Difference between a Website and a Web Application

January 19, 2017 by Editorial Team

Most people who wish to establish an online presence will have to choose between getting a website or a web application. Surprisingly, these two are very similar and more often than not, used interchangeably. So what’s the difference? Let’s start with a few definitions.

Definitions

A news website accessed via a smartphone

A website is primarily a group of web pages that are accessible with the help of web browsers. Some popular browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Websites can only be viewed using networked devices, and are kept and maintained on computers that work as web servers.

In most cases, a website has a homepage connected to several other web pages. It is also common to see websites that are linked to web pages from other sites. A home page, or landing page, functions as an introduction page welcoming users to the website.

A website is basically informational in purpose. It is a good place to advertise goods and services. It is also an excellent way to reach out and talk to people from every corner of the globe. Users can simply access a website by clicking on its linking or placing its URL into the address bar. A URL is a website address, and it usually shows the name of the site at the beginning.

Good examples of websites centered on providing information are online yellow page listings, restaurant websites, and blogs. These are places on the web where information can be readily accessed, be it a store’s contact details, products and services offered, reviews, movie schedules, and a whole lot more.

web application
Web applications rely on user interaction

A web application is a software program or application stored in a remote server computer. By definition alone, a web application is practically a website. It is typically accessed by way of web browsers in networked devices connected to the internet. Schools and universities maintain servers that are accessible to users by using their organization’s intranet. Compared with other applications, web applications do not have to be downloaded and installed.

Web applications provide users access to countless interactive services on the web. Sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and online forums thrive on heavy user interaction. Without users engaging other users, these web applications would be useless.

Comparison

Nowadays, websites and web applications have become more integrated with each other. A website is basically a collection of static web pages geared towards serving static information to its users. It usually has a home page that is connected to several other pages on the web. More than anything, its content is informational in nature. A web application is a website that offers a higher degree of user interaction. Its value can only be determined through user engagement. In contrast, websites deliver content that informs and offer no or little input from its users. Corporate and news websites that require little input from users are good examples of websites. Online forums, social media websites, and gaming sites are web applications that depend on heavy user interaction.

Comparison Chart

WebsiteWeb Application
Intended as a source of informationOffers various services and software applications
Little or no user interactionHigh level of user interaction
Corporate sites, news sitesSocial media, online gaming sites, online forums

Video

Here’s a YouTube video on the differences between websites and web applications.