With the rapid introduction of the Internet into all areas of our lives, a lot of terms, tools, solutions, and types of web resources have appeared.
In this context, web applications and websites are becoming increasingly important tools for companies and users. However, with the development of digital technology, a new concept has appeared on the market — progressive web apps (PWAs), which combine all the best from web applications, websites, and native mobile solutions.
In this article, we will make a full comparison of these three types of web platforms and try to determine which one is the best for your brand and your project, your leads and your clients. We will rely on the world’s best practices and many years of experience of our company.
The Main Difference
Website, web application, and progressive web application are the three key options for building web solutions that are applied for different purposes and business goals. And when it comes to building digital products, it’s important to understand the distinction between all of them in terms of business needs and user experience.
Although these tools may seem very similar at first glance, they refer to different types of products with their own distinct peculiarities and unique capabilities.
A website is a set of hyperlinked web pages designed to provide information about an enterprise, startup, or topic, promote items and services, post contact details, and more. It is accessed through a browser and can contain static content (text and images) or dynamic content (video, animation, and music), but it doesn’t change based on user actions.
- Websites usually do not demand installation, updates, or support on the user’s side; they do not have to support mobile optimization.
- Websites can be simple — a single page with a few paragraphs of text, or complex — a multi-page site with interactive features, forms, and multimedia.
- Websites are usually less interactive and feature-rich than web applications, but can still be an effective way to post info and create a digital presence.
A web application is a flexible and dynamic software that runs on a server, is reached through a web browser, and performs certain tasks or functions. They are often much more complicated than websites and provide a greater degree of user input and interaction.
- Web apps can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including data management, e-commerce, social media, and more. They can also be used for complex tasks such as project management, order processing, and customer accounting.
- Web applications are often characterized by definite server and database requirements; they typically require authorization and can process huge volumes of data.
- Web apps have dynamic content that can change in real time depending on user actions.
- Unlike websites, which are typically static and non-dynamic, web apps allow users to actively enter and manipulate data, triggering responses and actions from the application.
Progressive Web Application
A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a type of web platform that is created to look like a full-fledged native mobile app downloaded from app stores. It can be set on the user’s gadget as a usual application.
- PWAs offer many of the same strengths as native apps, such as offline functionality, push notifications, and access to in-build features like the camera or GPS.
- Unlike native apps that are developed specifically for one operating system of mobile devices, PWAs are created using web technologies and can be reached through a web browser. This means that they can be designed and maintained more efficiently than native applications, which demand separate development and distribution for each platform.
- PWAs can work without internet connection, support push notifications, can be placed on the home screen of a mobile device, and can be used without downloading from the app store.
- PWAs are becoming an increasingly popular choice for companies looking to create cross-platform apps without the time and expense associated with developing native apps.
Web App VS Website Advantages
In general, the website is primarily designed for providing information, while the web app is a great solution for more complex tasks.
Let’s take a look at the critical benefits that the development of a web application has over the creation of a website.
- Interactivity: web mobile apps provide the user with a wide range of functionality, such as interaction with other users, data management, order processing, payment, etc.
- Ease of use: web apps can have a more flexible and simple interface that is specifically designed to perform certain functions, while websites tend to be difficult to use due to their multi-page structure and complex navigation.
- Platform independence: web applications can be used on any OS that supports a browser, and websites may not be optimized to run on some devices.
- Data management: web mobile apps can provide the ability to manage large amounts of data, including storage, processing, and analysis.
- Top-notch security: web applications generally have a higher level of security than websites because they can provide secure access to sensitive information and use more sophisticated safety options.
- Functionality: web applications are feature-rich and match many requests from users of mobile devices, while websites display only a static page that provides textual information.
PWA VS Web App Advantages
While the web app does an excellent job of implementing complex tasks, PWA offers a much more top-notch and first-class user experience.
Let’s consider the most important benefits of developing progressive web apps versus building regular web apps.
- Offline accessibility: PWAs save data on the user's mobile device, which means that they can work even without the Internet.
- Native experience: despite the fact that PWA is web-based just like a regular web app, it provides users with the same experience as a native mobile app using native device features.
- Engaging approach: PWAs leverage built-in device features, increasing user loyalty and maintaining their engagement and retention.
- Speed: progressive web apps offer fast page loading due to their lightweight structure and ability to cache data.
- Cross-platform: PWAs can run on different devices and OSs, providing a consistent user experience across all platforms.
- Security: progressive web apps provide encryption to protect the data transmitted between the server and the user, providing a high level of security.
- Update: PWAs are updated automatically without the need to reload the page.
- SEO: progressive web apps have the potential to boost search engine optimization rates through fast loading and high levels of user engagement.
- Profitability compared to a native product. Progressive web apps can be installed on a user’s device, but do not require submission to the App Store. This provides a lower development cost compared to native mobile apps with the same feature set.
So, progressive web apps are an advanced version of traditional web apps. They have become a hot trend in recent years in digital product development, and it’s no surprise. The fact is that combining the advantages of a web application and a mobile native application looks like something incredible. But now it’s possible and a progressive web app is a reality.
What to Choose
The choice between a website, web application, or progressive web application depends on the specific preferences, tasks, and goals of your project. If you just want to share information about your brand and establish a presence in the digital environment, a website can be the best choice. If you need a more interactive, scalable, and flexible product, the development of a web application or PWA is better for you. It’s also worth taking into account your target groups and preferred platform. If you’re targeting a global audience or need to support multiple platforms at the same time, PWA might become your win-win choice.
It is important to remember that each type of product has its own strengths and limitations. Websites are generally simpler and less interactive than web apps but can be an effective way to share information and establish a web presence. Web applications are more flexible and functional than websites, but their development can be more complex and time-consuming. PWAs offer many of the same benefits as native apps, but are built using web technologies and are accessible through a web browser. By understanding and matching the pros and cons of each, you will be able to choose the best solution for your project, your business, and your users.
At Brights, we specialize in the development of digital web products of all types, taking your business to the next level. Whether it’s a website, web application, or progressive web app (PWA), our team of experienced and skilled developers will implement the best solution for your project, delivering an innovative approach and cutting-edge user experience.