Mobile Web vs. Mobile App and The Movement of Internet

The phrasal “Mobile First” has popular since 2015 up till now, and it emphasizes that most users are using wireless devices to access the internet so companies must consider optimizing mobile-first when they want to transmit their products, services, or contents. It has two ways to transmit contents and information to mobile users: through Mobile Website and Mobile App. This post will clarify how different they are and why you should respond to both ways.

I. Mobile App vs. Mobile Website

1. What is Mobile Web?

Mobile web is optimized for better display for users when they are using a mobile phone. There are three common types of the mobile web:

a. Responsive Site

This is the most popular site nowadays. It automated to change the size, and the display method depends on the screen size of the mobile device. All the changes to responsive websites usually depend on CSS, not impact to HTML and the URL of the website.

⇒Convenience and fit for the website include content, news, which is an "only read site" (online newspaper, blog, information). Low-cost development, ease of maintenance, and easy to manage content. It is the choice for the majority of small and medium websites, which do not include complex features. For the sites that have many features and interact with customers, a responsive website may not provide a good experience for users.

b. Dynamic Serving Site

Automated provide two different website version depends on the device is being used. The difference of responsive is HTML of devices are received distinct. URL of the website won’t change.

⇒Dynamic serving is more complex and costly in setup and technical but still easy maintenance, management of content. However, dynamic serving brings a better experience to the customer compared to responsive.

c. Separate Mobile Site

Like its name, it builds two different versions for desktop and mobile. These websites will automated detect what device is using and redirect to that device version. You can create separate content, but you should keep all the same material as its desktop equivalent to maintain the same rankings on Google. Its URL is different from the desktop version, such as a mobile sub-domain (, an entirely separate mobile domain (, or in a sub-folder (

⇒Bringing the best experience for the mobile website user. However, it leads to its cost and also the time you spend on it, the maintenance and content also manage more complex. If you can withstand its cost, time and you want to bring the best experience for customers, and you can consider building a separate mobile site

2. What is Mobile App?

A mobile app is associated with mobile devices, and it makes a difference between the smartphone and the foretime mobile. It has three main types:

a. Native Mobile App

A native app is the most known app. When you search “How to make a mobile app?” it will probably show you the way to make a native app. This is the app type that you will download and can access offline because all needed files are downloaded. One more thing is one app can’t support two platforms. It means when you build an app in Java language, it can’t open on an IOS device, you have to make different apps with the different codebase to target different platforms.

⇒Native mobile app brings the best experience for users, but it also costly, cost time to develop the app, and also the maintenance.

b. Hybrid App

Before talking about the hybrid app, you should know about web app first. A web app is applications are written on the browser platform. The best example of this is web games, like

Called a hybrid mobile app because it can integrate the features of a web app and a native app. A hybrid app is written by web programming language (HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript) then a container will cover it to make it look like a native mobile app and can download on the app store.

⇒Less complex in the development process and also less costly than the native app. Content is easy to manage because it is synced from the website. Due to its programming language, it can fit all mobile platforms. However, in exchange for that convenience, the hybrid app doesn’t strong at any point, it just “so so” when comparing with others.

c. Progressive Web App (PWA)

Has been developed since 2015 by Google programmers, up to now, although it still a new technology but has received much positive feedback and attention. Like a typical website, PWAs are hosted on the server and distributed using URLs instead of app stores, and it can be found by users using search engines. Although many companies have a native app, they still build PWA cause of its small size and convenience. It also can work offline through a technology called Service Workers.

⇒Write once use everywhere. Users will feel the seamless interaction when using PWAs, downloading directly to the home screen from the website, and sending push notifications. Moreover, for developers, PWAs reduce the amount of time. It has the advantages of native app and hybrid app: easy to develop and manage, not costly, can work offline, etc.

II. Mobile Web vs. Mobile App: The Comparison

I will sum up some highlight points by pros and cons. This comparison only compare about Native app and Mobile web because of Hybrid app and PWA have some specialties so the comparison may not be reasonable

1. Mobile Web

a. Pros

  • Cost-effective and ease of managing and developing
  • Can be accessed from any mobile platforms
  • Appear in search engines
  • Users don't have to update

b. Cons

  • Slower than app
  • Can't experience in full screen
  • Couldn't make full use of your phone like a camera, GPS
  • Lack of users' engagement

2. Native App

a. Pros

  • Fast and bring the best experience for users
  • Can easily engage with users
  • A good app can create persuasion for user
  • Can have many features

b. Cons

  • Costly, hard to develop and maintain
  • Not appear in search engines
  • Many users hate to start a download process
  • Need to update

You can see that each has its own Pros and Cons 

Statistics of time spent on mobile web-vs-mobile-magepow

III. So What Should You Choose for Your Website?

1. Mobile Web and Mobile App: Both are Important and the Combination is Necessary

The rapid development of the internet is accompanied by the demanding and fastidiousness of the users. If you want to win users' trust and attract them, you not only have to optimize your website on the desktop but also provide them with the best experience on all devices. Today the number of Internet users is vast, and it has a huge impact on the Internet, so developing a mobile experience is essential.

Therefore, how to optimize mobile devices and give users the best experience? As mentioned above, there are two ways to experience the phone: Web and App, each of them has three types, and each type has been summarized and introduced the advantages and disadvantages, I think you also have thought of measures for your website. An essential thing is building a website for your phone is not enough, you also need to develop an app for it because that is the trend nowadays.

The Development of Mobile devices absolutely not stopped at this time or shortly. We can't predict the development of technology, but at this time, I can say that the mobile device is on the throne and the Mobile era has become widespread. You should seize the opportunity right now. Mobile Web and Mobile App, turning both into a perfect combination for your website.