SPA vs MPA: 8 Key Comparisons for Your Web Development

    Key Takeaway

  • The main difference between SPAs and MPAs is speed and development complexity. SPA offers speed in loading the page and updating the content faster, while MPA offers development complexity and compatibility with older browsers.

Are you wondering which type of web application is right for you? When it comes to web development, single-page applications (SPAs) and multi-page applications (MPAs) are two popular choices.

However, choosing one from the SPA and MPA is challenging. Picking the wrong approach would cost you more than you expected.

Hence, this blog will help you to choose the most suitable approach for your web applications. We will go through a detailed comparison between SPA vs MPA, which helps you to choose the right web application development approach.

Let’s get started defining single-page applications and multi-page applications.

What is a Single-Page Application?

Single-Page application refers to a type of application that entirely runs within the web browser and does not require the entire page to be reloaded during use. The goal is faster transitions that make the website feel more like a native mobile app.

This approach provides a more responsive and seamless user experience, as the page doesn’t need to be reloaded entirely for every interaction. SPAs are commonly used to create interactive and fast web applications using technologies like Angular, React.js, and Vue.js.

If you are looking to build a web application that is fast, responsive, easy to develop and maintain, then a single-page application is a good option to consider.

Common examples of single-page apps are Gmail, Google Maps, Paypal, and Airbnb.

Moreover, if you want to know more about SPA then you can learn more with our post defining single-page application. In this article, we have covered everything about how SPA works and its advantages which will help you understand the concept precisely.

Now let’s check out the definition of a multi-page application.

What is a Multi-Page Application?

Multi-Page application is a web application that loads a new page for each action that the user takes. A multi-page app consists of multiple static pages that load a new page for the server and then update the content of that page as needed.

Multi-Page application (MPA) is often used when an application needs to have different pages with different purposes. For example, an MPA has a homepage, a product catalog, a contact form, and a user profile. Each page would have its own layout and functionality, depending on its purpose.

Common examples of multi-page applications are eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Now let’s find out the core difference between single page application (SPAs) and multi page application (MPAs) by comparing their functionalities and capabilities in the below table.

Single Page Application vs Multi Page Application: 10 Core Differences to Know

Here are the 10 core differences between SPA and MPA that help you to choose the right web development architecture that satisfies your business needs and requirements.

Sr. NoFeatures and CapabilitiesSingle-Page ApplicationMulti-Page Application
1Page NavigationSPA Loads content dynamically within a single page.MPA requires a full page reload for each new page.
2User ExperienceAs SPA does not require the browser to reload the entire page, SPA offers a more seamless and interactive experience.MPA results in slower page transitions and perceived delays as it requires the complete page to reload every time.
3PerformanceSPAs load faster than MPAs because they do not have to load a new page for each action.MPAs can be slower than SPAs because they have to load a new page for each action.
4Development ComplexitySPAs are more complex to develop than MPAs because they require a deeper understanding of AJAX and javascript frameworks.MPAs can be less complex to develop than SPAs because they can be developed using traditional web development techniques.
5SecuritySPAs can be more difficult to secure from malicious attacks because all of the application logic is executed in the browser.By executing the application logic on the server, MPAs can mitigate security risks. That means MPA is more secure than SPA.
6Offline CapabilitiesUsing service workers, indexedDB, and local storage SPA provides offline functionality.In order to load the pages browser needs the server to be accessed every time hence, MPA provides limited offline capabilities, and nearly all MPA needs an internet connection to run.
7Search Engine FriendlinessMPAs require server access for page loading, resulting in limited offline capabilities. Most MPAs depend on an internet connection to function.MPA pages are easily navigable and searchable by search engine crawlers because they are made up of multiple static pages.
8Application SizeSPA has a smaller application file size because they do not need to include all of the static content in the initial download.MPA has a larger application file size because they need to include all of the static content for each page in the initial download. This includes the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for each page.
9Initial Page LoadTo provide a more seamless user experience SPA loads all necessary resources upfront.To be indexed by search engines and to be compatible with older browsers MPA loads resources for the currently requested page only.
10Development ProcessThe development process for SPAs is more iterative, as the application is developed and tested in the browser.The development process for MPAs is typically more linear, as the application is developed on the server and then deployed to the browser.

The comparison explains the different capabilities and functionalities of SPA and MPA; however, the best choice for a particular application will depend on the specific needs of the application.

By identifying the differences we can examine that SPA and MPA have various pros and cons.

Hence it is important to learn the benefits and drawbacks of SPA and MPA. Having knowledge about their pros and cons have a significant impact on decision-making about choosing the right app architecture for your web application development.

So, let’s check out the benefits and drawbacks of SPA and MPA.

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5 Key Benefits of Single Page Application

Here are the 5 key benefits of SPA are as follows:

Sr. NoParametersAdvantages of Single Page Application
1Better user experienceSPAs provide a more fluid and interactive user experience than MPAs. This is because SPAs update the page content without the need to reload the entire page. This makes your application feel more like a native app.
2Cross-Platform DevelopmentSPAs are web-based, allowing seamless compatibility across desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. This eliminates the need for separate development efforts or maintaining different codebases for different platforms.
3Code ReusabilitySPAs can be built using reusable backend code/front-end code or components, which can make the development operations more efficient. This is because SPAs use component-based architectures, breaking down the application into reusable components for easier maintenance and updates.
4Real-time UpdatesSPAs can easily integrate real-time communication technologies like WebSockets or AJAX long polling to enable real-time updates. This capability is especially valuable for applications that require instant notifications, chat functionality, collaborative editing, or live data updates.
5Reduced Server LoadSPAs reduce server load by shifting application logic to the client side, minimizing data transfer and server processing. Subsequent interactions primarily involve client-side data fetching and rendering, improving scalability.

Above we have discussed the benefits of single page applications. If you even want to know the frameworks to develop single-page applications, here is a complete guide to top single-page application frameworks for web development. From this blog, learn the most popular single-page application frameworks that can help you develop single-page web applications.

Now, let’s discuss the drawbacks of SPA to understand SPA more precisely and to get a complete overview of SPAs.

3 Limitations of Single-Page Applications

Here are the 3 drawbacks of SPA:

Sr. NoParametersDrawbacks of Single-Page Applications
1SecurityBecause the entire application logic is executed within the browser, SPAs can be more challenging to safeguard than MPAs.
2SEO OptimizationBecause the whole application is not loaded on the first-page load, SPAs can be harder to optimize for search engines than MPAs.
3ComplexityBecause they demand a deeper understanding of JavaScript and AJAX, SPAs can be more difficult to design than MPAs.

So, after analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of SPA. It’s time now to discuss the pros and cons of MPA. Let’s get started.

5 Key Benefits of Multi-Page Applications

Here are the 5 key benefits of MPA, which will help you understand MPA more precisely.

Sr. NoParametersAdvantages of Multi-Page Application
1SEO OptimizationMPAs are easier to optimize for search engines compared to SPAs because all content is loaded on the first-page load, allowing search engines to index the entire application and potentially improve its search rankings.
2Provide Robust SecurityMPAs are generally considered more secure than SPAs because the application logic is executed on the server, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities in client-side code. With only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript rendered by the browser, the potential for exploiting code flaws is minimized.
3Easy to DevelopMPAs can be easier to develop than SPAs, as they can be developed using traditional web development techniques. This means that developers who are familiar with traditional web applications can easily develop MPAs.
4Clear Page BoundariesIn MPAs, each page has clear boundaries, making it easier to understand and manage the flow of information. This can be beneficial for applications that require specific page contexts or need to adhere to traditional navigation patterns.
5Compatibility with Legacy SystemMPAs can integrate with legacy systems or frameworks that may not be easily compatible with SPAs. They can work seamlessly with server-side resources and frameworks, allowing for smoother integration and migration processes.

Knowing the advantages let’s have a look at the limitations of MPAs

3 Limitations of Multi-Page Application

Here are a few MPA drawbacks to help you understand the app better and decide whether to use it for your web project or not. Let’s get going.

Sr. NoParametersLimitations of Multi-Page Application
1User experienceBecause each action requires the user to wait for a new page to load, MPAs often offer a worse user experience than SPAs. This can be startling and cause the user’s workflow to be interrupted.
2SpeedBecause they need to load a new page for every action, MPAs can be slower than SPAs. This is more obvious on mobile devices with sluggish internet connections.
3ComplexityMPAs can be more difficult to manage than SPAs because each page is its own multiple HTML pages. This implies that if you alter one page, it’s possible that you’ll also need to alter all of the other pages.

The advantages and drawbacks of MPA have helped you develop an in-depth understanding of multi-page applications.

However, if you are still confused to choose one from SPA or MPA then you can go through the following section.

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When to Choose a Single-Page Application?

Choosing a SPA has many factors to consider and they are as follows:

  • If you want to offer a superior user experience, which is particularly advantageous for mobile apps and interactive platforms like social media and e-commerce sites.
  • If you want to offer responsive and seamless navigation within your web app.
  • If you want more interactive and dynamically responsive web apps.

When to Choose a Multi-Page Application?

  • If you want to develop content-focused web apps like blogs, news platforms, or information-based sites. Because MPA offers a simple and intuitive structure to organize and present content across multiple pages.
  • If you want to prevent your web app from security vulnerabilities. MPA offers more secured web app environments than SPA.
  • If you want web apps that are more compatible with older browsers than SPAs.

From the mentioned information you have got a precise idea of what to choose between SPA and MPA. However, if you still have a few questions then you can check our FAQ section which will help you to answer your queries.

Frequently Asked Questions About SPA vs MPA

Are SPA and MPA cloud-based applications?

SPAs and MPAs can both be deployed and hosted in the cloud. SPA and MPA leverages cloud infrastructure services such as cloud servers, storage, and databases. By hosting SPAs or MPAs in the cloud, you can easily handle increased traffic, have access to reliable data storage, and take advantage of various cloud services to enhance the performance and functionality of your web application.

Which web app uses the minimum possible code?

Static HTML web pages, also known as static web apps, use the minimum amount of code compilation compared to other types of web applications. Static websites consist of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that are pre-generated and served directly to the user’s browser. They do not require server-side processing or a backend infrastructure.

How long does it take to develop SPA or MPA?

Approximately, to develop a simple SPA you require 2 to 4 weeks, and for a complex SPA requires 4 to 6 weeks. And, development time for MPA requires 3 to 5 weeks, and complex MPA requires 6 to 8 weeks. However, the development time for single-page applications (SPAs) and multi-page applications (MPAs) depends on factors like program complexity, developer experience, and tools/frameworks used. SPAs usually require less time due to their efficient handling of page reloads when users click links. Utilizing frameworks can further expedite SPA development.

Choose the Right App Architecture to Build Your Web App

Picking the right app appoach is an important factor to consider in the entire web application development process of apps. Choosing the right platform determines your web app’s scalability, performance, and flexibility. Hence, to help you streamline your decision-making on choosing SPA or MPA, we compared SPA vs MPA. Moreover, we discussed benefits and drawbacks and also provided information on when to choose SPA and MPA.

If you still have any doubts or questions regarding a multi-page app or single-page app, get in touch with us. We have an experienced team of web app developers who can help you with the custom web app solution development.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.