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What Are The Differences Between Server Side Scripts and Client Side Scripts?

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Robin L.•updated: 3/17/2010

A brief look at the differences between Server Side Scripts and Client Side Scripts and the advantages of each one.

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    Scripts are the back bone that drives a lot of the elements and features of many web sites from forms to date and time stamps. There are generally two classifications for these scripts including server side scripts and client side scripts.

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    Server Side Scripts

    What Are Server Side Scripts?

    As the name implies, they are scripts that are housed on the server itself. This type of scripting option generally uses less of your visitors resources and is less dependent on a user's specific browsers.

    Advantages of Server Side Scripts:

    Since server side scripts run on the server they generally have more flexibility than client side scripts since you have a greater range of files that they can access and more variety of scripting languages to choose from. Some examples of scripting languages that you can use with server side scripts include Java, PHP, Perl, Python, and VBScript among others.

    Examples of Applications for Server Side Scripts:

    There are a lot of options for using server side scripts including some of the following frequently used applications:

    - Encrypting and Password Protection

    - Searching a Database on the Server

    - Processing an Online Form

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    Client Side Scripts

    What Are Client Side Scripts?

    Clent side scripts are different from ones that are run by a server. Scripts in the category of client side scripts are executed by, and run directly in, the user's browser itself. While client side scripts are limited in the number of scripting languages that can be used, the more widely known languages such as Java will work for client side scripts just as they do for the server based applications.

    Advantages of Client Side Scripts:

    Client side scripts are browser dependent which means that they may not work with out dated or incompatible browsers; however, they can still be very useful for creating a dynamic user experience. They are easily embeded into your web site using easy to use HTML code and because client side scripts are being ran in the browser they can easily and quickly respond to your user's actions which can make for a more interactive experience for your user when they visit your web site.

    Examples of Applications for Client Side Scripts:

    Because of their ability to react to your user's actions, these types of scripts can be used for many fun and useful applications such as:

    - Online Games

    - Form Checkers (those little help boxes that check the information that a user inputs into the fields of a form to make sure that they are accurate before the form is submitted)

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    Knowing the Difference Between the Two

    When choosing scripts, decide on what you need out of the scripts and that will help you use the best ones for your site. A good rule of thumb to help you remember the differences in the two is: heavier, more complex applications or applications requiring more security are typically server side scripts. Lighter applications that are not as extensive are typically client side scripts.