Web App vs Mobile App?

When an organization or a business face the issue of implementing a mobile solution for any purpose, one of the main questions is what to create – a mobile app or a web app? There is no right answer, it all depends on the set of factors. If you came up with the same question this blog post will help you make a decision.

Before jumping into any comparison let us, first of all, define what is a web application and what is a mobile application.

What is a web application?

According to Wikipedia web application or web app is a client-server computer program in which the client (including the user interface and client-side logic) runs in a web browser. At the same time, it is not the same as the website. While a website is a static page with information, a web application should be…interactive. The most common examples are online forms, webmail, online sales, and auctions – anywhere the user has the choice of actions. The most well-known example is Google web apps.

 What are the main benefits of web applications?

  • Because of browser compatibility they can be accessed from ANY platform: mobile, tablet, laptop…
  • You can access them anywhere as long as you have the internet connection
  • Web apps are flexible from the updates perspective: they can be updated automatically for all users or the updates can be accepted or not accepted by users. Mobile apps always require permissions to update.
  • Development of these apps is rather cost-effective, both from creation and maintenance/updates perspective (as it’s mentioned on a lot of resources like LifeWire, TopTal, CrewCo, NNGroup and others )
  • Due to their deployment on the dedicated servers web apps are usually more secure and easy to backup than mobile ones
  • Web apps are much easier to deliver to users. For example, Apple’s AppStore rejects hundreds of apps each day because of their 114 regulations regarding design, functionality, advertisement, speed etc.

What is a mobile application?

Techopedia explains mobile application as a type of application software designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet computer. Mobile applications frequently serve to provide users with similar services to those accessed on PCs. The most popular examples are Uber, Tinder, WhatsApp.

Mobile apps have their own benefits:

  • Mobile apps don’t always require the Internet connection to work properly
  • Apps that are acquired from the official store have more credibility from users’ security perspective
  • Mobile apps can be way faster than web apps because of native processing capabilities
  • Apps can integrate with each other and with different services (think fingerprint sensors or navigation apps)
  • Mobile apps are much more suitable for usage in IoT infrastructures
  • Cloud-based apps do not require much data to be stored on the device and are one of the most popular trends in the last couple of years
  • Wearables are wildly connected to mobile devices and the corresponding apps
  • NFC technology used mostly in Commerce and social networks is accounted for use in mobile apps

Web App vs Mobile App: What to choose for your business?

Like a lot of other business related dilemmas, the choice between mobile app and web app depends on goals/tasks and available resources.

In general, if your service doesn’t require a lot of features and you are limited at budget, the web app is the best way to start. Quite opposite, if your service requires a lot of functionalities and interoperability features, and your budget is not tight, you should start with mobile app OR with both the mobile app and web app if your budget is REALLY  unlimited.

In the real world, every situation is unique and lies “somewhere in between”. Factors that you need to consider before choosing a web or mobile app:

  • Access abilities
  • Personalization
  • Interface/ Interactivity
  • Data processing
  • Notifications
  • Updates
  • Marketplace requirements
  • Budget limitations

To help you decide, we developed a simple test based on our experience and research. It might take about 5 minutes to get the result that you can consider as a bit of ballpark advice from third-party mobile app solution provider:

Web app or mobile app?
Pass the test to get the advice
1. Offline access
Do you need to provide users with offline access to some content (like documents, notes, images etc)?
2. Anytime/any place/any device access
Do you need to provide users with the ability to access the service anytime/any place/any device just using the Web connection? For example, some software sales reps need such functionality to show their prospects some product from their own devices.
3. Personalization
Do you need to create the database of users to deliver personalized interfaces (like dashboard layout preferences ) or personalized data storage (like personal notes folders)?
4. Interactivity
Are you going to employ interactive functionality like moving objects on screen (interactive blocks builder) or drawing something (for example signature on the touchscreen) or something more complex than taping/swiping?
5. Calculations or reporting
Do you need any reporting functionality (plots/graphs based on real-time data or interactive reports) or complex calculations functionality (like business or learning indicators calculation)?
6. Smartphone functionalities interoperability
Do you need to use some native functionality (like camera, GPS module, microphone, QR scanner, messenger, fingerprint scanners…) to deliver your service to users?
8. Notifications
Do you need notifications functionality when the user doesn't actually use your service (like push notifications)?
9. Updates
Is it crucial for your service to be always updated? YES means that you need to deliver updates to your app without users' permission and on all types of devices simultaneously
10. Functionality Restrictions
Does your service concept comply with App Store and Google Play requirements? (A LOT of apps don't pass the requirements of the App Store because of speed, design and other 114 criteria)
11. Budget
Do you have limitations in the budget? Try to estimate costs of mobile apps that deliver similar services. If similar projects' cost is significantly higher than your budget, choose YES


Drop Us an Email to get your custom Web App vs Mobile App suggestion!


Do You Want to Know Successful Metrics of Your Project ?
Our clients say
Esteban Cascante
Project Manager Sweet Rush

I wanted to personally thank you for your hard work on this. Working with CodeIT turned out to be a really pleasant experience for us.

Since the beginning, your team seemed to be really well structured and everyone understood its role and responsibilities.
Also, the quality of the work CodeIt delivered was exactly what we expected it to be.
This really facilitated our daily work and help us to keep the client happy.
I hope this first experience working together help us to build a long-term partnership.

Keith Lammon
VP Urethanesupply

I posted this project and within minutes guys from CodeIT bid on the project. I asked a few questions through Skype to feel confident that they could do the job. I felt comfortable with the knowledge and skills and accepted their offer. I am usually hesitant to hire from offshore. Not because of the work quality but, usually the language barrier and working hours. Guys from CodeIT was available during NY working hours and after pre-screening on Skype, I could tell they know English well.

Paul Marcus
CEO PitchPersonal

I have worked with CodeIT for over a year now on a complex application development project and they have been excellent. They have been flexible with scaling resources up and down as I’ve needed it, their project managers have been extremely responsive and I hear from them every day and never have to wonder where they are as I have with past outsourcing projects. Highly recommended if you’re considering outsourcing software development.

Andrew Pickin
CEO Stilgiyin.com

CodeIT has been working for us for one and a half years. We are ending the project now because it is complete. CodeIT built our platform from scratch and also provided further development and support for the rest of the contract. They are very strong in several areas: back-end development (specialising in Zend Framework); front-end development; server administration; project management. Their project managers speak excellent English and are courteous and professional. Their developers are fast and skilled, and up to date with the latest technologies. Their expertise helped us to build a highly reliable website which can serve a heavy load of traffic. Finally, they are all very nice people, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Mikael Svensson, CIO at SST Net
Mikael Svensson

This was the biggest project I’ve made so far and CodeIT helped me and our company through it in a perfect way.

Working with one very skilled project manager and multiple developers and testers with him made our project fly in a very short period of time, and with a super high quality!

Misha Milshtein
Director of Engineering and Development Sweet Rush

This was our first project, and I am so happy that it had a smooth run and a successful resolution.
I sincerely hope that this is just the first step in our long and mutually amiable partnership.

Thank you CodeIT team for being so thorough and professional.

Vikas Singla, COO at Teknas Inc
Vikas Singla
COO Teknas

Collaboration with CodeIT gave my business great prospects for its expansion and scaling. Together with CodeIT professionals, we grew our product line from three to fourteen products within only one year. I can rely on these guys to get a high-quality product on time.

Thanks, V

Quote Request

Feel free to contact us. We will answer all your questions and provide you with fast and thorough feedback.

.doc(x), .pages, .xls(x), .numbers, .pdf, .jpg, .png file types are supported.
By clicking the “Send” Button I confirm, that I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy