Difference between website and web application

May 18, 2020, 0 Comments

Difference Between Website and Web Application

Websites and web applications are the two different terms that are often used as synonyms. Every day, we use different websites and web applications such as Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, UpWork and so on regardless of knowing the difference and thinking of them as the same. And it shouldn’t bother you until unless you are planning to hire a web development company to develop your own. But if you are, then having the knowledge about the websites and web application can be useful to define the scope and requirements of the project, skills and expertise required and even the technology to be used.


Websites are often informational in nature. Think about your favourite blog or news-based site. Its primary purpose is to convey information to the user, whether it is in the form of news, like BBC, or recipes.

As a generic rule, there is little or no interaction on the part of the visitor, other than possibly submitting an email address to receive a monthly newsletter or performing a search. So the real question is, how does this apply to you?

Well, if you’re a local community club who wants to convey information only — a homepage, an about page, contact information, upcoming events, and maybe a description of how you’ve helped your community — a website might be all that you need.

Web Applications

In contrast, web applications are normally responsible for some form of interaction with your visitors. Certainly, they’ll still be supplying information, but your visitors may want to do something with that information. Or by interacting, your visitors may request a different type of information.

A specific example of a web application could be a travel website that allows you to search their prices and packages for different holiday destinations. Your online shopping is a web application as well — it displays products and performs actions based on your input. Let’s refer back to our local community as an example. Only this time, they require that visitors are able to register, ask a question or talk to others.

What Makes Web Application Different from Website?

User Interaction:

Websites are on the internet to provide information, there is almost zero or minimal user interaction like downloading a free copy of a particular piece of content. However, when it comes to web application the main intention is user input and interaction. Here, take a look at the website and the car configurator web application of Washlo, a UK-based car wash app. Their website showcases the different models of cars with the specification. While the web application facilitates the user to customize the car as per the needs.

Web Apps are Pragmatic:

Web Applications are made to be used or solve an issue. Name it, whether it be communication platforms like Skype, Slack and Gmail or job marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr and even broadcasting and streaming services like YouTube, Vimeo or Spotify. All these serve a purpose and provide a usage such as communication, interaction and entertainment.

Web Apps are not just about HTML:

In contrast to websites, web applications are more than just an HTML page; they are quite complex and feature-rich. A web application will have a backend, a business logic, database, authentication and more. A gift shop’s website can be the best example here. If it caters basic functionalities like providing you with gift sections for different people, products, discounts and offers for a special occasion, a picture gallery of its different gift items or directions to the gift shop– it is a website. However, if it also provides additional features like delivering the gifts, customizing your order, make an online payment, tracking the delivery, etc. all these make it a web application. The programming languages used as well are varied –  JavaScript, Python, Ruby or PHP. Even there are different frameworks and technologies providing features and functionalities for specific needs of the web application.

Now that you have an understanding of the differences between websites and web applications, you also have a better understanding of what you really need. Additionally, you are now more clear about your project needs.

If your start-up is a web-based such as a job marketplace, on-demand app, e-commerce store or an education application, it goes without saying, you need a feature-rich web product – web application. On the other hand, initially for an offline business such as a restaurant, a website would serve your marketing needs. However, in the long term, complex features can be added further on a later stage to give a better experience to the users. This also makes it crucial to hire a web development company as per your needs.

It’s better to hire an agency who can grow with your startup. You can meet your development needs for a lesser cost and easier way as well as your website transitions from one phase to the next if you hire the right team on day one.

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