Differences between a web application and a website

Differences between a web application and a website

Differences between a web application and a website

The terms website and web application sound similar and many people use them without distinction, speaking of them as if they were the same or implying that they serve the same function.

However, these are digital platforms with specific purposes that respond to very different needs. Each offers a different set of functionalities to users, which depend directly on the objectives of a project.

In this way, the decision to develop one of these platforms depends on the products or services that you want to make available to users and the objectives that you want to achieve in digital channels.

Another very relevant point is that opting for a website or a web application has a significant effect on the costs and times of a digital project. The workloads associated with the different areas also vary greatly in the development of one platform or another, affecting the planning of tasks.

Knowing the differences between a website and a web application will allow you to make the right decisions. In addition, it will help everyone use the terms appropriately, avoiding confusion and speeding up definitions when planning a project.

Static pages vs interactive sites

Simply put, a website is a set of static pages that deliver information. For their part, web applications are mainly interactive platforms that focus on users taking actions.

This fundamental difference determines its main objectives, characteristics, and functions.

Web applications

The main purpose of an application is for the user to perform a task. They can also be understood as a program that is used from the browser. To create them, CSS, HTML, JavaScript languages ??are used and free open source software can be used, such as Drupal, Symfony, Django, or Meteor.

Some examples are banking services, Google Docs, and retail sales sites.


The main purpose of a website is to deliver information. Therefore, consuming content is the most important task users do on these types of platforms.

This idea may sound confusing, since all sites include some additional call to action, such as making a contact or subscribing to a newsletter. The difference is that these interactions represent a small part and can usually be achieved only after guiding the user through the content.

Websites also have several interconnected pages and require a content manager.

Main differences and characteristics to consider

Thus, the main differences to consider when selecting one of these platforms are:

  • Websites are sources of information, while applications focus on taking action.
  • A web application can be part of a site in a project, but not the other way around.
  • The functions and tasks of an application are many more and have a higher level of complexity.

Depending on the demands of the project, one platform can be more expensive than the other. However, in general, web applications require more complex logic and, therefore, a greater investment.

In all cases, the demands for the areas are very different. Creating a website will require the work of a more varied group of professionals and tasks, without necessarily implying a higher cost.

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