Choosing within a web application and a website, you may wonder what the specific difference is. At one period, it may seem that there’s no exception through all. The definitions are controversial, and sometimes they overlap. Both websites and web applications work in browsers; both need a way to the internet, both have a front end and a back end recorded in the related programming languages. What is more, they both keep such credits as interactivity, union, and authentication.

However, we believe that the ‘web application vs. website’ difference not only exists but also is vital to understand clearly when you are looking for an online solution for your business. Web application development differs significantly from the event of a website. So let’s dot the I’s and find out what distinguishes these kinds of web software and which option is better for you.

Grasp the difference

Several points draw a line between a website and a web application.

Point 1. Interactivity

The first point to start ‘web application vs. website’ differentiation with is interactivity. A website gives visual and text content that the user can see and read, though not affect in any form. In the event of a web application, the user can not only get the page content but also manage the data on this page. The communication takes the design of a dialog: the user clicks a button or submits a form and gets a reply from the page. This response may take a kind of a document download, online chat, electronic payment, and more.

A sample example of a web application interactivity is an online banking application that performs actions based on a customer’s data. Related functionality can be found in an online shop that allows visitors to search through the list and buy items directly. Social networks are another impressive example. They join users via chats and blog platforms, generate supplies content based on users’ choices and allow for almost unlimited content sharing, not to speak of their built-in mini-applications for user entertainment.

The problem is that today, one can rarely encounter a website without a hint of interactivity. Modern websites usually contain small web application elements. For example, a restaurant’s website may include a Google Maps widget showing a route to this restaurant. However, in the case of sites, the balance between the informational content and interactivity is shifted towards the former. A typical website contains far fewer interactive parts than informational content, and the user usually consumes most of the time on a website reading, viewing, or listening. The site is the opposite of web applications, as their core functionality is based on interaction.

Point 2. Integration

Integration means bringing together different components to build a more comprehensive system. Both websites and web applications can be integrated with other software (CRM, ERP, etc.). Still, integration is more typical for web applications because their complex functionality often requires interaction with other systems.

Take a combination of a business web application (say, an e-shop) with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. CRM stores all customer data in one place, giving an easy way to them for the employees. The union will allow the automated collection of web application user data and putting it in the CRM. This way, your team will get access to a full set of data about customers, their inquiries, communication, and feedback. This allows exploring customer management and buying habits, as well as settle their claims faster. Besides, any change in customer data will be reflected in the CRM directly. Always staying up to date with your consumer preferences, you will reduce churn rates and improve sales.

A website also can be integrated with CRM. This allows providing users with more personalized content. However, for a website, it’s instead a rarely implemented feature than a part of the core functionality.

Point 3. Authentication

Authentication is the procedure that involves entering a user’s login and password to get access to the system. It is a must for web software that requires any personal information. User accounts must be secured to prevent unauthorized access and leakage of sensitive data.

Web applications mostly need authentication, as they offer a much broader range of options than websites. Consider an example of social networks. When you register, you create an account and get a unique identification number. The system warns you if your login and password are weak. If you leave them unchanged, hackers may reach your account and steal your information, as well as irritate other users with junk emails under your name.

Authentication is not obligatory for informational websites. The user may be allowed to register to get access to extra options unavailable to unregistered website visitors. For example, you may look through news and featured articles on a news website without bothering to register. However, if you want to leave a comment, you will have to log in. This way, users verify their identity allowing the road to block spammers.

As you can see, both websites and web applications may require authentication. However, for web applications, it is necessary due to safety reasons.

 Web applications with special names

There are web applications with unique names that may already be familiar to you:

Web portals

A portal is an environment for integrating diverse applications and different content. It enables to configure content and offers personalized user experience, which means that the user gets only the content tailored to what he or she needs.

Consider a bank web portal as an example. It may provide links to account information, bill payments, and deposits. Each of them is a web application, but they are accessed from the central hub – the web portal.

Online stores

An online store (or an e-shop) is an application used for selling goods or services over the internet. The process goes the following way: a customer chooses a product and clicks a button to order it; then, the system processes the order. 

One of the features of an online store is the users’ ability to make online payments. To pay online, the user should indicate their credit card number and, in some cases, passport details, email, or telephone number. To make the transaction secure, the user has to be authorized. 

Whichever yourself needed: website developers or web application developers

Deciding on which specialists to hire, you should consider your business needs first. If you need a website, not a web application, a small web studio may be the fittest choice. Such a company can provide you with a unique and good-looking website, where you can display information about your company. However, later on, you may choose to add web applications to your website, and this may cause the need for adequate assistance.

If you want a web application, not a website, turn to web application developers. These specialists usually have extensive development skills and can implement a broader range of functions. So, if you want intense interactivity, integration with other corporative systems, and top-notch security level, opt to the companies offering web application development.

Choosing Web application vs website developers keep in understanding your business goals, stocks, or the services you offer, your customers, and other factors. Make sure the specialists have the required competence to tailor your online presence to your needs.        


Now, as you have taken the ‘web application vs. website’ difference, it is more comfortable for you to learn which online solution suits your business wants. If you wish to your web page mostly to display some information  opt for a website. If you want to communicate with users and additional functionality, such as the ability to make transactions online, or you want to actively benefit from integration with other methods and high-security protection level — want in favor of web applications. Just make sure you weigh up all the pros and cons first, not just blindly follow trends.

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