Why Server Side Testing is Better than Client Side Testing
It gives users a better experience
- Client-side testing tools often take time after the page loads to make their changes to the page. This means users will often see one version of the page when it initially loads, before it switches.
- This effect can also cause elements to shift around on the page, which can be a bad user experience, especially if a user tries to click on one element and ends up clicking on something else.
- If the changes are made server-side, and the site is deployed behind a CDN, the changes to the page can be cached, which means a user will only see the changed version of the page, without slow page load times or elements moving around the page.
It’s better for SEO testing
- This can also lead to mixed signals, especially around crawling and indexation directives such as canonical tags, noindex and nofollow. If one version is set when the page initially loads, and it is updated client-side, Google will receive a mixed signal and will err on the side of the more restrictive setting (noindex or nofollow over index or follow).
- Internal linking tests are only possible if implemented server-side. This is because, again, Google can be unreliable in rendering elements added or removed via JS, and we cannot reliably know which version of the page (before or after client-side changes) Google is taking into account for linking purposes.
- Client-side testing tools do not enable you to change status codes, or implement redirects. If you want to test a change involving redirects, that’s only possible with server-side testing.
And there’s more
- Because SearchPilot is server-side, it can be used as a meta-CMS, enabling you to add new content, make design changes, or even create brand new pages.
- With server-side testing, we’re able to serve entire new templates directly from the origin server, rather than modifying the page. We can add headers to requests, which can be used by the origin server to return a completely different version of the page. This can even include whole new pieces of website functionality that wouldn’t be possible to deliver through a client-side testing tool.