You’ve likely heard the term “web app” thrown about often when researching website development options. And, although it’s true they share many things in common with websites, they are not the same.
Fortunately, this Idea Maker aims to break down the differences between websites and web apps, as well as their benefits and drawbacks. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Website?
A website is a collection of static web pages displayed and hosted under a single domain. Anyone can build and host a website or web page for their business, hobby, or whatever they desire. Websites are accessible from most internet-connected devices with a web browser installed.
Benefits of Websites
So, what are the benefits of websites?
As websites are made up of static pages, they tend to take fewer hours to develop, resulting in a low overall development cost. This makes websites an affordable and financially convenient option for small businesses looking for nothing more than an online presence.
Static pages require significantly less maintenance than dynamic web pages and web apps. Once they’re made, they generally continue to work unless there’s a backend problem, such as an outdated plugin. As a result, website maintenance is simple.
As mentioned earlier, all you need to access a website is an internet-connected device with a web browser installed. This makes websites easily accessible by a wide number of people, increasing your business site’s potential exposure.
Drawbacks of Websites
Though the above benefits are attractive, there are also several drawbacks to static websites over web apps.
Being that they are static, websites come with little to no functionality besides perhaps a few buttons and contact forms. On the one hand, this makes them lightweight and fast loading. On the other hand, they’ve not got much more use than acting as a digital business card.
Unless you’re building a dynamic website–a site with interactive elements and animations–websites have limited interactivity. This comes with the benefit of having a quick-loading site but fails to keep users engaged for as long as an interactive site.
Generally, websites are built on low-capacity servers because they’re all that’s required. This means that when the time comes to scale the site up, you have little room for maneuver without purchasing additional server space.
What Is a Web Application?
Web applications are websites with functional and dynamic use, usually integrated with an online version of a desktop or mobile software. Popular web apps include Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Gmail. The major distinction between web apps and websites is that web apps offer users useful and valuable functionality.
Benefits of Web Applications
So, what are the benefits of web applications?
Cheaper Than Desktop Apps
Developing a web app is much cheaper than building a desktop application as a result of the frameworks used. For instance, a desktop app would need to be built for multiple operating systems, otherwise, you risk isolating users, which requires multiple code bases. Web apps are built for use in web browsers regardless of operating system.
Unlike desktop apps, web applications do not require users to download any files, meaning it’s extremely easy for users to access and use the software. This means web apps can give users the best of both worlds: the functionality of desktop software and the convenience of a simple website.
Easy Maintenance and Updates
When a desktop application needs updating, users are required to download and install the updates themselves. With a web app, users needn’t be involved in the update process at all, as updates are installed remotely by the website developers. This helps to improve the overall user experience (UX).
Related Article: What Are Wireframes in UI/UX Design and Why Are They Important?
Drawbacks of Web Apps
It’s not all sunshine and roses. Just like websites, web apps have some drawbacks, too.
Browser Compatibility Issues
Web apps require up-to-date versions of browsers capable of running the latest variant of PHP and frameworks used by the applications. As a result, this often leads to web apps not functioning correctly on out-of-date web browsers, as well as being unoptimized for particular browsers. For example, when Google Chrome was released, many web apps stopped being properly maintained on Internet Explorer in favor of Chrome.
Data Privacy Concerns
Many desktop applications store user data on the user’s computer and hardware. Web apps, however, use cloud storage to hold data in remote servers. This helps keep the apps lightweight but increases the chances of data leaks.
Mobile Responsivity Issues
Because web apps tend to run several scripts and once and have a user interface tailored toward functionality, they often face mobile responsivity issues. This is a major drawback when you consider that almost 60 percent of web traffic comes from mobiles.
Which Will You Choose?
Whether you’ve decided that a website or web app is right for you and your business, Idea Maker has the resources and skills to build a site to your exact requirements. All you need to do to get started is schedule a free consultation today.