Web application or web site?

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between web application and web site? Some might think that there is none, but the opposite is true. Definitions vary and overlap. Web pages and web applications are both ran in internet explorers, both require internet connection and have front-end and back-end coded in the same programming languages. Moreover, both are characterized by interactivity, integration and authentication.

Yet it is clear, that there is a difference and if you are looking for an online solution for your business, it is necessary for you to understand it. Application development is significantly different from page development. In this article, you will learn what differentiates these two types of web software and which is a better choice for you.

I will try to summarize the differences of web apps and web pages in a few points:


Web applications

user can not just read the content, but also manipulate with the data there.

Interaction takes shape of a dialogue: user clicks a button or sends a form and gets a response. This response may be in the form of documents to download, online chat, electronic payment or other.

A good example of interactivity of web applications is online banking application, which can perform transactions based on customers input. A similar functionality can be found in e-shops that provide catalog search and instant purchasing. Social networks represent another great example. They connect their users via chats and blogging platforms, creating source content based on user preferences and enable almost unlimited content sharing, not to mention all the built-in mini-applications for user entertainment.

Web sites

provide visual and text content, that the user can see and read, but cannot influence in any way.

Truth be told, these days it is hard to come across a web page with zero interactivity. Modern web sites usually contain small components of web applications. Web page of a restaurant can contain for example Google Maps mini-application that displays directions for getting there. A typical web site contains mostly information and just a little bit of interactive content and users spend their time there reading, reviewing or listening.


Integration means linking of various components with the objective to build a more complex system. Web sites and web applications can be integrated with other software (CRM, ERP etc.).

Web applications

integration is more typical for them, because their overall functionality usually requires interaction with other systems.

Web sites

implemented function is hardly ever part of the basic functionality.


By authentication we understand the process of entering user name and password to gain access to the system. It is a necessary step for web software which requires personal information. User accounts have to be secure to avoid unauthorized access and leak of sensitive data.

Web applications

require authentication for safety reasons, because they offer a wider range of possibilities than web sites.

As an example let's look at social networks. When you register you create an account and get a unique identification number. The system warns you when your password is weak. If you leave it that way, hackers can get into your account and misuse your personal information or spam other users with junk e-mails using your name.

Web sites

don't require authentication, but they can offer it to its users. Users can get additional access to content that is not available to unregistered users.

You can for example read articles on a news site without registering, but if you want to comments any of the articles, you have to sign up. This way all users confirm their identity and it is easier for the administrator to block spam.

Have you decided?

It should be more clear which online solution suits your needs better now. If you came to conclude that web application is a more suitable choice for you, don't hesitate to contact us. In freevision web application development is an important part of our portfolio. We can identify your needs better together and design an optimal tailored solution.