Client-side testing is by far the most commonly-used solution employed by companies with A/B testing and personalization programs. But over time, many have come to realize this approach can clash with existing and emerging technologies, add performance challenges, create privacy concerns, and more. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in demand for a solution to tackle these increasingly-important issues.
This article will share a quick tip sheet on client-side vs server-side testing, providing a brief overview of both and the considerations to take into account before selecting either approach.
Table of contents
What is client-side testing?
What is server-side testing?
A server-side integration enables organizations to call the personalization service before the page is rendered and is built into the back-end of your web application tech stack. The more sophisticated method, personalization can be achieved beyond the web (kiosks, call centres, etc.) with a server-side approach.
Which one is best?
The longstanding client-side vs. server-side testing debate often concentrates on the question of convenience: which is easiest to integrate and test with?
Pros and cons of client-side testing:
- PRO: Business users can create experiences with ease
- PRO: Requires minimal development hours and time-to-deploy is quick
- CON: Can clash with existing technologies and emerging frameworks
- CON: Doesn’t allow brands to expand web experiences into other channels
Pros and cons of server-side testing:
- PRO: Wider range of capabilities with minimal to zero effect on site speed
- PRO: Allows brands to deliver tailored experiences across the customer journey
- CON: More difficult for set up and deploy
- CON: Designed for developers, therefore less business user-friendly
So how do I choose?
While there’s no simple answer, a few guidelines are:
- If your primary users will be marketers and time-to-launch is their first priority, client-side is likely to be the best choice.
- If your tech and R&D departments will be heavily involved, are planning on using more sophisticated integrations, or deploying experiences beyond the web, server-side is likely the answer you’re looking for.
- A hybrid approach is also possible with some modern, personalization platforms, where pre-rendered server-side testing can coexist with traditional client-side testing.