Difference Between Software and Program

In today’s world, technology plays a really important role. Almost all the work is done on it. Lots of important data are saved and shared through the software and programs.

Technology – be it a computer, mobile phones, laptops, etc. cannot work without instructions. Their instructions are in-built in hardware, software, and programs. These are very important for any technology to function as they help to decode the instructions given.

Software vs Program

The main difference between software and program is that software is a collection of many programs used to perform tasks, whereas a program is a set of instructions that are written in a programming language. The software can be a program, but programs cannot be software.

Software vs. Program

Software is a set of programs used to perform/execute specific tasks (to operate the computers). Software as a word was coined to differentiate it from the hardware (physical components). Software is divided into two categories – application software and system software.

Every software has a user interface (can be in a command or graphical form). Megabyte to gigabytes is the range of size of the software.

A program is a collective set of instructions that are set to perform a specific task. Programs are written in a programming language (like C, C++, etc.) by a programmer. There are no types or categories for a program.

It does not have a user interface, and the size of a program can range from kilobytes to megabytes.

Comparison Table Between Software and Program

 Parameters of Comparison Software Program
 Definition software is a set of programs combined to execute a task A program is a set of instructions that are built to perform a specific task.
 Categories It can be divided into two categories – application software and system software. Programs usually do not have any other categories/classifications.
 User interface The software has a user interface that can be in a command or graphical format. The program does not have any user interfaces.
 Size Software size can range from megabytes to gigabytes. Program size ranges in between kilobytes and megabytes.
 Compilation The entire software is ready – developed, compiled, tested, and debugged while it is being processed. Program is compiled every time while we(user) need some output.
 Examples VLC media, Microsoft Word and Excel, etc Malware, Web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, etc.)

What is Software?

Software is a collection of programs/data that are built to instruct a computer for its working. Software is the digital portion that runs on the hardware. It is said that software is directly related and responsible for managing a variety of independent hardware.

The size of the software ranges from megabyte to gigabyte.

The software takes more time to build, and its functionality depends on the operating system. The software has many features like GUI, process, input/output data, etc.

Example of software- adobe, VLC media, Microsoft word and excel, etc.

There are two categories of the software –

  • Application software – they are user downloaded programs that fulfil a need or want of the user. They are typically used by the end-users. The application system can be called APP in short. Applications can work with audio, numbers, texts, and also a combination of all these elements.

Examples include gaming, database systems, educational or office software.

  • System software – it is a base for the application software (platform for other software) computer programming language is usually used to write system software.

Examples- include servers, utilities, etc.

What is Program?

A program is a set of instructions that help a computer or other machines to work/function automatically (completing a task). Programs are written in programming languages like C, C++, Java, etc. It is similar to a script that is compiled in a language that the computer can decode and perform.

The program has to be developed and complied with every time a user wants to generate some output from it. Some programs are made up of many different files, and some are made up of one file.

A computer’s non-volatile memory is where the program files are stored until they are wanted directly or indirectly by the user to execute a task. There are no further categorizations for a program. They do not have any user interfaces.

A program takes less time to build and has a size range from kilobytes to megabytes. The program’s functionality is dependent on the compiler; it has limited functions and only a few features.

Examples include malware, web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Apple, Safari, etc.), video games, etc.

Main Differences Between Software and Program

  1. A program is a set of instructions used to perform a task, whereas software is a set of programs.
  2. A program cannot be software, but software can be a program.
  3. A program has no more categories or types, whereas software has two categories – application software and system software.
  4. A program does not have a user interface, whereas software has a user interface that can be a command or graphical format.
  5. Programs are compiled whenever output has to be generated, whereas software is compiled, tested, and debugged during the development process.
  6. The size of a program is from kilobytes to megabytes and hence takes less time to make, whereas software ranges in between megabyte and gigabyte and takes comparatively more time to build.
Difference Between Software and Program


Charles Babbage was the one who designed the first-ever computer. Since then, there has been drastic development in technology. The size of the computers became smaller and smaller as years passed, but the programs and tasks they could do started increasing.

Technology has made our lives so easy. Everything is available at our fingertips, just one click away.

Programs, software, hardware all are equally important for any task to execute. Even if one thing is not in its place or coded properly, the tasks won’t get executed.

Future will bring in many more advancements in technology, and many such software programs will come in need.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-19823-6_17
  2. https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/26092

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