Web Application Architecture: Layers, Models, Components


July 2023

In this sea of web apps, if you want yours to truly shine, it's crucial to ensure that your web application architecture is robust like never before. The web app architecture serves as the backbone, defining the intricate relationships between databases, servers, and applications within a system. It's the very foundation upon which your app's seamless user experience and flawless functionality are built.

However, keep in mind that the architecture of an app can vary based on the specific business type and unique requirements. Unfortunately, many companies overlook this fact, but a resilient and modern web app architecture is the secret key to unlocking unrivaled success and boundless profits.

So, let us guide you down the path to unlimited profits and triumphant achievements. All you need to do is dive into this enlightening piece that unravels the world of web app architecture—its components, types, and models.

Now, let's embark on this journey by delving into the basics first.

What is Web App Architecture?

The web application architecture is a layout or a model of interaction between web application components such as applications, databases, and middleware systems on the web. 

It shows the communication happening between all the elements, such as from databases to the server to interfaces. In short, the modern web application architecture indicates the logic behind server requests and responses to clients. 

Perhaps a diagram of the architecture can help you understand the whole concept better.

Architecture Diagram for Web Application

Suppose you are a non-technical person trying to navigate this complex world of web app architecture. Then, have a look at a simple web application architecture diagram below. 

The web application architecture is different depending on the project's needs and business objectives. There is a simple process defined for you below to understand how architecture binds everything together.

  • The client types a URL in the browser field.
  • From here, the browser forwards the request to a Domain Name Server to identify the IP address.
  • The browser then sends the request to the server to respond.
  • In return, the server sends the request to data storage to find the page and requests the data display. 

Read our updated web app development guide- 2023 here

A detailed understanding of web app architecture is indispensable, especially if you want to build your super app. So with the help of ARFASOFTECH's developers, who have experience working on 300+ projects, we are revealing a closer look into the architecture.

  • Domain Name System (DNS)

This element searches for the IP addresses and domain names to give the relevant server the end user’s request.

  • Load Balancer

It sends incoming requests to one of the multiple servers. Also, delivers answers to the end user & prevents overcharging by task distribution. 

  • Web App Server

It processes user requests & sends JSON/XML docs back to an initial browser. For this, it refers to the database, job queue, & cache server, etc.

  • Database

It offers a variety of instruments to organize, delete, perform, & update computations. Without any intermediary, the interaction between web app servers & job servers is done.

  • Caching Server

This one offers easy, quick data storage & search. When the user receives the info from the server, the search results are cached so that future requests are returned much faster.

  • Services

The services are built in the form of a separate application once the web app achieves a specific level. These are not visible among other web app components. However, services can interact with them as well.

  • Data Warehouse

It stores & exchanges data online via the Internet. And the data is sent to the firehouse for processing. Afterward, the additional data is sent to cloud storage & finally, it goes to the data warehouse.

  • Content Delivery System (CDN)

This system sends HTML/CSS/JavaScript files & images. It delivers the content taken from the end server around the world so users can load sources.

There are two optional elements also: Job queue and full-text search.  

  • Full-text search refers to searching text inside extensive text data stored electronically and returning results. There are plenty of apps that support the search-by-text feature. 
  • Job Queue processes the number of jobs in the queue & operates according to the schedule. It has two components which are job queues & servers that process those jobs.

The architecture, as also stated above, can vary. But the standard structure followed in large-scale web application architecture or enterprise web application architecture is 3-tier architecture.

What is 3-tier Web Application Architecture?

Nowadays, web apps are created via the separation of their principal functions, in simple words, called tiers. Let’s see why this is desirable!

The 3 tier web application architecture has certain advantages which make it desirable, such as 

  • It is the safest because a user does not have access to data.
  • The deployment of application servers on multiple machine providers gives higher scalability.
  • It offers robust data integrity, as all the data goes through the application server, which decides what should be accessed by whom.
  • It allows modification of a single tier without leaving any effect on the remaining components.

The architecture is divided into layers for better comprehension and smooth working.

Web Application Architecture Layers

Building layers in web application architecture helps in the identification of each component of an application. It helps in making changes in other layers without affecting the overall applications-enabling easy writing, debugging, management, and re-using of code.

Let’s look deep into layers too.

  • Presentation (Client) Layer

The presentation layer is the front end app-including static content and a dynamic interface that is visible to the end users. HTML, CSS, or JavaScript are the technologies used, and potential frameworks are Vue, Angular, and React.

  • Application (Business) Layer

It is part of the app’s backend, consisting of core application logic & outlines all internal flow for requests and data. The most convenient for this layer is servers, serverless clouds, or PaaS. PHP, Python, JavaScript & Ruby are programming languages with Django, Spring & Laravel as frameworks.

  • Data Access Layer

This layer is closely linked with the business layer as it gets the required information from the servers. Here the data service layer separates the business logic from the client side whilst processing the requests. Therefore, all layers work independently & communicate with each other via relevant components.

After understanding the layers, it is potent that you know about the components involved. 

Web Application Architecture Components

The web application architecture consists of three components.

  • Web Browser

It is the key component that interacts with the users, receives the input, and manages the presentation logic whilst controlling user interaction. 

  • Web Server

This server-side component handles business logic & processes user requests by diverting the requests to the right component & manages entire application operations.

  • Database Server

This component provides the required data for the application and handles data-related tasks. In the case of multi-tiered architecture, data servers can manage business logic too.

All these components are present in every architecture, but the number may increase or decrease depending on app requirements.

Types of Web Application Architecture

The type of architecture in web applications determines the pattern of component interaction showing the way app logic allows the server and the client-side interaction.

If you are confused about how to select the best web app architecture, then the types below may help you choose one as per your requirement.

  • Single Page Applications (SPAs)

This architecture is designed to show relevant content only and to make this happen. It first loads the required web page & then updates the representation of the content with the requested info. 

Some of the pros and cons of SPAs are below

  • Efficient performance
  • Enhanced flexibility of UX
  • Slower first-load page
  • Chances of loss of unsaved progress
  • Microservices

The Microservices disperse the functionality to deliver lightweight services separately. In particular, there is a use of APIs for communication if a complex problem arises.

The pros and cons of microservices below can help you decide

  • Easy to understand the code base
  • Stronger fault tolerance
  • Independent module deployment
  • Complexities in testing & debugging
  • Deployment is difficult

PS:  Thanks to microservices architecture’s flexibility and stability, famous businesses like Amazon, Netflix, and eBay are adopting it for their complex needs.

  • Serverless Architecture

In this type, both server & infrastructure management is outsourced to a third-party provider. It is reliable for companies who want to delegate their server & hardware management and concentrate on front-end development tasks instead. It also allows working on small functions in apps.

The pros and cons of serverless architecture are 

  • Flexibility and Speed
  • Highly scalable & minimized latency
  • Highly complex, so outsourcing is the best option
  • Progressive Web Apps

With the capability of functioning on any browser and on any device, these apps offer rich functionality and easy installation. URLs instead of app stores are used to discover and share these apps.

 The pros and cons of progressive web apps are below

  • Mobile-first approach
  • Browser availability
  • High traffic
  • Offline performance
  • Cost-device nature and lightweight
  • Less utilization of native APIs
  • Restricted browser support

These apps are widely used in industries like entertainment, finance, and eCommerce.Want to read more about PWAs, Click Here.

  • Legacy HTML Web App

The most widespread type, which is grounded on a user receiving the entire HTML upon request. Also known as server-side or 1.0, this scheme needs the web page to reload to which page logic and general business logic react.

The legacy HTML web app has its pros and cons highlighted below

  • Extremely SEO friendly
  • Safe and secure
  • Fast to develop
  • Low responsiveness
  • Non-existent conversion rate
  • Poor offline functioning
  • It cannot be used to build dynamic projects

Last, but not least, it is important that you understand the models present in the industry so that you can align the architecture as per your app needs.

Models of Web App Architecture

The enterprise web application architecture models are different based on two criteria.

  • The number of databases 
  • Number of  servers

  • One Web Server, One Database Model

It is the simplest model where there is only one server and one database for all requests and responses. But if the single server goes down, the app shuts down immediately. 

Considering the user's needs, the one database model is rusty; however, it's a great way to test your web app idea or MVP.

  • Multiple Web Servers, One Database Model

There is no single web server for data storage; when a client inputs the request, the related server writes it to the sole database managed outside. It is relatively reliable as there are more than two servers, and a backup server is always available. There is only one database that is dangerous in terms of website crashes. 

  • Multiple Web Servers, Multiple Databases Model

There are several web servers and databases, ensuring efficiency. So you have two options for database storage. Here, you can choose to keep identical databases or distribute information. 

In the event of a crash, the entire app is not lost, but you can lose some data (to prevent this, install load balancers).

Web Application Architecture Best Practices

Choosing or designing the web app architecture is just the first tricky step but yet the most important one. Most people rely on replicating the designs and strategies of popular web apps; this can do more damage than good. Because oftentimes, they don’t match your business needs. 

To avoid this, follow these best practices in web application architecture.

  • System efficiency and flexibility
  • Super code structure
  • High scalability
  • Simple bug detection via A/B testing
  • Reliability and stability
  • Opportunities to collect user feedback
  • Tight security 
  • Reusability of component
  • Unchangeable infrastructure  
  • Consistent staging environment

Trust ARFASOFTECH With Your Web Application Architecture

Are you looking to develop a web app? 

Choosing the right web application architecture can be a time-consuming and challenging task, depending on the desired features and server requirements, etc. But fret not because, at ARFASOFTECH, we've got you covered at every step of your way, from meticulous planning to flawless execution and seamless deployment. Our experienced developers have successfully delivered remarkable projects, and we're eager to show you what we can do.

Click here to view our outstanding projects! 

Whether you're looking for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a fully-fledged app, or even if you already have an app but want to enhance its performance. We'll collaborate with you to make your application robust, efficient, and user-friendly, ensuring it meets all your requirements and exceeds your expectations.

To get started, book your first free call with us today. 

Let's bring your web app vision to life!

You can call us at +92 302 8863134 or email  info@arfasoftech.com

FAQs Section

How to build architecture for web applications?

Building an architecture for a web application involves several key steps:

  • Define the application's requirements and functionality.
  • Choose a suitable technology stack.
  • Design the system components, including the front-end, back-end, and database.
  • Create a scalable and modular structure.
  • Implement security measures.
  • Test and optimize the architecture for performance.
  • Deploy and maintain the application.
  • Continuously iterate and improve based on user feedback.

What are the three layers of web-based applications?

There are three layers of web-based applications.

  • Presentation (client) layer: The presentation layer implies the front end app-including elements such as static content and dynamic interface that are visible to the end users.
  • Application (business) layer: It is part of the app’s backend, consisting of core application logic & outlines all internal flow for requests and data. 
  • Data access layer: This layer is closely linked with the business layer as it gets required information from the servers. Here the data service layer separates the business logic from the client side whilst processing the requests.

Fahad Ali, Author

Fahad is PM at ARFASOFTECH but has a knack for writing. He enjoys writing about the latest technologies and evolving trends. Most of his writings revolve around trending technologies and their integration into operations.

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