Web App ๐Ÿ†š Website, what's the difference?

Nightborn - Web App vs Website, What's the difference?

When you, as a user, aren't familiar with web or (mobile) app development, it's usually difficult to see the difference between a web application & a website. Because you're online searching for information, a product, or a service. You Google it and BOOM... There's your result right away. And, let's be honest, that's also the only thing the customer is looking for, not so much what lies behind this action.

But for us, as an App Development Agency, it's a whole other story. Companies frequently ask us to build their websites when they actually want a far more complex solution but are unaware that there's a difference. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

No worries, we forgive you... ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™Œ

Last Friday, we briefly discussed it in one of our visuals on Instagram. But in this article, we'll try to explain a bit more in detail what we (as programmers ๐Ÿค“) mean by app development rather than building websites. We'll highlight some of the key differences that will help you understand how websites & web apps differ.

Let's go. ๐Ÿ‘Š

Nightborn - What is a Website?

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of globally interconnected online pages hosted on single or multiple web servers & which have a single domain name. It's accessible through a network such as the Internet or a private local area network via IP address.

Websites are static, meaning the content doesnโ€™t update dynamically. Most sites are built using HTML, CSS, and maybe some JavaScript. They're one-way informational feeds that prevent viewers from interacting with the site or sending messages back to it.ย Mobile websites are designed specifically for smaller touch screens & adjust automatically to the size & type of browser (Chrome, Firefox,...) in which they are being displayed. ๐Ÿ“ฑ

They can be easily developed & maintained by an individual, business, or organization. Website offer readable & visually appealing content (text, audio, video, images, etc...) with user-friendly navigation & web design in an effort to fulfill a variety of needs.

There're many different types of websites such as blogs, portfolio websites, government websites, or for example a restaurantโ€™s web page where you can view the menu, hours of operation, etc.

Nightborn - What is a Web App?

What is a Web Application?

Web applications are websites with a wide range of functionalities & interactive features, they gained popularity along with the rise of the Software as a Service (SaaS) trend. They're cloud-hosted, highly scalable, dynamic & built for user engagement. Web apps are extremely customizable, they're generally more difficult to build & require an experienced team of software developers.

๐Ÿ”ฅ That's us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meaning it's a computer software accessed through a web browser & often connected to a database to provide this interactive experience. In web apps, data can be referenced, stored & accessed through a customized interface to simplify the delivery of information to your customer.

๐Ÿ’ก Did you ever wonder how a Database really works?

A web application needs authentication & uses a combination of server- & client-side scripts to present information.ย Its front-end is usually created using languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while the backend can use any programming stack. They're mostly cross-platform, modular & loosely coupled. In addition, they're easily tested with automated tests.

Examples of well-known web applications areย Google Workspace, Amazon, YouTube, Twitter, etc...

๐Ÿ’ก How Cross-Platform Development Improves Client Experience and Satisfaction

Nightborn - Why do you need a website

Why do you need a Website?

After reading the complexity & functionality of the web app you're probably wondering "Do you actually need a website?" ๐Ÿค”

Well, depending on the needs of your business, the answer isย easy... YES!

Here's why:

  • If you have a business, a website will allow you to showcase your products to anyone with an internet connection, everywhere
  • A website will help you grow your brand
  • It helps create social proof, so others can see what you have done and what you do, which helps build credibility
  • It helps create an online presence
  • It can be used as an extra source of income through advertising & monetization
  • A website allows you to increase your customer support

Nightborn - Why do you need a Web App?

Why do you need a Web Application?

Are you confused again? That's not necessary! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Regardless of the usefulness of websites, web applications have some very useful advantages & are more popular because of the following reasons:

  • They're easier to maintain as they use the same code for the entire application. This means there're no compatibility issues
  • Mobile App store approval isn't required
  • Released any time & in any form. There's no need to remind people to upgrade their apps
  • To access the required data, you can use either a computer or a mobile device.
  • It's a cost-effective option for any business
  • They don't need to be downloaded or installed.

Let's wrap it up

So, to answer the question, which one you should pick between the two? It's easy:

  • A website should be your first choice if you need to highlight your skills & products
  • A web application is your best option if you're looking for an online tool to help you automate your workflow & generate visitor interactions such as e-commerce.

As developers, building websites is quite easy once you know the tools and languages required. You just need to know the basics. Web apps can be more expensive & require more in-depth understanding & planning.

The choice is yours ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check out the visual we made about this blog ๐Ÿ‘‰ Web App ๐Ÿ†š Website

Get in touch.


Get in touch


Maxime : + 32 494 90 36 65

David : + 32 468 10 07 97


Rue Notre-Seigneur 11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium