Website vs Web Application, Choose Which One?

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Technology doesn’t die! Almost everything is about technology. And one of the most felt is business.

In this online world, businesses need a platform that can support branding, marketing, and engagement with consumers.

Even as business needs increase. Such as requiring a platform that can process transactions automatically, also that can manage work tasks in real-time.

To make it happen, you have two options: website or web app.

Both are visible eleven-twelve technologies. Because it is almost similar not even a few are confused and wondering:

  • “When should I use the website?”
  • “What the hell is a web app?”
  • “What’s the difference between the two?”
  • “Which one is better suited yes, website or web app?”

Relax, if you have the same question, in this article you will find the answer. Let’s get started.

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of pages within a domain on the Internet that can be accessed through a browser. The purpose of the creation of the website, to convey information to the user.

For example, if you type the domain in the browser, it will be welcomed homepage as below.

On the homepage, there are several categories arranged in one menu, shown in box number 1. In each category, there are several pages with the same topic.

Meanwhile, box number 2 is a page or page that contains specific information.

This website has a system like a book. Some write and others read.

The admin or manager of the website writes information to visitors through each page on the website. And you are visiting the website as a reader.

Because the purpose is to provide information, on the website whose form is the simplest, visitors can not add to the information.

For example, like commenting. So, there’s no direct interaction there.

However, the website is growing so that visitors can “do something” inside the website and not just read.

For example, commenting, sharing blog posts, and more.

What is a Web Application?

Unlike websites, web applications (let’s briefly become web apps.) allow interaction in them. For example, submitting forms, using chat features, online payments, and more.

The types of web apps that we can find today are diverse. However, let’s take a look at one of the best-selling web apps when working from home, Quire.


There you and your team can build work tasks, organize workflows, and communicate with others. All those features you can’t find on a regular website.

These features are specially programmed as needed. However, it remains web-based for people to use easily, without the need to download and install it on the desktop.

In other words, a web app is a software-like program but web-based and can be accessed through a browser. Web apps bring out more features and user interaction.

Different Websites and Web Applications

When viewed, both are equally accessible from a browser, require the internet, and there may also be other similarities.

Then where’s the difference?

Websites and web apps are twins but not the same huh? Hahaha, not really. There are easier ways to distinguish them. Let’s have surgery together.

1. Characteristics

To distinguish between a website and a web app is easiest indeed seen from its characteristics. As seen in the table below.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Use hosting as needed.Using cloud hosting due to greater data usage.
Content is informative and can be displayed both statically and dynamically.Bring out flexible features and interactions between users.
Accessed from both desktop and mobile browsers.Accessed through a browser and can be used across platforms.
Set up user friendly navigation can use CMS easily.The system or program is self-designed with a programming language.
SEO friendly and can appear in google search engine.Need to sign in, any user data will not appear in google search engine.
It’s a collection of accessible pages.It’s an app but it doesn’t need to be downloaded.

From the table, we can tell that the website is much simpler. That’s because websites are intended for lighter use than web apps.

Server needs are flexible as needed. Websites can run only using shared hosting. And it can be upgraded to VPS or Cloud Hosting if needed.

What’s more, because there are not too many features, the website can be set to be mobile friendly so that it has a more flexible way of access.

Instead, the web app has unique customization features. The need to store user data and its activities are much more complex.

Hence more web app data usage, web apps require much larger servers, cloud hosting class.

And as the name suggests, access can only be done from the web. Even if you want to access it from a mobile device, yes the choice is to create a mobile app.

Even so, the web app can be accessed across platforms or can be used in various operating systems. For example, Windows, Linux, Mac Os, etc.

2. Main Tasks

Websites and Web Apps are built for different purposes. In short:

WebsiteWeb APPS
Provide information to readers.Automatic processing of data and information.

The main activity of the website is to provide information, be it for branding, marketing, education, and so on.

Information in the form of content is posted on a page, and visitors read it. It’s as simple as that.

It’s different from the web app. Let’s take shop e-commerce example. There is a data processing that if dissected would be like this:

  • Web apps displays product data in real-time. For example, products are sold out automatically, etc.
  • Processes payment data such as invoice numbers, billing notifications, automatic payment checks, etc.
  • Until processing product review information. For example, a review of 100 people for one item and summarized into a rating in the star.

The three things above are just small examples of web app data processing. Of course, there are many more processes.

3. Complexity

Because of the different functions and uses, each has different features. It certainly affects the complexity of both.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Navigation relies on neatly arranged menus.Navigation is built on functions.

If on the website you can find structured navigation such as menu > submenu > page /post, etc.

Then, in the web app, you’ll feel the navigation system intuitively.

In other words, users can adjust quickly and have no trouble using it.

That’s precisely why web apps need a more complex User Interface than websites.

Because of their unique features, web apps have a higher level of complexity than websites. Coding is required to customize navigation as needed.

web apps

Going back to the Quire example, developers have to rotate their brains to make the web app’s structure very functional but still look user-friendly, as above.

4. Interaction

Between the website and the web app, in terms of nature, the two are very different.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Informative – one way.Interactive – two-way or more.

Website visitors can view or read any information. However, it was unable to communicate with anyone there. It’s like reading a book.

This is the case with web apps that allow interaction. Whether it’s between users, users with admins, even interactions between computers and the web app itself. For example, file transfer activity.

But calm down, this is not a shortage of websites.

This point can be multiplied with the help of chat plugins so that you can communicate with website visitors. For example, to provide customer service.

5. Development Components

Websites and web apps are certainly built with programming languages. What’s different? Let’s look at the following table.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Basic needs: HTML, CSS, and Javascript (if needed).Basic needs: HTML, CSS, Javascript. It can also use PHP, Ruby, or Python.
Made easy with WordPress CMS, Plugins, and Themes.Make it easy with Rails frameworks, Django, and other frameworks.

As the foundation of the shaper, both websites and web apps both use HTML, CSS, and Javascript (for websites only used if needed).

However, the website is considered more friendly for beginners who are lay with technology. Because now you can even create websites easily without coding with the help of CMS.

All you have to do is select a theme, add plugins, and complete the content. Tada! Your website is ready!

On the contrary, for web apps, it won’t be that easy. You’ll need powerful developers who can use other programming languages like PHP, Ruby, and Python.

However, nowadays there are many frameworks or frameworks created to develop web apps. Examples include Rails, Django, Laravel, etc.

The framework can help your developers build web apps more easily and quickly.

For example, Ruby on Rails, which is ten times faster than the Java framework. Or a Python-based Django that has a large collection of handy modules. Up to laravel framework with PHP language to build amazing applications.

6. System Integration

Integration is usually done to build a more comprehensive or complete system or feature. Of course, websites and web apps have different integration needs.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Optional or as needed.It’s crucial for feature development and a must-do.

Both the website and the web app make it possible to use plugins or other additional features for the integration of the system.

For the website, without the help of other software, the main task is to display the information that will still run. So, integration for websites is optional.

If you want to provide more features on your business website, integration can be done by installing third-party plugins. For example, creating an online store, product catalog, etc.

However, the integration of third-party software for web apps is like an accomplice and a hand. Integration into other software allows web apps to collect, store, and process data.

Why does a web app need integration?

Because the features in it are more complex, more data must be processed. That way the processing needs help from other software.

For example, e-commerce integration with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system software. All user data is automatically collected and stored by the CRM system. You can track consumer behavior, buying habits, products of most interest, etc.

7. Authentication

Another thing that distinguishes between websites and web apps is authentication.

WebsiteWeb APPS
There is no need for authentication because it is free to visit anyone, but visitor access rights are limited.Authentication is required, usually the system logs out, due to wider permissions.

You must often, log in to Facebook?


If so, consider the form log-in above as the entrance to the web app. Inside, you can find other people, communicate, post photos, and so on.

You’re allowed to do it all because you’ve been recognized by the web app, through the authentication process, or logged in.

When you sign up or register and fill in the data yourself. The web app records, records, and remembers the data. After that, give the right of access to be able to do things in it.

Because of that right of access, there needs to be authentication or verification to make sure the activity in the web app is done by the user in question.

news website

Somewhat different from websites that usually do not require logging in for visitors. Anyone can freely read the information on the website.

However, nowadays many websites give access rights to their users. For example, a news portal website.

Usually, contributor writers have limited rights to create profiles on the website and upload their posts. However, it can’t set page layouts, publish your posts, and so on.

Website or Web App: Choose Which One?

Okay, up here we already know the difference between a website and a web app.

It should also be understood when to use websites, web apps, or even both. So that your choices can further improve the performance of your business.

Then, when is the most appropriate time to use the website?

Your business desperately needs a website if you experience any of the following:

  • You want to plug business branding into the hearts of consumers.
  • Compete with competitors in the digital realm.
  • Increase brand awareness and consumer confidence.
  • Demonstrate business credibility.
  • Promote your product or service more broadly.
  • Educate consumers about products, services, or businesses through blog posts.
  • Build an online store as a digital transaction center.
  • Provide customer service at all times for consumers.
  • Get potential leads.
  • Media for a press release.

When is the Time to Use the Web App?

Business competition makes you twist your brain. One of them, how to provide interactive online products or services to consumers.

If the case is like that, then using the web app is the most appropriate step. Especially if your business also wants to:

  • Want business expansion quickly, easily, and centrally.
  • Increase sales directly.
  • Provide a positive experience for consumers with efficient service (indirectly build business branding as well).
  • Solve business problems systematically and automatically. For example, invoice creation, checking online transactions, opening communication channels between users, etc.
  • Get closer personally to consumers.
  • Build operational systems effectively and efficiently.
  • Grow your business more flexibly. For example, it is easy to develop, update, upgrade, and access.

When is the Time to Use Website and Web App At Once?

If you feel you want both, it’s perfectly legal. There are already many businesses that combine websites and web apps.

Let’s take a look at Amazon, EBay or others. Ever checkout in one of those e-commerce?

If ever, how would it feel? Pick and choose items online, address input, pay and products are at hand in a matter of days. Amazing.


Ecommerce features like the one above are web apps. But there is a website section that also helps the business grow, usually containing static pages.

Do you need those pages?

It’s necessary!

Make sure you provide all the needs of consumers. Including the above information.

Choose Which One?

Up here we realized that websites and web apps turn out very differently. If summarized everything, it would be approximately like the table below.

WebsiteWeb APPS
Main ObjectivesProvide informative content with user friendly navigation.Provide a responsive and interactive service to user activities with automatic data processing.
Key Features and Benefits– Easy access and open to anyone.
– Easy updates. Save time and money.
– SEO friendly.
– Right for business branding.
– Educational facilities and customer service.
– Features can be custom.
– Provide a service experience for users.
– Can be upgraded as needed.
– Can be used on various platforms / operating systems device.
– User data is secure due to authentication system.
– Full coding and requires developers.
Required ElementsHTML, CSS, and Javascript (in certain cases), or use a WordPress CMS (without coding).HTML, CSS, Javascript, but can also use PHP, Ruby Python, with the help of the framework.

Hopefully, this article helps you distinguish which websites and web apps. So, you can choose wisely which one to wear.

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