What is the Difference Between a Website and a Web Application (Web App)?



A decade ago you had to create a website to go online. There were fewer techs and tech jargons to rub your head against. Well, it’s not the same anymore. For instance, you might be wondering whether a website and a web app are the same things. But that’s not the case here. We believe that it’s important to understand the difference between a website vs web application when you’re looking for an online solution for your business.

Web application development can be significantly different than building a website. It all depends on what you want to offer with your online services. To ease your confusion on the subject we decided to write this blog. Let’s find out what distinguishes these two web software from each other and which one is best suitable for you.

Being a top web development services provider we can say that the differences between websites and web applications are subtle as well as evident and at times they overlap each other. Because if you take an overview, both websites and web apps need access to the internet, need front and back end development, run on browsers. And both use integration, authentication, and interactivity as their working principle.

Let’s start from the basics.

What is a Website?

A website can be viewed as a collection of related web pages, connected by a single domain name that is hosted on a unique IP address. You can imagine a digital extension of your business card that can be accessed with a link like technource.com.

It may contain video, text, audio, and more. A website can be divided into one or more pages and is a combination of textual and visual content. Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist are some popular examples of a website. 

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Characteristics of a Website

  • They can be easily found using a search engine.
  • It offers quality content.
  • Websites mostly possess an intuitive layout.
  • It’s user-friendly.

When Do you Need a Website?

A website would be adequate for your business needs if you want to include no complex processes and need minimum features. This could be an online display of all the services you provide. If that is your primary requirement, then a CMS would serve best to your needs.

Pros of Developing a Website

  • It makes your services all time available to your customer.
  • Your gateway to earning their trust and credibility.
  • More reach and more consumers.
  • Multiply your growth.
  • Be more visible.

Cons of Developing a Website

  • Many websites crash due to technical problems or excessive traffic. One would have to fix those issues to get their website up and running again.
  • There can be myriad junk emails that you have to deal with if you use a contact form on your webpage.
  • There is always a risk of data theft and cyber-attacks if you’re not careful.
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What is a Web Application?

A web application is a software that operates on the web server, can be connected to via the internet, and accessed by a web browser. In a nutshell, web applications can be viewed as websites with additional functionality and interactive elements.

They can perform a wide range of functionalities and tasks and are highly customizable. In comparison, they’re difficult to code and need an experienced team of developers to create them. Gmail. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Adobe CC are some of the popular examples of web apps. Progressive Web Apps are another addition to the mobile web app domain.

Characteristics of a Web App

  • Web apps can easily be tested using automated tests.
  • They are hosted on Cloud.
  • They can function on any platform, as they’re generally cross-platform.

When do you need a Web App?

When you want to inculcate intricate processes and complex features, you should opt for a Web App. For instance, if you plan to build an online eCommerce store a Web App would offer you more interaction with your consumers. It can be a tedious task to develop a web app and hence you should seek help from a web development company.

Pros of Developing a Web App

  • Web apps are generally cross-platform, hence they can run on any platform irrespective of the device’s OS. The only condition being it should be browser compatible.
  • Highly scalable & easy to customize.
  • Consistent UX across all platforms.
  • A web app can access device hardware and is more interactive.

Cons of Developing a Web App

  • Vulnerable to unauthorized access.
  • Less secure.
  • Problems while supporting multiple browsers.
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Key Differences: Website vs Web App

  • Authentication

Any user gets authentication to a system by offering their login id and password. Web software that needs personal information has to adhere to user authentication. All accounts on your web platform must be shielded from data hacks and unauthorized access. 

As web apps offer a broader scope of options than websites, they generally need authentication. Let’s understand the same with the example of social media apps. When you register for the first time and create an account, you receive a unique identification number. You receive a system warning for a weak password. Therefore authentication becomes imperative for web apps.

A website in most times is informatory. And informatory websites don’t necessarily require authentication. It can offer additional options that may not be available to unregistered users. For example, you can read news from a website, but to leave a comment you will have to register. This way, a website authenticates a user differentiating them from spammers. 

Hence, both websites and web apps can conduct authentication. However, the latter must do so due to security reasons. 

  • User Interaction

Anything a user can interact with is an important part of any app. A web app offers visual and textual content that affects the user as opposed to a website. A web app allows its user to manipulate the data on that particular page. 

This invites a dialog between the user and the page. A user would receive a response upon submitting a form or clicking a button. Different responses can be observed in form of electron payment, chatbot interaction, or document download.

There are many web applications that we use daily without acknowledging the same. For example, an online banking app performs transactions based on a customer’s input. A similar interaction takes place when one uses an eCommerce platform where a user can browse through a catalog and order items instantly.

Another widely relatable example is social media. They provide users with their selected feed, connect them via chat, promote unlimited content sharing, and more. As compared to this a website has fewer interactive elements. While using a website a user spends most of their time viewing, reading, or listening. On the other end, web apps function on the core principle of interaction. 

  • Integration

A comprehensive system is developed by bringing together different components. Websites, as well as web apps, need to integrate with additional software like ERP, CRM, and more. Yet the complexity of integration is higher with web apps due to the functionality it provides.

Due to the extensive interaction of a user with a web app, various domains can offer customer data. This way your web app can receive a complete upgrade about a customer’s inquiries, communication, and feedback. This integration is traditional and easy with a web app.

A website too can integrate other software like the CRM, but it’s rarely implemented with small-scale websites. 

  • Developed for

The information present on a website is accessible to everyone. It mostly consists of static content.

You may not be able to access a web app without the required credentials. Its main purpose is to interact with the end-user.

  • Deployment

If you wish to make small changes to your website, you won’t need a full recompilation and deployment. Everything will be updated by making changes to the HTML code. 

But you need to recompile and redeploy the app when you make changes in a web app.

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Wrapping Up

The trend for creating a web presence is on the rise for the past 5 years. With the increase in competition and smartphone usage, users prefer using services after researching about the same online. 

Yet, one always needs to weigh the requirements to settle the web app vs website argument. As a mobile and web application development company we would suggest that no matter which platform you choose, it’s necessary that you create your digital presence as soon as possible. 

A web app can prove to be costlier to the extensive functionalities it offers. But you start by creating a small CMS website, observing the response, and investing further. To explore further options you can also try our hybrid app vs native app vs web app read.

We offer our IT services for numerous tech platforms. Get in touch with us today by signing up for a free consultation form on our website. Thank you for reading.

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Mr. Sanjay Singh Rajpurohit, An early-aged entrepreneur who always leads his team from the front and achieved success. As the founder & CEO of Technource, a top AngularJS development company, he made a global presence in a short time by offering custom software development, premium mobile apps and website development services.

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