I have a friend who works in financing. His company wants a website for the company. He is really confused about a web site and a web app, and I don't really understand them enough to explain. Can you all give me some clear explanation about it?

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Web site is the most generic term for "something visible to people using a web browser and accessible via a URL". This can be just a collection of static HTML files and images, but nowadays that is pretty rare.

A Web application is a web site with (more or less complex) functionality behind it, i.e. what the user sees is generated by some sort of program, which also reacts to user actions, i.e. the user can do more than just click on links.

Arguably, "web application" implies also that the site's does something more complex than just displaying information with some added convenience features (such as search, comments or user ratings), i.e. some people might say that a web site based on a CMS such as Wordpress isn't really a web application. But the terms are somewhat fluid.

  • I don't think a "Web Application" is a "Web Site". I think Web Sites can contain web applications. – Daniel Jul 25 '15 at 15:16

A "web application" is a computer program that accepts web based requests (usually with HTTP/HTTPS) and generates output based on business logic.

A "web site" is a collection of pages that are somehow grouped together (often by domain name).

A "web site" may be composed of one or more "web apps". A web site may also contain "flat files", which are not part of a web app, but just kind of stand alone.

Generally, when one talks about web apps, you're talking about the program that creates the site, or at least part of the site. When you're talking about a web site, you're talking about the user's experience when they point their web browser to your domain.

Edit: It occurs to me that you could also have a Web App that is "just a tool". An application that is used by a business or individual to do a set of tasks. Its called "web" because the primary interface into it is a web-browser, but I wouldn't call it a "site", because it is specifically an application to do a specific thing.


A website is designed to provide a user with information and allow them to make an appropriate action based on that information. The action could be a contact form, purchase a product etc.

In contrast a web application is product/service which runs within the web browser but has a clearly defined purpose. Web applications are not restricted to proving users with a single application purpose as you would expect from mobile app.

Web apps are often confused with mobile apps, and with the advent of HTML5, the lines are becoming even blurrier. Web apps look and feel very much like mobile apps. They even store data in your browser’s cache, so much of the app can be accessed offline.

A website is defined by its content, while a web application is defined by its interaction with the user.

A website is a collection of web pages under the same location while a web application is a type of application that is hosted over a network.

  • 1
    "Web applications are not restricted to proving users with a single application purpose as you would expect from mobile app." - This part doesn't make sense. You can have a single purpose or multipurpose app, regardless of whether that app is mobile, web, desktop, server or something else. The label "web application" mainly refers to whether it runs on a mobile software/hardware platform (as Android/iOS/Windows Mobile, etc.) or whether it uses HTML5 and the browser as its platform. Basically, if you have to install something from the app store, it is probably not a "Web Application". – Brandin Dec 29 '15 at 10:21

The web console which are used as the addons to perform programmed tasks for some web or internet pages are 'web apps' while the pages we see in our web browser which physically shows in the devices after we hit enter to an URL are webpage.

The web app may be vary from extension file format

But webpage are in .htm, .html, .asp, .aspx, etc format.

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