Harnessing the power of digital means improving your customer experience, introducing more value-added services, and using technology to optimize your processes on the fly. Yes, these are all possible, but only if you choose the right modern web architecture.

So which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll show you how to avoid the pitfalls of legacy systems, choose between different platforms and architectures, and align your tech stack with your business goals.

Architecture of Modern Web Applications: Core Components

The architecture of modern web applications defines how an app’s elements combine to form the backbone of your web solution. Here are the key components.

Client-side components

The client-side or frontend architecture manages everything your users see and interact with, directly impacting the user experience.

  • User Interface (UI) includes all visual elements such as text, images, and menus.
  • User process components manage interactions and execute logic within the browser using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Now, let’s switch to the server side.

Server-side components

An app’s backend handles essential functionalities like processing user requests and managing business logic via three types of platforms.

  • Web server: Manages incoming HTTP/HTTPS requests, routing them and returning responses. Examples include Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS.
  • Application server: Executes business logic, processes requests, and interacts with databases or other services.
  • Database server: Stores and manages data using relational (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) or NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB, Redis).

Business logic and data management are traditionally server-side tasks, but this increases network latency. Modern architectures delegate more tasks to the client side to improve performance, enabling real-time rendering through browser-based scripts.

Additional components

Other critical elements for a functional and reliable web application include

  • A database management system (DBMS)
  • APIs
  • Security components such as authentication, authorization, and encryption protocols; firewalls, security tokens, and cookies
  • Caching functionality
  • Load balancers
  • Monitoring and logging features

Modern web application architecture patterns implement these elements differently to optimize performance and scalability.

Key Architectural Patterns in Modern Web Applications

There are several types of modern web application architecture, and your choice will depend on your particular needs, goals, and constraints. In this section, we’ll highlight each architecture option in terms of what they offer for building scalable, maintainable, and efficient web applications.


Modern web application architecture: Microservices

Microservices are a prime example of modern web application architecture since they offer exceptional scalability, flexibility, and agility. Here's how they work.

  • The application's backend is broken down into several distinct, single-purpose services, each known as a microservice.
  • Every microservice performs a specific business function and operates independently. For instance, an e-commerce platform may have microservices dedicated to user authentication, data storage, order processing, catalog management, and payment processing. Each microservice can employ a custom technology stack with its own data flow and database.

The downside is that working with separate modules across multiple servers can be demanding. What’s more, your team needs to document communications between each microservice to ensure smooth operation.

Examples of web apps using microservices: Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Spotify, Airbnb.


Modern web application architecture: Serverles

Serverless architecture runs on cloud infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. This eliminates the need for managing server infrastructure, allowing developers to focus solely on code development.

Serverless architectures are great for scalability and cost-effectiveness, as they charge solely for the resources used during execution. This makes serverless architecture a good choice if you lack in-house infrastructure expertise or want to reduce support costs.
Examples of web apps using serverless: Slack, Trello, Zapier.

Progressive web applications (PWAs)

Modern web application architecture: PWA

Progressive web apps combine the flexibility of a web-based solution with the look and feel of a native app, making them incredibly versatile. They can run in any browser with varying screen sizes, although they work best on newer browsers and devices.

PWAs can be installed from an app store or directly from the web, with the option to add a shortcut to a device’s home screen. Furthermore, PWAs offer practical features such as push notifications, offline mode, minimal storage space requirements, and improved SEO performance.

Although PWA is a widely used modern web application architecture, it comes with challenges. Your engineering team must ensure cross-browser compatibility, manage varying device capabilities, and address security concerns related to service workers and data storage.

Examples of progressive web apps: Twitter, Pinterest, Flipkart, Starbucks.

Single page applications (SPAs)

Modern web application architecture: SPA

Unlike traditional web apps that reload an entire page to display new data, SPAs load new data dynamically without requiring a full page reload. This makes for a smoother, faster user experience without annoying page reloads.

Responsive and easy to scale, SPA apps are also highly interactive thanks to direct server-API communication. If you need both a web and a mobile app, they can use the same API, saving development time and effort.

A downside of SPAs is that they might pose challenges for SEO and linkability due to difficulties in content indexing, deep linking, and meta tag management. These challenges, along with slower initial load times and potential compatibility issues with older browsers, require extra attention and careful implementation strategies to overcome.

Examples of web apps employing SPA: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, GitHub.


Modern web application architecture: Jamstack

Short for JavaScript, API, and markup stack, Jamstack is a modern web application architecture that emphasizes pre-rendered static markup delivered over a CDN (Content Delivery Network). With Jamstack, web pages are pre-built during the build process and served as static files to the client. This results in faster load times and improved performance.

Despite challenges like search engine visibility and older browser compatibility, Jamstack's speed and efficiency make it worth a look for web development.
Web apps using Jamstack for their entire or partial web presence: Nicke, Figma, Mailchimp.

Comparison of modern web application architecture patterns

Comparison of modern web application architecture patterns

Web Application Architecture Best Practices

Launching an MVP or embarking on a small-scale web app project might seem straightforward, but there’s a catch: any web app will grow fast in complexity and data volume. Therefore, embracing web application architecture best practices from square one isn’t just nice to do—it's paramount.

Best practices ensure scalability, efficiency, security, and accessibility, forming the bedrock of a great UX.

Modular structure

In modern web app architecture, a modular structure offers several advantages. First, it supports the separation of concerns like presentation, logic, and data access into distinct modules, making your app easier to understand and maintain. Second, it fosters scalability and flexibility, as developers can add or modify features without impacting the whole application. Finally, it enhances code reusability across different parts of the application or other projects, which reduces redundancy and ensures consistency.


Containers also feature in web application architecture best practices, as they let developers package applications and their dependencies into portable units. Containers share the host operating system's kernel, which makes them more lightweight and efficient. Containerization also promotes consistency, as units run similarly in all environments.

Moreover, you can run multiple containers on the same host without conflicts. Their scalability and resource efficiency facilitate faster development cycles and easier deployment.


Orchestration—performed with the help of tools like Kubernetes and Docker Swarm—is the automated deployment, scaling, and management of an app’s services, components, and containers. Working across clusters of servers, orchestration tools ensure that applications run reliably and efficiently in cloud environments. This simplifies the deployment process and lets you focus on building and improving your app rather than dealing with infrastructure.

DevOps practices

DevOps practices help developers and operations teams communicate more effectively. They accelerate the software development lifecycle by automating tasks like code integration, testing, and deployment. Continuous monitoring and feedback loops also make identifying and resolving issues easier, improving app performance.

Performance optimization

You can improve loading times, responsiveness, and resource utilization of your web app architecture with the following strategies:

  • Lazy loading: Delaying loading non-essential resources until they're needed, reducing initial load times and improving perceived performance.
  • Code splitting: Breaking large code bundles into smaller chunks reduces load times and improves resource utilization.
  • Image optimization: Compressing images to reduce file sizes without sacrificing quality, ensuring faster load times and improved bandwidth efficiency.
  • Code minification: Removing unnecessary characters and whitespace from code files to reduce file size, speeding up downloads and page load time.
  • Caching: Storing frequently accessed data or resources locally on the user's device or in a server cache to reduce the need for repeated requests, improving overall performance.

These performance optimization strategies ensure your app works seamlessly across devices and in different network conditions.
Comprehensive testing and monitoring

Automated testing processes work to detect and address defects early in the development lifecycle. Combined with secure coding practices and regular security audits, they help safeguard against vulnerabilities and ensure compliance.

Continuous monitoring tools and practices such as application performance monitoring (APM) systems and security incident and event management (SIEM) solutions enable real-time visibility into your app's health and security.

Strong security

Robust measures like secure authentication and data encryption mitigate threats like XSS and SQL injection. DevSecOps practices embed security throughout the development lifecycle, from design to deployment, through secure coding, audits, and automated testing, ensuring compliance and safeguarding against vulnerabilities.

Technologies Driving Modern Web App Architectures

Settling on an architecture is one thing; choosing the technical solution to implement it is another. Here's a summary of popular software choices.

Cloud Services

Cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) (a long-standing leader), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provide scalable infrastructure and a wide range of services for hosting, storage, and networking.
Other platforms like Firebase, Cloudflare, and DigitalOcean are less popular but still widely used.

Frontend Technologies

React.js: A popular library for building user interfaces, known for its flexibility and performance.

  • Vue.js: A progressive framework for building user interfaces with an incrementally adaptable architecture.Angular: A platform for building mobile and desktop web applications, offering a comprehensive solution for large-scale projects.

Backend Technologies

  • Node.js: A runtime environment that allows for server-side scripting using JavaScript, enabling fast and scalable network applications.
  • Django: A high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
  • Ruby on Rails: A server-side web application framework written in Ruby, known for its simplicity and speed.Laravel: A PHP framework widely used in web application development with a modular packaging system and rich features, offering an elegant syntax and robust set of tools, focusing on simplicity and efficiency.


The top containerization technologies are Docker and Kubernetes.

Other popular tools to mention:

  • Azure Container Apps
  • IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service
  • OpenShift Container Platform
  • Google Kubernetes Engine
  • AWS Fargate

Development Tools

A wide range of development tools, including integrated development environments (IDEs), version control systems, package managers (e.g., npm), and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines facilitate web app development, testing, and deployment:

  • Visual Studio Code: A lightweight, powerful IDE with a rich ecosystem of extensions
  • Jenkins: An open-source automation server.
  • Webpack: A module bundler for JavaScript applications.
  • Docker Compose: A tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications.
  • CircleCI: A modern CI/CD tool that automates the software development process.
  • GitHub Actions: An automation platform that allows developers to create custom workflows for their software development lifecycle directly within GitHub repositories, streamlining CI/CD processes for web apps.
  • Postman: An API development environment that simplifies the process of developing, testing, and monitoring APIs.
  • Figma: A web-based UI/UX design tool that allows for collaborative interface design and prototyping.

AI Tools

These AI tools help developers write code more efficiently, detect and fix issues faster, and deliver more reliable web applications in a shorter timeframe:

  • GitHub Copilot: Powered by OpenAI's GPT, Copilot is a top choice for AI-driven development, with 55% of developer respondents using it in 2023 (Stack Overflow).
  • Tabnine: An AI-powered code completion tool.
  • Amazon CodeWhisperer: Amazon’s code completion and suggestion tool.Snyk Code: Snyk uses AI to analyze code repositories and identify security vulnerabilities and license issues.

Modern Application Architecture: Techstack Case

In just a few short years, the web has transformed from static HTML pages to dynamic platforms, driving innovation. Web apps are thriving thanks to their versatility and ease of deployment.

Here’s just one example of how Techstack used modern web architectures to help a partner achieve their goals.

Techstack Case

We helped a US-based startup develop a virtual fundraising web platform and mobile app, turning their idea from an MVP into a thriving product. Using React Native, State In, and Storybook, we built the MVP in just two weeks, adding key features like identification and chat functionality. Our CI/CD practices and rigorous testing ensured top-notch code quality. We focused heavily on UX/UI, working closely with design teams to ensure a seamless user experience. By switching the backend to React, we unified the development stack, making it easy to share code between the website and the app. Our choice of modern app architecture has helped us support and scale the product for the past seven years. The results have been fantastic: a 99 score from Google PageSpeed Insights, over 1,000,000 mobile app downloads, and a smooth transition from MVP to explosive growth.

Over to You

With so many web architecture types available, the choice can feel overwhelming. Options include microservices, PWAs, serverless, and more, and major players like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer complex structures for building cloud architectures across different web application tiers.

This article gave you a detailed overview of the main web app architecture types. The key takeaway is that the only “right” choice is the one that matches your business needs. Use the criteria we've listed to evaluate your options and select the modern app architecture that works best for you.
Still feeling hesitant or need a second opinion? Contact us—we’d love to discuss your unique web app development needs, based on our ten years of experience and work with over 20 long-term product partners.