Creating and optimizing websites with client-side testing methods do not do justice to your advanced websites. As technology advances, the complexity of our websites and their components also increases, ensuring a better look and feel of the websites. Therefore, we must test every aspect of the websites before making them live for our users. Thus, we require more advanced tests that offer more opportunities for experimentation.
To overcome the limitations of the client-side testing, marketing teams are now opting for server-side testing that considers deeper parts of your website while testing. It will carry out all the tests at the server rather than on the user’s machine, thus making its way for top e-commerce companies.
We will be focusing on what server-side testing is, how it is better than client-side testing, the advantages of server-side testing, and how it works.
Server-side testing can be considered as experiments that are conducted on variations of websites that are rendered directly to the webserver. This testing does not limit your testing scope to the UI of the website but considers another essential aspect. But it does not mean that client-side testing is off the table. You can use server-side testing only in those scenarios where it is impossible to implement client-side testing.
Today, most of the changes are done at the server end. Thus, it requires quick and efficient testing options that seamlessly enhance the user experience. There is no doubt that server-side testing will improve the quality of your product.
Client-side testing is a suitable option when the testing scope is limited only to the look and feel of your website. It is considered a front-end testing method that is possible with low cost and is easy to get started.
The process of client-side testing is straightforward, as explained below:
First, the user visits a website via their web browser.
The webpage sends a request to the server to get all the required codes. In response, the default version of the page is sent back.
Though it is a fast process, it sometimes causes a flickering effect that causes poor performance due to the latency of the page. The client-side testing is well-suited for minor changes such as buttons, small tweaks to the language, minor changes to the dynamic content, and others.
While on the other hand, server-side testing is capable of doing more involved testing, including the backend of the applications. We shall discuss the process later in detail in this article. You can use server-side testing if you are redesigning the application.
Below are the limitations of Client-side testing that lets the markets use server-side testing.
Flicker Effect: is when the original page appears instantly before the variation loads, impacting the user experience and overall consumer engagement.
Requires More Testing: different browsers support scripts differently, thus requiring extra time to conduct testing.
Restriction to Browsers: it is not supported by all browsers, so the user will face an error if there is no alternative available for the script.
The below steps are involved in the simple server-side testing:
Install the SDK to integrate it into your server application to conduct tests.
If the user searches for the website via a browser, a request goes to the backend server with the required SDK for the server-side testing tool.
This SDK will act as an interface between the server of the website and the server of the testing tool. It fetches all necessary details from the server of the testing tool in JSON format.
These settings will create a client instance of SDK that will enable the A/B testing providing variations for the website.
After the variation is assigned at the server-side, the data goes to the tool for tracking purposes.
If you implement the server-side testing correctly, you will leverage most of its benefits.
You can test the complex situations that are limited with client-side testing. It will enable you to test your database, integrate third-party algorithms and others. It also supports the testing for the backend of your application.
With server-side testing, you can make changes and improvements based on hard facts rather than on some ambiguous assumptions.
The user will get a smooth user experience as they will get the variation page directly from the server. It will make the page loading faster and reduce the flicker effect that impacts the performance.
It ensures deep and fast experiments. If you make changes due to any malfunction, you can quickly redesign the program with minimal cost.
You can carry out server-side testing on any platform and device as it offers an omnichannel facility.
It allows you to test various features, measure their impact, and safely roll out the changes in stages, rather than making the changes live to all your users at once.
Despite the various benefits of using server-side testing, some challenges exist in implementing it.
You will require a dedicated development team to conduct server-side testing and improve the user experience based on those tests. It depends on developers as marketers cannot single-handedly execute these tests. You need to invest in this additional development team.
Server-side testing is complex as you need to code variations before starting the testing, thus making it a slower process than client-side testing. Also, it will take extra time to test the crucial features of the websites and their products and get in-depth insights on how to optimize the entire stack.
You can use the server-side testing in the below scenarios:
You can use server-side testing for mobile-based applications as these sites come with more dynamic data. Client-side testing will not work in this scenario if there is slow network connectivity.
When you want to experiment with flexibility with all the parameters of your website.
When you are going to launch a new product or feature to your application.
When you need to run tests with paramount data security.
When you do not want to impact the performance of your website.
When you want to enhance the mobile in-app user experience.
Server-side testing takes place at the server-side, and it includes many types of testing. But the most commonly used are A/B testing and multivariate testing.
A/B Testing: it is used for optimizing the designs. It works on data analytics for determining which variable is preferred mainly by the users. It helps in improving the conversions and overall user experience based on decisions and comparing various versions with new modifications.
Multivariate testing is almost similar to A/B testing, but multivariate allows you to measure several feature variations. For example, you can quickly test which combination of changes leads to better results. But it has limitations when you want to experiment with several UI variable combinations.
Our vision at A/B Smartly is to democratize experimentation across organizations. Our server-side testing allows you to experiment on variations of your website rendered directly to the webserver.
Server-side testing has many important capabilities for modern-world, complex, and demanding applications. With server-side testing, you will be able to test every aspect of your application on all types of platforms. You can use A/B testing and multivariate testing as your server-side testing methods, and you will have complete control over your infrastructure before the actual testing starts.
Both server-side and client-side testing have pros and cons and are suitable for different testing situations. So, it depends on your business requirement which testing method you will choose; if you are confused, you may refer to the given image.