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Server-side vs. front-end event tracking: why server-side is (often) better
Server-side vs. front-end event tracking: why server-side is (often) better

Everything you need to know

Updated over a week ago

When it comes to event tracking, you have two main options: server-side tracking and front-end tracking.

Both methods have their use cases, but many organizations prefer server-side tracking for several compelling reasons. Ideally all three methods (.identify, .group and .track) should be in the back-end.

Tl;dr: we've found that front-end tracking does not capture up to 30% of actions due to ad-blockers

1. Data Accuracy and Integrity

  • Server-side Tracking: It ensures that data is captured directly from your servers, reducing the chances of manipulation or loss due to ad blockers or JavaScript errors.

  • Front-end Tracking: It's more susceptible to discrepancies due to client-side issues, such as browser inconsistencies and user manipulation.

2. Performance and Efficiency

  • Server-side Tracking: Processing events on the server can lead to more efficient handling, especially for high-traffic sites, as it offloads the client's machine.

  • Front-end Tracking: Processing on the client-side can slow down the user experience, particularly on resource-intensive pages.

3. Security and Compliance

  • Server-side Tracking: It gives you greater control over the data and how it's handled, aiding in compliance with regulations like GDPR.

  • Front-end Tracking: It can expose sensitive information to the client, leading to potential security risks.

4. Flexibility and Customization

  • Server-side Tracking: Server-side tracking allows for more complex event handling and custom logic, enabling you to tailor the tracking to your specific needs.

  • Front-end Tracking: While still customizable, front-end tracking may be more limited in handling complex scenarios and requires careful coding to avoid errors.

5. Reliability

  • Server-side Tracking: It’s generally more reliable, as it’s less dependent on the user's browser or device. Server-side tracking continues to function even if the user has disabled JavaScript or cookies.

  • Front-end Tracking: It can be affected by a wide variety of client-side factors, leading to missed or inaccurate event tracking.

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