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Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid: Which is Better?

Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid: Which is Better?


June 22, 2023

If you're looking to build a mobile app, you've probably come across these terms: Web, Native, and Hybrid. They sound cool, right? But what do they actually mean? And more importantly, which one is the best for your app development?

Well, worry not, because we're going to break this down for you in a language that everyone can understand.

First off, each type represents a different approach to building mobile apps, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. So whether you're a tech genius, an aspiring app developer, or a business owner trying to take your brand to the next level, getting to grips with these terms is essential. By understanding the difference between Web, Native, and Hybrid apps, you can make the best decision for your project.

So, buckle up as we dive into the world of app development, exploring the ins and outs of these three approaches and figuring out which one might be the best fit for your app. This is going to be fun! Let's get started, shall we?

What are Web Apps?

Web apps often get mistaken for websites, though they differ fundamentally. Websites primarily offer information, while web apps provide interactive functionality. They are built using web application frameworks and can run on any operating system like iOS or Android.

Web apps utilize programming languages like CSS and HTML. Unlike other apps, web apps don't require downloading and installation; they run on a web browser via a URL, thus saving device storage. Popular web app examples include Netflix, Google Docs, Basecamp, and Microsoft Office.

Pros and Cons of Webapps


  • They feature a simple codebase, making them easy to maintain.
  • They are cross-browser and cross-device compatible, broadening the potential audience reach.
  • Web apps don't require app store uploads and can be accessed directly via a URL.
  • Due to their single codebase, web app development time and cost are considerably lower.


However, web apps also have their drawbacks:

  • They lack several UI design elements and features, such as offline work capability and push notifications.
  • They may offer a less seamless user interaction, which might affect user experience.
  • Web apps might operate slowly in low network connectivity situations.
  • As they're not uploaded to app stores, the user reach might be limited.

What Are Native Apps?

Native apps are built to run on a specific device using platform-specific programming languages. For instance, iOS native apps use Objective-C and Swift, while Android apps use Kotlin and Java.

Given their platform-specific nature, native apps are not cross-platform compatible. Therefore, an iOS native app won't work on an Android device, and vice versa. Examples of native apps include WhatsApp, Spotify, and Pokémon Go.

Pros and Cons of Native Apps


Native apps offer certain advantages:

  • They are customized for specific platforms, making them highly responsive and performant.
  • Being available on app stores, they can reach a broad audience of mobile app users.
  • They follow standard UI practices of each mobile platform, enhancing user experience.


However, native apps also have limitations:

  • Developing them requires proficiency in complex programming languages.
  • They are costlier to develop and maintain than web and hybrid apps, primarily because you need separate apps for each platform here.

What Are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid apps, as the name suggests, are a combination of both native and web apps. They are built using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, wrapped in a native container for access to native platform features.

Hybrid apps can run on multiple platforms like web apps and can access device capabilities like native apps. They are developed once and can be deployed across multiple platforms, reducing the development time and cost. Examples of hybrid apps include Instagram, Uber, and Twitter.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps


Hybrid apps come with a fair share of advantages:

  • They require less development time and cost as compared to native apps because of the single codebase.
  • They can run on multiple platforms and access native device capabilities.
  • They can be updated easily without requiring users to install new versions.


However, hybrid apps also come with their own set of drawbacks:

  • They may suffer from performance issues as they are not as fast or reliable as native apps.
  • The user experience might not be as seamless as in native apps since hybrid apps cannot replicate native user interface elements perfectly.
  • They can face compatibility issues with different operating systems, device types, or screen sizes.

Web App vs Native App vs Hybrid App

Web apps are beneficial for businesses seeking a low-cost solution that is easy to maintain and is compatible across various devices and platforms. However, they may lack in terms of user experience and functionality.

Native apps, on the other hand, provide superior performance and user experience but can be costly and time-consuming to develop, particularly if targeting multiple platforms.

Hybrid apps strike a balance between the two, offering cross-platform functionality and access to native device features. But, they might not deliver the performance or user experience of a native app.

Choosing The Ideal App Type For Your Business

When deciding on the type of app for your business, consider these factors:

1. User Experience

 If a high-quality user experience is paramount, native apps are your best bet. But if you're looking for a balance between cost-effectiveness and decent user experience, consider hybrid apps.

2. Development Time and Cost

If you need a quick and affordable solution, web apps could be the right choice. For businesses with larger budgets and longer timelines, native apps can provide a tailored solution. Hybrid apps, meanwhile, offer a middle ground.

3. Platform

If you want to target a specific platform (iOS or Android), native apps would be more suitable. However, if you're targeting multiple platforms and want to reach a wider audience, consider web or hybrid apps.

4. Features

If your app requires offline functionality, access to device hardware (like the camera or GPS), or push notifications, native or hybrid apps would be a better fit than web apps.

In the realm of mobile app development, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice between web, native, or hybrid apps should be driven by your business needs, resources, and the kind of user experience you aim to offer. It's crucial to understand your audience, assess your needs, and align them with the strengths and weaknesses of each type of app.

Doubtful on which is better? Ping us!

If you're uncertain about which option is better suited to your specific needs, don't hesitate to ping Atlantis Tech! We have an entire team dedicated to helping you launch your idea on the right platform, leveraging the most appropriate technologies.

Atlantis Tech is a leading custom software development company that excels in creating innovative solutions tailored to meet unique business requirements. With our team of expert developers and designers, we deliver high-quality mobile app development services that empower businesses to effectively engage their audience and drive digital transformation. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction makes Atlantis Tech a trusted partner for companies seeking cutting-edge software solutions.


Q: What's the difference between web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps?

A: Web apps run on web browsers and don't require downloads. Native apps are platform-specific and must be downloaded. Hybrid apps combine features of both, running across platforms and needing download, but sharing a single codebase.

Q: Which app type is cheapest to develop?

A: Web apps are generally the cheapest to develop due to their simpler codebase and cross-compatibility.

Q: Can a web app access a device's hardware features?

A: Generally, web apps can't access hardware features. For such requirements, native or hybrid apps are more suitable.

Q: Which app type provides the best user experience?

A: Native apps usually offer the best user experience, followed by hybrid apps, and then web apps. However, the user experience can also depend on other factors such as network speed and device capabilities.

Q: Is it possible to convert a web app into a native or hybrid app?

A: Yes, a web app can be converted into a native or hybrid app, although this would require significant additional coding and might not always be the most cost-effective or efficient solution.

Q: How long does it typically take to develop a native app versus a hybrid app?

A: The development time for a native app can vary greatly depending on its complexity, but it's generally longer than for a hybrid app due to the need to write code for each platform separately. A hybrid app, on the other hand, shares a common codebase for all platforms, which can significantly reduce development time.

Q: Is there a significant performance difference between native and hybrid apps?

A: Native apps are typically faster and more efficient than hybrid apps because they're designed specifically for the platform they're running on. Hybrid apps, while quite efficient, may experience some performance lags because they run through a "middleman" of sorts in the form of a native container.

Q: Are there any security differences between web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps?

A: Native apps are typically considered the most secure because they must be approved by app stores, which have security standards and review processes. Web apps rely on browser security, and while they can be secure, they can also be more vulnerable to attacks like cross-site scripting. Hybrid apps are somewhere in between, with security depending on both the native platform and the web technologies used.