What’s the difference between a website and a web application?
A website, as opposed to a web application, is collection of different web pages placed under one domain name. It is hosted on a server with a unique IP address. You can think of it as a detailed business card that people can view through a link. It provides all the information about a business. Websites can be accessed from different devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones by typing the domain name or clicking on a link in the device’s browser.
Website without visitors is like a ship lost in the horizon
– Dr. Christopher Dayagdag
A web application is a computer program that runs on web technology and web browsers to carry out certain tasks. Unlike computer apps that run on the device’s operating system, you need an internet connection to use a web app.
Note that web applications are different from mobile and desktop applications because you can access them through a link and don’t need to download and install them on your device. Examples of web applications include, Google Docs, video and photo editing apps, file conversion and scanning apps, online forms and email programs like Gmail and Yahoo.
So, what are the pros and cons of using a website vs a web app?
Pros of Websites
- Websites provide tons of information on any topic you can think of.
- They help to close the culture gap by educating billions around the world about the different cultures, societies and lifestyle around the world.
- They have made communication easier, faster and cheaper. People can send emails and hold video conferencing calls seamlessly just by clicking on a link.
- They have increased job opportunities. Websites have helped people discover and understand that there are many other career fields they can explore. Anyone can apply for jobs online rather than printing out their job applications and sending them by post.
- They have enhanced the effectiveness of banking services as people can access their account information online and carry out transactions.
- They boost marketing efforts for businesses.
Cons of Websites
- Risk your privacy as the information you share on websites can be traced easily.
- They are a breeding ground for illegal activities like piracy, terrorism, kidnapping, scams and other types of data crimes.
- They can be costly because of the expenses involved in development and maintenance.
- Children can easily gain access to inappropriate material, be drawn in to traps by child predators and become victims of cyber bullying.
Pros of Web Applications
- They are cheaper to develop compared to other types of apps.
- They don’t require frequent updates like mobile apps.
- Their easy-to-change interface makes customization a smooth process.
- They don’t need to be downloaded and can be easily used on a web browser.
- They are designed to work on any operating system and can therefore adapt to various platforms.
Cons of Web Applications
- They are large in size when compared to desktop apps, and this tends to affect their performance.
- The security and safety levels are quite low.
- They can be difficult to find since they are not available in app stores.
- They are completely dependent on the website. Therefore, if the website happens to fail, then chances are that the web app will be affected too.
- They cannot function without an internet connection.