Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Software and Program

Software vs Program

The terms software and program are used interchangeably as they often refer to the same thing in daily usage. Even though they very close to synonymous, there are still minor differences between them should distinguish one from the other. Software is a very broad term that is used to identify programs, data, and other related files that are used to accomplish certain tasks in a computer or any other device that is performs a computing task. In this sense, we can say that even a program is also a software. But in the broader meaning of the word, a program is any set of instructions that are executed by a machine.

As an example, let’s say that you have a software that records names and addresses in a database. The program and the database are parts of the software but the database is not program. It is simply an accessory to the program that makes it more useful.

Software, including programs, is usually stored in storage media like flash memory or hard drives. This makes it easy for the hardware to retrieve the information quickly and automatically. But programs already existed prior to the coining of the word software. Even before computers, programs were already in use. An excellent example would be the punch cards used by Jacquard looms in weaving clot way back in the beginning of the 19th century. It automated the process and the weavers can pick the design by picking the correct punch cards that contain the program.

With these differences in mind, it is quite correct to refer to computer programs as software as they are actually software. Just take not that not all parts of a software package are programs since not all of them contain instructions. Some of them merely contain data or even images that the program uses in its user interface. Lastly, although most programs are now software, not all are.


1. Software is a broad term that covers computer programs as well as the components that it needs to run while program is a term used to describe any code that is used to run a device
2. Programs existed before software
3. Software typically consists of files while programs can be files or even punch cards

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  1. I like this site, pleas keep it up

  2. now i had a clearer understanding between the differences of the two terms. Because, some just use these terms interchangeably and for those who are new to these fields might think they are just the same. Now I can share some thoughts on what software and programs are.

  3. the site is good but try and put the differences in a tabular form

  4. i like it. but write in two seprate points.

  5. some say the program the software ,but surely they have different task and usage

  6. CAD/CAM is:

    (c)operating system
    (d)computer basic parts
    I asked my sir they told (b)program;
    CAD/CAM is a software but here software not given in options hence program is the ANS

  7. agar software given in options then it will be will be given preference as it is a more clear term

  8. I tend to differ that database does not have instructions. It is true that database is basically a different set of instructions but whose main purpose is to store, protect and manage access to data.
    Just name any database that is not a software, mysql, oracle, dbase, ms access ….

  9. I am studying Web Server’s technical components, and at a place I was confused a lot with programs and software as they are used interchangeably but do different tasks. Now thanks for pointing out the difference so simply.

  10. Excellent example I have totally understood the given topics

  11. Thanks for this site its a very important sites for me

  12. Lekka primary school Bauchi Local government Bauchi state Nigeria

  13. please what’s the relationship between program and software

  14. I love this…. It a clearer and simpler way of understanding….

    Pls, keet this good going….

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