Should Your Site Use Server-Side Rendering (SSR)?

Are you considering if you should be using SSR in your business? Depending on how you render different pages on your eCommerce store, you will provide a different user experience. As you scale your business you have so many factors to consider:

  • Product and collections pages
  • Landing pages
  • Campaigns
  • New feature releases
  • Website and technology updates
  • Experimentation with new ideas

Whilst achieving all of this, you would ultimately make sure that your customers are still enjoying a quick and easy experience. They should be able to browse, add to cart and checkout without any friction.

This sounds like a real task: so how is it possible? Server-Side Rendering (SSR) can be a great solution to these issues. It has the capacity to boost UX, site performance and SEO. Let’s take a look at how.

What Is Rendering?

Rendering refers to generating HTML markup to display web pages in your browser. Where and how this rendering process takes place will have a significant impact on factors such as:

  • User experience (UX)
  • Site performance
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

What Is Server-Side Rendering?

Server-Side rendering means that the server generates the HTML content of a website before it’s sent to the browser. SSR is a contrast to the recent shift towards JavaScript frameworks which rely on CSR (Client-Side Rendering). CSR can lead to performance issues, especially on unreliable or slow networks. SSR solves this issue by the rendering tasks being covered by the server. 

How Does SSR Work?

When a user requests a web page, the server processes this request and sends the relevant HTML. It also executes any JavaScript code necessary, as needed. Then once the request has been fully rendered, it sends this back to the user’s browser. The content can then be displayed immediately, without anything additional needed. This can result in faster load times and improved performance and SEO compared to CSR. 

HTML files used to be stored on servers, delivered directly to browsers as requested. However, as the web evolved, there became a need for richer and more dynamic experiences. This is how SSR emerged. SSR means that web pages are built on a server at that time. This means that pages are built in real-time and sent back to the browser as an HTML document.

This is the most popular rendering method you would find today. Why? Well it offers benefits such as keeping your pages up-to-date with dynamic data such as:

  • Pricing
  • Stock levels
  • Cart pages

Benefits Of SSR

Improved Performance 

The first benefit of SSR is the improved performance of your website. Because the server takes the rendering tasks, you can reduce the amount of work that the user’s browser needs. This can offer more standard experiences, rather than being variable based on individual browser speeds. The overall result is faster load times and a smoother user experience.

Better SEO

It also means that SEO (search engine optimization) is improved. Search engines such as Google use web crawlers to rank and index websites. Traditionally these have not been able to rank websites using CSR as clearly as those using SSR. SSR’s server generates fully-rendered HTML content meaning that crawlers can index your site in a more positive way for SSR.

Enhanced User Experience

Having a slow load time is very bad for your website. Pages should load in 2.5 seconds or less in order to provide a ‘good’ UX according to Google. JavaScript can result in a long loading page, which will cause users to bounce. SSR means that you can provide users with a fully-rendered page immediately. This will build brand loyalty and increase conversions.

Who Should Use SSR?

Content-Heavy Websites

Websites that house a lot of content such as:

  • Blogs
  • New sites
  • Ecommerce platforms

Should consider using SSR. This is because they can benefit from the content being rendered on the server, therefore the amount of time that JavaScript needs to load is lessened. When this loading is achieved on the merchant side, the client side will see a more responsive user interface and faster loading times.

Projects To Improve SEO

If you are aiming to improve SEO, SSR is a great strategy to achieve this. If your site relies heavily on organic search traffic, or if you are just trying to boost this, SSR can help. It will improve your rankings and therefore the chance of users finding your content.

Areas With Unreliable Networks

SSR can be a great solution if some of your target users are operating from slow or unreliable internet connections. In order to reach all of your target audience, SSR gives a more fair outreach. Since the server does the rendering tasks, the amount of data sent to clients is reduced and reduces likelihood of performance issues.


Overall, SSR holds many benefits for your eCommerce business. Through reducing the amount of data the clients browsers have to handle, you will improve the user experience whilst boosting conversions. Whether you have a specific interest to boost SEO, or if you house large data on your website, or if you simply want to offer an improved UX: SSR is the way forward for you.