Single Page Application (SPA) vs Multi Page Application (MPA) – Which and when to use?

The market for cloud-based applications is flourishing! According to Statista, it will reach $101.3 billion by 2022. If you’re considering developing an app, then you couldn’t have chosen a better moment for it. However, before investing your brainpower (and money) into it, you should decide which architecture to go with.

  • We will introduce SPA vs MPA main difference. 
  • Main benefits and drawbacks of the SPA and MPA approaches.

 

To ensure your web app runs without any unwelcome interactions, it has to be supported by the right technology to warrant high performance and speed. There are two ways to develop web apps: single-page applications and multi-page applications. Both have pros and cons. 

If you’re unsure which one to go with, keep on reading to decide which one is the best option for your app. 

 

SPA vs MPA – what is the main difference?

Before we dive deeper into the pros and cons of SPA vs MPA, let’s briefly define both approaches. 

A single-page application is a more modern approach to app development, it was used by Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A SPA is an app that works inside a browser and does not require page reloading during use.

A multiple page application, on the other hand, is considered a more classical approach to app development. The multi-page design pattern requires a page reload every time the content changes. It’s a preferred option for large companies that have extensive product portfolios, for example, e-commerce businesses.

SPA vs MPA – which one to choose?

Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of the SPA and MPA approaches. 

 

  • Speed

Speed is an important factor here – people’s attention spans are getting shorter, and we get more and more impatient. SPA’s load faster. Why? As it loads the majority of app resources just once. The page doesn’t reload entirely, whenever a new piece of data is requested by the user. 

MPA is slower as the browser must reload the entire page from scratch whenever the user wants to access new data or moves to a different part of the website. The optimal loading time for a website is 0.4 seconds. If your website or app is image-heavy then choosing a SPA is a safer option. 

 

  • Coupling

SPA is strongly decoupled meaning that front-end and back-end are separate. Single-page applications use API’s developed by server-side developers to read and display data. In MPA’s, front-end and back-end are more interdependent. All coding is usually housed under one project. 

 

  • Search Engine Optimization

One of the weaknesses of the SPA’s is SEO. Unfortunately, they aren’t as SEO friendly as MPA’s. It’s primarily because the majority of single-page applications are run on JavaScript, which most search engines do not support. Web pages are indexed through “crawling” or “spidering”. Search engine crawlers download the page’s HTML files which makes static HTML web-pages are easier to rank. 

MPA enables better website positioning as each page can be optimized for a different keyword. Also, meta tags can be included on every page – this positively impacts Google rankings. 

 

  • User experience

Good user experience is no longer an option, but a requirement. SPA’s are more mobile-friendly, and it’s something worth remembering as a lot of traffic comes from mobile devices. Even Google started to prioritize mobile experience over the desktop. Frameworks applied in SPA development enable you to develop mobile apps. 

MPA’s on another hand enable better information architecture. You can create as many pages as required, and you can include as much information on a page as you need without any limits. Navigation is clear, so the user can easily find their way around the website which positively impacts their experience. 

spa-mpa-feature

 

  • Security

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but the larger the website the more effort it takes to secure it – think multi-page applications. If you go for an MPA, then you’ll have to secure every webpage. In a SPA, all you have to do to keep your page safe is secure data endpoints which is much faster but not necessarily safer. SPA’s are more prone to hacker attacks, as they run on JavaScript which doesn’t perform code compilation making it more vulnerable to malware. 

 

  • Development process

One of the greatest advantages of SPA’s is the reusable backend code. If you’re thinking reusable code equals less work, then you’re right. You can apply the same code you used in your web app to your native mobile app. It’s an important piece of information, as applications and websites are frequently used on mobile devices – which is no surprise since most of us are constantly on the run. 

Also, thanks to the clear division between front-end and back-end, both parts can be developed simultaneously which speeds up the entire development process. MPA’s take longer to develop as in most cases, the server-side has to be coded from the beginning. 

 

  • JavaScript dependency 

SPA lives and breathes JavaScript, which can be problematic. More search engines started to support JavaScript but with varying results. The level of support highly depends on the JS framework used. If the app is run on a browser with disabled JavaScript, it can cause problems with app functionality which might result in higher bounce rates and lower conversion. JavaScript reliance also contributes to its problems with SEO optimization and security issues. MPA’s can be built without any JavaScript dependency. 

 

SPA VS MPA – final thoughts

None of the architectures discussed above is flawless – they both have pros and cons. SPA wins in terms of speed and code reusability, which can be applied to develop your mobile app, but it has deficiencies in SEO optimization. Using an MPA will help you rank higher in Google, and is more scalable but much slower than SPA’s. 

While deciding which option to go for, you should always have your business goals in mind along with your requirements. SPA’s are better used in social networking applications, SaaS platforms – anywhere where SEO rankings aren’t a deal-breaker.  

MPA’s are best used in e-commerce apps, business catalogues, and marketplaces. If you’re a large company that offers a wide variety of products, then an MPA is the best choice for you.

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I hope we helped you resolve your dilemma. Good luck with developing your apps and websites! If you have any questions or concerns write to us. We would love to help!

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