What is a tech stack?

Everything you need to know
about tech stacks

By empowering negotiating teams and enhancing the use of software applications, the Vertice platform enables organizations to optimize their entire IT infrastructure.

Tech stack definition

Before we get started we need the essentials: what is a tech stack?

A tech stack is a metaphor used to describe a collection of technologies that work together to build an application, power a website, or manage and progress a project. 

At the very bottom of the stack, more commonly known as the back-end, you’ll find foundational hardware and web servers; at the top of the stack, also known as the front-end, is the software people interact with through a user interface.

Working from bottom to top, the main components of a tech stack include operating systems, web servers, databases, frameworks, programming languages, and finally the interface.

Tech stacks are built by web developers who are typically classified as front-end or back-end development specialists, but full-stack developers can build the entire technology stack infrastructure. There are dozens of tech stack examples however, so full-stack developers tend to be familiar with only a few systems from the top and bottom of the stack.

Modern tech stacks have many components — a result of the increase in the number of devices and end users, which places greater demands on application development. These increases lead to higher volumes of data processing, which in turn demands additional components of the stack, such as data lakes and analytical tools.

Other apps are less complex, and their stacks are therefore composed of more agile and lightweight composite parts. Selecting the right tech stack is only possible when the development team understands the requirements of the application it’s looking to build.

The right tech stack infrastructure is one that provides a seamless user experience and facilitates a smooth and efficient development process. It’s cost-effective and easily maintained, and offers scalability when required. For these reasons, maintaining a healthy tech stack has become an essential part of modern business IT operations.

Tech stack examples

There are many different tech stack examples, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The most popular tech stacks are simple to use and have been designed to work together, typically comprising three or four parts: operating systems, web servers, databases, and programming languages. 

Let’s take a look at three of the most commonly used tech stacks, which are known in the web development world by their acronyms. Confusingly, these acronyms don’t necessarily resemble the order in which the stack is constructed, but are used simply as a means of quickly recognising specific stacks. 

The following tech stacks are tried and tested and used to build web frameworks all over the world.


In the correct order from top to bottom, the four components of the MEAN stack are: MongoDB, a database; Node.js, a runtime environment; Express, a web application framework; and Angular, a user interface. 

The front-end framework of MEAN can replace Angular with React to create the equally popular MERN stack. Alternatively, developers swap Angular for Vue.jb to construct MEVN. 

Both MEAN and MERN use JavaScript throughout the stack, making it easy for developers to learn and implement. These stacks are particularly popular for single-page web applications. 


LAMP is one stack whose acronym is already in the correct order, as follows: Linux, the operating system; Apache, the web server; MySQL, the database; and PHP, the programme language. LAMP works equally well with Python (formerly known as Perl) as its language.

LAMP is an open-source tech stack, which means all of its components are free to download and use. As a result, it’s known for its extensive community support, where fellow LAMP users share knowledge and information on best practices and solutions. LAMP can be used to build both static and dynamic web pages.


WISA is a proprietary stack created by Microsoft. It uses Windows Server as its operating system; Internet Information Services (IIS) as its web server; SQL Server as its database; and ASP.NET as its programming language.

WISA is suitable for more complex web apps and comes with greater capacity to scale. It doesn’t require a script interpreter and can be programmed in Visual C# or Visual Basic.NET, offering developers more flexibility.

Other popular tech stacks include Jamstack, Ruby on Rails, Python-Django, and React, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

The challenges of managing tech stacks

Managing an effective tech stack presents a number of challenges to software development. 

Here are the main ones as we see them:

  • The paradox of choice — There are so many stacks out there that making the right choice can feel paralyzing. Before you start, identify the project’s ambitions: who is the audience, how big is that audience, and what is the expertise of your development team? Asking these questions should help narrow the field and help you find the appropriate stack. 
  • Community support — Some tech stacks have lots of experts while others are more niche. Open-source stacks, for example, are well-supported by an active community of developers who are always ready to answer questions online. Ask yourself how much support your team will need, and consider whether those needs align with budgets and timelines. 
  • Cybersecurity — In all business IT endeavors, it’s vital to stay ahead of cyber criminals. Research which stacks have the best security reputations, stay informed of modern security threats and conduct regular security audits once your stack is live. 
  • Scalability — Ensure your stack has the capacity to scale as more users interact with the application. Bear in mind that running prototype simulations isn’t the same as accommodating millions of end users all at the same time.
  • Budget — Establish a budget by considering license fees, hosting costs and developer remuneration. Make sure you’re tracking your spend and keeping costs in check. Open-source stacks are free but are often more high maintenance; proprietary tech is expensive but offers more tailorability, convenience, and targeted support.
  • Integrations — Integrations and APIs are the keys that help maintain functionality as different apps interact with one another. Mistakes here can lead to costly and time-consuming development corrections, as well as damaging reputations.
  • Technical support — Tech stacks should be constantly developing through updates, scans and security patches. Select technologies with reliable support frameworks and active developer communities. 
  • Compliance — Make sure you’ve considered data regulations and compliance standards throughout your stack. Data storage malpractice can lead to legal trouble and heavy fines.
  • User experience — Every component of front-end infrastructure must be working to improve the overall user experience. Continuous testing of both web and mobile applications (including iOS and Android devices) throughout the project will ensure you’re on the right track here. Ask yourself: what are the speed, responsiveness and design requirements of your application?
  • Vendor lock-in — You may want your project to have as much flexibility as possible, but proprietary stacks may commit you to long-term subscriptions. Be skeptical of these and ask whether this commitment is needed: what you gain in support you lose in elasticity, and who knows when the project may need to take a different direction.

How to modernize and optimize your tech stack

From back-end technologies to front-end programming languages like CSS, the Vertice platform can modernize and optimize your organization’s entire software solutions stack. 

Vertice has unparalleled access to previous transactions between technology vendors and their customers. With this information, our customer purchasing teams occupy a position of strength during negotiations not normally afforded to buyers. We can see exactly how much your competitors paid for their subscriptions so that you never have to overspend again. 

And once your subscriptions are secured at the best possible price, the Vertice platform will monitor your entire tech stack, ensuring utilization remains high and that integrations are smooth. The platform also triggers automated alerts and notifications in the build-up to key renewal dates so your teams can properly prepare for future discussions. 

For more information on how Vertice’s SaaS purchasing platform can support your business and its IT infrastructure, click on the link.

See how much you could save with Vertice

Use our calculator to estimate how much time and money your business could save on SaaS by using Vertice.

Number of employees
Number of applications
$181,481cost savings
466hours saved
Annual Cloud Spend
Number of Cloud Engineers
$11cost savings
2hours saved
$181,492cost savings
468hours saved

Get a FREE Cost Savings Analysis

Ready to save 20% or more on SaaS?

Businesses spend over $150 billion annually on SaaS, across more than 15,000 software vendors. The odds are that you’re overpaying by as much as 20% per year for SaaS.

On top of that, buying, renewing, negotiating and managing your company’s SaaS stack are all major headaches.

We’re here to fix that.

Tech stack FAQs