Single-Page Application vs Multi-Page Application: What Sets Them Apart?

May 29, 2024

Single-Page Application vs Multi-Page Application What Sets Them Apart

Today, web applications come in two major forms: Single-Page Applications (SPAs) and Multi-Page Applications (MPAs). While both types of applications serve the same purpose, they differ significantly in how they are built and even how they function.

If you are building your own web application, it is important to understand the differences between these two types and choose the right approach for your project.

So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Single-Page Applications (SPAs) are popular for their dynamic user experience and faster load times.
  • Multi-Page Applications (MPAs) are more traditional and offer better search engine optimization (SEO).
  • SPA and MPA offer seamless user experience as long as they are designed and developed with the right approach and architecture.
  • Your application’s purpose and target audience are important factors to consider when choosing between SPA and MPA.
  • Designing page elements, such as navigation and layout, requires a different approach for SPA and MPA.

What is a Single-Page Application?

One thing you have to understand about a single-page application is that it only loads a single page—hence the name itself.

When you visit a single-page app, there is an initial page load that downloads the entire application, including all its assets and resources. After this initial load, the app only makes requests to the server for data whenever it needs it.

Basically, instead of loading a new page every time you click a link or button, the app updates the content dynamically without refreshing. This works by having the browser get all the essential HTML, JavaScript, and CSS in one go or by updating what’s needed based on what you do.

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Single-page apps are popular for a reason. Below are the advantages they offer:

  • Clean layout: It usually comes with a small or minimal menu, concise content, and optimized images to create a clean single-page layout, allowing visitors to focus on your product/service and call to action.
  • Easy to navigate: Everything is on one entire page, and you do not have to leave the page even if you click on a link or a button to access other content.
  • Cheap and quicker to build. It takes way less time and money to create a single page compared to putting together a whole website with multiple pages and various types of content.


Although single-page apps offer many benefits, they also have their limitations.

  • Limited space: A single-page website limits the amount of content you can include, which can deter visitors from scrolling through and restrict the site’s growth.
  • SEO challenges: Ranking in search results can be challenging as there is only one page to target specific keywords and phrases, making it harder for your site to be visible to search engines.
  • Browser history issues: Since everything is handled dynamically on a single page, the browser’s back button may not function as expected, leading to user frustration.

Use Cases:

Single-page applications are perfect for small businesses, startups, and portfolios. They work best when the content does not require frequent updates or changes, making them ideal for showcasing products or services.

Examples of popular single-page apps include Gmail, Google Maps, Twitch, and Trello.

What is a Multi-Page Application?

Multi-Page Applications (MPAs) are the traditional web applications with which we’re all familiar.

mpas rank well in search results quote

In MPAs, each page loads separately and fully refreshes when a user clicks on a link or button. This means that every time you navigate to a new page, the server sends back an entirely new HTML document.

The main technologies for a multi-page web app are HTML and CSS. Basically, the browser grabs HTML files and shows them as separate pages. MPAs stick to a traditional web design with a homepage, contact page, about us page, and so on. This way, you get a more organized website with different pages for different content.


Building a multi-page app brings the following benefits:

  • Wide compatibility: MPA is a classic way of building web pages that is compatible with most older browsers and legacy systems. This is crucial for users accessing the application from various devices or platforms.
  • SEO-friendly: MPAs rank well in search results since each page has a unique URL and can be indexed separately, potentially driving more traffic to the site.
  • Scalability: You can add as many pages as needed, supporting website growth. This is especially important for e-commerce sites, allowing easy addition of fresh content.


A multi-page website also has its disadvantages:

  • Longer load times: Each time a user navigates to a new page, the entire HTML document must be downloaded from the server, unlike SPA’s, where only data is sent back and forth.
  • Maintenance: It can be challenging to maintain and update multiple pages, especially if the site contains a large amount of content.
  • Navigation complexity: With multiple pages, navigation can become more complicated and confusing for users, leading to a higher bounce rate.

Use Cases:

Multi-page applications are best suited for content-heavy websites such as blogs, news sites, and e-commerce websites. They also work well for applications that require frequent updates or changes.

Examples of popular multi-page apps include Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

Single-Page App or Multi-Page App: 7 Factors that Make Them Different

While each web application has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, many businesses are converting their traditional web application to a single-page application.

But before you jump on the bandwagon, you have to identify the factors that set these two types of applications apart. Below are five factors that make them different:

Development process

A single-page application is built using a JavaScript framework like Angular, React, or Vue.js. Tools like Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) are necessary for deploying SPAs, enabling data transmission between the server and client for smooth reloads.

On the other hand, multi-page applications are built with traditional web technologies like HTML and CSS. When building MPAs, expertise in JavaScript is not necessary, unlike in SPAs. However, the coupling of frontend and backend in MPAs means that these sites take relatively longer to build than SPAs.


The initial load time for an SPA is longer since the server sends all the necessary files at once. However, once loaded, navigating between different pages within the app is lightning-fast due to its single-page nature.

For MPAs, each time a new page is accessed, it has to be fully reloaded from the server. This can result in longer load times and slower navigation compared to SPAs.


SPAs are static pages, which means that the content is limited to what is initially loaded. Ideally, these are often built for social media platforms, project portfolios, or landing pages.

MPAs are best suited for content-heavy websites where frequent updates and changes are necessary. This is because each page can be individually updated without affecting the overall site’s performance. E-commerce sites and news portals are perfect examples of MPAs.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO can be challenging if you have only one URL and one page to target for keywords in an SPA. However, with the use of techniques like server-side rendering (SSR), SPAs can improve their SEO rankings.

SPA uses advanced javascript frameworks quote

MPAs are traditionally better suited for SEO since each page has a unique URL and can be indexed separately by search engines. This means that specific pages within an MPA can rank well for targeted keywords and phrases, potentially driving more organic traffic to the site.


SPA is built using advanced javascript frameworks, which process data on the client-side, reducing server load and making it faster than MPAs. Once an SPA has been loaded, only data is sent back and forth between the server and client, resulting in a more responsive experience for the user.

MPAs operate relatively slower, requiring each new page to load from scratch. However, with advancements in web development technologies, MPAs can now use caching techniques to improve their performance and reduce load times.

Mobile apps compatibility

Mobile apps are the new norm. So, compatibility with different devices and platforms is crucial. SPAs have an advantage in this aspect as they are more responsive and can easily adapt to various screen sizes, making them ideal for mobile apps.

MPAs, on the other hand, can be challenging to optimize for various devices since each page has its own layout. However, with proper design and development techniques, MPAs can also provide a good user experience on mobile devices.

[Read more: How to Convert Your Website Into an App?]


In MPAs, you need to secure each online page individually. SPAs, on the other hand, are more susceptible to hacker attacks. But with the right approach, developer teams can boost application security.

Using JavaScript makes SPAs more vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks. One solution is to use the latest frameworks, libraries, and techniques to check the code for vulnerabilities. They can also use web application firewalls to guard against malicious attacks.

Develop Your App with StarTechUP!

What your company needs should be the deciding factor when choosing between MPAs and SPAs. Once you’ve decided on the right approach, the next step is finding a trusted web app development company that can help you bring your vision to life.

So, whether you need an MPA or an SPA, StarTechUP can help you develop a high-performing and user-friendly web application.

As a trusted web app development company in the Philippines, StarTechUP has a team of experienced developers who can guide you on the best approach for your application. We have highly trained developers for various web development technologies, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and popular MPA and SPA frameworks.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level with a well-developed web application, contact StarTechUP today!

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin