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What is a web app? | The basics & why they’re vital in business

Looking to learn about web apps? You’re in the right place! In this insight, you’ll learn everything from what they are to why they are vital in modern-day businessess.

Emil Pruden
6 min read

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Are you looking to learn about web apps? You’re in the right place! In this Insight, you’ll learn everything from what they are to why they are vital in modern-day businesses.

Web apps are only getting better and better.

There’s no denying it. Web apps are vital to modern-day business.

From the moment you sit down and flip open your laptop until the moment you log off, I bet you’re relying on a web app.

Gmail. Outlook. Trello. Facebook. Spotify. Docs.

You can access all web apps through a web browser wherever you have internet.

It’s safe to say that they are essential to modern-day business. And, we’re just at the start where web apps are getting better and better.

So if you’re unfamiliar with a web app, here are the basics. Plus, we’ll dive into various real-world web app examples you might want to start using today.

What is a web app?

As the name suggests, a web app runs through the world wide web (www), just like a website. It’s an online application that you can access using a web browser without having to download anything to your device. 

You can access a web app through a web browser and by entering Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

The way to truly understand will be to dive into the differences between a website, web app and mobile app.

The difference between a website, web app, and mobile app?

Websites allow you to access information. 

With a website, you’ll only be able to access information and get an understanding of something, such as text, images, and illustrations. 

A website is something that you can see and read, but there’s nothing that you as a user can do to change, activate or manipulate the data. 

Think of one of the largest websites in the world, Wikipedia. 

Web apps perform tasks for you.

A web app will go one step further. It’s a website on steroids, performing actions and tasks for you. It doesn’t just allow you to access or look at information but performs a programmed task for you automatically.

Mobile apps (or native apps) get downloaded to your device.

Another name for a mobile app is a native app

They are downloaded and installed onto your device using the App Store or the Play Store. Then, the app can run without an internet connection as you have downloaded it to your device. You’ll run the app using your operating system without needing the internet – although you might need the internet to download it in the first place or need the internet to access paid parts of the app.

Every type of app has its place in the digital world.

Now you know the basics of websites and apps, you’ve probably figured out that each has its place in the digital world. 

A website will give a user information. And an app will perform a task for you.

Are you thinking about building a web app or mobile app?

When it comes down to choosing if you should build a web app or a mobile app, both have pros and cons, and it’s really about understanding the user needs most – sometimes it’s all three!

We’ve written that can help How do I pick between a native app and a web app?

So, why are web apps vital for modern-day businesses?

Web apps solve pain points and make a business run smoothly and efficiently. Content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), project management software, or a simple web chat. They’re tools that set you apart from your competition.

If you’re not using these web app solutions and are struggling to put down the pen, paper and fax machine – which we highly doubt in 2022 – then you’ll be missing out. 

But that’s one side of why web apps are vital in modern-day business. Now for the other.

They can be a great way to create a new revenue stream.

Our awesome clients have done just that.

 StandOutCV, a recruitment agency, came to us with an idea to create a web app that automatically helps users build job-winning CVs in minutes, adding not just another layer of value to their services but another source of revenue!

7 web app examples you might want to start using today


A powerful web application capable of more than just an easy-to-use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but a sales and marketing powerhouse!


Squoosh is a web app that you can head over to right now. I always use it when I’m uploading new content to our website. I locate the image I want to use, and then I’ll ‘squoosh’ the file size to an acceptable one.

I click, drag, and export.

Then boom! A compressed, high-quality image is at the ready.


Facebook – probably one of the world’s most successful, most used web apps in the world – lets you be able to create your very own profile, post updates, talk to people via chat, and so much more. All these actions have been specifically designed (by a UX/UI designer) and programmed (by a developer) into an easy-to-use interface that you can access anywhere.

Google Apps

Docs, Sheets, Drive, Gmail, Slides. All web apps are part of the Google Workspace ecosystem. Without them, how would we run our businesses, ey?!


A web app helps marketers create ‘Meaningful customer experiences delivered at scale’.

Klayvio is a web app, not just an email marketing and SMS tool but a solution that analyses data to carry out better, more personal, and effective marketing strategies.


When the working world changed overnight, Cafe was there to support hybrid working.

Cafe is an app that helps businesses manage who is going to be in the office or not.

We use Cafe here at Hiyield soon after we adopted the hybrid model and have never looked back. 

It’s brilliant!


An online, all-encompassing eCommerce solution.

Shopify is a web app – or a variety of web apps – with all sorts of solutions, perfectly formed to sell online. From its own CRM, a point of sale system (POS) or its fulfilment services. It’s a web app that makes eCommerce simple and scalable.

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Let’s get started!

Great digital products aren’t just built, they’re co-created. Together, let’s breathe life into your idea, crafting solutions that stand out.