Progressive Web App Vs Web App: A Detailed Comparison

progressive web app vs web app (1)

Progressive web app vs web app is a topic that many business owners pay attention to. This is understandable as it is pretty tricky to tell the differences if you don’t have technical knowledge.

However, both apps are seen as a future trend. Numerous scientific research has shown the rapid development of e-commerce in general and mobile device sales in particular. 

Therefore, it is essential to know the basic PWA and web app information. So, what are they, and what are their differences? Let’s dig into this!

What Is A Progressive Web App (PWA)?

pwa mobile app

Progressive web app (PWA) was first introduced by Google in 2015. The developers use web technology to build this application’s core. It is written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming languages.

However, PWA can still bring users the same feeling as a native application. Although it has the same interface, features, and speed as a typical native app, absolutely no installation or download is required!

Besides, despite having a native app appearance, PWA is a website at its core. Therefore, it can be accessed through the browser and has its own URL. The PWA designer will hide the browser bar and deliver an app-like experience. 

Thanks to this building process, PWA has no platform limitations. It can be developed on all operating systems of phones and computers.

What Is A Web App?

pwa examples

A web app is an application designed using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). It operates on browsers and owns a unique URL.

In addition, a web app has native-device features. It is built so that the website’s content is most streamlined on the phone screen.

However, a web app cannot be installed and highly depends on the browser it is built on. For example, you may only use certain web app features through Google Chrome, not Safari, because this browser isn’t compatible with them.

Progressive Web App Vs Web App – Which One Is Better?

Above is the definition of web app and PWA. It remains challenging to tell them apart with only basic information. So, progressive web app vs web app here is a closer look into their differences.

Native Experience

PWAs and web apps are both built with web programming languages. However, PWA can provide a more engaging user experience. It’s the closest to a native app. Without a thorough look at the interface, hardly anyone can distinguish between it and the native app.

Also, web apps rely too much on the specific browsers they are built on. Thus, it lessens their ability to deliver users a seamless and continuous experience.

In contrast, PWA is available on all browsers so that the customer will obtain a consistent experience.

Offline Mode

This is a precious function for customers with an unstable network connection. These include residents in rural areas or people who are often on the move.

With PWA’s offline mode, users will be able to continue to interact with the parts or pages they previously loaded. Users’ offline activities will be stored and resent to the main server when their connection is stable.

This is a vital feature. However, a regular web app cannot deliver offline mode.


progressive web apps pros and cons

The ability to add to main mobile screens is one of the biggest strengths of native apps. This allows users to access the application more conveniently, leading to an increase in the purchase rate.

Besides native and hybrid apps, only PWA possesses this advantage. It can be added to the home screen on both Android and IOS. The installation process of the PWA is more optimized than the native app. Users only need to spend a few seconds downloading.

In addition, users can fully share the PWA’s link for their friends to install the application. This helps increase accessibility and reduce the number of installation steps.

In contrast, web apps don’t have this strength. Users must access it through browsers. This makes the application unable to stimulate customers to shop actively.

Development Cost

The investment cost is noticeably affordable since both web apps and PWA uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript technology.

Specifically, this is a technology that many people have mastered. In addition, the language is cross-platform compatible. Therefore, developers only need to build the application once, but it can run on many operating systems (IOS, Android, Windows).

In addition, both do not need to receive approval through the application markets (Apple App Store, Google Play). As a result, businesses do not need to lose additional submission fees for them.

In short, the budget required to build a PWA and a web app is both reasonable, and there is no significant difference between them.

The features

Web app, in all its glory, is still just a mobile-friendly website. Its features aren’t really outstanding compared to a regular web.

In contrast, besides an app-like interface, PWA also possesses outstanding features, such as offline mode, push notification, and automated updates.

Thanks to this variety of features, PWA can continuously attract every demanding customer to spend time on the application. As a result, the revenue and loyal customer quantity will significantly increase.

progressive web app's advantages

The speed

Experts agree that the website’s speed highly impacts the customer experience. Customers often leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load unless the site has something essential to them.

PWA has a clear advantage in this factor. Thanks to its cache, the PWA can load very quickly, even when the client’s connection is unstable. 

Even if the page is not completely loaded, the vital content customers want to see, such as photos, texts, and the like, will be prioritized to be completed first. Because of that, this application usually loads a few seconds faster than the regular web app.


Undeniably, the ability of web apps to reach potential customers is much stronger than native apps. In fact, people often continue to use the native app after using the web app. The installation rate is still meager.

However, a native app has many functions to increase the conversion rate and take care of customers. In other words, the presence of a native app on a phone can stimulate the acquisition and loyalty of its users.

PWA can help businesses achieve both of these strengths. In essence, the PWA still has its own URL because it’s a website.

As a result, the PWA is still visible on search engines and can reach hundreds of millions of internet users. In addition, it can also be pinned to the main screen. Therefore, it can also increase user loyalty and buying decisions.

SEO friendly

PWAs and web apps are essentially websites. They have their own URLs. Therefore, they are pretty SEO-friendly.

However, as explained above, PWAs usually have a faster speed than regular web apps. In other words, it has a significant SEO advantage.

Of course, you still need to invest effort in website-building strategies, even with a PWA. This will help you effectively optimize your PWA’s search engine compatibility.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, web apps are websites that look like native apps but are only accessible through specific browsers. About PWA, it has an app-like interface and optimized features and installation processes. 

Both web app and PWA are an upgradation of the regular website. However, PWA is also considered a perfect combination between web app and native app.

While PWA has shown that its the ideal choice for businesses, its final performance relies a lot on its developers. Thus, if you want a great PWA, work with a great PWA development provider, like Tigren.

Our Tigren team has had extensive experience working with PWA and knows every nook and crook to make the best performance. Our Progressive Web App App design and development service is among the top, and you will be more than satisfied with your PWA!

Read More:

Progressive Web App Vs Single Page App: Which One Is Better?

Progressive Web App Vs Responsive Web Design: Which Provides A Better UX?

Progressive Web App Vs Native App: What’s The Future Hold?

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