Difference between Web App and Desktop App

Nowadays, several businesses opt for software solutions to modernize their business strategies and enhance overall productivity. However, while planning such a significant change, in-depth research in this domain is required so that all the business demands can be accurately understood. In addition, selecting the type of application is also a crucial element involved in the software development lifecycle.

Many organizations and individuals get confused between the vast options and get confused at the moment. However, it is crucial to be updated about the type of software. This article examined web and desktop apps and provided a detailed analytical comparison listing their benefits and drawbacks.

Keep reading further to have an overview of these two classifications of software.

What is a Web App?

A web app or web service is a program configured and installed on a remote server, whose services can be availed using a browser and network access. These applications are developed to run in browsers and don’t require any installation on the physical machine.

For Example, end-user access Google Docs from the browser and use it to create files without downloading the software on their device.

What is a Desktop App?

A software program created to run on a computer system with and without internet access and browser is a desktop application. To run these solutions, users have to download its packages to install them on the machine.

For instance, Microsoft Word, Excel, Games, Windows Media Player, and so forth. All these applications require a part of storage space on primary memory to run.

Let’s Understand Web Application Advantages and Disadvantages

Web App Advantages

No Downloading and Installation

Nowadays, several applications are being used by people, and a lot of space on the devices is required to install packages and store the associated files on disk. But, web applications have eliminated the need to download the installation package and then run it on the system.

To run any web app, only a browser is required, and the user can easily search the URL for launching the software. Also, cloud services are integrated with such solutions, which saves the client’s storage space and aids in storing data in a secure environment. In addition, fewer resources are utilized, which makes web-app a preferred choice of both end-users and organizations.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

The primary need of any web application is an updated browser and internet access to the machine, leading it to execute user requests on any device, regardless of system specifications. With this, users can effortlessly switch systems without losing the current progress.

For Example, if a person is editing some picture on a web application from a computer system, save it in the drive and close the program. Then, he can easily open the program on his mobile and continue the editing where it was left on the computer.

Self-Updating Solutions

It’s always time-consuming to download updates and then install them to continue work. Web Applications free users from this hassle, as the solution is automatically updated, and you have to reload the web page for accessing up-to-date versions.

As a result, you will always be assured of using the latest, stable and secure version. Moreover, all the loopholes are patched, data confidentiality is maintained, and the necessary configuration is needed to prevent potential cyber-attacks.

Less Load on System

Web-based services are not directly associated with the device and run in the browser, which allows the user to access them on a system with low RAM and processing power. As a result, the user only has to focus on the number of tabs, as more open tabs utilize more resources.

Furthermore, a user must open the necessary tabs and close the rest for executing business operations reliably and seamlessly.

Web Application Disadvantages

Requirement of Internet

Internet access is the basic need to access and utilize the services of a web application. Without a stable and fast connection, the user can face many difficulties performing the core tasks. Also, unstable access can continuously reload the page, disrupting the concentration and workflow.

But, with technology modernization, this issue is being resolved, and a lot of software is coming offline support. For instance, data will be stored on the client machine if the connection is lost. In addition, the server’s database will be automatically updated whenever it is again connected to the internet.

Slow Performance

Comparing the speed of web applications with the desktop app is potentially considered slower, as disruption on the internet can easily affect its functioning. Also, if the machine’s processing power is low, only a chunk of it is allocated to the browser. As a result, the web-based solution will process instructions relaxed and slow-going.

Security Issues

With a rise seen in cyber-attacks, every individual and enterprise is worried about their data security. A lot of questions are raised while storing information on a remote server. There can be a security risk if the selected software does not follow the guidelines published by the government and associated regulatory authorities.

Man-in-the-middle, XSS, DDoS, and SQL injection are common attacks performed on web apps to crash them and breach privacy. Therefore, the user must confirm the security standards followed by a particular solution; otherwise, data can be easily compromised.

High Subscription Rates

There are numerous types of solutions available, some of them are free to use, and some are available after paying a fee and registering on the vendor’s platform. In addition, different packages are available, such as monthly, quarterly, and annually, which can expand your budget; a minimum monthly subscription has to be purchased for completing just a small task. In this way, web apps become a little expensive than desktop applications.

It’s Time to Analyze the Desktop Application Advantages and Disadvantages

Desktop App Advantages

Offline Access

Internet access is not necessary while working with a desktop application, as it is installed in the system and you are leveraged to access it any time. Still, there can be a situation when a person cannot find a stable connection. However, a desktop app will not impact its work, and all the procedures will be executed successfully, providing the required output. Furthermore, once the application is installed, you can use it anywhere, anytime.

More Privacy

In terms of data security, desktop solutions are considered more precisely, as overall data is stored on your machine. Therefore, you are the only authorized person to access, read, write and share it. In addition, whenever someone works on a web-based app, cookies are generated, browser history is saved, enabling the companies to display ads.

Moreover, your device will be secure from man-in-the-middle and other threats in offline mode, and auto-downloading of any malware will also be prevented.


Applications based on Software as a Service are pretty expensive than desktop solutions, as the vendor has to host and maintain it constantly. Also, you have to pay hefty amounts for accessing the services through a web app. On the other hand, most desktop-based applications are freely available, and if any one of them needs to be purchased, the user can use it for a long-time.

In addition, if an enterprise provides its desktop application to its stakeholders, it only has to host a web page with a link, and the company can do it in a small amount. In this way, desktop apps help both end-users and organizations to save money.

Optimized Performance

If we compare the web and desktop apps based on speed, desktop applications always will be the dominant technology. It directly links with the device and utilizes all the required resources appropriately. Users do not generally analyze command execution, but it is faster in desktop apps, as low bandwidth doesn’t impact the performance.

Besides this, a wide array of features is offered compared to web solutions, as computer systems can handle many threads simultaneously. For instance, you can manually allocate the space to software to maximize its functioning.

Desktop App Disadvantages

More Space Utilization

Desktop Software requires larger storage space on the machine’s hard disk to deploy its necessary packages and associated files. Also, any new file the user adds is stored on the system, utilizing more space, which loads the system. In addition, the cost of maintenance can be increased with this if there is insufficient space on the hard disk installed on the device, as the user needs to modify the disk with a larger capacity.

Installation is necessary

While using a web-based application, a browser and internet access are the only basic requirements. But, to use a desktop app, installing it on the device is a must. And, for the successful installation, aspects such as Operating system, RAM, processor, GUI, ROM, and many more are analyzed. Therefore, it makes the desktop app a little a bit expensive. Moreover, it is difficult to switch between systems to complete the work, as it is native to a single OS and can’t be accessed on any other system.

Upgraded Manually

Downloading a new file whenever an update is available is sometimes a hectic piece of work, as you have to wait for its compatibility check, installation, and then rebooting the system for successful configuration. In addition, it also consumes more space and processing cores, which can degrade the performance due to a shortage of resources.

Wrapping Up

Web Application and Desktop Application both are heavily selected from small to large scale organizations, as per their need and budget. Both these solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. However, desktop-based software is being considered for internal use in enterprises, and web-based apps are mostly preferred for users at remote locations. It depends upon your requirements.

Before finalizing any application, you must consult with an IT company, such as Positiwise, as experts can easily tailor software according to business requisites.

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