Backend as a Service (BaaS) – not to be confused with Banking as a Service – is a type of cloud computing service model that allows developers to streamline their coding and development process. With tons of innovative technologies, uses, opportunities and advantages, BaaS has become an incredibly popular solution for many to quickly create bespoke frontend solutions for their needs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore BaaS as a cloud solution in much greater detail, including how it works, its advantages, the differences between BaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS), MBaaS, and the use cases of a BaaS.

What is the difference between frontend and backend?

Before we can dive into what a BaaS is and how it works, we need to clearly define the differences between frontend and backend development.


Frontend, or "client-side", is everything a user interacts with and sees – be it buttons, images, links and much more.  From buttons and images to layouts on a website or app, this is all frontend territory. A frontend developer will ensure webpages and apps are user-friendly to navigate and are fit for their intended purpose. They’re typically coded using a mixture of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The latter is unique in the sense that it can be used to code both frontend and backend, and is often preferred to than the likes of PHP (project-dependent), which our PHP vs JavaScript guide covers more of.


Backend, or "server-side", can be thought of as the “behind-the-scenes” of a software or app. It does a variety of things, such as managing and processing data and supports what’s displayed on the frontend. Backend developers typically use languages such as Python, Node.js, PHP and many others. Plus, backend development can also manage things like user authentication, and payments, integrate third-party APIs, and ensure data security and privacy – all of which frontend cannot do.

As you can probably start to see, backend development is quite tricky, in the sense that it’s time-consuming to configure and a high level of logic and programming language skills are required. This is where a BaaS can help.

So, what is Backend as a Service?

Now that we know the difference between frontend and backend, it’s pretty easy to deduce how a BaaS works.

As the name implies, backend as a service (BaaS), is a cloud computing model that provides developers with a pre-built backend infrastructure and services. It allows developers to focus more on the frontend development and user experience, without having to worry about the complexities of managing server infrastructure, databases, and other backend components. BaaS essentially abstracts away the backend operations, which allows developers to bolster their application development process.

How does Backend as a Service work?

A BaaS works by providing developers with the tools to build frontend applications. With the backend taken care of by a cloud service provider, developers can use a BaaS’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Software Development Kits (SDKs) provided by their chosen BaaS supplier to integrate the backend functions they need, without having to build them from scratch. This also means the developers don’t need to manage the cloud server itself, which also means there are no requirements to provision virtual machines (VMs) or containers for their dev needs.

What is Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS)?

Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS), is much like BaaS, but with a focus on building mobile apps. With most of us using (and sometimes working!) from our phones, it’s become a particularly popular cloud solution for app developers. It’s particularly useful for developers who want to code things like two-factor authentication on mobile devices, as well as mobile push notifications.

What are the advantages of a BaaS?

With your backend taken care of, a BaaS sounds like a dream for developers. But what are the other advantages of a BaaS?

1. Faster development time

As your cloud provider manages your infrastructure, all developers need to worry about is developing their code for frontend use. This can massively speed up coding time and general processes, as developers won’t need to worry about any of the backend provisionings for their coding environment. It’s essentially a plug-and-play solution for devs!

2. Can be a cost-effective solution

If you have development resources but can’t afford an IaaS solution, then a BaaS may be the next best thing, particularly if you have a tight budget. Provisioning a private cloud or an IaaS and PaaS can be costly as they require far more technical expertise to provision, but with a backend as a service solution, you cut the worry for this expenditure entirely.

3. Simplifies dev time

Developers don’t need to worry themselves with server-side coding, meaning they can focus on the languages they do know to code solutions for clients. This makes BaaS a great solution for those who wish to focus purely on coding in an environment with relevant APIs at their disposal.

4. They’re scalable

Scaling is incredibly important so that your application can handle numerous requests and users. Essentially, when your demands and business grows – so should your BaaS (and any cloud solution you opt for). A good BaaS solution will show you complete transparency on performance data from your apps to help you pinpoint why your application might be lagging, and may even prompt you to scale up to accommodate further resources.

5. Patches are taken care of

Fortunately, a Backend as a Service provider will handle almost all patches, including those for security, bug fixes and the like. These can be set to update automatically, meaning you don’t have to worry about manually checking for updates yourself.

However, we always recommend checking up on any managed service solution just to ensure you’ve crossed your Ts and dotted your Is, as a simple patch update can make a huge difference in data protection, the smooth-running of your cloud service and much more.

What are the disadvantages of BaaS as a cloud service model?

1. Coding limits

Backend as a Service, while offering faster dev time, can come with its own suite of features that may not be able to be tailored to business-specific requirements. This can be a huge disadvantage, especially if the BaaS’s features can’t be customised. Plus, depending on your allocated monthly billing resources, you may only have a limited number of serverless functions you can run, data storage and API requests.

2. Vendor lock-in

As with most public cloud solutions, a BaaS provider cloud lead to vendor lock-in. This is essentially when a business may rely too heavily on a cloud provider, making the switch to another quite troublesome. But why is this the case? Essentially, the use of APIs as provided by the cloud service may not be easy to migrate to another – particularly if the other provider doesn’t have the most robust solution. This can be even tougher (though not impossible) if you decide to go for a full root access solution like a private cloud or Bare Metal.

3. Data security concerns

As we’ve previously mentioned, backend as a service is a type of public cloud – which means developers rely on a third-party platform to operate. The reason this may bring about data concerns is that the developer may be working with sensitive data, which is stored on the cloud solution.

If the provider is to experience a data breach, that means all customers on the platform are at risk too, especially when it’s hard to determine how robust the BaaS platform’s security protocols really are. This is why it’s incredibly important to pick a BaaS provider with reputable credentials.

4. Latency concerns

When opting for a BaaS, the provider’s data centre can be anywhere in the world. While this is advantageous in terms of accessing the service remotely, this can lead to lag issues – particularly if the data centre is far away. This can be worsened by the fact that a BaaS service has many users with varying levels of resources, and while they’re kept separate from other users on the platform, unexpected surges in use can cause the entire platform to slow down. This reliance on the provider's infrastructure can occasionally lead to slow response speeds, and in turn, user experience.

Use cases and capabilities of BaaS

Besides its obvious ease of use for a developer, there are many use cases that justify the help of BaaS solutions. Let’s explore why developers may use a BaaS:

1. Serverless functions

A BaaS can trigger various events through a technology known as serverless computing, which allows various things to happen when a user takes a particular action. Instead of running functions on dedicated servers, this code is executed in short-lived, automatically managed containers. These containers are created to handle tasks like database changes, user interactions, or other predefined triggers.

2. Data and file storage

File storage and hosting is a key features of BaaS cloud solutions. When developers code apps, they need to keep in mind that users may need to save and access files like photos or documents. But instead of building a complex system for users from scratch, developers can use a BaaS solution to easily store and manage these files in the cloud. BaaS not only keeps these files safe but also makes sure they can be quickly accessed by users anywhere in the world.

Plus, this saves developers the hassle of managing physical servers or setting up databases themselves. A BaaS is also capable of adapting to various data structures – allowing developers to search for and process data with ease.

3. WebSockets

BaaS systems often use tech like WebSockets, allowing the server and the client to chat back and forth. WebSockets is a way for web browsers and servers to talk to each other continuously, instead of just once or twice – also known as a full-duplex TCP connection. The browser asks the server to communicate using a special request. Once set up, they can send messages back and forth without interruption.

This means users can get immediate data updates, plus, a standout feature in some BaaS solutions is offline sync. If changes are made when offline, they're automatically updated once you're back online, making sure users always see the latest data.

4. Third-party integration

Decent BaaS providers allow apps to seamlessly incorporate features and data from various external sources. For example, if a developer is coding for an e-commerce store, it may embed payment systems like PayPal, Apple Pay or Stripe, while another might pull in functionalities from Google Maps. By integrating these third-party services, developers can enrich app features without building every component from scratch! This can also extend to the likes of social feeds, MailChimp and much more. This leads us nicely to our next point…

5. Social integration and user authentication

BaaS solutions can connect apps with social media channels, which is great from a usability perspective. A developer can set up a function that allows for a user to sign up or log in to an app or website using their social media accounts, (such as Facebook or Google).

When users do this, the platform will pull through some basic info like their name and profile picture to make the app feel more personal. This means people don't need to fill out all their details again every single time they log in either.  Plus, many BaaS solutions incorporate enhanced security protocols like two-factor authentication, account recovery options, and encryption.

6. Push notifications

Many developers use a BaaS to create push notifications for their websites, allowing them to focus on the app or website’s primary functions and use the cloud provider’s built-in tools. A good BaaS cloud provider will allow this to be integrated cross-platform, which ensures devices on iOS and Android can receive these notifications.

7. Analytics and conversion tracking

Developers looking to fine-tune websites or apps can significantly benefit from the analytical capabilities of a BaaS. A standout feature is its capacity for real-time monitoring, letting developers observe user interactions and performance. With this data, developers can optimise user experiences based on real data. Similarly, BaaS can also be used for conversion tracking, allowing developers to pinpoint and evaluate user actions related to specific milestones and communicate this with marketing teams.

Frequently asked questions about BaaS

What is the difference between API and backend service?

An API in its simplest explanation, is when different software applications communicate with each other. APIs are used all the time to pull through various data sets from different platforms into one place.

An API can be thought of as shopping in a supermarket. You’ve got your aisles to pick items from. Essentially though, it’s a set of instructions that lets one computer program talk to another, laying out what requests can be made.

The backend service is like the till. When you scan an item, the till (or backend) is where the actual work happens to process your transaction. It’s everything you can’t see and where actual logic, processing, and data handling takes place out of the user’s view.

What are the differences between BaaS and serverless computing?

BaaS, as previously established, offers developers a set of pre-built backend services, such as databases and authentication, allowing them to focus on the frontend of their applications. It simplifies and accelerates the development process by entirely removing the need to create backend components from scratch.

Serverless computing, on the other hand, lets developers build and run custom-backend code without the concern of managing the underlying servers. It's event-driven, executing functions in response to specific triggers. Despite the name "serverless", servers are still involved, but their management is abstracted away by the cloud provider. Some may even make use of a FaaS, another type of serverless computing, in tandem with a BaaS in order to work on snippets of code – rather than the entirety of the frontend system.

What is the difference between BaaS and PaaS?

BaaS and PaaS are both cloud service models but operate in different ways when it comes to developing frontend solutions such as websites and apps. Essentially, BaaS offers a simplified way for developers to connect their applications to backend cloud storage and various backend-related services a provider hosts on their platform. What makes BaaS desirable by developers is it completely eliminates the need for backend development – allowing frontend devs to focus on what the user sees instead.

This differs from PaaS, as the latter is catered for both frontend and backend development. It provides the developer with the operating system, databases, servers and other functions. A PaaS solution is desirable in its own right, as it gives full-stack developers (or a backend and frontend developer in collaboration) the flexibility to tailor both frontend and backend needs to a business.

When it comes to scalability, however, BaaS solutions are generally easier to scale, but developers may come across constraints in customisation due to their pre-defined backend services. PaaS, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility and scalability, ideal for intricate applications that need lots of work – but this comes with needing the right knowledge to configure. Cost-wise, BaaS might be more economical for start-ups or businesses with lower budgets, with PaaS being a possibility further down the line if a business’s needs grow and become more complex.

We hope this has given you some deep insight into what a BaaS is and how it works. While it has a whole host of advantages, a cloud server provides users will full-root access and resources that are easy to scale as and when you need. Contact us today to find out more about our server solutions.