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Web App vs Mobile App

Web App v/s Mobile App - Significant Differences to Realize

yokesh sankar

Yokesh Sankar Nov 18, 2023 8 mins


Web App vs Mobile App? Mobile App or Web App? What to choose? Which one is best? Although these two may seem to be similar concepts, they are two completely different things, especially in terms of the technologies they use and the capabilities they offer. Wait! No more confusion on the web app vs mobile app, we will sort it out.

In this blog, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide of web app vs mobile app, which helps you make an informed choice. We provide you with valuable insights and practical advice for developing a successful web application. The key difference between web app and mobile app is that a web app runs through a web browser and requires an internet connection, whereas a mobile app is established instantly on a mobile device.

A web app is an app that is open online and can be used on multiple devices, whereas a mobile app is an app that runs only on a mobile device. Learn about the distinctions between the two in this direction. So, let's glance at the distinctions of web app v/s mobile app.

Let's take a diversion and develop Progressive Web Apps (PWA) as an alternative solution to leverage the power of mobile apps and web apps. This is because PWA provides a seamless user experience across various devices and platforms, offers offline functionality, and integrates well with devices. Comprehending their disparities is key to making a successful digital development.

What are Web Apps?

A web app is a software application that runs in a web browser and is accessed over the internet. Web apps are used on all devices, including desktops, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. The user accesses web applications via a web browser with an energetic internet connection. This means they do not need to be downloaded and installed on the user's device like traditional software applications.

Instead, they are supplied as a service over the internet. Some examples of web apps include webmail websites such as Yahoo and Gmail, e-commerce websites such as Amazon, and social media websites such as Twitter. If you like to build a web application, here is a complete manual that explains the procedure of building a web app.

What are Mobile Apps?

Mobile apps are software specially designed and developed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or wearables. Moreover, mobile applications are used for various purposes including communication, entertainment, productivity, information, and shopping. Some examples of popular native mobile apps include social media apps Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, TikTok, entertainment mobile apps like Spotify, and shopping apps like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Our guide to web app vs mobile app doesn’t end here, let’s deep dive into the difference and advantages of web app vs mobile app.

The Focal Key Differences between Mobile App v/s Web App

Let's explore the topic of web apps v/s mobile apps with a neat diagram. Now, understand the differences between web applications and mobile applications by comparing the key parameters. The following table of contents will help you find the main difference between web apps and mobile apps with a few examples and their features.

Web Apps vs Mobile Apps
Sr. No Parameters Web Apps Mobile Apps
1Platform Web apps are cross-platform applications that can be accessed from multiple platforms. Mobile applications are created specifically for peculiar mobile platforms, such as Android or iOS. They are designed around the functionality and aesthetics of those platforms.
2Development Cost The single code-based, development approach makes web apps more cost-effective than native mobile apps. The costs of mobile apps vary depending on the features and requirements. Hence these cost much more than web apps.
3Access Web apps are easy to access through a browser by entering a URL or clicking on a link. Mobile app functions are accessed by the user tapping on the respective app icons on their device.
4Installation No need to download or install web apps. They are easily accessible through web browsers. Mobile apps are available as icons on devices and must be downloaded and installed through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
5Technologies HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails (ROR), and Node.js are common technologies for developing web applications. Platform-specific programming languages ​​such as Java or Swift are used to develop mobile applications with some specific SDKs.
6Distribution Web apps are accessed directly through URLs and do not need to be distributed through stores. Mobile apps are distributed through the Play Store or App Store, or as standalone files.
7Offline AccessWeb apps are entirely dependent on internet browsers. Mobile apps enable users to access specific features and materials even when they are not connected to the Internet.
8Updates Developers update web apps instantly without requiring any action from the user. Updates for mobile apps are done by app developers through app stores, where users have to download and update them on their devices.

Strengths and Shortcomings of Web Apps:

Here in this section, we will discuss the advantages and limitations of web apps. It will lead you in the right direction to choose a web app or mobile app for your business by showcasing the significant difference between web app and mobile app.

Strengths of Web Apps Shortcomings of Web Apps
  • The web app can be accessed from any device with browser connectivity and an internet connection, regardless of operating platform.
  • Efforts and costs of managing multiple installations can be reduced due to centralized deployment and maintenance.
  • Web apps are accessible to a wide audience as they can be accessed from a variety of devices.
  • Web apps can easily scale to accommodate a growing user base by upgrading remote server infrastructure and increasing resources as needed.
  • The centralized security measures benefit the web apps by new updates, no app store approval, and data backup.
  • Web applications offer a consistent user experience across all platforms and gadgets.
  • All users accessing the web app can see updates and changes as soon as they are made.
  • Web apps need internet access to work properly on any device. Without an internet connection, accessing web apps may limit their capabilities or render them inoperable.
  • Web browser versions and variations may cause web app compatibility issues. Regular updates require users to display cache clearance.
  • Web apps may have limited access to certain device features (example: sensors, and cameras) and may not provide the same level of performance as native apps.
  • Now, you can decide when to build a web application.

When to Build a Web Application?

Let’s promptly go through the scenarios when building a web app for your business is a suitable choice by considering the following facts.

  • To reach a ywider audience across different devices, platforms, and operating systems.
  • When cost-effectiveness is prioritized over developing native mobile applications.
  • Rapid deployment and accessibility are important without users having to download and install anything.
  • When flexibility in updates and maintenance is needed, along with the ability to perform server-side updates.
  • While focusing on delivering content, information, or services to users efficiently.

Want to Build Your Web App Like a Pro?

Feel free to contact our experienced experts who can build white-labeled and custom web app solutions for your business as per your requirements.

Strengths and Shortcomings of Mobile Apps:

Hope that now you have a clear picture of web apps, let's discuss the advantages and limitations of mobile apps as well. This section will help you to make decision-making easy to associate with mobile applications.

Strengths of Mobile Apps Shortcomings of Mobile Apps
  • With features like touch gestures, push notifications, and offline functionality, the mobile app offers a rich and engaging user experience designed for mobile devices.
  • Mobile apps can access device features such as cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and contacts to enhance functionality and user engagement.
  • Mobile apps are typically faster and more responsive than web applications because they can use device resources and are not dependent on network speed or connectivity.
  • Mobile apps include various monetization opportunities, including in-app purchases, subscriptions, advertising, and app marketplaces, which enable companies to earn money directly from users.
  • The offline feature enables mobile app users to access specific features and contents without an internet connection.
  • Users of mobile apps can receive notifications that facilitate real-time communication, updates, and reminders.
  • Mobile apps need app store support for different development and maintenance.
  • They are designed specifically for a particular mobile operating system and may not be fully accessible through a mobile browser.
  • Users must download and install the mobile application from an app store, which requires storage space and may face compatibility issues with older devices or operating system versions.

It's time to decide on your mobile app development.

When to Build a Mobile Application?

Developing a mobile app is a suitable choice in various scenarios, let's brusquely look at the scenarios on when you can build mobile applications.

  • Popular mobile apps send push notifications, access the camera, use GPS, and enable intuitive gestures to provide a more immersive user experience using the native capabilities of mobile devices.
  • Increasing user engagement through personalized interactions, intuitive design, and notifications leads to greater satisfaction and loyalty.
  • To provide offline functionality, enabling users to access certain features and content even without a connection, ensuring seamless usage.
  • Leverage app stores' payment systems to generate quick revenue through monetization options such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, and targeted ads.

Want to Customize Your Mobile App Like a Pro?

Feel free to contact our experienced experts who build industry-leading, custom mobile app solutions for your business as per your requirements.

Wrapping Up:

It's time to conclude. While you should consider the cost-effectiveness of your app project for your goals, you should always consider which of the two technologies discussed is the best fit for your target audience. Just like a native website, a mobile website and web app might face challenges to engage users.

In this blog, we have provided comprehensive differences between web application and mobile application including definitions, pros and cons, when to build web applications and mobile applications, and a comparison of key differences between mobile app and web app. However, if you still find it difficult or have questions about choosing the best between mobile and web apps, you can contact our experts in mobile app and web app development.

Author Bio

yokesh sankar

Yokesh Sankar


Yokesh Sankar is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Sparkout Tech. He believes in changing people's lives for the better and developing the skills they need for success, and that the software industry has endless possibilities to streamline virtually any industry you can imagine. In addition, he is also an advocate for the adoption of blockchain technology, helping businesses of all sizes to realize their visions through this revolutionary technology. He will be sharing everything he has learned over the years working in the industry, and he hopes to open out as much knowledge about the software industry as he can.


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