Website vs. Web Application(Web Apps): Differences Explained 2022
Often, people get confused with a website vs a web application. The dilemma is surely common as they have numerous similarities like necessary access to the internet, running on browsers, and the need of writing back end and front end in the same programming language, among others. Even with several similarities, both a website and a web application have certain differences which the user must know before picking the one for themselves.
From a business perspective, they are both a tool for user engagement and connecting with the customers. Considering that fact, it is necessary to understand all the aspects of both a website and web application. This article talks about the difference between a website and a web application so that you could determine the right one for your business.
What is a Website?
A website is a collection of several interlinked web pages that are accessible around the globe and function under a single domain name. The development of a website can be done by a business entity or an individual, depending on the website owner. Accessing a website requires web browsers and can only be done through the internet.
Every website is hosted on a server and has a unique IP address. Websites come with multi-device compatibility as they can be accessed on tablets, desktops, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, and many other types of devices. Though a website as a whole is compatible with any device having a web browser, the actual support varies with the web development and optimization for different devices.
Types of Websites:
There are majorly two types of websites used in the industry currently: Static and Dynamic.
- Static Websites:
- Dynamic Websites:
What is a Web Application?
A web application is a program that comes with interactive factors and distinctive features for the users. Though web apps are made by using common web technologies, the web application development method is quite complicated due to the additional features it provides. Web applications have the capability to store user data and provide the results as per the needs of the user.
Moreover, they can be customized by the users. Almost every app has the ability to create, update, read and delete app data whenever necessary or asked by the user.
Web applications are responsive and will adapt to the screen dimensions of the user. Every web application runs on web hosting and a database. Akin to websites, web applications are also of two types; static and dynamic. However, due to several features and responsiveness, the majority of the web apps are dynamic and need server-side processing as well. On the other, static web apps exist as well, but they come with very limited features which do not require server-side processing. Compatibility with different operating systems is not an issue with web applications as they support all the major OS including Linux, Windows, and macOS. Customizations like adding new features, and design is feasible in web applications too. Some leading examples of web applications are Amazon, Google Forms, and Facebook.
Website vs. Web Application(Web apps): Understand the Differences
Though they both sound similar, there are tons of differences between web apps and websites. With that in mind, here are the major dissimilarities between the two that will help you in choosing the right one for your business.
Integration with other software systems is done to bring additional features. Such integration can be done in both websites as well as web applications. However, it is more practiced in web applications as it is their core characteristic to have several features. Software like customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning are often integrated with web applications to extend its functionalities. On the other hand, the same can be done with a website that helps in providing a better experience to the users, but that is just an additional step. Unlike a web application where having such features is near to necessity, websites can skip external integration with software as it is not a part of its core features.
When it comes to a business decision, every decision should be done on the basis of its purpose. Talking about the purpose of a web application, then it is more about aiding the users in accomplishing specific tasks or making their tasks easier. These apps can be in the form of a writing assistant or a photo editing web application. The bottom line is that their primary task is to help the users. On the contrary, it is not the case with a website. In the majority of cases, the primary objective of a website is to spread information to the users. Though it varies with the website, in the case of a business-oriented site, the purpose is to spread information related to the business. Providing a certain feature to the customers can be done with a website, but that is a secondary task.
Probably the most significant difference between a website and a web app is its interactivity. Interaction is one of the key elements in a web application. As mentioned above, almost every web application is dynamic which means that user input can change the way how the app displays the data. One of the biggest examples of web app interaction is the e-commerce goliath Amazon. The data displayed on the website including the prices, shipping charge, discounts, and time of delivery is hugely manipulated by the user. A single click will change the information on the web application. Another example is social networks like Facebook and Instagram which also show the data as per the logged-in user.A website, on the other hand, has a basic concept of providing text and visuals to the user where they can grasp the data. Though they can read and see the text or image on the web page, but cannot change the way it displays. However, that does not mean that websites cannot be interactive in any way. In the present time, hardly there will be a website that does not come with an interactive feature. For instance, an offline store may have a query form or a map that will provide them with the directions to its physical address. Though it may add interactivity to a website, it certainly does not make the entire website interactive. Just a few areas of the site will remain interactive, but the rest of the site will remain the same and non-interactive.
As websites and web applications both need an internet connection to work, they both need a hosting solution. In the case of a web application, the hosting solution is a bit pricey. The reason behind the inflated price is that a web application requires more data to be stored along with additional components like a backend solution and a database for interactivity. In the case of a user using a web application, they need a decently powered computer system to run a web application effectively. In contrast, a website is simple and does not have any complexities. Due to this reason, the hosting does not require any large data storage or processing, making it inexpensive as compared to a web application.
Whenever some sensitive data is involved, an extra layer of protection through the authentication of a user is added. Here, the user will select a login and password which will help them in gaining access to their data or user account. Web applications always have an authentication layer to protect the user’s data from any unauthorized access. In other words, authentication is mostly mandatory in web applications to secure the user account and data from any leakage.Websites mainly offer informative data with minimal customization or user data storage. Though the user may find an option to register a user account on both websites and web applications, the functionality will not be hampered in a website if the user is not registered. A great example of such a website is an articles site solely created for information. In case the website content is not subscription-based, the user doesn’t need to register on the website to gain access to the content. The only reason the user needs to register is when they want to leave a comment on the article. However, be it a registered user or not, the information provided by the website will not affect in any way.
Much like software development, there is a certain process that should be followed in creating both a website and a web application. In the case of a website, the development team will start working on building the web pages. The major chunk of time is consumed in developing the overall content and architecture of the website. However, it all varies with the complex data added to the site as well as the number of pages. Furthermore, the website type plays a crucial role as well. If the website is dynamic, the process will become a bit long. On the other hand, a static website will not need much time as the primary task is to compile the pages.The development of a web application is a bit tricky as it requires different types of actions including creating user types, adding necessary features as per the needs, and enhancing the overall security, among others. However, building the final features of the application is the phase that takes the majority of the time. Apart from that, the final launch is also divided into two parts. The initial part is where all the basic functions of the web app are tested in the market and is known as Minimum Viable Product. This phase may take somewhere between two to eight weeks but may vary with the application’s features. The other phase is where scaling of the application takes place and may take several months depending on the users.
- User Interface:
No matter how many useful features are added to the web applications, if the app is not user-friendly, the users will not find the right features easily. With that in mind, having an intuitive user interface and user design is necessary for every web application to enhance its usability. Every web application having an easy-to-use user interface will be more successful in the long run.A website is more about the appearance rather than how easier it is to navigate on it. Though having a better user interface is not harmful to a website, a website doesn’t need to perform better. Having a better-looking website along with relevant information is what matters the most in a website.
Web Application vs. Website: Which One to Pick?
Even after knowing the major differences between the two, several people may have understood what they want. However, a few people may remain confused between the two. The answer lies in the purpose for which they are required. In case you want to promote your business goals or want to enhance the reach of your business, then the website will be perfect for you. However, if you wish to sell your product online, then you need interactive features that are available with web applications.
Moreover, if you want just a few web app features like user registration and adding widgets to the website, then a website will work just fine. However, giving an entire application with tons of features to the users is your goal, then a web application is the one for you.
These were the key differences between a website and a web application. Without a doubt, both are similar in certain ways and an experienced team is required in building both. If you are dubious about which should be preferred, then the expert guidance of ThinkSys Inc can help you in making the right decision. Our professionals choose the perfect option for your business depending on various factors like the business type, needs, expectations, and features, among others. The functionality and interactive elements in a web app are excellent whereas the information provided on the website is essential as well.