To start off, the differences between a website and a web application is subtle and not cut-and –dried per se. This is why.
A website is a group of web pages all compiled within a single domain name. The domain, therefore, has multiple pages within it which you could browse to obtain the information from.
Websites are online repositories where you could visit and access information like news, government alerts, memos or even events schedules.
Some examples of websites that are common are The NewYork Times online newspaper, BBC.com, CNN.com, among others just provide information to their audience.
However, with web applications, it is a bit more different. Web apps often go a little bit further by enabling the users the ability to manipulate information, request for certain kinds of information and even log in for improved security.
One of the web apps that exist in the market is YouTube where users have the option of logging on to their individual accounts, create a playlist or even subscribe in order to receive updates whenever the channel releases a new product.
According to Wikipedia, a web application is a “client-server computer program which the client (including the user interface and client-side logic) runs in a web browser.”
The web apps give users more room to play around with the data they come across the platform. For example, when a user opens the KFC chicken store web app, they have the option of viewing the menu and, if possible, placing an order.
The interface could even include your past purchases and delivery destination addresses saved based on your past activity.
The single-most major difference between a web app and a website is that websites are generally more informative while web apps are interactive.
Also, web apps employ the use of programming languages like Python, Ruby on Rails, Django and PHP. They also have databases, which the websites can actually do without.
Not always a Black and White
Truth is, the difference between a website and a web app is not always black and white. Now, taking the example of WordPress; looking at it from the front-end, it is purely informational, and you could only conduct a search, share the information or subscribe.
However, the same WordPress offers a full set of customization and room for manipulation from the back-end. You could practically manage every aspect of the content in it. Essentially, from which side of it you are standing, it could either be a web app or a website.
This difference in website vs web application may not mean much for the user but as a business, it could be the reason for you thriving or sinking, depending on which commercial line you are in.
Another difference between websites and web applications that you will notice is the level of security involved in the apps.
Now, as you may have noticed, the web apps usually require you to enter a User-name and a password in order to access your personalized page information.
This is just one of the surface security measures with the apps. Additionally, the web apps depict even stronger levels of security to ensure that financial transaction passwords, history and patterns are not revealed to any other party.
It is a thin line between a website and a web application. However, some of the differences still stand out like the level of interaction, integration and the type of programming technique used in its development.