Server-side website programming first steps

In this module we answer a few fundamental questions about server-side programming — "What is it?", "How does it differ from client-side programming?", and "Why is it so useful?". We then provide an overview of some of the most popular server-side web frameworks, along with guidance on how to select the most suitable framework for creating your first site. Finally, we provide a high-level introductory article about web server security.


Before starting this module, you don't need to have any knowledge of server-side website programming, or indeed any other type of programming.

However, you do need to understand how the web works. We recommend that you first read the following topics:

With that basic understanding, you'll be ready to work your way through the modules in this section.


Introduction to the server side
Welcome to the MDN beginner's server-side programming course! In this first article, we look at server-side programming from a high level, answering questions such as "What is it?", "How does it differ from client-side programming?", and "Why it is so useful?". After reading this article, you'll understand the additional power available to websites through server-side coding.
Client-Server overview
Now that you know the purpose and potential benefits of server-side programming, we're going to examine in detail what happens when a server receives a "dynamic request" from a browser. As most websites' server-side code handles requests and responses in a similar way, this will help you understand what you need to do when writing your own code.
Server-side web frameworks
The last article showed you what a server-side web application needs to do in order to respond to requests from a web browser. Now we show how web frameworks can simplify these tasks, and help you choose the right framework for your first server-side web application.
Website security
Website security requires vigilance in all aspects of website design and usage. This introductory article won't make you a website security guru, but it will help you understand the first important steps you can take to protect your web application against the most common threats.

Note: This topic deals with server-side frameworks, and how to use them to create websites. If you are looking for information on client-side JavaScript frameworks, consult our Understanding client-side JavaScript frameworks module.


This "first steps" module doesn't have any assessment because we haven't yet shown you any code. We do hope that at this point you have a good understanding of what sorts of functionality you can deliver using server-side programming, and that you have made a decision about what server-side web framework you will use to create your first website.