Introduction to server-side programming languages


We look at server side programming from a high level in this first post, answering questions like "what is it?" "how does it vary from client-side programming?" and "why is it so useful?" You'll see how server side coding gives websites more strength after reading this article.

Most large-scale websites employ server side code to dynamically display various data as needed, which is often retrieved from a database on the server and given to the client to be shown through code (e.g. HTML and JavaScript).

The ability to customise website content for individual visitors is perhaps the most significant benefit of server side coding. Based on user choices and behaviours, dynamic web pages might emphasise material that is more relevant. It may also make websites easier to use by preserving user preferences and information, such as recycling previously stored credit card information to simplify later payments.

It can also allow users to connect with the site by providing notifications and updates via email or other means. All of these features allow for considerably more in-depth interaction with users.

Learning about server side development is highly recommended in today's web development industry.

What is server side website programming?

The HyperText Transfer Protocol is used by web browsers to connect with web servers (HTTP). An HTTP request is sent from your browser to the destination server when you click a link on a web page, submit a form, or conduct a search.

The request includes a URL that identifies the affected resource, a method that defines the required action (for example, getting, deleting, or posting the resource), and additional information encoded in URL parameters (field-value pairs sent via a query string), POST data (data sent via the HTTP POST method), or associated cookies.

Web servers listen for client request messages, process them when they come, and provide an HTTP response message to the web browser. A status line in the response indicates whether or not the request was successful (e.g., "HTTP/1.1 200 OK" for success).

The requested resource (e.g., a new HTML page, an image, etc.) would be contained in the body of a successful response to a request, which could subsequently be displayed by the web browser.

server side programming languages

Static sites

A simple web server architecture for a static site is depicted in the diagram below (a static site is one that returns the same hard-coded content from the server whenever a particular resource is requested). When a user requests a page, the browser makes an HTTP "GET" request with the page's URL.

The server obtains the requested document from its file system and sends the document together with a success status in an HTTP response (usually 200 OK). An error status is issued if the file cannot be retrieved for whatever reason.

Dynamic sites

A dynamic website is one in which some of the response material is created dynamically and only when it is required. HTML pages are generally built on a dynamic website by putting data from a database into placeholders in HTML templates (this is a much more efficient way of storing large amounts of content than using static websites).

A dynamic site can provide varied data for a URL depending on the user's input or saved preferences, as well as execute additional activities as part of the answer (e.g. sending notifications).

The server must run the majority of the code required to operate a dynamic website. "Server side programming" is the term used to describe the process of writing this code (or sometimes "back-end scripting").

The graphic below depicts a basic dynamic website architecture. Browsers make HTTP requests to the server, which the server processes and delivers suitable HTTP replies to, as shown in the preceding diagram.

Requests for static resources (any files that don't change —typically: CSS, JavaScript, Images, pre-created PDF files, etc.) are handled in the same way as requests for static sites.

Instead, requests for dynamic resources are sent (2) to server side code (shown in the diagram as a Web Application). The server understands the request, pulls the relevant information from the database (3), mixes the retrieved data with HTML templates (4), and sends back a response with the created HTML for "dynamic requests" (5,6).

What is the difference between server side and client-side programming?

  • Now let's look at the code that goes into server side scripting vs client side scripting. The code is notably different in each case:
  • They serve distinct objectives and are concerned about different things.
  • They don't utilise the same programming languages in most cases (the exception being JavaScript, which can be used on the server- and client-side).
  • They work in a variety of operating system situations.

Client-side code is code that runs in the browser and is focused on enhancing the appearance and functionality of a displayed web page. This comprises UI component selection and style, layout creation, navigation, form validation, and so forth.

Server side website development, on the other hand, typically entails deciding which content is delivered to the browser in response to requests. Validating provided data and requests, using databases to store and retrieve data, and transmitting the right data to the client are all duties handled by the server side code.

Client-side code is written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and runs within a web browser, with little or no access to the operating system (including limited access to the file system).

Server side code can be developed in a variety of computer languages, including PHP, Python, Ruby, C#, and JavaScript (NodeJS). The server side code has complete access to the operating system, and the developer can use whichever programming language (and version) they choose.

Web frameworks are commonly used by developers while writing code. Web frameworks are sets of functions, objects, rules, and other code structures that are meant to address common issues, accelerate development, and simplify the various sorts of activities that are encountered in a certain area.

While frameworks are used in both client and server side programmes, the domains are highly diverse, and therefore the frameworks are as well.

Client-side web frameworks make layout and presentation duties easier, whereas server side web frameworks include a lot of "standard" web server functionality that you would have to develop yourself otherwise (e.g. support for sessions, support for users and authentication, easy database access, templating libraries, etc.).

What can you do on the server side?

Server side scripting language is extremely beneficial since it allows us to send information customised to individual users quickly and effectively, resulting in a much improved user experience.

Server side programming languages are used by companies like Amazon to generate product search results, offer targeted product suggestions based on client preferences and historical buying behaviour, streamline transactions, and so on.

Banks utilise server side programming languages to store account information and restrict access to just authorised users. Server side programming is used by other services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Wikipedia to highlight, distribute, and regulate access to interesting material.

The following are some of the most popular uses and benefits of server side programming. 

Efficient storage and delivery of information

Consider how many things are offered on Amazon and how many Facebook postings have been made. It would be impossible to create a separate static page for each product or article.

Instead of storing the information in a database, server side programming languages allows us to dynamically generate and return HTML and other sorts of files (e.g. PDFs, images, etc.). Data (JSON, XML, etc.) can also be returned for rendering by appropriate client-side web frameworks (this reduces the processing burden on the server and the amount of data that needs to be sent).

The server isn't restricted to providing data from databases; it might also return the results of software tools or data from communications services. Even the sort of client device that receives the material can be targeted.

Because the data is stored in a database, it can be shared and updated with other business systems more simply (for example, when products are sold either online or in a shop, the shop might update its database of inventory).

server side scripting languages

Customised user experience

Client information can be stored and used by servers to create a more personalised and easy user experience. Many websites, for example, save credit card information so that it does not have to be input again. Sites like Google Maps can provide routing information based on stored or current locations, as well as search or trip history to emphasise local businesses in search results.

Controlled access to content

Sites can use server side programming languages to limit access to authorised users and provide just the information that they are allowed to see.

Examples from the real world include:

Users on social media sites like Facebook have complete control over their data, but only their friends may see or comment on it. Authorization is an important component of the user experience since it controls who may view their data and, as a result, who shows in their feed.

The site you're on presently manages content access: articles are available to everyone, but only logged-in users may update them. To test this, go to the top of the page and click the Edit button; if you're signed in, you'll be sent to the edit view; if you're not, you'll be taken to the sign-up page.

Store session/state information

Developers may employ sessions with server side programming languages, which is a system that allows a server to keep information about a site's current user and provide various replies based on that information.

This enables a website to recognise a user who has previously signed in and display links to their emails or order history, or to remember the state of a basic game so that the user may return to the site and pick up where they left off.

Notifications and communication

Servers can provide generic or user-specific notifications via the website, email, SMS, instant messaging, video chat, or other communication methods.

Here are a few examples:

Facebook and Twitter send you emails and SMS messages to let you know when there are new messages.

Amazon sends you product e-mails on a regular basis that propose things that are similar to ones you've already purchased or seen and that you might be interested in.

A web server may give site administrators warning messages if the server's memory is low or if questionable user behaviour is detected.

Data analysis

A website may gather a lot of information on its visitors, such as what they look for, what they buy, what they suggest, and how long they spend on each page. Based on the examination of this data, server side programming may be utilised to refine answers.

Amazon and Google, for example, both promote things based on prior searches (and purchases).

Server side uses

  • It processes the user input
  • Displays the requested pages
  • Structure of web applications
  • Interaction with servers/storages
  • Interaction with databases
  • Querying the database
  • Encoding of data into HTML
  • Operations over databases like delete, update

Advantages of server side programming language

  • Server side scripting runs scripts on the server, reducing the burden on the user's machine.
  • Database web applications may be created using server side scripting.
  • Even if users access the source code, server side scripting is used to hide scripts from them; only client side scripts are shown.
  • Server side scripting is used to quickly create dynamic websites with content that can be changed at any moment by the site administrator.
  • Because server side scripts are not browser-dependent, we don't have to worry about browser versions.
  • Complex activities may be completed in a few stages thanks to server side scripting.
  • It's simple to understand and utilise.

Disadvantages of server side programming language

  1. Debugging web server scripts is tricky.
  2. Web server scripting is a hacking vulnerability.
  3. Hosting a web server can be taxing on a computer since it necessitates a big amount of RAM, lowering the system's speed.

Top programming languages to learn in server side 

Below are the best server side programming languages 2023,

1. Node.js (JavaScript)

Node.js is the newest on the list (it was launched in 2009) and is currently the fastest growing. It allows you to run JavaScript code on the server. The best part is that back-end development does not necessitate learning a new language. One of the main advantages of developing JavaScript is that you can use it for front-end rendering and then reuse it in the back-end.

Read how to become a front end web developer by clicking here

In comparison to most other languages, Node.js excels in real-time applications because it was designed with that in mind. As a result, if you're working on something that requires real-time interaction, such as conversations or games, this is a great place to start. Because it is younger than the other languages, it has certain useful and contemporary features that are missing from earlier programming languages and make development easier, such as the built-in package management NPM.

Click node js developer roadmap to know 

2. PHP

By far the most popular server side programming language is PHP. PHP is used by a little more than 80% of websites. It was the first programming language created expressly for the web, and its prominence throughout the Web 2.0 (blogging, content production) period of the 2000s was due to this.

Furthermore, Wordpress is based on it, and it currently powers 25% of all websites, including the most popular blogs and news sites. As a result, there is no more reliable approach for creating content-based web pages.

If you're acquainted with HTML, you'll see that PHP code is embedded in your code, as shown above, where you may write the logic within the HTML code. The logic that you programme determines how your server creates HTML. That's a cool feature that makes writing a breeze for you.

3. Java

Another prominent language used by many big websites is Java. However, it is overkill for many minor applications where a simpler solution might achieve the same effect. It is used to interface with other systems such as mainframes by many major corporate applications, such as those in banking and insurance. In terms of scalability, it is really effective. However, that is something to be concerned about in the future.

Spring is one of the most popular frameworks for Java online applications, and it is widely regarded a must-have in the toolkit of every Java web developer.

It's a great place to start once you've gotten a handle on Java and its ideas. Java development, on the other hand, can be overengineered, and development time might be significantly longer than with other languages. It's worth mentioning since it's widely used for large-scale projects, but for smaller applications, you should investigate alternative programming languages.

4. Ruby

Ruby is most commonly used for tiny apps since it is well-suited to web development. The most popular Ruby framework is Ruby on Rails. It is a latecomer compared to some of the other languages, having just recently gained popularity in the 2010s. It's being used by a lot of businesses nowadays that want to create quickly and go to market quickly. For beginners, though, I recommend beginning with a smaller framework to gain a better sense of what goes into an application stack overflow.

5. Python

Python is a great programming language for beginners, not just for web development but also for learning how to programme. It's a language with simple, easy-to-understand syntax that allows you to focus less on syntax and more on learning how to programme. It's also one of the most often used statistical programming languages.

Explore how to become python developer by clicking here

Flask is a popular Python micro-framework for building web applications. It's a tiny framework that includes all of the capabilities you'll need to get started building your web application. Django is another popular framework.

6. GO

Despite Python and Bash's fame as scripting languages, Go may also be used to run the same commands. Go is a relatively new language that may be used to run scripts and was designed and developed by Google. It shortens and strengthens the script because its libraries cover a wide range of topics and are well-tested. Unlike Bash and Python, which interpret and run the script as soon as it is read, Go compiles the script first and then runs it.


Bash is an example of a server side scripting language that tells a programme how to execute. It is a plain text file that contains a sequence of commands. That programme, in this case, would be a web page, which would require instructions on how to execute on a client's side in order to produce a dynamic page's display.

You now know that server side code runs on a web server and that its primary function is to manage what data is given to the user (while client-side code mainly handles the structure and presentation of that data to the user).

You should also realise that it is beneficial since it enables us to develop websites that effectively offer content personalised to individual users, and you should have a clear sense of what you might be able to do as a server side programmer.

Finally, you should be aware that server side code may be written in a variety of programming languages, and that to make the process easier, you should utilise a web framework.


1. What is a server-side programming language?

A server side scripting language is an outdated name for the languages that are used to produce dynamically generated HTML on a web server depending on input variables.

2. What is the purpose of server-side programming?

To interact or run programmes on the Web Server, server side scripting is done with languages like PHP, Python, and Node. js. Database contact is one of the things that happens on the Webserver. Your server-side scripts are responsible for retrieving data from your database and displaying it on your website.

3. What is meant by server-side?

We generally refer to a back-end (a server) that handles requests from devices when we say server side. The distinction is significant because some algorithms are better (from a user experience standpoint) when run in the device itself (client side).

4. What should I learn for server-side programming?

If you want to work on anything new, start with python, go, or nodejs; if you want to learn how the server works, start with php and jsp. You will, without a doubt, have a better grasp of php and jsp.

5. What is the best programming language to learn in 2023?

Python is the most popular programming language at the moment. It's largely acknowledged as the finest programming language to start with.

6. How can I create a server?

You just need a few components to construct your own server, and you may already have any or all of them: It's a computer. A high-speed Internet connection. Ethernet (CAT5) cable with a network router

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