Pros and cons of web app development

11 min read
November 29, 2023

Want to develop a web app?

You’re making the right choice – it’s one of the best ways to reach and connect with new users.

But, you shouldn’t make the decision lightly.

You need to be clear-eyed about the pros and cons of web app development.

Here, we’ll discuss some of those pros and cons in detail to help you make the best decision for your business.

Let’s dive in!

What is web app development?

First, let’s define web app development.

Web app development is the process of creating an app that runs on a web server and can be accessed through a web browser.

And browser access is what sets web apps apart from desktop and mobile apps.

Also, keep one important thing in mind – web apps aren’t the same as websites, as you can see below:

Web app vs website

source: Space Technologies

The thing that sets them apart is their complexity and functionality.

As they’re interactive and more difficult to build, web apps have more in common with mobile apps than simple websites.

Now that we’ve covered what it is, let’s talk about the pros and cons of developing a web app.

Pros of web app development

The pros of web app development are:

  • Accessible and cross-platform compatible
  • Easy to maintain and update
  • Cost-effective to develop

Let’s discuss each in more detail.

Accessible and cross-platform compatible

One of the main benefits of developing a web app is its accessibility and cross-platform compatibility.

There are several reasons why web apps are so accessible.

One reason is that there are established accessibility guidelines that most web apps should follow.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) pictured below are a good example:

WCAG 2.0

source: Sonix

So, if you follow industry standards, you’ll be making an accessible app from the start.

Another reason is the fact that web apps are accessed through web browsers.

And this means that anyone who has a device with a browser can access your web app without a hitch.

That’s because web apps are inherently cross-platform apps.

They can run on any operating system, such as:

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS

And that’s without needing different versions for each operating system.

So, this means that your web app can reach a much bigger audience – everyone who has internet access.

That’s some 5.16 billion people, or 64.38% of the global population.

And that’s why developing a web app is a good idea for your business.

Why it’s important

  • Broader reach – with a web app you can reach a much wider audience than with just a native Android or iOS mobile app
  • Enhanced user experience (UX) – web apps deliver a consistent UX, regardless of device or platform
  • Cost-effectiveness – developing and maintaining a single, cross-platform web app is cheaper than building several native apps

Easy to maintain and update

Another major benefit of developing a web app is that they’re easier to maintain and update than mobile apps.

And those are significant, long-term benefits – you can more easily keep up with new trends and best practices, for starters.

Also, because the process is easier it also costs less.

But, why is that the case?

One reason is that web apps are built using standardized, well-known technologies like:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript

And every engineer who’s worked on a web app will be familiar with them, which makes maintenance easier.


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Also, web apps have a single codebase which also simplifies maintenance and adding new updates.

On top of that, any updates can be pushed directly to the server.

This means that they’re instantly available to all users without any download requirements.

And that’s what sets them apart from mobile apps.

Why it’s important

  • Reduces downtime – since web apps are easy to maintain, you minimize the risk of extended downtime
  • Makes your app easier to scale – easy maintenance and updates allow your web app to scale effectively without major problems
  • Easier performance optimization – since web apps are easy to maintain and update, optimizing their performance is easier, too

Cost-effective to develop

One other reason why developing a web app is a good idea is because they’re cost-effective to develop.

In other words, they’re cheaper to build than native mobile apps.

So, why is that?

The key reason is that web apps are built from a single codebase.

And that means that you only need a single team of engineers to develop your app, which can save you a lot of money compared to developing 2 separate native mobile apps.

Of course, a number of different factors affect the cost of developing a web app, as you can see below:

Web app development cost factors

And a complex web app might even cost more than a simple mobile app.

But, on the whole, developing a web app is more cost-effective than developing 2 separate native apps.

Another reason why web apps are more cost-effective to develop is that you don’t have to pay app store fees.

Apple, for example, charges a 30% fee for apps and in-app purchases.

But, if you develop a web app, you won’t have to worry about similar expenses.

And that’s why they’re a good investment.

Why it’s important

  • It’s budget-friendly – developing a web app is a great way to build a functional app without heavy initial investment
  • Higher long-term ROI – the lower development costs compared to mobile apps and ease of maintenance mean you get a higher long-term return on investment
  • Easier iteration – any updates and iterations are also cheap to develop, making the process easier

Cons of web app development

The cons of web app development are:

  • Performance and speed limitations
  • Dependence on internet connectivity
  • Security vulnerabilities

Let’s talk about each in more detail.

Performance and speed limitations

While web apps have many advantages, they also have several drawbacks, too.

One major drawback is their performance and speed limitations, especially when compared to mobile apps.

And if you don’t minimize them, they can negatively affect your web app’s UX and user retention rate.

But, what’s the reason for these limitations?

One major reason is that they rely on internet connectivity, which we’ll talk about in greater detail later.

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If your user has a slow or unstable internet connection, this can significantly reduce your web app’s performance.

Another reason is that web apps run in web browsers and their performance is dependent on them.

So, your web app’s performance will be poorer for users with slow devices and browsers.

Also, if your app has data-intensive processes, fetching data from the servers can introduce latency.

Luckily, there are ways you can minimize these problems and deliver a better UX. 

Let’s quickly go over them.

How to solve this problem

  • Minify your web app’s code – code minification removes all unnecessary characters from your web app’s source code, which can greatly reduce load times
  • Optimize images in your app – optimizing image sizes will improve your app’s performance and also reduce load times
  • Continuously monitor your app’s performance – continuous monitoring will help you quickly solve any performance issues

Dependence on internet connectivity

Another drawback you need to consider when developing your web app is that it’s dependent on an internet connection to work properly.

If your users have a poor internet connection, your app will have performance issues or even not work at all.

And that can be a serious problem.

But, why are web apps so dependent on internet connectivity?

The main reason is their architecture, because web apps operate on a client-server model.

In simple terms, it works like this – a client (a user’s device) requests data from a server over the internet.

And without an internet connection, the communication between the client and the server is broken and most of your app’s features won’t work.

Here’s a simple example of how it works:

client-server model

source: Medium

Also, many web apps use cloud services for storage and processing, such as:

And these services need a consistent internet connection to work.

Another reason why web apps need a consistent internet connection are API integrations.

Many web apps integrate APIs to add extra features and functionalities.

As these are external services, they need an active internet connection to work as intended.

But, there are ways you can minimize these issues.

How to solve this problem

  • Build a progressive web app – progressive web apps (PWAs) cache user data and can be used without internet access
  • Optimize data loading – optimizing data load times will mean your web app will work better for users with poor connectivity
  • Use efficient caching – using smart caching means your app won’t rely as much on real-time network access

Security vulnerabilities

Another major drawback of developing a web app are their security vulnerabilities.

Web apps are more exposed to attack than mobile apps because they need a constant internet connection and rely on web servers to work.

This makes them vulnerable to a number of different cyber attacks, like:

  • Cross-site scripting
  • SQL injection attacks
  • Cross-site request forgery
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)

And attacks like these are a serious threat, especially as cybercrime is expected to surge even further in the coming years:

jH6AR4FgWxirssf1EI5l5QCJqEOLuXycrkhUsYZlwh8LbiLD 97MzsLOrp51db5K M1G vM1xMI11rsVYio1LQ0uEEt34eQZKnDaEa4dE3gPCxOQPEIxes2S6s HfLdUc9JLEPmhcAvwfoP6eOZiSQ

source: Statista

But, exactly how serious are these threats?

Positive Technologies ran a long-term security study of 58 web apps and the results weren’t encouraging.

According to the study, 91% of the web apps in the study had sensitive data breaches and 72% of their vulnerabilities were caused by flaws in their code.

These numbers show just how widespread security vulnerabilities are and that cybercrime is a clear and present danger.

And these vulnerabilities can result in:

  • Sensitive data breaches
  • Financial losses
  • Reputational damage
  • Business disruptions

That’s why it’s so important to minimize those risks – we’ll next discuss some key tips that will boost your web app’s security.

How to solve this problem

  • Conduct regular security audits – regular audits will help you catch and solve any obvious security issues and keep your web app secure
  • Use secure coding practices – you should follow best practices for secure coding to avoid common security flaws
  • Update and patch your app regularly – regular updates and security patches will keep your app up to date with the latest security standards

Pros and cons of web app development: FAQs

What is web app development?

Web app development is the process of creating an app that runs on a web server and can be accessed through a web browser.

Why should I develop a web app?

You should develop a web app because they’re:

  • Accessible and cross-platform compatible
  • Easy to maintain and update
  • Cost-effective to develop

What are the problems with web apps?

The problems with web apps are:

  • Performance and speed limitations
  • Dependence on internet connectivity
  • Security vulnerabilities 

Why are web apps more cost-effective to develop?

Web apps are more cost-effective to develop because they’re inherently cross-platform, so you don’t need separate apps for each platform. Also, web apps are easier to maintain and don’t need app store approval, which also brings down costs.

How can I solve security issues when developing a web app?

You can solve the most common web app security issues by:

  • Conducting regular security audits
  • Using secure coding practices
  • Updating and patching your app regularly

Need a web app?

Are you thinking about developing a web app for your business but don’t know where to start?

We’ve got you covered.

If you need help building a web app, we’ll help you bring your idea to life.

Get in touch with us and let’s make that happen.

Written by

Tarek Saghir

JS Team Lead

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