Web App vs Native App: In-Depth Comparison

Published On: April 15, 2022
Last Updated: August 27, 2022
Web App vs Native App

If you have decided to develop an application to grow your business, you are on the right track. However, one of the things that might be holding you back is whether to develop a web app or a native app.

Also, there is a common misconception that a web and a native app are the same. But, both web apps and native apps are different.

Then you might have a question, what is the difference between a native app and a web app?

To help you understand better, we will compare web app vs native app in detail. By understanding the differences between web apps and native apps, you can choose a suitable one for your business.

Before we look at the factors that differentiate a web app from a native app, let us go through the core difference.

What is the Difference Between a Web App and Native App?

A web app is an internet-based application accessed from a web browser available on various devices. On the contrary, a native app is mainly an application designed & developed for a particular mobile operating system, such as an android or iOS.

Web App vs Native App: A Quick Comparison

Here, we would have a quick comparison of web vs native apps.

Factor Web App Native App
User Experience Good Excellent
Cross-Platform Compatibility Yes No
Support & Maintenance Easy Somewhat complex
Device Capabilities Limited functionalities Access a wide number of functionalities
Push Notifications No push notifications for iOS Available for Android & iOS both
Security Less security High security
Search Engine Optimization Standard SEO App Store Optimization

After looking at the quick comparison of web app vs native app, we will look at the detailed comparison of the same.

Web App Vs. Native App: A Detailed Comparison

Here we are going to compare web applications vs native applications depending on the various aspects as follows:

User Experience

The user experience is how a person feels while interacting with a web or a native app. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in the success of any application.

Web apps continuously go through various enhancements when you decide to offer a top-notch experience to users.

Although web apps provide a better user experience, they are still running inside a browser. Hence, various widgets, navigations, buttons, etc., would be different in a web app than in a native app.

A user has to make more effort in searching a page or entering a specific URL in a web application. This thing hampers the user experience.

On the other hand, a native app consists of a natural flow as it’s developed considering the guidelines and standards of a particular operating system.

Moreover, users rely on various mobile apps, and hence, they are familiar with common gestures and controls. Due to this, users get an optimal user experience on native apps.

Performance

Comparing a web-based app vs native app depending on performance, we can say that web apps offer low performance compared to the native app.

The reason is that users might face issues of usability such as load times, small images, and connectivity issues. Apart from this, users need to be constantly connected to the internet to access the web app.

Native apps offer the best performance in most cases as they usually store data locally and fetch only needed information from the server for the user.

Moreover, native apps allow users to perform various actions offline. Hence, if you want to provide top-notch performance to the users, invest in native app development.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

One of the main benefits of web apps is cross-platform compatibility. It means that you need to build your app once and it works everywhere.

On the other hand, native apps don’t offer cross-platform compatibility. It means you have to create a separate app for each platform.

Therefore, if you want to provide consistent experience to the users on all devices, you can go with web app development.

Development Cost

A web app is developed using the primary programming language such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; hence, the development cost is generally low. Further, the development cost of a web app depends on various factors such as complexity, developer location, etc.

On the contrary, the development cost of a native app is higher if you want to create two apps for different platforms. However, it is low if you plan to create an app for a single platform.

Further, the mobile app development cost depends on different factors like complexity, type of app, developer location, etc.

Monetization Methods

Monetization is the ultimate purpose of any web or mobile application.

In web apps, you can monetize your site by using advertisements and by charging subscription fees for providing some additional features.

Besides this, if you want to charge users for accessing your web app, you need to create a paywall or a subscription-based system.

Besides this, you can consider popular web app monetization methods and implement the best according to the needs of the business.

In native apps, you can run different ads in your app and generate suitable revenue. In addition, you can integrate in-app purchases into your mobile app and generate revenue.

Moreover, there are some best mobile app monetization methods that you can apply to generate revenue through native apps.

Support & Maintenance

Different users will be accessing your web app from distinct browsers. Hence, you need to provide constant support and maintenance to users on these browsers. It will increase your maintenance costs.

Talking about the native apps, various users will be using different versions of your native app. Hence, you need to maintain different app versions and provide support continuously.

Further, if your app exists on multiple platforms (iOS and android), you need to update these apps from time to time. This thing will result in higher maintenance costs. To know the cost of maintaining a mobile app, refer to this blog on mobile app maintenance costs.

Device Capabilities

When comparing web applications vs native applications in terms of device capabilities, web apps operate in a browser, and therefore they have limited access to device features and functionalities.

The reason why web apps have limited device capabilities is that they heavily rely on the web browser.

On the other hand, native apps can utilize various device functionalities such as camera, GPS, accelerometer, push notifications, etc. The reason is that they are built for a specific platform.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are essential to notify users about your app’s existence. They are an effective marketing tool for any online business.

The ability of web apps to support push notifications depends solely on the web browser. The main issue here is that not all web browsers support push notifications.

On the contrary, native apps can utilize push notifications to provide a top-notch experience to the users.

Moreover, Android and iOS apps have a great push notifications opt-in rate. Further, the push notification opt-in rate varies from one industry to another.

Security

Security is the primary concern with the increasing data breaches in apps worldwide.

Web apps are websites that don’t require any approval from the app store. Besides this, web apps are prone to cyberattacks. Hence, web apps are less secure. To know more, read this guide on web application vulnerabilities.

Native apps require approval from the particular store before publishing the app. Besides this, you need to follow some security measures to keep the user’s data secure. Hence, native apps offer better security compared to web apps.

Hence, by comparing the security of web app vs mobile app, we can say that mobile apps are more secure than web apps.

Search Engine Optimization

After creating a web or a native app, you need to do effective marketing to ensure it reaches a broader audience.

Search engine optimization is the most effective way to market any web or mobile app.

In web apps, you need to follow SEO best practices to rank your site in the search engine. By creating a modern web app, integrating the best features, and doing SEO as per the guidelines, you can rank your web app in search engines.

While in a native app, you need to rank your app in the app store. For this, you need to do app store optimization (ASO). By doing proper ASO as per the particular app store guidelines, you can rank your app in the specific app store.

Conclusion

The debate regarding web apps app vs. native apps will remain for the years to come. However, we hope you have better understood the difference between a web application and a mobile application.

The selection between a web app or a native app depends on many factors such as business goals, functionality, potential audience, and more.

If you don’t have any budget issues, you can develop a web as well as a native app. If you have budget issues, you can decide what to develop an app based on your business needs.

If you are confused about developing a native or web app, don’t hesitate to contact us.

GuruTechnoLabs provides the best web and mobile app development services to startups and businesses worldwide. Therefore, we can dig deeper into your business and suggest the most suitable solution.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.