Some of my clients asked me what the differences are between a website and web application. After answering the same answer, I've decided to make this blog to help readers better understand the differences between those two. However, it is important to note 2 important similarities first before moving on to the differences: both are accessible through a web browser e.g. Chrome, Firefox and both are regarded as “software”.
A website a.k.a. site is a collection of web pages commonly used to provide information to the public through a web browser like Google Chrome and Firefox. They can be used to share information about a company, organization, or individual, often allowing users to learn more about a particular subject or topic. It usually has a homepage, which is the entrance to the website and other pages like informational pages, contact pages, blogs.
Weight is also an important difference. Websites are generally less complex because they focus on providing information and don't require extensive programming or database work. Web apps, on the other hand, tend to be more complex because they are designed for anything else, often requiring extensive programming and database work. Content Management Systems a.k.a. CMS like WordPress, Joomla, etc. are widely used in website design and development as they allow a non-technical user to create and update their website. Web applications are typically written by experienced software developers using frameworks and programming languages.
Websites are typically hosted on web servers. A web server is an Internet-connected computer that hosts website files. While web apps are typically hosted on web application servers, which are servers dedicated to running web applications. It is often cheaper to develop and maintain web sites than it is to develop and maintain web applications. A non-technical user can create and maintain their website, and hosting costs are often lower than web applications. Web application hosting, on the other hand, can be more expensive and generally requires the services of an experienced software developer to build and maintain.