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Difference Between Client Server Application and Web Application

Client Server Application vs Web Application

An application that runs on the client side and accesses the remote server for information is called a client/server application whereas an application that runs entirely on a web browser is known as a web application. The client server always makes requests to the remote server to get some information. The user interaction with the server is always through a user interface or application on the client side. The user interaction in a web application is through a web browser. A client server application can be platform specific as well as cross platform depending on the programming language used. A web application is platform independent because they require only a web browser. The cross platform language makes an application look native to the platform or the operation system of the client.

The client/server application is always installed on the client’s computer unlike a web application. Web applications can run on the browsers directly and hence do not require any installation. A client server application uses a two-tier architecture whereas a web application uses multi-tier architecture which consists of; user client, middle tier, and application server. A web application uses a single-user system unlike a client server application which uses two users: client and server.

A web application is hosted in a browser-controlled environment, or it is often programmed in a language that supports the browser. JavaScript is the most widely used browser-supported language. In client/server applications, the server machine is a host that runs single or multiple-server programs sharing their resources with clients. A client always requests from a server information or content without sharing any of its resources.

In a client/server application, it is difficult to test scripting errors whereas in web applications it is easy to test scripting errors. Specific types of clients used in a client/server model are web browsers, email clients, and online chat clients. The types of servers used are: web servers, ftp servers, application servers, data base servers, name servers, file servers, mail servers, terminal and print servers.

In a client/server model, the server often gets overloaded as the number of simultaneous client requests increases. In a web application, this problem is ruled out as a compatible web browser is all that is needed to get the web application working. Some of the examples of web applications include: Yahoo mail, Gmail, WebOffice, Google Apps, Microsoft Office Live, WebEx, etc.


1. A client/server application uses a two-tier architecture whereas a web application uses multi-tier architecture.
2. In a client/server application, the user interaction with the server is mainly through a user interface whereas in a web application the user interaction is through a compatible web browser.
3. A client/server application lacks robustness because if a server fails, the requests cannot be completed whereas a web application exhibits robustness.
4. A client/server application requires installation on the client’s machine whereas a web application can run directly from a compatible web browser.
5. In a client/server model, the server may become overloaded with the increasing client requests which results in low performance whereas multiple users can use a web application at the same time and also deliver superior performance.

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  1. Distributed Systems – Programming Applications & Frameworks

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