Web App vs Progressive Web App: What is the Difference?

23 Nov · 6 min read

Web App vs Progressive Web App: What is the Difference?

Thanks to advancing technologies, at present there are more sophisticated alternatives for using the web on various devices. The next step up from standard web apps is progressive web apps. PWAs contain many native app-like features, making them significantly more powerful than standard web apps.

Regular Web App

A Web application (Web app) is a program that is stored on a remote server and delivered via the Internet via a browser interface. Web services are, by definition, Web apps, and many, but not all, websites contain Web apps. According to Jarel Remick, editor of Web. AppStorm, a Web app is any website component that performs some function for the user.

Web applications can be designed for a wide range of purposes and used by anyone, from businesses to individuals, for a variety of reasons. Webmail, online calculators, and e-commerce stores are examples of commonly used Web applications. Some Web apps can only be accessed through a specific browser, but the majority are accessible regardless of browser.

It's browser-based and utilizes a web technology stack for design (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, etc.).While it offers a range of native device features and functions, it is however entirely dependent on the user's browser. Due to browsers' incompatibility with the process, a native device feature may be accessible on Chrome but inaccessible on Safari or Mozilla Firefox.

Progressive Web App(PWA)

Its additional features than a typical web app make for a great user experience. A PWA offers the best user experience on both desktop and mobile platforms combining the best features of online and app experiences. 

Users can download and run PWAs on their devices just like they would a native app. PWA frameworks like AngularJS, Vue.js, ReactJS, etc. are also an option.

Progressive web apps can be downloaded and installed on the user's device much like native apps, but they are not required to be submitted to an app store. Since it offers, it is far more affordable than native mobile applications and has the same set of features.

Additionally, this avoidance of App Store submission enables the brands to enter the market quickly and generate a larger return on investment.

Studies show  PWA development is a wise investment because PWAs are the superior form of web apps, accounting for 87% of the digital market experience.

Uber, Instagram, Pinterest, Trivago, Starbucks, and other well-known companies invested in the opportunity's development and are now reaping its benefits.  Alibaba reported an increase in mobile web conversions of 76%, with an increase in monthly active users (MAU) of 30% and 14% on the Android and iOS platforms, respectively.

PWAs vs traditional web apps

A Progressive Web app has features that make it superior to a regular Web app, including:

1) Initial Native Experience

Although a PWA uses the same web technologies as a regular web app (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), it provides a user experience similar to that of a native mobile application. Without the assistance of the browser or any other third party, the majority of native device functions, including push notifications can be used. With a seamless and integrated user experience, it might be difficult to tell a PWA from a Native application by looking at how they appear and feel.

2) Accessibility

Not only do PWAs have shorter download time they free up RAM for installation and can be shared and used by a link, reducing the number of steps for setup and usage. These programs make it simple to maintain an app icon on the user's home screen, which increases the likelihood of engagement while also making the app immediately accessible to the user and aiding in brand retention.

3) Quicker Services

PWAs can serve the user with text stylesheets, images, and other online content by caching the data even before the page has fully loaded -increasing user engagement and retention,  decreasing end users' waiting times, and boosting business.

4) Engaging Strategy

PWAs may make better use of native device features like push notifications without any bearing on engaging the user's browser. PWAs let you sustain the user engagement and retention rate, ultimately increasing the likelihood of informing the consumer about your services, offers, and other brand-related options and keeping them interested in your brand. 

5) Updated Access to Real-Time Data

The auto-update app feature of  PWAs is another benefit. In this app type, web app developers can automatically push a live update from the server to the apps already installed on users' devices. making it simpler for mobile app developers to offer end consumers the finest updated functionality and services without making them update their apps.

6) Discoverable

Web browsers house PWAs so they can be optimized following Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standards and enhance Google results similar to those in webpages and other web applications.

Progressive Web or Web Apps?

PWAs are cross-browser and cross-platform compatible, regardless of screen size or other technical requirements. On all platforms, devices, and connections, they offer content and fundamental functionality using progressive enhancement.

1) Freedom from restrictions on connectivity-PWAs can be used offline and on slow networks without any issues.

2) PWAs offer a user interface that is similar to the navigation and user interactions of native apps.

3) Push notifications- These can be used to compel and inspire your audience.

4) Auto updated

5) Secure: Because PWAs employ secure HTTPS connections, you can always be guaranteed your safety.

6) PWAs don't require installation, thus it's simple. Furthermore, search engines make it simple to locate them.

Examples of PWA’s

PWAs have already been implemented by many well-known companies to draw in and keep clients. Here are a few instances:


For AliExpress, Alibaba Group created a PWA to enhance both performance and user experience. They were successful in raising-

  • 104% more conversions for new users
  • 2 times more page views each session and a 74% increase in session length


The biggest eCommerce site in India, Flipkart, launched its PWA Flipkart Lite to give mobile consumers a quick and easy experience. The advantages included:

  • 70% more conversions were made
  • Re-Engagement increased by 40%
  • 3x as much time was spent by people

TweetDeck Lite

To replace the mobile web experience, Twitter released its PWA Twitter Lite in 2017. The business was able to

  • tweets by 75% more
  • 20 percent fewer bounces
  • 65% more pages each session


Forbes adopted its PWA. The outcomes included:

  • Engagement rates rose by 100 percent.
  • User sessions increased by 43%.
  • 6 times as many readers finished the article


A PWA was created by the image-based social media network Pinterest to improve user experience and conversion rates. The business observed:

  • increased engagement by 60%
  • Users spend 40% more time on mobile websites
  • Ad click-through rates have increased by 50%.
  • An increase in user-generated advertising revenue of 44%

Final Thoughts

Businesses can generate a positive return on investment with the use of progressive web apps. They are perfect for delivering first-rate digital experiences and effectively engaging your audience. PWAs are the way of the future and will give native apps a serious run for their money in terms of ease of deployment and development. PWAs will become increasingly prevalent in the upcoming years from leading brands all over the world.

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