Difference between a Website and a Web Application

Difference between a Website and a Web Application

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Chanchal
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Mar 5, 2024 18:24 IST

A website primarily delivers content and information, often static, to its users and is designed for viewing and browsing. In contrast, a web application is interactive, allowing users to not only view content but also manipulate data and perform complex tasks, functioning more like a software program or service over the web. The key difference lies in the level of user interaction and functionality each offers.

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In this tech-savvy world, we use quite a few number of websites and web applications on a daily basis. Whether searching for the top nearby restaurants’ names or finding directions for the same, they have become part and parcel of our lives.  Have you noticed something? Only in the process of finding a top restaurant do you use both a website and a web application. For a layman, figuring out the difference between a website and a web application is complex. But after reading this article, you can differentiate between the two. So, here we go. 

Difference Between Website and Web Application

Parameters Website Web Application
Purpose of Creation A website comprises mostly static content that all the users can publicly access.  Web applications are developed for interaction with end users. 
User Interaction A website only provides information to the audience through text, visuals, or video. Users cannot interact with and modify the content on the website.  Web applications allow interaction with data, along with reading information. They provide several features that users can use to customize and save data.
Languages and Framework used Languages such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are used for website development. Web applications also use programming languages such as PHP, Python, or Ruby. Furthermore, they develop using frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Django, Scriptcase, and databases.
Compilation Pre-compiling the site is optional. Precompilation is required before deployment.
Deployment In a website, developers do not require redeploying the whole site to make small changes. Rather, they can copy only the changed files to the production IIS server. The production server can also be used to edit files directly. As a web application project’s code files are compiled into a single assembly file, developers must deploy the whole site, even for small changes. Hence, deployment time is high. 
Authentication Authentication is optional for informational websites. Moreover, users must register themselves if they want additional information such as updates, newsletters, emails, etc..  Authentication is compulsory to access web applications as it provides more features and options than websites.
Integration The website has simpler integration because of its static nature.  Web applications integrate more programs as they have a complex process and require more interactions with systems.
Page Rendering Within a website, most page rendering is performed by servers. In web applications, majorly browsers handle the page rendering. 
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System CRM systems allow websites to personalize customer experiences, but businesses can’t see the data gathered from individual users. The web application allows businesses to view all customer-related information, such as feedback, time spent, queries, etc.
Examples Aledade, Beast Code, Zumper, Gopuff, Tend, etc.  Facebook, Google Apps, Microsoft 365, Gmail, Netflix, Whatsapp, etc.

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What is a Website?

A website is a collection of interlinked web pages that share a single domain name and are publicly accessed. For example, NaukriLearning.com, Shiksha.com, Google.com, etc., are websites with various interlinked web pages and have .com as a domain name. 

The domain name can be categorized on the various basis, such as:

  • Government agency websites = .gov
  • Commercial websites = .com
  • Information sites = .info
  • Educational institutions’ websites = .edu
  • Nonprofit organizations’ websites = .org

The World Wide Web comprises all the websites that users can access publicly. Some websites can also be accessed on private networks. For example, the company’s internal website is accessible only to its employees. 

There are multiple purposes that a website can serve, but the main purpose of the website is to provide information to the audience. The website can be of various types: commerce, news, educational, entertainment, or social networking. Hyperlinking between web pages guides the site’s navigation, often starting with a home page. The pages interlinked in a website consist of text and multimedia.

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What is a Web Application?

A web application is a computer program that mainly runs with the help of a web browser and uses various web technologies to execute different tasks on the Internet. All major browsers can support web applications. Examples of web applications include banking applications, social networks, and map widgets. Another example of a web application is Software as a Service (SaaS), which is normally a paid service only authorized users can access.

Web applications functions on multiple platforms regardless of operating system or device as long as the browser is compatible. Web applications can provide users with information, but their primary function is for users to interact with the software or program and perform specific functions. The interaction between a user and a web application is called a dialogue. In a dialogue, the user clicks an on-screen button or submits a form to get a response from the page. The response can be a document download, electronic payment, an online chat, a chart, or another record of personalized information.

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Difference Between Website and Web Application

1. Purpose: Websites are typically static, meaning the content remains the same unless manually updated and contains information about a company or organization. On the other hand, web applications are dynamic, meaning the content can change based on user interactions and enable users to interact with the content. This dynamic nature of web applications requires more complex development and maintenance, as they often require database integration, user authentication, and other advanced features. 

2. Functionality: Websites are static and provide limited functionality, such as displaying text and images. In contrast, web applications are dynamic and offer advanced functionality. This means they can perform complex tasks like processing user data (e.g., online forms, surveys), integrating with other systems (e.g., social media logins, payment gateways), and providing real-time updates (e.g., stock market data, live chat).

3. User Interaction: Websites are primarily one-way communication, meaning they present information for users to consume, and users can't directly interact with the content. Web applications, however, allow for two-way communication between user and server. This means users can input data or make requests, and the server responds by providing the requested data or performing the requested action, creating a more interactive and engaging user experience.

4. Data Management: Websites store data with limited data management capabilities. On the other hand, web applications provide robust data management and processing features, making them ideal for businesses that need to manage and analyze large volumes of data.

5. Design: Websites are generally static and provide information to users. Therefore, their design focuses more on aesthetics and ease of navigation. On the other hand, web applications are interactive and allow users to perform specific tasks. Therefore, their design prioritizes functionality and user experience to enhance the application's usability.

About the Author
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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio