What Is a Server-Side Web App?


Larry Thompson

When it comes to web development, there are two main types of applications – client-side and server-side. In this article, we will focus on understanding what a server-side web app is and how it differs from a client-side web app.

Server-Side Web App: An Overview

A server-side web app, also known as a back-end web app, is an application where the majority of the processing occurs on the server. This means that the server is responsible for generating the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that is sent to the client’s browser.

Key Characteristics of Server-Side Web Apps:

  • Dynamic Content: One of the main advantages of server-side web apps is their ability to generate dynamic content. This means that the content displayed to the user can change based on various factors such as user input, database queries, or external API calls.
  • Data Processing: In a server-side web app, data processing tasks such as form validation, database operations, and business logic are handled on the server.

    This allows for more secure and controlled data handling.

  • Scalability: Server-side web apps are generally more scalable than client-side apps because they can handle a larger number of simultaneous requests. The server takes care of processing each request separately without affecting others.

Differences between Server-Side and Client-Side Web Apps

In order to fully understand what a server-side web app is, it’s important to compare it with its counterpart – client-side web apps.

Client-Side Web Apps

A client-side web app is an application where most of the processing happens on the client’s browser. This means that the client’s device is responsible for rendering the HTML, CSS, and executing JavaScript code.

Key Characteristics of Client-Side Web Apps:

  • Interactivity: Client-side web apps are highly interactive as they can respond to user actions without making round trips to the server. This allows for a smoother and more responsive user experience.
  • Fast Rendering: Since client-side web apps do not rely on server processing for rendering, they can load and display content faster. This is especially beneficial for static websites or applications with minimal data processing requirements.
  • Data Security: In a client-side web app, sensitive data can be handled more securely as it does not need to be transmitted back and forth between the server and the client.

Choosing Between Server-Side and Client-Side Web Apps

The choice between server-side and client-side web apps depends on various factors such as project requirements, scalability needs, development resources, and security considerations.

If your application requires frequent interactions with the server, dynamic content generation, or complex data processing tasks, a server-side web app might be the better choice. On the other hand, if your focus is on interactivity, fast rendering speed, or handling sensitive data locally on the client’s device, a client-side web app could be more suitable.


In summary, a server-side web app is an application where most of the processing occurs on the server. It excels at generating dynamic content and handling data processing tasks securely. Understanding the differences between server-side and client-side web apps is crucial in order to choose the right approach for your specific project requirements.

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