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What Is the Difference between a Webmaster and Web Designer?

A webmaster maintains and updates a website, ensuring it functions smoothly, while a web designer focuses on the aesthetic and user experience aspects of a site. Both roles are crucial for a successful online presence. But how do their responsibilities overlap in the digital landscape?
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

The difference between a webmaster and web designer can be somewhat subtle, depending on the various duties required for a particular website. In general, however, a webmaster is usually someone who is responsible for overseeing the daily activities and functions of a site and supervising ongoing maintenance and operations. A web designer, on the other hand, is typically someone who actually creates the various visuals and other elements used on a webpage and them assembles them together to create a site. There are some instances in which someone can be both a webmaster and web designer, though they can also be mutually exclusive careers.

One of the major distinctions between a webmaster and a web designer is the difference between artistry and technical upkeep. A webmaster is usually someone who ensures that the technical aspects of a website are met and overseen. If a particular browser program has compatibility issues with a website, for example, the webmaster or administrator for that site is usually contacted and undertakes efforts to fix these issues. Regular maintenance for a site is usually performed or overseen by a webmaster and errors or other issues that may arise over time are often dealt with by him or her.

Webmasters often need skills in online marketing and social media.
Webmasters often need skills in online marketing and social media.

While both a webmaster and web designer are responsible for working on an Internet site, the designer is usually involved with the creative side of a site. A client, for example, might approach a web designer with a general idea for a site, and then work with that developer to choose different possible fonts, colors, and basic layouts to be used. The web designer or developer then creates a webpage for that client, through a combination of graphic arts and programming. Some very large websites, such as pages for major online retailers, can be created by a team of designers working under one or more web producers.

A webmaster would be tasked with performing website maintenance to address a security threat from a hacker.
A webmaster would be tasked with performing website maintenance to address a security threat from a hacker.

There can be instances, however, in which the work of a webmaster and web designer can overlap, especially for smaller sites. Since the designer has personal and extensive knowledge of how a site is created, he or she can continue to provide webmaster services for a client. Much of this depends on the preferences of a designer, however, and the types of work that he or she prefers to do. Both a webmaster and web designer can also work together when a page needs to be updated or when a client wants a new site based on older designs. A webmaster can provide a new designer with information about various strengths or weaknesses an older page had, which the designer can use to create a new and superior site.

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    • Webmasters often need skills in online marketing and social media.
      By: bloomua
      Webmasters often need skills in online marketing and social media.
    • A webmaster would be tasked with performing website maintenance to address a security threat from a hacker.
      By: Artur Marciniec
      A webmaster would be tasked with performing website maintenance to address a security threat from a hacker.