Differentiating websites from web applications and vice versa can be tricky because at their core, they are both buildable and operate on the web. However, the basic principles that define one from the other is that a website is mostly informative while a web application is interactive. Any brand or business can have either, but the way they are used will be different.
For example, your favorite brand of school supplies might have a website that lists down all its products, branches, and contact information among other things. Because this informs you about the brand’s business, we can infer that it is a website – since it doesn’t allow you to do anything more than absorb the information on its pages.
On the other hand, you can have another brand of school supplies that not only allows you to view its product roster but also allows you to check its current inventory as well as order and pay for their products online. This is an example of a web application because you have a higher level of interaction with it beyond reading about the items they offer.
Basically, a web application differs from a website because of how much more interactive it is. A user will have more control over a web application, allowing him to carry out certain actions whether it is to arrange or rearrange data on the page or perform certain transactions.
On the other hand, websites are more static in nature and necessitate less updating than web applications. In fact, highly static websites sometimes require zero updating if their content is already “as-is” and the owner does not see any need to change the content based on what is happening to it in real life.