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What is a Web App? How Does it Differ From Traditional Websites?

Last updated on: 
February 14, 2024
Ashmita Roy
The fast well prepared banner
About The Author!
Ashmita Roy
Ashmita Roy

Millions of organizations leverage the Internet for cost-effective communication and other tasks. It allows them to exchange information with the targeted market and to perform safe and fast transactions. However, robust engagement only happens when the business captures all the required information and data and owns a channel to process and present this information to the user. As per a report by Statista, the web application development market will reach a market value of $234.70 bn by 2028.

A compilation of server-side scripts is integrated by web applications for handling the retrieval and storage of any information, and client-side scripts for presenting the users with information. Through this process, the users get to interact with the company through online forms, shopping carts, content management systems, and more. In addition, employees can share information, collaborate on projects, work on mutual documents or projects, and craft new documents irrespective of the device or location.

In this article, we’ll learn:

  • What is a Web Application?
  • How does a Web Application differ from Traditional Websites?
    • Function
    • Maintenance and Support
    • Development Cost
    • Technology
    • Access
    • Programming Language
    • Complex
  • Advantages of Web App
  • Advantages of Website
  • How to Decide Whether Your Business Needs a Website or Web App?
  • Progress as a Web App Developer with Interview Kickstart
  • FAQs about Web App

What is a Web Application?

Web Application
Yugasa Software Labs

An application software that requires no installation and can be easily accessed through a remote server on a web browser is called a web application. These applications are developed for communication and interaction, which allows users to consume and share data between the web server and browser. This interaction can either be complex, such as making a credit card payment or can be as easy as a simple login into your account.

How Does a Web Application Differ from Traditional Websites?

There are multiple differences and similarities between web applications and traditional websites. Several people argue that web applications are the next level of evolution for traditional websites. However, there are some major differences between these two technologies which must be acknowledged. Some of the major differences between web application and traditional websites include:

Web Application Vs. Website


From the perspective of a user, the major difference between applications and websites is their functioning. Websites are used for serving information. However, applications are crafted to help. You can listen, read or view the content on a website, but the user does not get to manipulate it. 

Comparatively, web applications hold content that cannot only be viewed by the user but also offers interactive elements. A user can manipulate the data available on the web application. 

Maintenance and Support

Each web application requires frequent maintenance and upgrades for smooth functioning. Hence comparatively, it is much easier to maintain and manage a website, as the websites do not require upgrades on a very frequent basis.

Development Cost

As compared to the development of a website, app development inherits more cost, considering the major elements such as the size, complexity, and features offered. Hence, developing a website requires less investment.


The major technologies required for developing a web application include PHP, Apache, MySQL or Linux. However, when building a website, developers basically use CSS, Django, or Lavarel.


Websites offer public access as a hallmark. However, most of the web applications require authentication and registration. In several cases, registered and unregistered visitors on the website get the same experience and access. 

On the other hand, almost every web application requires user authentication as they offer services specific to each user's requirements. Banking applications are a major example of this. Each account holder is provided with the same services online. However, every user acknowledges a unique experience on the basis of their personal banking information.

Programming Language

For web applications, development, PHP, Ruby, or Python is also implemented in addition to HTML and CSS. However, for developing a website, the most commonly preferred programming languages include CSS, HTML, or JavaScript.


As compared to websites, web applications are more complex. Websites only hold a collection of webpages. However, with modern developments, websites have also become quite interactive but still do not provide interaction and services as compared to Web applications. In addition, web applications not only offer smooth functioning and services, but they also require varying user levels, data processing capabilities, and backend services. Moreover, higher-level security solutions are required for a web application.

Even though applications can be crafted by implementing web technologies, similar to websites such as HTML and JavaScript, apps do require implementing advanced programming languages, such as server-side scripts, frameworks, and PHP. In addition, the UI or UX design of a web application is crucial because the applications must offer active interaction with users.

The table below provides a quick summary of the differences between a web application and a website:

Factor Web Application Traditional Website
Integration Web apps integrate extensive CRM analytics for monitoring user behavior, product interest, and purchase history. Basic CRM features are used by websites for curating customized content for users.
Authentication A compulsion because web apps hold major customer information stored. Not obligatory as websites only store user’s emails for sharing newsletters and weekly emails.
Interactivity Web apps promote interactions and actions from users. Websites basically provide content in the forms of videos, images, audio and some interactive elements.
Requirement It is an interactive platform that can be accessed from the user’s browser. Developed to present content to the user and understand the product and services offered.
Complexity Easy and simple to access. Holds many complex and critical features.

Advantages of Web App

Some major benefits offered by a web app are:

1. Data Security: External server storage in a web app ensures data safety, even if a user's device fails.

2. Functionality Freedom: Web apps offer limitless functionalities for users.

3. Expandability: Web applications easily and quickly expand with additional features for immediate user access.

4. No Update Responsibility: Users aren't burdened with web app updates, making it easy to access the latest version anytime, anywhere.

5. Profit Potential: Profitability on a web app is achievable through the creation of engaging custom web applications, as seen with successful examples like YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.

Advantages of Website

You can avail the following benefits from a website:

1. Easy Development: Website development does not need technical experts, as websites are straightforward to develop.

2. Accessibility: Websites are accessible from various devices via the internet, providing widespread availability.

3. Cost-Effective: Websites are more cost-effective as compared to developing a web app.

4. Low Error Risk: Web Page updates are manual, reducing the risk of errors during implementation changes.

5. Modifiability: You can easily make small changes on websites without relying on experienced developers.

6. Widgets and Templates: Integration of user-friendly widgets and ready-to-use templates for seamless services.

How to Decide Whether your Business needs a Website or Web App?

Establishing a website before a web app or integrating an app isn't an absolute requirement. To plan your company's future effectively, it's essential to know the distinctions between web applications and websites and anticipate their developmental outcomes.

Website or Web application

Consider a local business with regular customer interaction or delivery needs; streamlining processes through web application development can be beneficial. Conversely, for a popular small-scale business, opting for a custom website can effectively promote services or products to end customers.

Progress as a Web App Developer with Interview Kickstart

When choosing between a website developer and a web app developer, prioritize your project and business requirements. If a website suffices, a competent enterprise web development company is a suitable choice. Websites are ideal for showcasing business information, but if you foresee adding web applications later, experienced support may be needed.

For web applications, hiring a specialized web app developer is crucial. These experts possess advanced development skills for a broader range of tasks, making them suitable for projects requiring high-end security, extensive customer interaction, and integration with other systems. 

As said by Olawale Daniel- “ Web development is difficult; only when you set your standard is it fun to do.” Whether you’re deciding between progressing as a website or a web application developer, ensure that you master expertise with what is a web app vs website, the right knowledge, and key skills. With Interview Kickstart, prepare for your next interview and land as a proficient web developer at the most well-recognized companies.

FAQs about Web App

Q1. What is the major advantage of a web app?

Quick setup and easy access is a major advantage of web apps. In addition, web apps offer numerous services and features that make our tasks easy and time-saving.

Q2. What’s the purpose of a web app for business?

Business function web apps to share, exchange, and deliver information and services remotely. Businesses also connect with their customers securely through web apps.

Q3. How is a web application developed?

Many web applications can be developed in Javascript and HTML5. For web applications, front-end development is achieved through client-side programming.

Q4. How many developers are needed to develop an app?

The development of an app requires a team of 2-3 people, including front-end and back-end developers, a designer, a project manager, and other experts.

Posted on 
February 6, 2024

Ashmita Roy

Senior Content Specialist at Interview Kickstart

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