Web App vs Native App: In-Depth Comparison

Ravi Makhija April 15, 2022
11 mins read Last Updated May 3, 2022
Web App vs Native App

Over the years, numerous businesses & startups worldwide consider launching native apps to generate revenue. Apart from native apps, the popularity of web apps is increasing every year.

Hence, many new-age businesses consider developing web apps in place of native apps.

Considering the success of these apps, if you have chosen to take your business online, then it is a great decision.

However, after getting an excellent idea, 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.

So, let us look at all of these points in detail.

What is a Web App?

A web app is an internet-based application accessed from a web browser available on various devices.

In other words, a web app is a website with particular functionalities that looks and behaves like a native app. Also, a user does not have to download or install a web app on their device.

Moreover, one of the main benefits of the web app is cross-platform compatibility. You have to create it once, and it works on the majority of platforms. Hence, if you want to provide users access on multiple platforms, go with web app development.

What is a Native App?

A native app is mainly an application designed & developed for a particular mobile operating system, such as an android or iOS.

All of these native apps are installed on a specific device. The native apps are available on the leading apps stores like the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

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.

Development Approach

Here we will look at the developer’s approach while building a web or a native app.

A web app operates in a device’s specific browser, and every browser possesses its features and limitations.

Here, a developer’s approach is to develop a web app using standard languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Apart from these, developers also utilize some of the best web application frameworks.

Lastly, there is no specific software development kit available for the developers which they can use to build a web application.

A native mobile app developed for an operating system like an Android or iOS has its development process. Here, developers utilize specific languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDE) based on the required platform.

For instance, a developer uses Java or Kotlin language for developing an Android app. In the same way, a developer utilizes Objective-C or Swift language to build an iOS app.

Besides this, developers use interface elements and software development kits offered by Apple or Google.

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 Method

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.

Versioning

Users don’t have to go through any updates while using the web app. Hence, all the users are accessing the latest version. However, users have an option to add the web app shortcut to their screen.

In native apps, users have to visit the app store to update the app. Hence, several users will ignore the updates. Due to this, different users will be using different versions of the app.

Web App vs Native App: A Quick Overview

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

Factor Web App Native App
User Experience Good Excellent
Development Cost Low High
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

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

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.

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