Every web application development journey should begin with designing its architecture. This is the foundation upon which your digital product is built, and it plays a critical role in its overall success. An effective architecture ensures not only scalability and performance but also robust security – all key factors that directly influence customer satisfaction and retention.


As a seasoned web application development company with over 10 years of experience, we understand the profound importance of architecture. That's why we've created this guide of how to design web application architecture to help you establish a strong foundation for your web application.


By investing time in crafting a solid architecture, you're laying the groundwork for a successful, scalable, and secure web application that meets your business needs for years to come. In this guide, you'll discover the principle of web application architecture workflow, best practices for different types of web applications, and, alongside with other useful insights, how to design application architecture


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How Does Web Application Architecture Work?

Have you ever wondered what happens when you type your any website’s address into your browser and hit enter? Just like a grand performance, a complex web application architecture swings into action behind the scenes to deliver the content you see on your screen. Take a look at the architecture design diagram for web application:

Web Application Architecture Diagram

The workflow of web application architecture includes the following steps:

  1. You enter a web address (URL) in your browser. This initiates a request to the server hosting the web application.
  2. The browser acts as a messenger, sending your request to the server.
  3. The server receives the request and uses specific software (backend) to process it. This might involve fetching data or performing calculations.
  4. The server generates a response, often containing updated information or HTML content.
  5. The response is sent back to your browser, which updates the webpage you see accordingly.
  6. This back-and-forth exchange between browser and server keeps the web application running smoothly as you interact with it.
  7. The user interface (what you see and interact with) is the client-side, built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The server-side handles the logic and data processing behind the scenes.

A well-defined web application architecture design is crucial for efficient communication between the user and the server. The web application development architecture should address important aspects such as:

  • Clients point of view – responsiveness, usability, offline work
  • Engineers point of view – functionality, speed of development, parallel execution of processes, scalability, performance, testability, and opportunities for automated testing
  • Business aspect – profitability, performance, cost efficiency

What Are Key Web Application Architecture Layers?

Web applications function through a layered architecture, where each layer tackles a specific task. This separation of concerns promotes cleaner code, easier maintenance, and better scalability. Let’s delve into the four common web application architecture layers and understand their roles:

What Are Key Web Application Architecture Layers?

Presentation web application architecture layer

This layer displays the user interface (UI) and facilitates user interaction. There would be user interface components that render and format data for users and user process components that orchestrate user interactions. 

The presentation layer provides necessary data to the user’s side, presenting information to them in a user-friendly way, and providing visual feedback to their actions. It captures input data, processes users’ requests, sends them to data services and puts results to the browser.

Business logic web application architecture layer

The layer handles the core application logic, ensuring proper data exchange and controlling application functionality. BLL receives user requests from the presentation layer, processes user input and applies business rules (e.g., validating data, performing calculations). All of that, while orchestrating communication with the data access layer to retrieve or store data and preparing the data for presentation by formatting or transforming it as needed. 

Data access web application architecture layer

This layer interacts directly with data sources, typically databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) or cloud storage services. DAL retrieves data from the data source based on requests from the business logic layer, stores it in the data source  based on instructions from the BLL, and ensures data integrity and consistency by handling transactions and data validation.

Data source web application architecture layer

This layer represents the physical storage of the data itself. It could be:

  • Relational databases (most common): Structured data storage using tables and relationships (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL).
  • NoSQL databases: Flexible data storage for unstructured or semi-structured data (e.g., MongoDB).
  • Cloud storage services: Scalable and reliable storage options offered by cloud providers (e.g., Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage).

DSL provides secure and reliable storage for application data, manages data access and ensures data integrity. It also scales storage capacity as needed to accommodate growing data volumes.

Which Models Can Be Used in Web Application Architecture?

Businesses should care about web application architecture models for a few key reasons that can directly impact their bottom line:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Choosing the right architecture can significantly impact development and maintenance costs. You can build a web app architecture, for example, with a simpler model that might be suitable for a basic company website, leading to lower development costs. For complex applications with frequent updates, a more modular architecture like microservices can be more cost-effective in the long run due to its easier maintainability.
  • Scalability and growth: As your business grows and attracts more users, your web application needs to handle the increased traffic. The chosen architecture should allow your application to scale smoothly to accommodate this growth. For instance, a monolithic architecture might struggle with a sudden surge in users, while a microservices architecture can be easily scaled by adding more resources to specific services.
  • Faster development and time to market: Certain architectures can streamline development processes. For instance, a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture promotes code reusability and separation of concerns, allowing developers to work on different parts of the application simultaneously, potentially leading to faster development and quicker time to market for your web application.
  • Performance and user experience: The architecture you choose can directly impact the performance and user experience of your web application. A well-designed architecture can ensure fast loading times, smooth interactions, and overall responsiveness, leading to a more positive user experience which can be crucial for customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
  • Maintainability and long-term costs: A well-structured architecture is easier to maintain and update over time. This can save your business money in the long run by reducing the cost of fixing bugs, implementing new features, and keeping your application secure.

Websites have gone through significant transformations: from simple HTML pages to complex applications. There are three models of web application layers architecture:

One-Tier Web Application Architecture Model

Simplest model combines all functionalities (presentation logic, business logic, and data storage) into a single unit, typically residing on the same server. It’s easy to set up and manage for very basic applications, plus has a low initial development cost.

Nevertheless, it lacks scalability – struggles to handle increased user traffic or data volume. Difficult to maintain as the application grows in complexity. Security risks are higher due to concentrated components.

Business suitability: Ideal for small, static websites with minimal functionality (e.g., brochureware websites). Not recommended for complex applications or those expecting significant growth.

Two-Tier Web Application Architecture Model

This model separates the presentation layer (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) from the data storage layer (database) on different servers. Business logic resides with the presentation layer. Thus, we can divide it into two parts – client app (client tier) and data app (data tier).

The client tier includes the presentation and web application architecture layers, while the data side — the database layer. For this reason, we may call it the client-server app as the Client and the Server communicate with one another. The client-side sends requests to the server-side, and the latter processes this request. Afterward, the server tier sends back the requested data to the client tier.

Two-tier model offers better maintainability compared to one-tier, and it’s easier to scale the presentation layer independently for increased traffic. However, business logic on the presentation layer can lead to security vulnerabilities and complex code. Limited scalability on the data storage side.

Business suitability: Suitable for moderately complex applications with a clear separation of user interface and data. May not be ideal for highly dynamic applications with frequent updates.

Multiple-tier Web Application Architecture Model

The most flexible and scalable model, also known as a web-based application, further separates functionalities into distinct layers:

  • Presentation layer (user interface)
  • Business logic layer (processes user requests)
  • Data access layer (interacts with database)
  • Data source layer (physical data storage)

The three-tier architecture is highly scalable – each layer can be scaled independently to meet specific needs. It has improved security with separation of concerns. Even though it has easier maintenance and code reusability, it is more complex to set up and requires more development resources initially.

Business suitability: Ideal for complex web applications with high traffic, frequent updates, and security requirements. Most suitable for businesses expecting significant growth and long-term use.

7 Main Types of Web Application Architecture

The world of web application architecture offers a variety of choices, each with its own strengths and considerations. Here’s a closer look at some of the types of web application architecture:

7 Main Types of Web Application Architecture

SPA – Single Page Applications

The blending of APIs with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML birthed a revolutionary technology: AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). But what does it do?  AJAX works alongside JavaScript to dynamically update the Document Object Model (DOM), the blueprint of a web page. While CSS empowers on-the-fly style changes, AJAX paved the way for Single Page Applications (SPAs).

In SPAs, content updates happen on the fly, on the same page, eliminating the need to reload entire pages from the server. Clicking on elements triggers the browser to render the requested information, while keeping other parts, like headers, footers, and navigation bars, untouched. This means the server avoids the heavy lifting of re-rendering the entire page for every user interaction. Think Gmail or Google Maps – both prime web architecture examples of SPAs.

SPAs excel in user experience (UI), performance, and minimizing wait times. They feel snappier and more responsive, akin to native applications. The presentation layer resides on the client-side (user’s browser), where the Model-View (MV) pattern manages views. Communication with the server happens through JSON transactions, a text-based format (like what AJAX uses) that avoids page refreshes. On the server-side, the controller takes charge of sending these JSON files.

Microservices Architecture 

Microservices follow a principle, where an application is split into smaller, self-contained services, each handling a specific task. These services communicate seamlessly using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Think of APIs as messengers, enabling communication and data exchange between these mini-applications. APIs often return data in formats like JSON or XML.

The beauty of microservices lies in their scalability and development speed. Each service can be built, updated, and deployed independently, promoting agility and faster development cycles. Additionally, if one service encounters an issue, it’s isolated and doesn’t cripple the entire application.

Monolithic Architecture

Here, all functionalities (presentation layer, business logic, data access) reside in a single codebase. While this approach is simple to set up and manage for smaller applications, it presents challenges as the application grows.

The tight coupling between processes in a monolithic architecture creates a domino effect. If one part needs an update, the entire codebase might require changes, increasing complexity and risk. Additionally, scaling a monolithic application becomes difficult as everything needs to be scaled together.

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture is a game-changer for developers, offering a way to build and deploy applications without managing backend servers. One popular platform for serverless computing is AWS Lambda. With Lambda, you can create and run serverless functions, focusing solely on writing code. Server management? AWS takes care of that. Plus, you only pay for the resources your application actually uses, making it a cost-effective option.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You break down your application logic into small, independent functions. These functions are then uploaded to the cloud provider.
  2. The functions are stateless, meaning they don’t retain information between executions. They are triggered by events, such as file uploads, API calls, or database updates, making them highly responsive.
  3. Serverless and microservices architectures often leverage message queues for asynchronous communication between services. Messages, like requests, error notifications, or replies, are placed in a queue and processed one at a time, ensuring smooth operation even during peak loads.

Serverless architecture empowers developers to build and deploy applications with greater agility and efficiency. By understanding its core concepts, you can see if it’s the right fit for your next project.

Server-Side HTML Web Apps

This architecture falls under the broader category of Multi-Tier Architecture, where the presentation layer (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) resides on the server, and the server dynamically generates HTML content for each request. Unlike traditional web apps where the server might just send raw data, here it takes center stage. The server-side handles everything:

  • Presentation layer (HTML, CSS): The server stitches together the HTML and CSS code to create the visual structure and style of the web page.
  • Data access and services: It interacts with databases and other services to retrieve and use the data your application needs.
  • Business logic: The server acts as the brain of the operation, implementing the core logic and functionality that drives the application.

Progressive Web Apps

PWAs are the ultimate hybrid, seamlessly blending the best features of native apps and web applications. The user can access PWA via the browser and add the icon to the home screen. Such apps offer a great UI experience and can work offline thanks to cached data loaded previously by a user. PWA is built using  dynamically rendered content and app shells, which are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript resources that compile the structure of the app.

Dynamic content exists outside of the app shell and the apps must fetch data every time the user demands it. Web app manifest files enable adding the app to the home screen. While service workers in PWA will be responsible for offline mode and caching. Building PWA, engineers can choose between two architectural styles to decide how the pages will be loaded:

  • Server-side rendering (SSR): Here, the server takes center stage, pre-rendering the content before sending it to the user’s browser. This can lead to faster initial page loads.
  • Client-side rendering (CSR): In this approach, JavaScript within the browser dynamically generates the HTML content. This allows for more interactive experiences, but the initial load might take slightly longer.

Discover more about progressive web app limitations.

JS generation widget architecture

The JS generation widget architecture, an offspring of server-side application development, offers an approach for building web applications with a focus on simplicity and speed. Here’s how it works:

  • Imagine an application built from pre-fabricated building blocks – each block (widget) has a specific function and operates independently. This architecture breaks down the application into smaller, JavaScript-based widgets, each responsible for a distinct part of the user interface.
  • Communication with the server is optimized. Instead of transferring entire pages, the application fetches data using AJAX requests, a technique for asynchronous data exchange. This approach minimizes data transfer, leading to faster response times and a potentially smoother user experience.

This architecture is well-suited for simpler web applications where speed, ease of development, and a clear separation of concerns are priorities. However, it might not be the optimal choice for projects with complex user interfaces or evolving functionalities.

How to Design a Web Application Architecture in 8 Steps?

Building a web application involves laying a strong foundation – its architecture. Here’s a roadmap to guide you through the key steps of how to design architecture for web application:

How to Design a Web Application Architecture in 8 Different Steps?

Step #1. Define Your Business Goal

Defining your business goals is the cornerstone of crafting a successful web application architecture. It’s about understanding the “why” behind your application – the purpose it serves, the problems it solves, and the value it delivers.

While starting building your web application architecture, do not forget about an architecture design document web application. By investing in clear and concise documentation, you create a foundation for a collaborative, efficient, and sustainable application architecture development process.

At Inoxoft, our team of experienced business analysts can help you gather and analyze business requirements, ensuring that your web application architecture is aligned with your business goals and objectives. During a Discovery Phase, we follow a collaborative approach, working closely with you to understand your unique needs and develop a tailored solution that empowers your business to thrive.

Step #2. Understand Your Target Audience’s Needs 

Understanding your target audience is an ongoing process. As your app evolves and your user base grows, it’s vital to continuously gather feedback and iterate on your architecture to keep meeting their needs. By prioritizing user-centric design, you build a web application that not only functions well but also resonates deeply with your target audience, driving its success.

Step #3. Determine the Necessary App Features

Now that your business goals are clearly defined, it’s time to zoom in on the features that will bring your vision to life. This step involves determining the functionalities that are essential for your web application to deliver value to its users.

The features you choose shape the user experience and determine how your app meets the needs of your target audience. Choose the right set of features that will:

  • Enhance user engagement: Features that address user pain points and provide a seamless experience will keep users coming back for more.
  • Differentiate your app: Carefully chosen features that set your app apart from competitors can attract new users and drive adoption.
  • Align with business goals: Features should ultimately contribute to achieving your overall business objectives.
  • Client-side rendering (CSR): In this approach, JavaScript within the browser dynamically generates the HTML content. This allows for more interactive experiences, but the initial load might take slightly longer.

Step #4. Ensure Scalability & Security

In the fast-paced world of web applications, the ability to adapt and grow is paramount. That’s where scalability comes in – ensuring your application’s architecture can handle future demands.

Will your application attract a large user base? Scalability ensures your application can handle increasing user numbers without performance degradation. A scalable architecture also allows for future updates and enhancements without major overhauls, as well as to stay ahead of the curve, responding to changing needs and user expectations.

While scalability is essential, security is equally important. Strong security measures protect your application and user data from potential threats. This ensures a safe and reliable user experience, fostering trust and loyalty.

What are the web application security vulnerabilities and how to avoid them?

Step #5. Choose the Appropriate Architecture Style

Choosing the right architectural style for your web application is a critical decision. It shapes your development process, performance, and future adaptability. Here’s what to consider:

  • Fast time to market: Are you on a tight timeline? Monolithic architectures, with their simpler structure, can offer faster initial development. However, scaling and maintaining them becomes complex over time.
  • Adaptability for the future: Do you anticipate frequent updates, evolving functionalities, or a large user base? Microservices or serverless architectures offer greater flexibility for these scenarios.

More on the examples of web architecture style we’ve covered above in the article.  

Step #6. Ensure Web App Platform Compatibility

The landscape of web applications is vast, with different platforms offering unique functionalities and user experiences. Deciding on your target platform(s) is crucial for shaping your web application architecture.

  • Are you targeting a specific platform like a web browser, mobile operating system (Android/iOS), or desktop environment (Windows/Mac)? Developing for a single platform allows you to optimize the architecture and user experience for that specific environment.
  • Do you want your application to be accessible across different platforms? A multi-platform approach expands your reach but requires careful consideration of architecture and development strategies.

Understanding Platform-Specific Approaches:

  • Web applications: Web-based architectures leverage web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to create applications accessible through web browsers.
  • Mobile applications: Native mobile app development involves using platform-specific tools and languages (e.g., Swift for iOS, Java/Kotlin for Android) to create apps optimized for mobile devices.
  • Cross-platform mobile apps: Frameworks like React Native or Flutter allow developers to build mobile apps using a single codebase that can be deployed on both Android and iOS.

Step #7: Identify Key Components and Services

This step is about identifying the core components and services that will make your web application tick. These components are like the building blocks that, when assembled effectively, create a functional and efficient application.

It’s tempting to focus solely on budget and cram in as many features as possible. However, this approach can lead to an unbalanced architecture that struggles to perform well. Instead, prioritize identifying the essential functionalities that deliver value to your users and support your business goals. A well-designed architecture with a clear focus on value delivery can be a powerful asset, even if it doesn’t boast every single feature on your wishlist.

And once you’ve identified the key components, define how they interact with each other. This could involve data exchange, user requests being routed to the appropriate layer, or services communicating with each other via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

Step #8. Choose Technology Stack 

Finally, we’re all about choosing the right tools for the job – the technology stack that will power your web application. This involves selecting technologies for both the backend and frontend, along with data storage and APIs.

Keep in mind — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Evaluate your project’s specific requirements, considering factors like scalability, performance, and developer expertise, to make informed technology stack decisions. Consulting with experienced developers can also be beneficial in this process.

  • Backend Technologies:

Programming language: Consider factors like your project domain and developer expertise when choosing a static or dynamic language (e.g., Python, Node.js, Java, JavaScript).

Server or serverless: Decide whether a traditional server-based approach or a serverless architecture using cloud services like AWS Lambda is more suitable.

Microservices (optional): For complex applications, microservices architectures with independent services communicating via APIs can offer flexibility and scalability.

  • Frontend Technologies:

Framework or library: Choose a framework like MVC (Model-View-Controller) or a library like React or Angular to structure your frontend development.

Single Page Application (SPA) or Server-Side Rendering (SSR): Select an approach for rendering your application content – whether to dynamically render on the client-side (SPA) or pre-render on the server (SSR) for better SEO and performance.

Cloud storage: Utilize cloud storage services for hosting your frontend code and assets.

  • Data Storage:

Database: Decide between SQL databases (structured data) or NoSQL databases (flexible data) based on your data storage needs. NoSQL databases can be more scalable for large datasets.

Replication and backups: Implement data replication across multiple servers for better load management and ensure regular backups to prevent data loss.

  • APIs (Application Programming Interfaces):

API design styles: Choose between RESTful APIs (standard methods like GET, POST) for data access or GraphQL for efficient data fetching.

WebSockets (optional): Consider WebSockets for real-time communication between the server and client, ideal for applications requiring frequent updates.

How to Ensure Your Web App Architecture Is Designed Well?

A well-designed web application architecture is the foundation for a successful web app. But how to design an application architecture that will last? Here are some key considerations to ensure your web app architecture is built in a proper way: 

  • Solves your business problem. Does the solution address the core issue you’re trying to solve and deliver the desired outcomes?
  • Has a coherent architecture. Is the overall design well-structured and logical, following established patterns for clarity and maintainability?
  • Has a future-ready architecture. Can you easily modify or extend the architecture to accommodate future needs or growth?
  • Provides a great user experience. Does the solution provide a user-friendly and intuitive experience for your target audience, with fast loading times and efficient workflows?
  • Has an expandable and simple design. Is the architecture designed for scalability and simplicity, avoiding unnecessary complexity?
  • Supports A/B testing. Can you easily conduct A/B testing to compare different versions of your solution and optimize user experience?
  • Has robust security. Does the architecture prioritize robust security features to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access?
  • Is reliable and uptime. How reliable is the solution? Is it prone to crashes or downtime? Does it have mechanisms for self-healing or automatic recovery?
  • Has a scalable performance. Can the solution handle the expected user load and data volume efficiently, and scale well to meet future growth demands?
  • Has 3rd party integration. Can the solution integrate seamlessly with other applications and systems you use? Does it have open APIs or established integration methods?
  • Ensures comprehensive logging. Does the solution provide comprehensive logging of errors and user actions to help identify issues, troubleshoot problems, and optimize performance?

Why Consider Inoxoft as Your Web App Architecture Development Partner

Inoxoft has built a reputation for delivering exceptional web application architecture services, empowering businesses to achieve their digital goals. Our team of experienced architects and developers possesses a deep understanding of the latest technologies and best practices in custom web development services, enabling us to create robust, scalable, and maintainable solutions.

When it comes to crafting web application architectures that drive business success, Inoxoft is your trusted partner. We have the expertise, experience, and commitment to deliver solutions that meet your specific requirements and exceed your expectations.

Contact us today to discuss your web application architecture needs and let us help you build a foundation for sustainable growth.

Custom Web Platform For Moving Services

Connecting customers with reliable movers for residential and commercial relocations can be a frustrating experience. Finding quotes, scheduling services, and managing communication often involve time-consuming phone calls and manual processes.

Inoxoft partnered with a UK-based leading moving company to address these challenges by crafting a custom web application with a focus on user experience and operational efficiency. Through a thorough Discovery Phase, we gained a deep understanding of the client’s needs and the pain points of both customers and movers.

The resulting web application is a comprehensive solution with role-based access for different user groups:

  • Customers: A user-friendly interface allows customers to easily request quotes, book moving services, and track the progress of their move in real-time. Secure communication portals facilitate direct contact with their assigned moving team.
  • Movers: Drivers can manage their work schedules, access job details, and communicate with customers through the platform. An optimized dispatch system ensures efficient task allocation and resource utilization.
  • Administrators: A comprehensive admin platform enables management of all financial transactions, providing valuable data for optimizing operations and making informed business decisions.

Our team delivered a comprehensive user-friendly web platform that allows to:

  • Manage freight business more accurate
  • Automate operational processes
  • Provide local and long-distance moving services across the UK
  • Create engaging public profiles to stand out among others
  • Easily find the most experienced and loyal drivers

This case study demonstrates the power of a well-designed web application architecture in streamlining complex processes and enhancing user experience.  By focusing on clear communication, efficient workflows, and user-centric design, Inoxoft delivered a solution that empowers the moving company to thrive in the competitive relocation market.


Architecture is the skeleton of the project development giving the system all the business needs, making the application robust, quick, successful, and user-friendly with its web application components, models, and types. This is why a well-structured web application architecture is an investment in your business’s future. It helps you deliver a fantastic user experience, operate efficiently, and stay competitive in the ever-changing world of technology.

At Inoxoft, we understand the challenges businesses face in today’s digital landscape. Your web application is often the cornerstone of your online presence, and its architecture plays a critical role in its success. Consult with our IT architects and get a detailed estimation of designing your web application architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to decide architecture style for web application?

As we already know, monolithic is good for simpler apps, while microservices offer greater flexibility for complex, frequently updated applications. You must consider factors like project size, complexity, scalability needs, and development team expertise.

How to design architecture for a web application?

Our article highlighted 8 steps you should take to design an application architecture for a web app:

Step #1. Define Your Business Goal

Step #2. Understand Your Target Audience’s Needs 

Step #3. Determine the Necessary App Features

Step #4. Ensure Scalability & Security

Step #5. Choose the Appropriate Architecture Style

Step #6. Ensure Web App Platform Compatibility

Step #7: Identify Key Components and Services

Step #8. Choose Technology Stack

How does a microservices architecture benefit a web application in terms of scalability?

Microservices allows you to scale individual services independently. Need more user handling? Scale up the user service. Need faster data processing? Scale up the data processing service. This avoids scaling the entire application at once.

Which technologies reside on the server side of the architecture of a web application?

The server side typically houses your backend logic. This could include programming languages (e.g., Python, Java, Node.js), databases (SQL or NoSQL), web servers (e.g., Apache, Nginx), and frameworks/libraries. The specific technologies depend on your chosen architecture and project needs.