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Website vs Web Application: Everything You Should Know

Websites and web applications are an indispensable part of our daily lives. We use Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia prominently despite knowing their differences.

So what’s the difference between a website and a web application? Not a lot…or everything.

Without further ado, Let’s get into it.

Introduction To

Websites

Website is a collection of related web pages that contains images, text, audio, video, etc. It can be consist of one page, two pages, and n number of pages. The site resides on servers that were connected to the web network and could send information to worldwide users 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Websites are one-way informational feeds, they do not allow viewers to interact or communicate back to the site. 

Example: Google.com, Apple.com etc


Web Applications

Web applications are websites with functionality and interactive elements. It is a piece of software that can be accessed by the browser.

Because web apps are extremely customizable and can perform a wide range of functionality, they are generally more difficult to build and require an experienced team of software developers.

The web application uses a combination of server-side scripts and client-side scripts to present information. It requires a server to manage requests from the users.

Example: Gmail , Youtube , Facebook etc.


Key Features

Websites

  • Mobile Compatibility
  • Accessible to All Users
  • Well Planned Information Architecture
  • Fast Load Times
  • Effective Navigation
  • Browser Consistency

Web Applications

  • Cloud-hosted and scalable
  • Cross platform
  • Modular and loosely coupled
  • Easily tested with automated tests
  • Traditional and SPA behaviors supported
  • Simple development and deployment

Limitations

Websites

  • A website might crash anytime due to multiple reasons.
  • Difficultly Reaching The Right People
  • Contact form published on your website may invite lots of unwanted spam e-mails.
  • The information on any website might be unreliable if it is not updated regularly.

Web Applications

  • Security is not guaranteed, so it is vulnerable for unauthorized access.
  • The web app may not support multiple browsers with equal precedence.
  • The web application is built explicitly for a certain operating system, so it is difficult to discover from the app store.
  • Limited scope to access the device’s features.

When do you Need

Websites

Choose a website over a web app, when you want to:

  • provide your customers with a pool of information about your business
  • market your business to a broader market
  • have a global presence
  • let your audience or potential customers know about your business story
  • educate customers about your brand through timely articles and blogs
  • improve your credibility and legitimacy in the market

Web Applications

Choose a web app when you want:

  • solve specific business problems
  • more than just a branding of your business online
  • establish a powerful communication channel for customers
  • improve your sales and revenue through efficient customer service

Development of

Websites

Do you know most websites are created easily around a CMS – Content Management System of your choice?

You can select any CMS from the various options available. Some of them are WordPress, Kentico, Drupal, Joomla, and many more.

A CMS can help you publish and manage content on the web, including indexing your content, making changes to it, formatting it using visual editors, and more.

But if you need a unique design for your website, the web developer will still not need anything more than HTML and CSS.

You don’t require an IT specialist to create a simple one-page website on a CMS. It is possible to do such a website in a day or two. However, larger websites can take more time and effort.

However, a modern, dynamic, and interactive user experience on websites isn’t possible without the use of JS – JavaScript.

You can use a JS framework for this. You can choose from Angular, React, Vue.js, Meteor, Node.js, and many other JS frameworks.


Web Applications

Web Applications provide functions for interacting with users, connecting to back-end databases, and generating output to browsers.

Do you think it’s possible to build a high-quality web app with the help of a CMS, just as in the case of a website?

Well, it’s hardly possible this way. It is a time-consuming task, and you need IT-specialists or web development specialists for this. Scripting and coding for web apps are done at two levels.

Front-end scripting is done with the help of the following technologies:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Ajax
  • jQuery

Back-end scripting is done with the support of the following technologies:

  • PHP
  • ASP
  • ASP.Net
  • ColdFusion
  • Python

Main Differences between Websites and Web Applications

Web ApplicationWebsite
A web application is designed for interaction with the end userA website mostly consists of static content. It is publicly accessible to all the visitors.
In a web application, the user not only read the page content but also manipulate the restricted data.A website provides visual & text content which user can view and read, but not affect it ‘s functioning.
Web applications need authentication, as they offer a much broader scope of options than websites.Authentication is not obligatory for informational websites. The user may ask to register to get a regular update or to access additional options. This features not available for the unregistered website visitors.
Web application functions are quite higher and complex compared to a website.The website displays the collected data and information on a specific page.
The web application development is part of the website. It is itself not a complete website.The website is a complete product, which you access with the help of your browser.
The site must be precompiled before deploymentThe site doesn’t need to be pre-compiled
All changes require the entire project to be re-compiled and deployed.Small changes never require a full re-compilation and deployment. You just need to update the HTML code.

Thanks for reading.

Namaste !


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