What is Web Application Development? [A Complete Guide]

According to Statista, the number of smartphone users in 2021 is estimated to grow overwhelmingly with 6 billion across the globe.

But, digitizing businesses has become extremely cumbersome because of rapid changes in technology.

So how to overcome that challenge for your business?

Being an entrepreneur, it is time to switch sides from slow and older technology to convert your business with the power of web application development. Why? Because developing web apps allows your business to reach a wide audience, build a stronger brand, and helps to boost business revenue.

In case you have also decided to build a web app, now is the time. We have shared essential information that will help you understand each aspect of web application development.

What is a Web App?

Web applications are computer-based programs, which are developed using technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Unlike native mobile apps, to access the web application, you need to enter the web address in the internet browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Google Analytics, MailChimp are some of the well-known examples of web apps.

But the question comes to how these web applications work in the first place? Basically, there are 3 primary layers of a web app, you should be aware of.

  • A web browser (a client)
  • A web application server
  • A database server

In the following table, we have also mentioned some of the top examples of web applications. All of these applications are used by millions of users across the globe.

In fact, we have compared all these applications based on their top features, revenue, and ratings. We have broken down the information for you in the following table.

Best Web App Examples

ApplicationsFeaturesRevenue (Statista)Ratings (G2)
  • Offers engaging action with low data consumption
  • Integrated web push notifications and temporary offline browsing
$3.7 Billion4.3 Stars
181 Reviews
Google Docs
  • Create, edit, and delete documents and share the documents with others
$2.6 Billion (Includes GSuite)4.7 Stars
5793 Reviews
  • Find photos, videos, recipes, and products
  • Perform a visual search on the web
  • Set board favorites
$1.6 Billion4.5 Stars
139 Reviews
  • Make offline notes
  • Store your data and access it in real-time
  • Check note history
$50 Million4.4 Stars
1874 Reviews
  • Easy to write code with preprocessors
  • Quicky showcase your work by customizing the profile
$10 Million4.6 Stars
18 Reviews

What Are the Types of Web Applications?

If you are planning to develop web based applications, it is essential for you to understand types of web apps. In this section, we will brief you about 5 different types of web applications along with the examples and pros and cons. Check all the web application types one by one.

  1. Progressive Web Apps

  2. Progressive web apps are cross-platform web applications that use the latest web browser APIs and features, as well as a classic progressive enhancement method, to provide a native app-like user experience.
    For example, when you open a Twitter web app from your mobile, it will show you the sidebars and loads like a native application. Even after turning off the internet, the Twitter web app will still load by showing you multiple tweets.

    PWAs are built with different technologies and standard patterns. It is a flexible and adaptable app that is built using web technologies. PWAs are built using programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    Which are the best examples of progressive web apps?

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Progressive Web Apps

    • Works in offline mode
    • No need for the installation
    • Reliable and loads instantly
    • Fast and respond quickly to user interactions
    • Comprises of fewer functionalities
    • Unable to implement new technical features like NFC and Bluetooth
  3. Dynamic Web Apps

  4. Dynamic web applications are interactive and developed using server-side programming. Dynamic apps use CMS (content management system) to modify application’s content.

    The best example of dynamic web apps is Netflix. The web app helps to personalize suggestions from users. Whenever you add a movie or series to your watch list, Netflix shows you similar shows and movies based on your previous selection.

    Which are the best examples of dynamic web apps?

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Dynamic Web Apps

    • Broader audience reach
    • Scalable compared to a static website
    • Flexible in terms of updating new content
    • Higher development cost
  5. Portal Web Apps

  6. A portal web app allows enterprises to log in to secure pages and provides personalized interfaces that fulfill users’ requirements.

    For example, any website which contains a payment gateway like bank websites or shopping websites is known as a portal web app. Education websites like Blackboard are an example of a portal web app.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Portal Web Apps

    • Efficiently delivers the information
    • Increases the productivity of the user
    • Offers personalized environment
    • Authentication issues may occur
  7. Static Web Apps

  8. A web application that shows the content directly to the end user’s browser is called a static web application. The static web apps are built with HTML and CSS web application frameworks.

    However, it is hard to modify or update the information on static websites. You need to refresh the page every time to see the updated changes in the live website.

    Which are the best status web apps examples?

    • Documentation
    • Website presentation
    • Forms
    • Newsletter contents

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Static Web Apps

    • Faster load time
    • More secure
    • Less complex to set up
    • Unable to display dynamic content
    • Reduced engagement compared to dynamic website
  9. E-commerce Web Apps

  10. In 2021, Retail e-commerce sales worldwide have increased to 5.2 trillion US dollars and it is expected to grow to 8.1 trillion US dollars in 2026. If you are planning to establish your e-commerce business, developing an e-commerce web app can be the best choice for you. The e-commerce application easily attracts customers and offers a seamless shopping experience.

    Which are the best e-commerce web apps?

    • Amazon
    • eBay

    Advantages and Disadvantages of E-commerce Web Apps

    • Ability to scale your business quickly
    • Provides customer insights via analytics and tracking
    • Sell products across the globe
    • Need consistent maintenance
    • Lacks a personal touch like buying a grocery from a store

Web Application Development Process

Wondering how to develop a web application? or how to start building a web app from the scratch? Understanding the entire flow of web application development is crucial. Because it determines the overall success of your project and helps you to gain insight into each step of the process right from the beginning.

  1. Look for Challenges and Ways to Solve it

  2. If you are planning to develop a web app, you ask yourself this question, “What challenge can your app solve for users?”

    Because, if your application doesn’t offer any value to your target audience, then it is not recommended to invest your time and money. Therefore, your main goal should be to find a web app idea that is scalable and beneficial for the users.

  3. Research About Your Competitors

  4. To achieve long-term success in any business, it is essential to know your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. That means you should research what services or products your competitors are offering and how you can improve your own app using advanced features.

    To research your competitors, you must answer the questions below to get the utmost clarity about what your competitors are doing.

    1. What are your competitors’ services or products?
    2. What value do your competitors offer in their services or products?
    3. What are potential competitors who are not yet active in the market but in the future have the potential to become one?
    4. Are your competitors delivering more support and features to their customers compared to yours and at what prices are they offering their services or products?

    Additionally, here is a small checklist for you to follow to get your competitor’s information quickly.

    • Gather the complete information about your industry’s outlook
    • Search your competitor’s potential target audience
    • Search your competitors on social media
    • Use tool likes Spyfu, Google Trends, and Google Alerts to research keywords, business trends and set alerts when new content gets published
  5. Finalize the Functionalities

  6. You need to determine the exact functionalities that your application will offer. In addition, plan your web app development process systematically. It is necessary to prioritize the features you need to develop at the early stage.

    But, what if the development cost is too high? You should consider choosing the MVP option. What is MVP?

    MVP refers to a minimum viable product that helps you to validate and launch your app with enough features without investing all the money at once.

    Now, let us discuss the importance of MVP.

    • Save time and cost by publishing a web application for users
    • Helps to win stakeholders by developing MVP, so that investors will determine whether the product will work in the market or not
    • By building MVP, you can test web app monetization strategy by adding in-app purchases, upgrade, and add-ons to see whether users are comfortable buying your service/product
  7. Hire a Team of Web App Developers

  8. To develop a featureful web app, you either hire a team of web app developers or outsource the project to a reputed web app development agency.

    The below checklist is specifically designed to give an idea to select an app development company, however, the same steps apply to choose the web app development company as well.

    How to Select App Development Company

    To hire talented developers, feel free to check these platforms:

    After you hire a reliable web app development team, it is time to design the web app prototype and choose the right tech stack.

    Design a Wireframe and Prototype

    After finalizing the wireframe, it is time to start designing the prototype.

    Generally, the team will start the web app development by designing a wireframe and a prototype. The wireframe consists of the entire design of the page.

    Therefore, you can easily determine how it will look. It will help you to visualize your app concept. Let’s take a look at how the basic wireframe looks.


    Image Source: Wireframe Example

    After creating a wireframe, you need to make it interactive for users to test it, that is called prototype. There are many prototype tools like Sketch, InVision Studio, and Adobe XD.

  9. Publish Your Web App

  10. Before publishing your web app, you need to buy a domain name and a reliable hosting plan. There are many web hosting plans to choose from. Such as:

    • Shared Hosting: Your server will be shared with others.
    • Dedicated Hosting: You can use the entire server space.
    • Cloud Hosting: Multiple server systems will be connected to host your website.

    To scale, increase performance and avoid failure of a web application, you must keep an eye on the following components.

    • Consistent QA testing
    • Error fixing
    • New feature implementation
    • Offering updates and ongoing technical support

    Have a Web App Idea?

    Discuss your web application idea with us. We have developed over 50 web apps using advanced web app technologies, such as Django and Ruby on Rails.

    Advantages of Web Application Development

    Enhanced SecurityWeb apps store information remotely. In case your computer faces a data breach, you will not lose your data. It will be secured on the server.
    Easily AccessibleUsers don’t need to download the application on their phones. One URL is enough to make the entire web app accessible.
    Easy MaintenanceTo make hybrid or native apps accessible, you need to pay a certain amount on the app stores. That costs higher compared to renting a hosting server.

    How to Choose the Web Application Development Framework?

    Let us understand the parameters of choosing the right framework for your web application development.

    1. Determine Your Project Type and Size

    2. You can choose the tech stack based on the project type and size. We have listed down the tech stack based on project size. Have a look.

      Project TypeDescription
      Smaller Projects
      • Go with CMS or WordPress web development
      • For full-stack web development, you can choose Nodejs – Reactjs
      Medium Scale Projects
      • Consider MEAN or MERN stack frameworks to develop medium-scale projects like an eCommerce app
      Large Scale Projects
      • Choose Reactjs, Angularjs, Python-Django, and Ruby on Rails
      • Online marketplace, social media apps, or content-rich apps are a part of large-scale projects
    3. Timing the Market

    4. To maximize your business profits, reduce the risk and increase your gains, you should time the market. Also, it will help you be clear about the outputs you expect at the end of the web development process.

      If you are planning to launch your web application in a short span, you need to select the tech stack accordingly. The MEAN stack will help in 3rd party integration. Hence, it will reduce the development time.

    5. Scalable Solution

    6. Are you planning to scale your web app in the future with more functionalities? If your answer is yes, then you need to choose the tech stack accordingly. Web app frameworks like Angular and Nodejs are ideal choices to develop scalable web applications.

    Best Web App Frameworks

    We have also listed some of the best web app frameworks to choose from. To develop an effective web, choosing the right technology stack is essential as it determines the success of your web app.

    1. LAMP

    2. lamp

      LAMP stands for Linux (operating system), Apache (webserver), MySQL (database), and PHP (programming language). LAMP is the popular web app framework to build dynamic web applications. Many full-stack web developers have switched to LAMP for its flexibility, security, and customizable options.

    3. Python – Django

    4. Python

      Python-Django web application framework is based on Python language and for backend development. If you are planning to develop an MVP (minimum viable product) with limited functionalities for your target audience, you can choose the Python-Django tech stack.

      Spotify, Instagram, and Disqus are some of the well-known examples of the Python-Django tech stack.

    5. MEAN

    6. mean stack

      MEAN stack refers to MongoDB (database), Express.js (application framework), Angular (front-end framework), and Node.js (runtime environment). It is one of the rapidly growing open source web application frameworks, which lets developers perform complex web app programming with ease.

      When to use MEAN?

      If you are planning to develop high-performing and scalable applications, the MEAN stack is the right web application framework for you. DropBox, Netflix, or Forbes are well-known examples of apps that are built with the MEAN stack.

    7. MERN

    8. mern

      The abbreviation of MERN is MongoDB, Express.js, React/Redux, and Nodejs. MERN is a powerful free JavaScript software stack for developing dynamic websites and web applications. It is purely based on JavaScript for the frontend and the backend development.

      PayPal, Imgur, Flipboard are few apps that are built with the MERN tech stack.

    9. Rails

    10. Rails is an MVC framework (Model View Controller) that uses Ruby programming language. Rails are liked by coders. Because it is a beginner-friendly framework and helps even novice developers to start web development easily. There are multiple advantages of rails like library-like dependencies that help in web application development and allow you to add the web app functionalities efficiently and in a faster manner.

      The Rails community is dependable and welcoming, and there are several tutorials, screencasts, and tools available to help you quickly become a rails expert.

      The biggest downside of Rails is that it takes a lot of effort to deploy and run in a production setting, and the learning curve is severe as you start delving deeper into the framework to figure out what’s going on.

    How Much Does Web App Development Cost?

    After knowing all these steps for web application development and essential web app frameworks, you might be wondering how much it would cost to develop a web app.

    Please know that the cost of web application development depends upon multiple parameters. Therefore, we have created this table to help you understand the cost.

    Type of Web AppFeaturesApprox Cost Estimation
    Static Web App
    • Cost-effective solution
    • Ideal for showing portfolio or static information
    $1000 to $2000
    Dynamic Web Application
    • Easily alter, edit, and delete the content
    • Displays content according to user’s devices and location
    $2500 to $5000
    E-commerce Web App
    • Comprises of the content management system, payment gateways, and SEO optimized layouts, push notifications, and chatbots
    $8000 to $16,000
    Web Portal Development
    • Web portals refer to B2C, B2B, and learning community
    $3000 to $6000
    CMS Web App
    • Allows easier website management without hiring developers
    • Use different CMS depending upon your website functionalities
    $5000 to $50,000
    1. How Complex is Your Web Application?

    2. Web app complexity plays a huge role in determining the exact cost of web app development. The more complex your application, the higher it costs. Also, it takes more time to build apps with high complexity. Custom web application development costs more compared to the apps built by web app builders.

      Let us take some examples of basic, custom, complex, and enterprise-level apps.

      Type of Web AppExamples
      Basic Web Apps
      • One page websites
      • Landing pages
      Custom Web Apps
      • E-commerce web apps
      • Reservation web apps
      Complex Web Apps
      • Payment gateways
      • Social media integrations
      Enterprise-grade Web Application
      • ERP software
      • Finance applications
      • Email marketing systems
    3. How Many Functionalities Do You Require?

    4. It is important to list out all the functionalities before initiating the web app development. The web app development cost depends upon functionalities and its complexity. The easily developed functionalities cost less compared to highly complex functionalities.

    5. Are You Planning to Hire an In-house Web App Team or Outsource It?

    6. Hiring in-house teams or outsourcing your projects can make or break your web app. However, finding a reliable web application development company is always a great idea. Certainly, it is less expensive than owning an entire IT firm. Let us discuss two of these hiring types in detail.

      • Building an In-house Team

        To build an in-house team, you need strong hiring and technical experience beforehand. You should know how to interview developers and explain to them the goal of your project.

      • Hiring Web Development Company

        If you don’t want to get into hiring developers, managing the finances, and project resources from time to time, then hiring a web development company is a great choice.

      Want to Hire Web App Developers?

      Want to discuss your business requirements? Want to get a free consultation?

      FAQ About Web Application Development

      What should you know before developing a web app?

      You should have a basic idea about the following points.

      1. You need to define an app-building strategy, which includes marketing to monetization strategy.
      2. It is essential to gather a team of experienced developers who can understand your web app requirements and work on them.
      3. Be clear about your business model and the goals you want to achieve by developing a web application.
      4. Decide the time and the exact budget before starting the web development process.

      Which are the best platforms for web app development?

      1. AngularJS
      2. Ruby on Rails
      3. ASP.net
      4. Node.js
      5. PHP

      What is the difference between a website and a web application?

      If you are planning web application development for your business, it is essential for you to understand the difference between a website and a web app. Please check the below definitions for the same.

      • Website:
      • A website is a collection of multiple web pages interlinked with each other. The purpose of building a website is to showcase a product or service of the business or create a blog.

      • Web Application:
      • The web app is software that is accessible via web browser and offers a mobile app-like experience. The front of the web app is usually developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.


      We hope this web application development guide has helped you to learn about each aspect of web application development briefly. Web application development will be an ideal choice for you compared to hybrid and native app development.

      Why? Since web apps are supported on all devices regardless of your device type. That will ensure a significant advantage for you to target maximum users and increase your market reach.

      Being a well-known web app development company for years, we will help you in choosing the right tech stack to develop full-fledged web applications. We have developed over 50 web apps and completed over 1000 job works on Upwork.

      In fact, we have developed successful mobile apps with the help of our experienced app development team, please check.


      • Covered by TechCrunch
      • The most downloaded on-demand delivery app
      • Secured the funding of $1.2 Billion

      TOR App:

      • Downloaded by 100K+ users
      • Receive over 8500+ ratings
      • Provides secure VPN and internet speed test

      Contact our expert web apps developer’s team to get complete guidance about our web application development services.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel

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.