Why do top internet brands like Google, Facebook and Yahoo use server-side solutions to deliver content to multiple devices? One answer, quite simply, is speed. If the average mobile user is only willing to wait a maximum of four seconds for content to load on their devices, it makes no sense to use an approach that may slow down your site’s loading time.
Yet some of the US candidates in this past election (yes, even the US President), the BBC and Time Magazine are choosing to use responsive design for their websites. According to the developers of two of the most popular mobile solutions in the open source community—BraveNewCode and Mobile Joomla!—a better choice for high-traffic, large-volume sites is a server-side solution.
“Responsive design is like going on a warm-weather vacation and bringing your ski wear, winter jacket, and business attire with you just in case,” explains Mobile Joomla’s Founder Ugur Kaner. “With responsive design, all of the content and assets for phones, tablets and desktop computers are delivered— whether the requesting device needs them or not. This means sites become larger and unfortunately deliver slower experiences,” explains Kaner.
 “Server-side solutions leverage the benefits of detecting mobile device types like phones and tablets before sending anything,” says BraveNewCode Co-founder Dale Mugford, whose company develops the most popular mobile solution for WordPress called WPtouch. “Instead of trying to modify and deliver large-screen desktop web experiences for small-screen mobile devices, server-side solutions send unique, streamlined experiences tailored specifically for smartphones or tablets. The result is a fast, flexible and dependable mobile-optimized web experience.”
Mobile web pages powered by server-side solutions are up to 500% smaller than their desktop counterparts, and have been shown to load up to 400% faster than web pages not using a server-side mobile solution. Responsive design, on the other hand, is often implemented using only client-side adjustments to web pages, meaning that both desktop computers and mobile devices always download an entire web page, along with its added code for handling formatting on multiple devices and screen sizes.
Why Responsive Design May Be Wrong For Your Site [Infographic]
Server-side mobile solutions can be powered by easy-to-use and user-friendly tools, such as Mobile Joomla! for the Joomla! platform, and BraveNewCode’s WPtouch for the WordPress platform. As an additional benefit, to provide efficient and reliable mobile experiences, site owners who choose these solutions don’t need to invest large amounts of resources in design or maintenance, and can instead focus on content and strategy.