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Thin Client vs Thick Client

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A thin client is software that is primarily designed to communicate with a server. Its features are produced by servers such as a cloud platform.
A thick client is software that implements its own features. It may connect to servers but it remains mostly functional when disconnected.

Thin Client vs Thick Client

The classic example of a thin client is a web browser. They aren't very interesting on their own but offer a wide range of functionality by connecting to a variety of web servers. Without a network connection, they offer limited functionality. The shift towards offering services using cloud platforms has also resulting in a shift towards thin clients. Many services are offered by a web browser or a specialized thin client such as a mobile app.
Thick clients are characterized by software you install that generally works when you're offline. The term client suggests that they do connect to a server. For example, a game may run its primary engine locally to provide fast graphics and a responsive user interface. It may connect to a server to give a game a social dimension whereby you can play and communicate with other people.
Thin Client vs Thick Client
Thin Client
Thick Client
Software that relies on a remote server such as a cloud platform for its features.
Software that runs at least some features directly on your device.
Functions mostly don't work
Functions mostly work
Local Resources
Generally consumes few local resources such as disk, computing power and memory.
Generally consumes more local resources
Network Latency
Functionality may depend on a fast network connection.
Functionality may work without a connection or with a slow connection.
Data is typically stored on servers.
Data may be stored locally.
Next: Client-Server
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