To me, a web application is a practical section of software, driven by dynamic, communicating content. A website is more static and revealing in nature. When I think of a web application, I think of gmail. When I am considering a website, I think of time.com or indianexpress.com.
To me, from a design outlook, web applications function different purposes, and therefore must be designed differently than websites. Websites primary role is to update. Web application`s main role is to do something. When the main objective of something you work on is different, the final result is going to be different.
A website is a group of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Locator, habitually involving of only the domain name. A website is presented on at least one web server, reachable via a network such as the Internet.
It’s All About Purpose & Usage
The best way to know about the difference between a web application and a website is to think yourself what is it being used for; or what is its aim. If the exclusive purpose is to promote a service or product, then we call those websites. If the purpose is useful in nature, intended to answer a problem or make your work easier, then it’s possibly an application.
news.cnet.com is a website not a web application because its primary purpose is to inform people about the services/ news on the web.
Gmail on the other hand is a web application because its prime purpose is to allow you to send & receive email. You could debate that GMail is marketing tool to users through their ads and links to other products, however, GMail it is an application.
When it comes to mobile improvement for iPhone, iPad and Android devices we categorize all of those as applications because even though some companies want to build something that advertises their products or services, you still have to shape an application to show that content. Most mobile applications we see are resolving difficulties or trying to make way more effective; whether it’s healthcare, learning, & manufacturing, But still they are web applications.