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Server side rendering is where a request is made from the client/browser to the server, and then at that point the HTML is generated on-the-fly run-time and sent back to the browser to be rendered.

Static site rendering is very similar, however the parsing is carried out during the build time instead. Therefore when a request is made the HTML is stored statically and can be sent straight back to the client.


They both have their pros and cons:

Although static sites will be faster at run-time as no server-side processing is required, it does mean that any changes to data require a full rebuild over the application server side.

Alternatively, with the server side approach, putting any caching aside, the data is processed on-the-fly and sent straight to the client.


Often the decision is best made depending on how dynamic and real-time your content must be vs how performant the application needs to be.

For example, Stackoverflow most likely uses a server-side rendering approach. There are far two many questions for it to rebuild static versions of every question page each time a new post is submitted. The data also needs to be very real-time with users being able to see posts submitted only seconds ago.

However, a blog site, or promo site, which hardly has any content changes, would benefit much more from a static site setup. The response time would be much greater and the server costs would be much lower.


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