I'm a little bit confuse with the use of client-side as a noun (In the context of Computer science, a client-server architecture). For instance , I used to say:

"I propose to install a tool at client-side"

But a friend of mine (that is not a native), told me that the right way is: "I propose to install a tool on client-side"

That sounds weird to me, maybe adding "the" sounds better: "I propose to install a tool on the client-side"

But the point is: what is the right way? (specially in formal writting). Thanks in advance,

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  • 1
    In what context? Do you mean client as opposed to server in client-server, or client as in customer? If it's the former, then "install a tool on the client" works for me. – JeffUK Jul 11 '17 at 16:32
  • 2
    Without wishing to get bogged down in whether it's an adjectival or adverbial usage, I'll just point out that you don't actually need a preposition at all: The customer uses a RIA Java application, with Java 8 installed client side. – FumbleFingers Jul 11 '17 at 16:34
  • In terms of what you heard--"client-side" or "client site"? – Xanne Jul 11 '17 at 17:16
  • @JeffUK yes, in a computer science perspective :) – gal007 Jul 11 '17 at 17:50

I would say "on" for hardware, "at" for location.

"Install the tool on the client-side computers"


"Install the tool on the computers at the client-side office"

Note that I think to use "client-side" as a noun is short hand. It would be more specific to use terms such as "client-side computer", "client-side application" or "client-side network". In formal technical documentation it's better to be too specific than not specific enough. That said, the context usually provides clarity.


The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University CMU is a good source of best-practice terminology in computing science, including this Glossary of Software Architecture terms.

If you search for "client-side" on the CMU site, you will find 60+ examples of professional usage, some with "on", others with "at", others with "the" and others without.

Based on the CMU examples: I propose to install a tool on the client-side would be an acceptable way to express your thought.

Alternatively, you could avoid the issue entirely by writing: I propose to install a tool client-side. Which would also be correct.

  • I've added my own answer but this is a good one as well. I also agree that the last option in this post is likely the best. I would go a step further and modify it to: "I propose we install the tool client-side." – Kace36 Jul 12 '17 at 0:27

I can give you some insight after 30 years in the computer science field.

Client side obviously means the "client computer" (meaning the end-users computer versus the server). Of course I expect you know this. I'm just stating it for those who may not be computer scientists or software engineer types.

We would typically say (all of these are good options):

  1. I propose to install the tool client-side.
  2. I propose to install on the client-side.
  3. I propose to install it on the client-side.
  4. I propose to do the installation client-side.
  5. I propose to do the installation on the client-side.

Even simply...

  1. I propose installation client-side.
  2. I propose installation on the client-side.

You CAN use "at". There is nothing wrong with using: "I propose we install a tool at the client-side.". Grammatically it's probably even more correct. However, idiomatically and colloquially we tend not to say it in that form.

If you wanted to use "at", it would be more idiomatic to say:

  1. "I propose we install at the client-side."
  2. "I propose we install the tool(s) at the client-side."


"I propose to install a tool at the client-side."

That last option will be a dead giveaway that you are non-native speaker and not used to English in a technology environment.

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