What Does Client-side Mean?

Client-side refers to a specific part of client/server architecture, which is a network structure distinguishing clients or computers ordering information from servers, hardware pieces that deliver that information and process requests.


Techopedia Explains Client-side

In a traditional client/server structure, clients consist of physical personal computers or desktop computer stations. These use web browsers or other connections to make demands on servers. In this kind of structure, if something is client-side, that means it’s run in the workstations or computers that represent clients.

Server-side applications or operations are done within the hardware structures that are serving the requests of clients. The term ‘client/server architecture’ gets a new dimension in a time when cloud computing services are becoming dominant. In new cloud computing architectures, most of the client machines actually represent clients of the vendor company, sending requests over the global Internet to the vendor’s internal servers.

Prior to the cloud computing age, the term ‘client/server’ and the term ‘client-side’ were somewhat confusing, because they were often applied to structures where one enterprise owned both the servers and the client workstation.

Calling something ‘client-side’ didn’t mean that one machine was owned by a client, and the other by a vendor. However, with Software-as-a-Service and related designs, this is now often the case.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…