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Server-Side vs. Client-Side Cybersecurity: What’s the Difference?

Alex McConnell
Alex McConnell
22/12/23
3 Minute read
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Article Contents

    The client-server model forms the basis for almost all online activity. Under this architecture, devices are split into data requesters (known as clients) and data providers (known as servers). A client sends a request to a web server, and the server provides the client with the relevant information.

    Casual internet users don’t usually need to be aware of this distinction. But when you’re looking for a cybersecurity solution to protect your business, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of server-side vs client-side applications.

    Learn more about the difference between client-side and server-side web development, and which is best for protecting your website and mobile app.

    What is server-side vs client-side web development?

    The client-side of a web application or program refers to any activity that takes place on the user’s device or interface. Client device interactions send information requests to the server.  Entering a URL into a browser, for example, sends a request to the website’s server to load the page.

    When the server receives the client request, it finds and returns the required information. In this example, the server would load the web page for the URL. The server-side of a program refers to everything that happens behind the scenes, where the user or client can’t see it.

    The pros and cons of client-side scripting for cybersecurity

    Most client-side code is written in JavaScript. JavaScript is a widely-used programming language that’s universally understood, so it can be rendered across all kinds of browsers and devices.

    However, as websites become more complex, JavaScript is slowing them down. JavaScript now accounts for 26% of page weight, so it’s a major cause of slow site speeds and poor performance. This has an impact on usability, conversion, and SEO.

    This is also true for cybersecurity. Most traditional security solutions like web application firewalls require client-side installation. This typically involves deploying JavaScript agents across your devices and servers, which increases latency and lag across your online environments.

    The pros and cons of server-side scripts in cybersecurity

    Unlike client-side code, server-side scripting doesn’t need to be understood by lots of different browsers. It can be written specifically for your servers to understand, so you can use any kind of scripting language. The most popular server-side programming languages are:

    • Python
    • PHP
    • Ruby
    • C#

    Because you don’t need to rely on JavaScript code, server-side cybersecurity solutions have much less impact on site performance and UX.

    Server-side solutions also make use of the vast databases you can store on your web servers. You can store and maintain an extensive threat database, allowing your system to recognize and block more cyber threats without client-side intervention.

    Server-side vs client-side: which is better for cybersecurity?

    Server-side systems are fast becoming the preferred cybersecurity option for many global corporations. Bot management solutions like Netacea make use of server-side technology to implement rapid, intelligent threat-detection for dozens of large companies.

    As one client reported, “Netacea is unlike any traditional security solution. The bot traffic we used to see with our old JavaScript solution is nothing compared to what we currently see on a day-to-day basis.”

    Here are five reasons to switch to server-side cybersecurity.

    5 reasons to choose a server-side cybersecurity solution

    1. Detect more threats

    With server-side technology, you won’t need to update databases in your firewall or CDN. The centralized database stores updated threat information automatically, so you can identify and block new and unknown threats. Plus, you’ll save money on manual maintenance and updates.

    1. Improve site performance

    Because server-side solutions don’t rely on clunky JavaScript agents, they don’t slow down your website or mobile app. Every additional second of load time causes website conversion rates to drop by 4.42% — so it’s essential to protect your site speeds and performance.

    1. Enhance user experience

    Client-side cybersecurity systems compromise UX. They require users to manage their own data protection and security, by making them complete CAPTCHA forms and multi-factor authentication steps. Server-side technology works in the background, protecting user data without weakening your user experience.

    1. Ease of deployment

    Server-side solutions are quick and easy to deploy. You won’t need to update code or install agents. The solution can actively detect and block bad bots even in the middle of a cyberattack — so it’s a great way to get rapid online protection.

    1. Protect your entire online environment

    No matter how big your online environment is, you can make sure it’s fully protected from cyberattacks with server-side technology. Netacea is used to protect websites, apps, devices, APIs, and web servers from malicious bots.

    Find out more about using server-side bot management software to block online threats to your business.

    Block Bots Effortlessly with Netacea

    Book a demo and see how Netacea autonomously prevents sophisticated automated attacks.
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