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SaaS and Web Application: 12 Big Differences and Benefits

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    May 15, 2024

What are SaaS applications? Are all web applications SaaS? What are the major differences between a SaaS and a web application? Which is more beneficial for my business? All these questions might make you confused when choosing the development model for your web-based software.

SaaS and Web Application: 12 Big Differences and Benefits

We’ll give all these answers to help you make the right choice.

SaaS vs Web Application: The Difference in Definition

What is SaaS?

Software as a Service (the full form of SaaS) is like a software on the rent. They don’t live on a dedicated server or device. SaaS applications run on the cloud so all they need is an internet to work.

There is no headache to install or maintain them. Simply, access them on the web browser. Gmail, Salesforce, and Dropbox are common examples of SaaS applications.

What is a Web Application?

Similar to SaaS, web applications also work on the web browser. However, they differ in terms of delivery and ownership. They can either be hosted on the cloud, on the servers, or even delivered as SaaS.

Explained: Key Differences Between SaaS and Web Applications

All SaaS are web-based software but not all web apps are SaaS. The way they are accessed, deployed, managed, and scaled makes them different from each other. Refer the table below for complete comparison between the two. 

Making the Choice: SaaS or Web Applications?

Well, the final choice depends on what type of software you want and what specific problem it solves. But to properly evaluate which one is beneficial for your business, you must know the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of SaaS

  • Less Expensive

Cost-effectiveness is one of the major reasons why businesses choose SaaS over traditional software development. Since they are built on the cloud platforms, there is less upfront cost of hardware and infrastructure.

Additionally, maintaining SaaS software is cheap as service providers take care of all the updates and maintenance.

  • Pay Per Use Model

Web applications and other traditional software come at a fixed price whether you use all the features or not. SaaS helps you invest money in only the features and resources you need. You can cancel the subscription or upgrade the plan according to your requirements.

  • Scale However You Want

The fluctuating demands of your customers or business requirements may require you to scale up or down the resources. SaaS applications give you that flexibility.

Some Drawbacks of SaaS You Didn’t Know

  • Dependency

The bad news is SaaS applications make you dependent. For every change or update or support, you need to connect with the service provider. This can add delay in serving your customers. 

Another dependency is internet connectivity. For businesses working in areas with poor connections, SaaS is another headache.

  • Limited Control

Other than dependency, the major disadvantage of SaaS is limited control over customization. It’s because of the multi-tenant or shared architecture where other businesses are also using the same resources as you are.

So, if you need an application for your unique workflow or need, choose web application development.

Advantages of Web Applications

  • Compatibility

Web applications run on any device and OS, whether Android iOS, or Windows. They don’t need to be developed separately for each platform.

  • Easy Management

It is easy to launch an update and maintain a web application on every device and OS. They don’t need separate deployment or maintenance for each platform.

Drawbacks of Web Applications

  • Easy to Hack

Since they are accessible from the internet, hacking them is easy. Therefore, strict, and robust security measures are required to make web applications less vulnerable.

This is an additional expense as you need cybersecurity experts in your team to fix any loopholes.

  • Less Speed

Web apps are slower than mobile and native applications because of their size. Also, internet dependency reduces their speed as some areas might have good connectivity while others may have poor.

Also Read: A Guide to Building Scalable and Robust Web Applications

What Else to Consider?

1, The Goal

Your business goal is the most important factor in deciding whether you should get a SaaS app or a web-based app. If you want to earn revenue by selling a software product to a wide range of audience, SaaS is worth your money.

However, if the goal is to develop an application for a specific client, we recommend choosing a web application.

2. Company Size

If you have just entered into the business world with a small team, you must choose a less expensive solution. Cloud-based SaaS apps are best for you.

For those established businesses with thousands of employees and multiple departments, web apps are suitable.

3. Customization

SaaS solutions are less customizable thus they are not a great fit if you wish for a scalable solution. Web apps are great for meeting your customization needs.


SaaS and web applications both offer valuable solutions, but they serve different purposes. SaaS offers ease of use and scalability, while web applications provide greater flexibility and control. Analyze your specific business requirements and priorities to make the best choice for your success.


Is it possible to migrate from a SaaS solution to a web application?

Yes, but migrating from SaaS to web apps is not easy. There will be data migration challenges, integration changes, and more. If you have a technical team to handle these hurdles and enough budget, migration won’t be a hassle.

What is the cost of web application development?

The development cost of a simple web app is around $5000 to $10,000. For an advanced and complex web app, the budget may extend to $50,000 or more.

What is the cost of building a SaaS app?

Developing a SaaS app is slightly expensive. The only variation in price comes from the features you need in the application. The minimum cost of a basic one can be $10,000 whereas a complex one may cost $500,000.

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