High-Level Overview

PSPDFKit for Web is a drop-in solution for web apps that enables your users to view, edit, and collaborate on PDF documents. Web comes with the same usability, performance, and support you’ve come to expect from our industry-leading mobile PDF frameworks.

Our PDF Web Viewer is highly configurable and comes with a rich API to customize appearance, behavior, and content. The product is fully responsive and provides all features on desktop as well as tablet or mobile views.

All modules can be used independent of your current backend and frontend languages. We provide example projects for Server-backed installations on Node.js and Ruby on Rails, as well as a client-only webpack installation. We also have a hosted example app, in case you want to quickly inspect features.

We regularly release new updates, which will be announced via Twitter, our blog, and a newsletter you can subscribe to.

If you experience any problems with PSPDFKit for Web or PSPDFKit Server, please look at our Troubleshooting section.

PSPDFKit for Web comes with two deployment options out of the box: Server-backed and standalone.

Server-Backed Deployment

High level overview, showing that PSPDFKit for Web and PSPDFKit Server using the Server-backed deployment option.

More information about PSPDFKit Server can be found in the PSPDFKit Server Documentation.

Server-backed deployment requires the installation of our PSPDFKit Server component. This component needs to be integrated with your existing backend and enables preprocessing of your PDF documents on our dedicated server.

With rendering taking place on the server, the experience is smooth, no matter the device. The client intelligently downloads pages on demand, so even large documents can be browsed quickly. Your users’ data remains safe with you, where it belongs, through fine-grained access control using JWT.

With this deployment option, you receive access to a Docker container that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and others). It requires a PostgreSQL database and can work with a dedicated storage server or Amazon S3 cloud storage.

To successfully use PSPDFKit for Web with the server-backed option, you must first upload a document to the server using the backend API. This endpoint will return a unique document identifier, which will be used to load the document with PSPDFKit for Web.

Unique Features:

  • Enable collaboration in your browser with PSPDFKit Instant
  • Open large PDF documents in milliseconds
  • Only downloads requested pages
  • Built-in document and annotation management and archiving on S3 or a dedicated file serves
  • Fine-grained authentication control let you choose who has access to the original PDF document
We deliver PSPDFKit for Web as a Docker container that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and others).

Standalone Deployment

High level overview, showing that PSPDFKit for Web requires no PSPDFKit Server.

Deploying and maintaining a dedicated server component is not always feasible. To ensure a consistent PSPDFKit for Web experience no matter the chosen deployment method, we’re also offering standalone deployment using state-of-the-art WebAssembly technology (with asm.js fallback for older browsers). This deployment method requires nothing but the JavaScript files and essential assets.

When using the standalone deployment, opening documents requires additional loading time (necessary for the browser to download and compile the WebAssembly or asm.js code). The absence of a server component makes it easier to integrate PSPDFKit for Web and allows you to rapidly deploy it to your existing website. PDF documents and annotations need to be persisted on your server. To help with this process, we developed Instant JSON, a small layer that includes only the changes to a PDF file, thereby removing the need to transfer the entire PDF file whenever your users make changes.

With this deployment option, you receive access to the required JavaScript files and assets.

Unique Features:

  • Workload is offloaded to clients
  • Runs in contexts where no server is available
WebAssembly logo

Quick Start