Single Page Application VS Multi Page APplication

As web development grew up rapidly in the last few years, creating a website now takes different approach than the past.

Nowadays there are two ways to develop a website:

  • Single Page Application SPA.

  • Multi Page Application MPA.

What is Singe Page Application

Singe Page Application or SPA is serving a website from one single page, this means you don't go backward and forward between pages like normal multi page applications.

The very interesting advantage of SPA is all assets like HTML, CSS and JS are loaded only once during the application surfing, only the data are transmitted back and forth with backend using AJAX requests.

Pros of Single Page Application

  • Decouples frontend from backend.
  • Doesn't reload the page when navigating to a link inside the website.
  • The website is blazing fast than the Multi Page Application as all assets like HTML, CSS and JS are loaded only once.
  • Easier to develop and deploy as you may run it without a server.
  • Easier to debug.
  • As backend code is separated from frontend, we can easily use same backend API for mobile applications.
  • Faster in deploying as frontend and backend developers work in parallel.

Cons of Single Page Application

  • Not playing well with SEO, you need to use an SSR server-side-rendering tool.
  • Dependence on JS as JS is the main key to render the HTML elements to the DOM.
  • Frontend frameworks have a learning curve to work with.
  • Less secure: it has a less security compared to MPA because of Cross-Site ScriptingXSS.
  • Higher in cost as you higher more people to the team frontend and backend.

What is Multi Page Application

Multi Page Application MPA is the standard way to develop websites which most of the websites are using so far.

When navigating to another page inside the website it does reload the page.

Pros of Multi Page Application

  • Playing very weill with SEO search engines.
  • Has a better security.
  • Usually lower in the cost than SPA.

Cons of Multi Page Application

  • Harder to maintain and debug.
  • Harder for updates.
  • Requires a reload for each page.
  • Frontend and Backend are tightly coupled.
  • Slower than SPA as you load the entire HTML code each time you open the website.

What to choose?

Well, there is no direct or one answer for that question but here are some keys to use as a criteria of selection:

  • Is it a public website or an internal system?
  • How much budget do you have?
  • The time of website deployment, how much time it should take?
  • What is the scale of the website?
  • How many functions and features should be in the website?
  • Does it really mater about SEO?

I hope this post illustrated the main differences between MPA and SPA.


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