Cloud computing and web-based applications are two terms that you’ll see getting used interchangeably quite often, and rightfully so. Despite the correlation, all cloud-based applications can be considered web-based applications, but the opposite is untrue. They take advantage of the data centers distributed worldwide, guaranteeing fast access, ensuring uptime, and providing better security at the cost of additional bandwidth. On the contrary, web-based applications are only hosted at a single location and are much less reliable in uptime.
However, cloud computing vs. web-based applications goes deeper than that. If we wish to understand the debate, we must dive deeper into what cloud computing is, what web-based applications are, the differences between the two, and the things you need to know before you pick one for your projects.
Let’s jump right into it.
Table Of Content
- What is Cloud Computing?
- What are Web-Based Applications?
- What Role Does Cloud Computing Play in Web Development?
- What are the Key Differences Between Cloud-based Apps vs Web Based Apps?
- Types of Cloud-Based and Web-Based Applications
Cloud computing is the future of data storage and computing. It uses remote data centers with high computing capabilities to process and store your data. Cloud computing offers a brilliant replacement for traditional, in-house servers.
This technology allows users to process and access data from anywhere in the world. SMEs and even bigger conglomerates are now putting all their data on the cloud instead of maintaining in-house physical servers. With this information you may also know the Healthcare in Cloud Computing.
What are Web-Based Applications?
The resulting application is deployed on a web server and can be accessed with an IP address or a URL. Web-based applications rely entirely on backend systems to work correctly. Another important thing you should remember is that the website will go down in the case of a server outage.
What Role Does Cloud Computing Play in Web Development?
Web development also uses the cloud in a somewhat restricted manner. When you’re developing a website, you need a place to host it. This is where web hosting services usually come in. They give you cloud computing resources on their web servers to host your website.
Cloud computing works similarly where you need a place to host the cloud computing services. However, the key differences lie in the functionality of the hosting processes for these technologies.
For cloud computing, latency is critical because slow speeds can result in data download failures that affect processing and analysis. On the other hand, web-based applications, particularly customer-facing applications, demand high availability because downtime means revenue and reputation losses.
As a result, you see cloud computing applications being used in more scenarios and industries. In a way, cloud computing web applications and web-based applications use the same underlying technology. But, they differ when it comes to the implementation.
Let’s dive deeper into the cloud computing vs. web application debate and discuss the critical differences between the two.
What are the Key Differences Between Cloud-based Apps vs Web Based Apps?
When it comes to the differences, there are a few key factors that help both of these technologies stand out. We’re going to give you a direct comparison between the two technologies to help you figure out the best fit for your specific use case. Before going to key differences you may also know about the Virtualization in Cloud Computing.
Web-based applications are limited to the confines of a web browser. If the developers haven’t built an API or similar access endpoints, you won’t be able to access them without a web browser. However, cloud-based applications support multiple access methods. Some apps can even work without an internet connection.
In terms of customizability, web-based apps usually fall short because of the limitations of the underlying front and backend technologies. That’s why developers don’t always offer runtime customizations for their web apps. In contrast, cloud-based applications offer a broader customization scope because of the availability of runtime computing and storage capabilities.
For web-based applications, you’re restricted to the security protocols the web hosting service sets in place. Most of the time, websites are affected in ways that are not even their fault. Malicious code in the web-hosting service’s cloud computing infrastructure can potentially affect your website without you even knowing the cause.
On the other hand, you get complete control over the security of a cloud-based app. Often the apps hosted on a private cloud aren’t available to the general public, and there is little chance these apps could be compromised.
Since all you need is a single web server, web-based applications can cost a lot less, both upfront and in the long run. Setting up cloud computing is a complex process and requires expertise that adds to the cost of setting up and maintaining cloud computing applications.
Cloud computing is optimized for latency, and data can be located (sometimes in redundancy) on cloud servers all over the globe. However, websites are usually hosted at a single location. If that one web host goes down, your entire website will become unavailable to the users.
Here are some common disadvantages of cloud computing which you may also know.
Let’s summarize the cloud computing vs web based applications comparison point:
|Cloud-Based Apps||Web-Based Apps|
|Access Options||It supports multiple access methods||They can only be accessed by a web browser|
|Customizability||The users have complete control||Web-based apps are restricted in terms of flexibility|
|Security||There are multiple options for adding security layers||They’re secure, but not as much as a cloud-based apps|
|Cost||They are expensive to deploy and manage||They’re cost-efficient|
|Latency||They are extremely fast and reliable||Web apps are slower in comparison and always at a risk of downtime|
Types of Cloud-Based and Web-Based Applications
While both technologies are somewhat similar, their types and applications are entirely different.
First, let’s go over the types of cloud-based applications.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS applications are the most common type of cloud-based application. The cloud provider handles deployment, security, updates, and everything in between. The end-user can log in and use the services by paying a monthly subscription fee.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): In PaaS applications, an organization has the freedom to deploy its applications on a cloud vendor’s servers. The organization is responsible for management and deployment. All other responsibilities, such as maintenance and security, are usually divided between the developers and cloud vendors.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): An IaaS model is a direct alternative to an in-house data center. The organization buying the services completely controls its application and the cloud server. The cloud vendor only guarantees uptime and maintenance.
Now, let’s summarize the different types of web-based applications.
- Static Web Applications: As the name suggests, these kinds of web applications are entirely static and do not offer much flexibility. They’re created using HTML and CSS and are severely limited in the data displayed to the users.
- Dynamic Web Applications: These web applications are responsive and generate results based on user input. Dynamic websites are much more customizable regarding the information they can process and display. You can install plugins/extensions, use databases, restrict backend access with an admin panel, and use third-party tools to extend application capabilities.
- Portal Applications: These applications are widespread in hospitals, universities, and organizations where users must manipulate a large data set. Only a pre-approved list of users is granted access to the platform. Additionally, the front and the backend database are usually separate.
- eCommerce Web Applications: The main thing that sets apart an eCommerce application from a dynamic application is that eCommerce websites are designed to handle sensitive information such as credit card details. In addition, these applications have a limited feature set that includes product lists, payment portal integrations, and cart management.
After these types you should also know the Cloud Computing Advantages and Disadvantages.
The cloud computing vs web based applications debate has been around for some time, and businesses need to evaluate the pros and cons of both technologies to find the best solution for their requirements. Before finalizing also read trends in dedicated servers and cloud computing.
Going forward, it’s easy to see how cloud computing will overshadow web based applications. That’s why you need to transition to a bare-metal hosting solution to ensure you aren’t left behind.