Web App vs Website: What to Choose for Your Business

Today, web presence is a critical component of business success. Virtually any company, from hospitals to family bakeries, builds its web solution to remain competitive. However, businesses often wonder: Should they make a website or a web application? How do these software solutions differ?

This article will explain the critical distinctions between a website and a web app, define their technical characteristics, and guide you in choosing your business's web solution.

Web App vs Website: What to Choose for Your Business

Website vs Web App: What Is the Difference?

Let's start by defining a website and a web application. This is essential to approaching the comparison more effectively and giving you appropriate information to determine the most suitable alternative for your company.


A website is a simple web solution involving minimal user interaction. The primary goal of such solutions is to provide information rather than to receive it. Websites include news sites, blogs, recipes, and weather sites. Visitors can perform minimal interactions with websites, such as selecting the page they desire to check, but otherwise, the functionality is limited.

Web application

A web application is a multifunctional solution that allows visitors to view, enter, edit, and retrieve information. Web apps comprise social networks, content editing sites (e.g., for photos or videos), online marketplaces, and more. Essentially, any web solution delivering rich and diverse functionality is a web application. This software requires a constant connection to the server as it constantly sends a large number of requests. 

Technologies Behind Web Apps and Websites

Now, let's delve deeper into the comparison and examine the technology, key aspects, and cost of developing web apps and websites.


Constructing a straightforward website, like a landing or blog page, involves minimal technology. Specialists commonly utilize Content Management Systems (CMS) and HTML or CSS for the front end. Website builders like WordPress or Wix can also be employed to assemble a website.

It usually takes 20-40 hours to build such a solution. Consequently, website development costs are much lower than for a web application. However, not all software providers will design a website as a single solution, so it may be necessary to turn to freelancers or hire an in-house web developer.

Web application 

Webapp development is much more time-consuming, as it requires properly implementing many features and forming an individual design for multiple pages. AngularJS or ReactJS are the most typical technologies used for front-end development. Architects often turn to Node.js, PHP, or .Net for the backend. Moreover, web applications may require integration with third-party services, such as payment gateways or external databases. 

Web application development time varies significantly according to your business domain, the features you want to implement, the number of pages, the complexity of UI/UX design, and many other factors. Yet, building this software is more expensive than creating a simple website.

So, let's understand in which cases it is worth investing more in developing a web application.

Choosing Between Website and Web Application: Main Points to Consider

In this section, we will take a detailed look at when it is more suitable to select a website and when it is better to choose a web application based on their primary distinctions:

Level of interaction

First, you need to determine what level of interaction you expect from your customers. Do you want to familiarize them with your products/services? In that case, you only need to build an attractive website. You need a full-fledged web application if you can enter specific data, such as making an appointment, purchasing goods, etc.

This point requires careful planning because if you have just started a small business, you may think a one-page website is enough. However, think about scalability in advance. You may want to expand your web solution and add new features. Share your plans with your software provider so developers can initially plan the exemplary solution architecture to provide sufficient scalability.


Suppose you plan to create a web app operating on user data. In that case, you must realize that you must provide customers with status information from personally identifiable information. When customers enter their information, they understand why you need it and what you will do with it. Your customizers need to be confident that their data is secure. If this step is difficult for you and customer data is not critical, it will be easier to focus on the website.


Developing a web application requires additional security measures to protect your customers' data. These may include encrypting data at rest and on users' devices, automatic logouts, activity tracking, and more. If you need to handle sensitive data such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, or passwords, it is essential to implement all modern information security methods. However, suppose your web solution does not require customer data, and you prefer to keep the development simple. In that case, you can build an essential website containing your contact information, allowing customers to contact you without providing their data.

Regulatory compliance

Web applications must comply with industry and regional data collection and processing laws. Familiarize yourself with these laws in your region so that you can confidently implement all necessary regulations to avoid potential legal issues. On the other hand, websites are typically not subject to any laws, making them much easier to develop.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Websites and Web Apps

To summarize, let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of both kinds of web solutions:


Among the advantages of websites are:

     Wide accessibility: Users can access websites through any browser on various devices, which makes them available to a broader audience.

     Simply development: Creating websites requires less time and investment than web applications.

     SEO efficiency: Optimizing websites for search engines is simpler and often brings better results, enhancing visibility in search results.

However, websites have several disadvantages:

     Limited functionality: Websites may offer limited functional capacities in contrast to web apps.

     Restricted admission to device attributes: Websites commonly can't access device features like a camera, GPS, a microphone, or notifications.

Web applications

Here are the main advantages of web applications:

     Enriched functionality: Web applications provide various features that make them more useful.

     More interaction: Web applications encourage deeper interaction with visitors due to more intricate functional capabilities.

     Improved user relations: Web applications provide more intuitive and personalized user interactions.

Disadvantages of web applications include:

     Complicated development: Building web apps typically demands more time, effort, and resources than creating websites.

     Platform dependence: Web applications may depend on the platform and not work optimally on specific devices or browsers.

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