Web App vs Desktop App (Which Is Better)?

iphone in front of a iMac

I am sure you’ll agree with me that there are several tools, technologies, and solutions out there that you can choose to improve how you work. With the advancement in technology, the internet has now become more popular. This popularity has made it possible for people to get things done quickly and easily, without necessarily having to be available in person.

Web apps and desktop apps are two different applications that are making life easier for people to live. But which of these apps is better and why should you choose it over the other?

If you have a computer that is low on storage space then web apps are more preferable to use because they only require you to have a web browser installed. Likewise, desktop apps can be better to use if you prefer to access your apps quickly and you have the storage space for them.

In the rest of this article, I’ll further share everything you need to know about desktop apps and web apps; including what they are, their pros and cons, and why you should choose one over the other. So, without further ado, let’s get straight down to business.

What are web & desktop apps and what exactly do they include?

Before going ahead to talk about which app is better; web app or desktop app, let’s first get familiar with what the two applications mean.

What is a web app?

As earlier mentioned, a web application (or web app) is an application program designed to run on web browsers with the help of an internet connection. This is possible because the program is usually stored on a remote server. Furthermore, web apps can be designed to perform several different functions.

With an internet connection and a good web browser, such as Google Chrome, you can always access web apps and their content. Let me pause here and introduce you to the second type of application; desktop apps.

What is a desktop app?

Unlike web apps, desktop applications are computer programs. Instead of storing them on a remote server, they are often installed directly on your computer. Generally, for you to use desktop applications, you do not require any internet connections. However, it’s worth noting that a couple of desktop apps, such as Google Chrome, and other types of browsers, need internet access to function.

Since you don’t need an internet connection to access most desktop apps, it means you can always launch them at any time. Furthermore, desktop applications can be utilized without having to depend on other apps.

Something to note though is that although you don’t need an internet connection to open a desktop app, the desktop app may still require an internet connection to access all of its features. For instance, you can install the Slack messaging app on your computer and then open it from your computer whenever you want. However, being able to communicate with other people over Slack requires an internet connection.

What are the pros and cons of web and desktop applications?

As earlier mentioned, both web apps and desktop apps have their strengths and weaknesses. For you to be able to decide which is better for your needs, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of the two applications.

Pros of web applications

There are tons of benefits attached to using web applications. Let’s have a look at some of them below:

 No installation is required

One of the advantages of web apps is that they do not require any installation. With a good web browser, all you need is to launch the apps by using the right URL. It’s that simple!

Furthermore, since a web app doesn’t require installation, it means you won’t have to worry too much that the application will take up much space on your PC’s hard drive. It also means that you can always access the app from any device, such as your personal computer, tablet, and smartphone (if it’s mobile responsive).

Updates are automatic

As earlier mentioned, web applications are apps that are usually stored on remote servers. This is why web app updates are automatic. The apps are often updated automatically. This saves you time and the stress of having to update the applications manually.

Zero worries about system requirements 

There’s no denying that some PCs have operating systems that are capable of running all types of applications. But not everybody can afford to buy these PCs.

A larger percentage of the world population can only afford to buy fairly-priced computers to perform basic things, such as browsing the internet and watching videos. Unfortunately, these computers do not support all types of applications. Here’s another point where the use of web applications is essential.

With web applications, you won’t have to worry about system requirements. All you need to access the apps is an internet connection and browser.

They cost less

There’s no denying that you need money to be able to own both desktop and web applications. However, you need to understand that compared to how much you’ll spend making desktop apps, it costs less to own web applications.

Cons of web applications

As you already know, web applications aren’t without their weaknesses. One of them is that you need an internet connection to be able to access them.

Apart from that, another disadvantage of web apps is that they are less secure than desktop applications. Today, cybercrime has become a day-to-day struggle across the world. As such, things stored on the internet are not as safe as those stored offline.

Pros of desktop applications

No need for an internet connection

One of the benefits attached to using desktop apps is that they do not require an internet connection to access them. This is a big deal as the internet has not yet reached everywhere across the world.

What if you find yourself in a location where there’s no internet access and you need to connect to the application? Here’s where the need to use desktop apps comes into the scene. The only time you need an internet connection is when you are trying to download the app on your PC.

Security issues are limited

As earlier mentioned, cybercrime has become a daily struggle. Since that’s the case, it means having a desktop app can be more secure because some desktop apps do not need to be used over an internet connection. Since you are not working over the internet, you are removing the risk of a malicious attack over the internet.

Cons of desktop applications

Unlike web apps, desktop applications have several disadvantages. One of them is that you will sometimes need enough space on your hard drive to download your preferred app.

Another setback of using desktop apps is that you can only access them from a single system. What that means is that, unlike web apps that you can access from different devices, you will only get to access desktop apps on the computer, where they are installed.

Furthermore, desktop apps require a mandatory download and installation. This is certainly time demanding and requires internet access. This could also require you to free up your space, depending on the size of the app and your PC’s storage capacity.

That’s not all; another drawback of using desktop apps is that they require regular updates, which you sometimes need to perform manually. This means you’ll have to spend some of your time checking for updates.

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