The Difference between a Webpage and a Web Application

July 5, 2021

It is difficult for most people to distinguish between a website and a web application. They enter the URL and get the expected outcome, making them unaware of the back-end processes. These products are created for the consumer by developers.

Therefore, a developer must be able to tell the difference between the two. Some developers argue that the terms website and web application are similar, while others say they are not. Who is wrong, and who is correct? 😕 I was once among those who argued that the two terms mean the same, but after research, I found out that these are two different things.

Introduction

This article will highlight some of the main differences that have helped me understand the differences between websites and web applications. In this tutorial, we will look at:

  1. Website
  2. Web application
  3. Distinctions between a website and a web application

Website

A website is a collection of related pages containing images, audio, or videos linked by a single domain name. Examples of websites include:

  • Dating websites
  • Educational Websites
  • Social Media websites
  • Portfolio websites

Characteristics of a Website

A good website developer can examine a site according to its features. One of the characteristics that will determine the success of a website is its appearance. Let’s have a look at some additional website attributes.

  1. User friendly: The use, interaction, and navigation of a website should be straightforward.

  2. Attractive and accessible for all targeted users: This helps attract users to opt for a particular website against another.

  3. Reliable: A good website should be accessed by an end-user anytime and anywhere. It should work twenty-four hours a day, and it should be trustworthy. It should also deliver notifications in good time to keep the user updated.

  4. Fast Load Time: Web developers should consider this feature as not all end-users are patient. Therefore if a website loads slowly, a user will most likely look for a different website with a high load speed.

    There are numerous elements that contribute to the loading speed of a website. The most crucial being the hosting quality. Therefore, a developer should always choose a host that loads fast. Web developers should consider this feature as not all end-users are patient.

    Thus, a user will most likely look for a different website with a high load speed if a website loads slowly.

  5. Digitalized: A developer should ensure that a website uses the latest technological trends.

  6. Relevant Content: The content in the website should be relevant to the users. For example, you cannot post cars on a job board website.

Importance of a website

  1. Updates to customers: Updates and notices can be quickly published to customers via websites. Publishing updates is a way to keep customers up-to-date.
  2. Professionalism: Studies show that most people opt to deal with businesses with websites compared to those that lack one.
  3. Creates a large market pool: Your business accessibility exponentially increases through a website, as it is accessible from anywhere in the world. Websites, therefore, help companies to break geographical obstacles and increase sales significantly.
  4. Growth Opportunity: A website may serve as a portfolio or resume of a company or an individual. This is beneficial for companies because the site can act as a reference point for potential investors and employers.

Web application

A web application is a program that can be accessed via a browser and is linked to a database. A web application contains both functional and interactive elements. Unlike websites, web apps are more complex to create (because they are very customized) and require an experienced team.

Below are examples of web applications:

Characteristics of A web Application

  1. Accessibility: A good web app should readily available and usable by as many people as possible.
  2. Storage system: A web app should have a good and reliable database for storing the developers’ and end-users information.
  3. Easy to update: Business keeps on expanding as time passes by. Therefore a web app should be simple to update.
  4. Cross-platform: A web app should run on most if not all operating systems using different browsers.

Importance of a Web Application

  1. Security: Web applications ensure sites and programs are secure since they are designed with more privacy and a high level of protection.
  2. Increase Efficiency: Business processes are streamlined through web applications to do more in less time and more accurately.
  3. Support to Customers : Web apps offer various customer support services. Also, they act as a first contact line between potential clients and the company.
  4. Ease of living : Web apps have simplified day to day activities such as communication, internet banking, traveling, etc.

Distinctions between a website and a web application

  1. The user's interaction There is no functionality on a website. The end-user only views the visual content but cannot interact with it. On the other hand, a web app allows the end-user to interact one-on-one with the content on the application.

  2. Reasons for creation A website is mainly meant for the universe, which means information can be accessed by anyone publicly.

    Unlike a website, the web app is intended for interaction with particular end-users, which means that the end-user must provide some details to use a web app. Without the required information, data might not be available.

  3. Code Deployment On a website, small changes do not require full re-accumulation and deployment. Code deployment in the web app is quite different. Here, you need to re-compile and re-deploy the app after making any change.

  4. Authentication On a website, end-users authentication is not mandatory. The user may give some details at wish if they are willing to get any updates from the website.

    On the other hand, Web applications need validation as they offer more extensive alternatives and usefulness than a website. To access your account, a user must provide details like username and password that verify ownership.

  5. Development Developing a website is not complicated. With the knowledge of HTML, CSS, and maybe JavaScript, you can create a working website. Sometimes it only requires a single front-end developer to do the task.

Furthermore, you can use a template to develop a website or a web app, development is quite different from that of a website. Here, you need the knowledge of both front-end and back-end to develop a working web app. For the back-end part, there is a variety of technologies to be used. Either Python, PHP, Ruby, etc. Choosing the back-end technology depends on the developer.

  1. Task and Complexity

While a website shows the collected information and data on a particular page, a web app is quite complicated and functions higher compared to the website.

Conclusion

Unlike developing a website that is a bit simple and less complicated, creating a web application needs more knowledge and experience.

From the above discussion, you can tell the difference between website and web app and what you interact with daily.

Happy Learning!


Peer Review Contributions by: Briana Nzivu


About the author

Erastus Muriithi

Erastus is an undergraduate student undertaking Bachelor of science in Computer science.He is very much interested in web development. Erastus likes playing football, playing games, and learning new things during his free time.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to enged@section.io.