What’s The Difference Between an Application and a Web Application?

What’s The Difference Between an Application and a Web Application?

You will have roughly 45400 clients to target directly if you assume that among the 4.54 billion unique internet users, 0.001% of users will check your company’s app and web app. The Internet impact is undeniable. One of the factors that make a web app and app development vital for organizations is exposure.  

But there is a difference between an application and a web app. Let’s understand.  

What is an Application: Mobile or Computer?

An application is a software that you either use on a computer or your phone. Every application has a specific function. For example, if you are using the IKEA app, its purpose is to deliver their house décor items to you. Similarly, you can’t get the same service from a telehealth app. Applications are self-contained.

What is the Function of an App?

There are several possible functions of an app that you can put as a (or by a) developer. Here I will mention the most popular ones.

  • Add users and accounts to collect user data and let the user have a customized search.
  • Apps also allow user-generated content. It helps users to get analyzed data and make a custom search.
  • Dashboards are quite useful for fintech apps. With the help of dashboards, users can track their financial expenses, savings, etc.  
  • You can also add an activity feed in an app as you get on Instagram. However, that is not mandatory but it is getting quite popular these days.
  • Whether it is Amazon, Facebook, or Canva, there is always a function in the app where you can upload files. It is one of the most important functions of an app.  

What Kind of Frameworks Are Used to Create Apps?

There are several frameworks to back application development services. However, I will add the most common ones so that it becomes easier for you to choose.

  • Flutter (perfect for cross-platform apps)
  • React Native (cross-platform app development framework)
  • Ionic
  • Xamarin
  • Native Script

What is a Web Application?

Web apps are purpose-oriented, created, or developed to run on web browsers. Whether it will earn money from the service it is providing or it has a critical mission. For example, Slack is mission-oriented. If you are using Slack for your business for internal use, you are seeking a free flow of communication in the company. This leads to seamless decision-making and implementation of major changes.  

What Kind of Frameworks Are Used to Create Web Apps?

These frameworks are libraries that are used in the process of web application development to make the process faster and seamless. There are many frameworks you can choose from; however top 6 web app frameworks are:

  • Angular (Front-end Javascript framework)
  • React (Front-end Javascript framework)
  • Vue.js (Front-end Javascript framework)
  • Laravel (Back-end framework)
  • Django (Back-end framework)
  • Express (Back-end framework)

What is the Function of a Web Application?

Yes, it is called an app, but you do not need to download it. Rather, it needs only three elements –  

  • Web server
  • Application server and
  • Database

So, what does the workflow look like?  

Step 1 – When a user hits a request, it reaches the web server through the browser.  

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Step 2 – Now, it is the of the web server to direct the required web app server using HTTP to process the user request.

Step 3 – The web app server functions the requested task against the database and displays the result to the user through the web server.  

Let me help you understand with a real-life example. When you write “Poker face by Lady Gaga” on YouTube, you are actually requesting the webserver to direct the app server to show the results of the song on YouTube. This is an example of a web application and its performance.

What is the Difference Between a Web App and an App?

Everything yet nothing! It is a paradox when it comes to the differences between a web app and an app. The main reason is that whatever elements are there in an app, could exist in a web app as well. However, there are still some fundamental differences which we will discuss here.

Mode of Operation

You can operate the app on your phone of a desktop. However, for a web app, you need a browser to operate the content of the web app.  

Availability of the App

To get the app you need to install it from a digital store first then you can use it on your phone or desktop. For web apps, you need just the browser and you can access it anytime without any installation.

Internet Mandates

If you want to use your application without the internet, you perhaps can. Not every app requires the internet after installation. For example – offline dictionaries, google suite, etc. But for every web app, the internet is mandatory.


Mobile apps are more secure than web apps. Mobile app developers particularly focus on security to avoid data theft and hackers.


Mobile apps require approval from the digital store before you put them up for the users. For web apps the story is different. Web apps require to go through no approval process.


Mobile (or desktop) apps are frequently updated by the developers but in the case of web apps, you don’t need to worry about that. Web apps manage the updates on their own.  

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Sure, web apps and apps have their differences. But each of them is in high demand and it is almost impossible to say which one is better. It rather depends on your company’s objectives. If you think your users need an app and a web app won’t do, then be it. Otherwise, there is always a web application development company that is rightly fit for your business objectives.