Web Application Architecture: Components, Types, Best Practices

Krunal Shah

Oct 19, 2021 | 6 min read

A good web product requires the support of dynamic web applications to fuel its growth and achieve desired business goals. Long gone are the days of static web pages with limited or no interactivity whatsoever. Dynamic web applications have taken the world by storm. What distinguishes a static website from a web application is its interactivity, user experience, integration, and authentication.

The key to building a web application is three-tiered. Firstly, from a user/customer’s perspective, the application must be easy to navigate around, simple to understand, and visually pleasing. Secondly, from the business aspect, the application should be in sync with its product features and be the perfect market/industry fit. Lastly, from the developer’s point of view, the web application must have the ability to handle high traffic loads, it must be scalable and functional.

But have you ever thought about what it takes to build scalable web apps? The foundation of an exceptional web application lies in its architecture. Curious to know more about web application architecture? Well then, let’s start to understand its meaning, unpack its components, types and also go through some industry best practices.

Table of Contents:

What is Web Application Architecture?
Components of Web Application Architecture
Types of Web Application Architecture
Web Application Architecture Best Practices

What is Web Application Architecture?

In simple terms, a web application architecture is like a skeleton or blueprint of the entire website. It displays the relationships and interactions between components, middleware systems, user interfaces, and databases. Its foremost goal is to ensure that these interactions lead to the applications working well together. In addition, Web application architecture looks after the entire flow of the application while handling all the critical features and components of the product.

When a user enters a URL on the browser, the server immediately responds by sending the files to the browser, after which the browser locates the file and displays the requested page. The code is the bridge between the user and the application, instructing the browser to respond to a myriad of search inputs. Therefore, the architecture is an essential part of a website comprising all the sub-components and external application exchanges.

Most often, web application architecture is neglected. However, if you’re looking to build a highly scalable, robust, efficient, and secure product, then web application architecture should be prioritized above all.

Also Read: How To Choose A Technology Stack For Web Application Development

Components of Web Application Architecture

Components are the core part of web application architecture. It determines the functionalities of your application and the quality of the user experience offered to the users. The web application architecture has two main categories.

1. UI/UX or user interface components (client-side):

As the name suggests, these comprise the interface elements responsible for creating an application experience. These components link with the display, dashboards, notifications, and configuration settings of your web app that help create the visuals of your web page and build the foundation for a good user experience.

They include several elements such as input controls, statistical data, analytical elements, design layouts, activity tracking, admin panel, and many more.

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2. Structural components (server-side):

These refer to the functionalities and structural aspects of the architecture with which the user interacts, including database storage and server control. They mainly comprise of:

  • Web (client) browser

The web browser is what allows the users to interact with the web application. HTML, CSS and, JavaScript are the three main programming languages to build this component.

  • Web application server

This component uses Python, Java, PHP, .NET, Node.js, and Ruby for its development. The web application server is the one that deals with business logic and provides support for multi-layer applications to run smoothly without any manual interference.

  • Database server

The database server stores, retrieves, and offers information/data that is managed by the server and is required for running the web application.

Also Read: Top 7 Web Application Development Trends to Look in 2021

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Types of Web Application Architecture

Web application architecture divides into four types, the first two being of the frontend development side and the rest two of the backend. Let’s walk through both separately.

Frontend:

Single-Page Application (SPAs)

Single Page Applications or SPAs gained momentum in order to overcome the traditional challenges relating to slow loading websites hampering user experience and business traffic to a great extent. As a result, instead of loading a new page each time a user wishes to take any action, SPA’s make it possible to reload requested data dynamically along with the updated content on the same page.

Moreover, SPA’s deliver exceptional user experience and make it possible to achieve a flawless app performance that is both intuitive and interactive while preventing interruptions to any user activity. This type of architecture uses JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, and others for its development.

Popular SPAs include: Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Slack

Also Read: Single-Page Apps vs Multi-Page Apps: What To Choose For Web Development

Server-Side Rendered Application (SSR)

SSR renders the client-side JavaScript framework websites to HTML and CSS on the server-side. SSR makes it possible to deliver essential assets super-quickly, therefore reducing the load time and increasing the browser’s speed to render the page.

Building an SSR app allows the server to compile all the necessary data/information and deliver it to a new HTML document on the client-side. Once the CSS is received, the UI is designed without any need to wait for the JavaScript to load.

Backend:

Microservices

Microservice is a part of the SOA (service-oriented architecture) that is lightweight and performs small functionalities like the execution of a single service or a small set of services. Microservice is an amazing alternative when compared to monolithic architecture. Monolithic’s tightly coupled elements make deployment a huge task.

Furthermore, Microservices with their multiple individual services and loosely coupled elements are developed, tested, maintained, and deployed independently. Developers also deploy each component separately. This architecture is a great option when you are working on large or complex projects.

Popular projects using Microservices are: Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, eBay, Uber, Spotify

Serverless Architecture

Let’s assume, your app experiences a massive surge in traffic during a specific period for which your servers are not prepared to manage. Does that mean your app will crash? Not really! This is where serverless architecture comes into the picture. Serverless architecture lets you outsource certain operations to a third-party service provider. For example,  a virtual server or infrastructure management to support your app.

Popular third-party service providers: Amazon, Microsoft

Also Read: Top 5 picks for backend development in 2021

Web Application Architecture Best Practices

The web app architecture is like the glue holding the entire fort down. In this case, the web application. As a result, a well-planned web architecture minimizes last-minute errors and bottleneck issues while saving you a ton of time and resources. Most often than not, businesses commit the mistake of reusing the strategies of other popular apps. And so, it’s important to make decisions on the basis of your goals and business requirements. Let’s take a look at a few best practices that can save you from such mistakes.

Here are a few criteria for building a high-quality web app architecture:

  • Component flexibility
  • System flexibility & efficiency
  • Early detection of bugs
  • Easy to test
  • Performance level
  • High scalability
  • Reliability & stability
  • Well structured code
  • Component reusability
  • Faster load & response time
  • Zero-point of failure
  • Exceptional security standards
  • Possibility of gathering user feedback
  • Simple to understand
  • Doesn’t crash
  • Extensible

Wrapping Up


This article makes it clear that a web app architecture paves the way for a successful web app. It is the most crucial element, without any aspect of doubt. At Third Rock Techkno, we understand your desire to create a great web application for your business and the effort that goes into creating an efficient and scale application. And so, our qualified team of experts is all set to help you decide which framework and what architecture is the best while keeping in mind your business purpose. Let us help you make your life easier and your apps better.

Krunal Shah

Krunal Shah is the CTO and Co-founder at Third Rock Techkno. With extensive experience gained over a decade, Krunal helps his clients build software solutions that stand out in the industry and are lighter on the pocket.

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