Client-Side vs. Server-Side Optimization: What is the difference?

by Marketing Team,
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Client-Side vs. Server-Side Optimization: What is the difference?

Web optimization is a vital part of web development and often can be overlooked by marketers. Just think of the money you can save when you increase readership and traffic. If your organization has an optimization program, odds are you’ve already checked off the easy button color changes and shifting the locations of CTAs. Your program is pushing into new frontier—beyond the web, with an emphasis on tailored microservices. With that paradigm shift, your experimentation platform will need to evolve with your ambitions and ideas. Your client-side solution may not contain all the capabilities that are required. You set out to see if there are other solutions, and you find one server-side optimization.

What is server-side and how is it different than client-side?


The key difference is that client-side optimization runs code on your user’s device, which then manipulates elements on the page. Whereas server-side optimization means that all those manipulations are happening before the page code is sent to your user’s browser. Server-side delivers improved performance and a different menu of experimentation possibilities.

Server-side fills in some of the known gaps with client-side experimentation. Flicker is removed as server-side completes all adjustments, additions, and subtractions before any code is sent to the user’s device. IT departments have been concerned about injecting code client-side that changes the user experience. With server-side, the IT department has total control over those manipulations. Client-side is limited in which back-end systems it can gain access to. While server-side can access any system feeding into the page construction. No web, no problem. Server-side infrastructure can support all your platforms from apps to over-the-top devices.

But a server-side solution does require a rethink of your organization still sets, your experimentation process, and deployed the technology. We’ve found these to be foundation questions to answer:

  • What types of uses cases will server-side technology fulfill?
  • How will marketing participate in a server-side program?
  • How will our IT program facility development of experiments?
  • What type of deployment makes the most sense, server-side solo, or a hybrid server and client side?

You have a strategic advisor in Ebiquity, as our optimization practice now supports server-side experimentation and personalization—covering the full cycle from strategic guidance to technical implementation and operation. We’d love to share our frameworks, assess your situation, and provide playbooks for getting started with server-side optimization. Check out our Full Stack Testing Server-Side Optimization program here.