new concept in the web industry. It has been used before for backend solutions, like PHP or JAVA. Server-side rendering is a solution to render your website. 

In server-side rendering, when a user requests a web page, the server makes an HTML page by fetching user-specific data and responds it to the user’s machine. The browser then interprets the content and displays it on the web page. This whole process of fetching data from the database, while creating an HTML page and sending it to the user happens in a short span of milliseconds only.

In this case, if the user clicks a link on a web page, the browser sends a request to the server, and the entire process is performed by the server repeatedly. It not only increases the load on the server but also utilizes unnecessary bandwidth over the internet.

The right use of Server-side rendering

  • A web application with less dynamic data or content load.
  • It works best for a web application with a very simple UI and fewer web pages/features.
  • A private organization website with a limited number of users and less of data fetching
  • The Reading website preference is more than Write preference of the site.

Pros of server-side rendering

  • Search engines can easily crawl the website concerning great SEO practices.
  • It always shares the code with the backend node.
  • The initial loading of web page content is faster.
  • The user-machine is less busy in practicing SSR solutions 
  • It is suitable for rendering static websites.
  • It is Search Engine (SEO) friendly and assures that your pages are indexable by search engines
  • Functions for a better performing website and the user machines.
  • Excellent Social Media Optimization and support – SSR helps to drive traffic from social media.

Cons of server side rendering

  • The server will always stay busy under frequent requests and can execute only a few requests per second.
  • The HTML files will be loaded with content.
  • The web page has great content visibility, but will not be interactive.
  •  The user has to wait until the response is executed by the server.
  • The full web page is reloaded after routes change.
  • It is an overall slow web page rendering solution, resulting in fewer user interactions.
  • It covers less Time for First Byte(TTFB) making the server spend more time to prepare HTML for your web page instead of sending an empty HTML doc file linked to Javascript.

Takeaway

In a nutshell, client-side rendering is like receiving a dismantled set of a data-train which need to be assembled yourself whereas the server-side is like receiving a pre-assembled train set. If you want to build a web app with react, and you care about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media Optimisation(SMO), and faster rendering for the user you should think about employing SSR solutions.

However, if you are building a Single Page Application, SEO might not be a concern, and you’re free to go with CSR. It probably won’t make a big difference until and unless you want it to get ranked in search engines. I hope this blog encourages you to make the right choice. Stay tuned for more articles pitching similar topics.

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