Web App vs Mobile App vs Website: What Are The Differences?

by Haley Avery, Digital Web Designer

Analysis trends, web app vs mobile app and software development coding process concept.

There are various terms that describe operating systems and online platforms, including mobile apps, web apps and websites. These are the differences between them.

What Is a Web App?

It’s a software application that runs on a web browser. You access web apps via URLs from desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. You don’t have to download files to use web apps. You can connect to them from an internet platform like Google Chrome or Safari.

How Do Web Apps Work?

Web apps use a client-server model. The client, or device, sends a request to the server hosting the web app, which processes the request and responds. The response is displayed on the user’s browser. Developers use programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create web apps. They’re often designed for online shopping, social networking and productivity tools.

Web App Functionality

Depending on their purpose, web apps offer a wide range of functionality.

The features frequently include:

  • User authentication
  • Database management
  • File storage
  • Project management tools

Web apps can integrate with other web services and programming interfaces, making them ideal for collaborative work and data exchange on social media and payment gateways. They’re also suitable for e-commerce, customer relationship management and inventory management to support business operations.

What Is a Mobile App?

A mobile app is a software designed specifically for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The application must be downloaded and installed on a device. Mobile apps are built for specific operating systems and used for everything from communication and entertainment to shopping and time management.

How Do Mobile Apps Work?

Developers use programming languages, software development kits and integrated development environments to build mobile apps. They may be built natively for a specific platform using tools provided by the operating system or with frameworks that allow code-sharing between programs. Mobile apps use device features such as GPS, cameras, accelerometers and touch screens to let users engage with its interface.

Mobile App Functionality

Mobile apps are suitable for a variety of applications, including notifications, in-app purchases, location-based services and social media integration. They connect your business with customers on the go and provide them access to e-commerce and customer service.

What Is a Website?

Websites are a collection of web pages hosted on an online server that’s available to any device with an internet connection. Unlike web and mobile apps, websites are limited to interactive features like forms and chatbots.

Websites are used for content publication, news and information distribution, e-commerce and branding. Sites vary in complexity and functions and are built using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and backend technologies.

Optimizing websites for search engines is important, so online visitors can find the information they need during a search query. Search engine optimization improves visibility and includes keyword research, link building and content optimization.

Website Functionality

Like web apps, websites use the client-server model and allow you to establish an online presence and connect with potential customers. They’re essential for organizations to share information in today’s digital marketing landscape.

Websites can offer:

  • Database management
  • File storage
  • Social media integration
  • Payment gateways
  • Contact forms
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Multimedia content such as images and videos

The TouchStone Digital team designs and redesigns websites to be mobile responsive, so you can reach your target audience on any device. Contact us to set up a meeting, and let’s discuss details.

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