SSR vs CSR: Which Rendering Option Boosts Performance?

by Jessica Gavino
October 3, 2023
SSR vs CSR: Which Rendering Option Boosts Performance?

If you’ve ever wondered about the nitty-gritty details that go into making a website perform smoothly, you’re in the right place. One of the most crucial aspects to consider when developing a website is how it’s rendered. We’re talking about server-side rendering (SSR) and client-side rendering (CSR)—two phrases you might’ve heard before but may not fully understand. That’s perfectly okay; we’re here to help clarify things for you.

At, we’re all about developing high-quality, efficient websites. We’re the go-to developer partner for agencies and freelancers, and we do all our coding from scratch. That’s right, no shortcuts or cookie-cutter approaches here!

Today, we’re going to dive into the big debate: server-side rendering versus client-side rendering. We’ll explore what these terms mean, why they matter for your website’s performance, and how you can make an informed choice between the two.

What Is Rendering?

You know when you click on a link or type a web address, and then—voila!—a complete webpage appears on your screen? Well, that magic moment is made possible by something called rendering. In simple terms, rendering is the process that transforms code into the visible or functional webpage that you interact with.

There are two main types of rendering that developers generally consider: server-side rendering (SSR) and client-side rendering (CSR). These two approaches determine how and where this transformation from code to webpage happens.

In server-side rendering, it’s the server that does the heavy lifting. When you request a webpage, the server puts together the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and sends it over to your browser fully formed. You see the page all at once, like receiving a finished painting.

On the flip side, client-side rendering means your web browser is doing the work. When you request a webpage, the server sends over a more “skeletal” version of the page. Your browser then uses JavaScript to fill in the gaps, sort of like a paint-by-numbers set that comes to life as you go along.

Both approaches come with their own sets of pros and cons, and the best choice really depends on your specific needs. That’s what we’re going to help you figure out in this post.

Why Is Server-side Rendering Better?

You might be wondering, “Why would anyone opt for server-side rendering?” Good question! SSR has several strong points that can make it a go-to choice for certain web development projects.

Firstly, server-side rendering is generally great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines find it easier to crawl websites with SSR, meaning your site is more likely to rank higher in search results. If being found on Google is crucial for your business, SSR is a serious contender.

Performance is another key factor. When a server sends a fully assembled webpage, it’s often quicker for the end-user. They don’t have to wait for their browser to construct the page piece by piece. In essence, server-side rendering often provides a faster initial load time. This is especially important for websites where first impressions are vital, like e-commerce sites or online portfolios.

But what does server-side rendering actually do? At its core, SSR pre-renders the webpage on the server and sends this pre-rendered page to the client’s browser. This approach minimizes the amount of work the client’s browser has to do, which can be a significant benefit for users on less powerful devices or slower internet connections.

However, SSR is not always the faster option for every scenario. We’ll discuss this more in later sections, but it’s worth noting that client-side rendering has its own set of advantages, particularly when it comes to interactive and dynamic content.

When and Why to Use Client-side Rendering?

Let’s kick things off with user experience. Client-side rendering is great for web applications that are heavy on user interaction. Think about social media platforms or online games where content constantly updates without the need for a full page reload. With CSR, once the initial page is loaded, navigating between different parts of the application is often smoother and quicker, creating a more fluid user experience.

But is client-side rendering faster? Well, it depends. If you’re talking about initial page load, probably not. But if you’re considering the speed of navigating between different parts of a web application once that initial page is loaded, then yes, client-side rendering can be faster.

So, what makes client-side rendering special? Essentially, CSR offloads much of the rendering work to the client’s browser. When your browser receives the “skeletal” webpage from the server, it uses JavaScript to fill in the content dynamically. This way, when you navigate to different parts of the application, only the new pieces of content need to be loaded, not the entire page.

And let’s not forget the advantages client-side rendering has for reducing server load. With CSR, the server doesn’t have to generate a new HTML page every time a user requests a new piece of information, which can lead to better server performance.

Of course, client-side rendering isn’t perfect and has its own downsides, but it can be a perfect fit for web applications where a smooth, interactive user experience is more important than initial load time.

a man using a laptop while standing

The Trade-offs: What You Should Know

Every choice comes with its pros and cons, and choosing between server-side and client-side rendering is no exception. Let’s get into some of the limitations you’ll want to be aware of when making your decision.

Server-side Rendering

  • Server Load: One downside of SSR is that it can be more demanding on your server. Every time a user requests a page, the server has to build it from scratch. This can lead to performance issues, especially if you have a high-traffic website.
  • Limited Interactivity: While SSR is excellent for content-heavy websites, it might not be the best choice for web apps that require a lot of user interactions or real-time updates.
  • Cost: Generally, server-side rendering can consume more computational resources, which can translate to higher operational costs for maintaining powerful servers.

Client-side Rendering

  • SEO Challenges: One of the main disadvantages of client-side rendering is its impact on SEO. Because content is loaded dynamically, search engine crawlers may find it harder to index your website, which can affect your rankings.
  • Initial Load Time: As we mentioned before, client-side rendering usually has slower initial page load times. This can be a turn-off for users who want quick information and could result in higher bounce rates.
  • Browser Dependency: CSR relies heavily on the user’s browser to load content. Older browsers or less powerful devices might struggle to render pages quickly, affecting user experience.

It’s all about understanding your needs and those of your end-users when picking between SSR and CSR. Both have their merits, and the best choice for your project will depend on a variety of factors, from SEO needs to user experience preferences.

At, we understand these trade-offs deeply because we hand-code every project from scratch, aligning the technology perfectly with your specific requirements. No shortcuts or one-size-fits-all solutions here—just thoughtful, tailored web development.

Choosing Between SSR and CSR: Decision-Making Criteria

By now, you should have a good idea about the advantages and disadvantages of both server-side rendering (SSR) and client-side rendering (CSR). But you might still be wondering, “Which is better for my specific situation?” Don’t worry, we’re going to help you make that decision.

  1. SEO Importance: If having a high search engine ranking is crucial for your project, server-side rendering should be high on your list. It’s friendlier to search engine crawlers and can help improve your site’s visibility.
  2. User Interaction: For applications that require a lot of real-time updates and user engagement—think social networks or complex web apps—client-side rendering may offer a smoother experience.
  3. Budget and Resources: Consider your budget and available server resources. If you’re running a smaller operation with limited server capacity, the lighter load of client-side rendering might be advantageous.
  4. Initial Load Time: If your website is more informational and you want the content to load quickly upon first visit, server-side rendering has the upper hand.
  5. Target Audience: Know your users. If your audience is more likely to be using older technology or slower internet connections, the quicker initial load times of server-side rendering can provide a better user experience.
  6. Development Complexity: Lastly, consider the skills of your development team. Some frameworks are better suited for SSR or CSR, and your team’s expertise could influence the choice.

When it comes to making this decision, you don’t have to go it alone. At, we specialize in crafting optimized web solutions from scratch. Whether you’re an agency or a freelancer looking for a reliable developer partner, we’re here to help you make the most informed decisions for your project.

Real-World Scenarios: SSR and CSR in Action

Understanding the theory behind server-side and client-side rendering is great, but sometimes it helps to see these concepts in action. Here are a few real-world scenarios where one might be more appropriate than the other.

News Websites and Blogs

For content-heavy platforms like news websites and blogs, server-side rendering is often the preferred choice. The main reason? SEO. These types of sites rely heavily on discoverability through search engines. Additionally, quick initial load times are crucial to keep the reader’s attention.

E-commerce Platforms

It’s a bit of a mix here. The product listing pages might benefit from server-side rendering for quicker load times and better SEO, while the interactive cart and checkout processes could utilize client-side rendering for a smoother user experience.

Social Media Platforms

Client-side rendering shines in social media platforms where the content is extremely dynamic and user interactions are frequent. The need for real-time updates makes CSR a good fit here.

Online Tools and Dashboards

For applications that users log into and use for extended periods, like online tools and dashboards, client-side rendering is often more suitable. These platforms benefit from the fluidity and dynamic capabilities that CSR offers.

Frequently Asked Scenarios:

  • Server-side rendering vs client-side rendering in React: In the React ecosystem, server-side rendering is usually implemented using frameworks like Next.js to provide the best of both worlds—SEO benefits and interactive UIs.
  • Server-side rendering vs client-side rendering in JavaScript: In vanilla JavaScript, SSR can be set up manually by serving pre-rendered HTML from the server. CSR is the default behavior of most client-side JavaScript frameworks like Angular or Vue.

By knowing which approach suits which type of project, you can make a more informed decision about how to build your own website or web application. Remember, at, we tailor our coding to your specific needs, making sure you get the best rendering method for your project.

Conclusion: Your Trusted Developer Partner for the Right Choice

By this point, we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. From understanding the basics of server-side and client-side rendering, to weighing their pros and cons, and even exploring real-world scenarios, we’ve taken a comprehensive look at this important aspect of web development.

But let’s face it, even with all this information, making a choice between SSR and CSR can still be daunting. It’s not just a technical decision; it’s a business one as well. Your website or application is often the first impression potential customers have of your business. It needs to be fast, functional, and user-friendly.

That’s where we come in. At Hey Reliable, we don’t just code; we consult, guide, and collaborate to make sure you’re getting a web solution that aligns with your goals. We don’t use converter tools or plugins; every line of code is hand-crafted to meet the unique requirements of your project. Whether you’re an agency or a freelancer, we’re a dependable developer partner who understands the complexities involved in choosing the right rendering method.

So, if you’re in a dilemma about server-side vs client-side rendering, you don’t have to make the decision alone. Reach out to us, and let’s discuss how we can create a web experience that’s not just effective but exceptional.

There you have it, a comprehensive guide aimed at helping you make an educated decision between server-side and client-side rendering. Thank you for sticking with us through this informative dive into the world of web development. I hope it has been as enriching for you as it was for us to put it together.

Feel free to reach out for any questions, or better yet, let’s start talking about your next project!

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