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Website vs Web Application: Confidently Know the Difference

A website is a collection of static pages, while a web application is interactive computer software accessed through your browser.

Confidently know the different of a website vs web application

​​When we hear the word “website,” we’re usually talking about any site we find on the internet. But not every site is actually a website. Many are web apps. Knowing the difference between a website vs a web application is key when learning front end web development and deciding which is best for your next product or business.

What is a Website

A website is a collection of static pages that contain information

A website is a collection of static pages that contain information. These are most commonly built using HTML [Hypertext Markup Language], CSS [Cascading Style Sheets], and JS [JavaScript]. Websites can be accessed through a URL [Uniform Resource Locator] on a browser, such as Safari or Chrome.

Types of Websites

While a website can technically be one static page, many websites contain hundreds of pages that can be broken into different sections. Websites can be used to sell online, share information about a local business, or create content on a particular topic, such as a recipe blog.

Advantages of the Website

There are many reasons you may decide to build a website vs a web application. Websites are able to provide you with many advantages.

  • Websites are user-friendly and can be easily built on platforms like Squarespace or WordPress. This makes it easy for small businesses to get their business online without needing advanced technical skills.
  • A website can grow your business by allowing you to sell online or promote your brand without putting in extra work.
  • Websites can showcase your work or knowledge, like on a personal blog or portfolio.
  • There are many ready-to-go content management systems [CMS], such as WordPress, Drupal, or Wix, that make creating and maintaining a website simple and fast.

Disadvantages of the Website

Websites have their uses, but they may not be the best for your situation.

  • Websites can become expensive. While still cheaper than a web application, websites require that you pay for things like web hosting and domain names to start. Other features like security or online sale platforms will also create additional fees.
  • Many websites are not secure. With ever-changing internet regulations, many websites fall short on security and can be easily hacked or contain malware. This can be dangerous for both the website owner and the reader.
  • Websites can have limited reader interaction, meaning that readers are able to view your content but not necessarily contribute to it themselves.

Example of a Website

The perfect example of a website? You’re looking at it! KaceyCreative.com is a multipage WordPress website. Other known websites would be your local news site, recipe blog, or e-commerce site, such as Amazon.

What is a Web Application

a web app is a computer software that can be accessed through your web browser

A web application, or web app, is a computer software that can be accessed through your web browser. These programs are interactive and can reference, store, and customize information. Web apps are usually built with scripting languages like PHP, Java, Python, or C#, as well as SQL databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Types of Web Applications

Web applications can do a multitude of things. They are able to not only display information but allow the reader to input their own and update accordingly. While accessed by your browser, they usually need some sort of authentication to access, such as a username/password or account number. Banking accounts, streaming services, and social media sites are all solid examples of web applications.

Advantages of Web Applications

Web applications can have many complex features. Web apps can be customizable and able to perform almost any task you’d wish it to.

  • Web applications are dynamic and intended for reader engagement. While websites only display data, web apps allow readers to update or input information.
  • Many web applications require authentication through user accounts. This means readers will need to create or pay for an account in order to access your product.
  • Web apps are hosted on web servers, meaning you don’t need approval from Apple App or Google Play stores to access your application.
  • Web apps are more secure as they are built with security in mind. The additional login and authentication needed by users add another level of security.

Disadvantages of Web Applications

With the many advantages of a web app, it’s good to know the potential downsides.

  • Web applications can be more difficult to build or maintain. These complex programs are not beginner friendly and will require an experienced developer to build and maintain them.
  • Web applications can be expensive. These can be costly to build and even more, depending on what features you’d like to include.

Example of a Web Application

Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and YouTube are just a few common web applications. These platforms allow readers to personalize content, chat online, or make electronic payments for various goods.

Difference Between Website & Web Application


  • Static pages and content
  • Read Only
  • Doesn’t usually require login or authentication
  • Beginner friendly
  • Functions are simple

Web Application

  • Dynamic content allows the reader to interact
  • Read and Write
  • Tends to require login or authentication
  • Requires more advanced technical knowledge
  • Functions are complex

Website vs. Web Application: When to use Which

Knowing when to use a website or web application is important not only for a business owner but also for the developer. Take the time to consider what you need for your upcoming project.

  • If they only need to be able to read your information, a website may be all you need.
  • If you’re looking to create a dynamic website that allows readers to update and manipulate the information on your site, then a web app may be the better choice.
  • If you need something fast, accessible, and device friendly, a website will be perfect for you.
  • If you’re looking to build a mobile app but don’t want to wait for approval from the Apple App or Google Play store, then a web application is a great alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a website and a web application?

A website is a collection of static web pages that contain one-way information. A web application is interactive computer software accessed through your browser.

Is it harder to make an app or a website?

Web applications are generally harder to construct, as they may require knowledge of more complex programming languages than simple websites. Though, in both websites and web apps, you can design and build something as clean or complex as you’d like!

Is it better to make a website or an app?

Knowing what you need your online space for will let you know if it’s better to build a website or web app. If you need a place to showcase information, images, and videos, you will only need a website. However, if you’d like readers to create online profiles and contribute to your site by inputting new information, then you will need to build a web application.

Is Netflix a website or a web app?

Netflix is a web app requiring viewers to create and purchase online accounts to access their video streaming services.

Is Facebook a website or a web app?

Facebook is a web app where readers can create online profiles and update their status, upload images, and create social groups all on one platform.

Is Amazon a website or web app?

Amazon is a great example of both a website and a web app! This site is a collection of static pages displaying products to purchase. This is the website portion of their site. Additionally, you can create online accounts, post reviews, and even list your own products to sell on their platform. All of these aspects are the web application at work.


If just starting your web development journey, building clean and responsive websites is a great place to start. As you grow, you can practice using more complex languages to build interactive web apps. No matter if it’s a website vs a web application, knowing how to distinguish and build each will strengthen your web development knowledge.

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