In the early days of the web, pages were stored on servers and delivered unchanged to browsers. Later, templating systems and content management systems like WordPress rendered pages on the server. Code executed on the server filled placeholders with information from a database, building HTML pages that browsers could display.
WordPress is a content management system that renders pages on the server. When a browser makes a request, PHP code is executed, fetching data from the database, processing it according to various conditions, then sending the rendered HTML to the browser.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
The Pros and Cons Of WordPress Server Rendering
As I have already explained, WordPress was built to render pages on the server, as were most content management systems. The browser receives a complete HTML document to display.
Assuming the site is hosted with a competent hosting provider, the rendering of the page takes milliseconds – often quicker with caching. More complex pages may take longer, but server rendering is unlikely to negatively impact performance.
The Pros and Cons Of WordPress Client Rendering
Subsequent page loads are faster because the web app only has to request the content from the server, which doesn’t have to build a full page. Additionally, intelligent caching and prefetching can make subsequent page loads almost instantaneous. In fact, the web app doesn’t have to reload the full page. It just changes the content of the currently loaded page.
Which Is Right For Your Website?
WordPress is a fast and reliable content management system. There is a huge ecosystem of plugins and themes that hook into its server rendering model. For most websites, servers rendered WordPress is the right choice.