PWA Vs Web App Detailed Comparison: Which One Should You Choose?

pwa vs web app

PWA vs web app is a topic that has gotten a lot of searches on Google recently. However, few articles thoroughly compare all aspects of these two types of apps. 

As a result, many people find it difficult to distinguish between them since they are so similar. However, there are actually many differences between them, from definition and technology to target.

PWA Vs Web App: Detailed Comparison 

Definition differences

It is pretty challenging to distinguish PWA vs web app from just the definition. However, they still have some fundamental distinctions between each other.

First, a web app is application software. However, this application software is built using web programming languages ​​(HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). Once the development is complete, its application program will be hosted on remote servers and operate through these web servers.

web app vs progressive web app

About PWA, simply understand that it is an advanced web app version. Therefore, its core is also a web, not the programming language of the operating system. The most significant difference between a PWA and a web app is that a PWA not only runs on the webserver but is also distributed through the web. In other words, users can install PWAs from websites.

PWA and web app examples

Web apps and PWAs are becoming more and more effective in customer care and sales promotion.

Therefore, a growing number of famous companies apply web apps to their business. The most typical ones are Google Docs, Google Sheets, Netflix, Trello, Basecamp, Microsoft Office, and even Gmail.

You can also find many well-known enterprises using PWA. For example, Lancome, Alibaba, Adidas, Twitter Lite, Tinder, etc. Although these companies’ PWAs are designed differently, they all bring positive results.


This is the key difference between a web app and a PWA. Regarding the web app, its architecture isn’t complicated. Web technology is the building block of this app type’s entire foundation. 

The web app’s frontend is developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For the backend, it may use PHP, Python, Flash, Silverlight, etc.

With PWA, besides standard web technologies, developers also use progressive enhancements, like service workers and web app manifests. They create the advanced features of PWA, such as push notification, offline mode, etc.


Web apps can only be distributed through web browsers. In other words, they cannot be installed on clients’ devices.

Furthermore, web apps are often limited to the web browsers it is programmed to serve. For example, if developers build a web app based on Safari, it will only work on it. However, it is still capable of cross-platform operation.

PWA is an optimal combination between web apps and native apps. It can be accessed through multi web browsers and installed on a device.

To own a PWA, users can download it directly from the website. Besides, you can also distribute this app through app marketplaces.


Due to capacity limitations and credibility, customers rarely download business apps. Often, they need some initiatives, like vouchers, loyal programs, etc.

Web apps are beneficial in showing your buyers those motivations, leading to an increase in web access to your business’ previously distributed mobile apps. 

Besides, it often has high rankings on search result pages. This factor, combined with the convenience and user-friendliness interface, makes it advantageous in attracting users to web apps.

PWAs will suit business owners who already have a website and want it to be more mobile-friendly with an app-like look and feel. 

Thanks to its outstanding functions, features, and interface, PWA can improve your website’s user experience. 

If your business hasn’t had a mobile app yet, it can act as a preeminent website and a standard app.

However, PWA is still valuable for businesses that already have both a website and a mobile app. It can become another customer acquisition channel besides web and app. PWA will attract customers who want to stick with the business but are afraid of losing time downloading the app.


In general, the web app’s interface has many excellent advantages compared to a regular website. For instance, it can provide an interactive experience with a responsive interface and mobile-friendly design. 

Yet, because it can only run in specific web browsers, the experience can’t be as consistent and smooth compared to the one provided by PWA.

The excellent user experience is one of the most well-known strengths of PWAs. It works well across platforms and offers an app-like experience, from add to home screen to offline mode.


Since the web app is an upgraded website version, it contains many benefits. With this app, you can acquire more customer data for remarketing if you require them to log in.

Also, it doesn’t require many page loads, and its content is always fresh. Therefore, customers will have a satisfying surfing time without waiting for an annoying upgrade.

The PWA is an advanced version of the web app. Therefore, its features are more up-to-date and realistic. The most vital app-like abilities include fast loading, offline mode, push notification, and background sync. All are very useful in stimulating the shopping needs of customers.

Besides, the process of customers updating PWA is also straightforward. All they need to do is reload the page. This upgrade only takes about 5 seconds to complete.


Web apps have been around for about 20 years ago. While they offer a better experience, most users can’t see much difference. Therefore, only specific websites that need high compatibility will usually be upgraded to web apps.

PWA appears much later than web apps, but it has become a hot trend in recent years thanks to its unique strengths. Many businesses have applied this technology to their business models and achieved positive results.

Numerous researchers are also interested in this technology and have published many studies proving the effectiveness of PWA.

progressive web app vs web application

As mentioned, PWAs are helpful for most businesses. Especially new companies with a website because PWA is much cheaper to build than a native app but offers similar advantages. For companies that already have both a web and an app, upgrading their website to a PWA will help them have an effective channel to reach customers.

PWA Vs Web App Summary: Differences and Similarities

In short, both web apps and progressive web apps are advanced versions of regular websites. Therefore, they have a lot of likenesses. We will now summarize the similarities and differences here to help you better visualize.


  • First, they’re all websites in essence, since their core is web technology. They are written using popular programming languages ​​like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The web app and PWA are designed to deliver diverse and highly interactive experiences. As a result, their appearance and working ability are all optimized.
  • Thanks to web core. The development and maintenance process of web apps and PWAs saves businesses time and money. Since then profits are also greater.
  • Ultimately, they are all designed to deliver a great customer experience.


  • The most significant difference is the installation process. While the web app can only be used through a web browser, the PWA can be added to the home screen through the web browser or app stores.
  • Although they both aim to offer an app-like experience, the PWA is still more similar to an app. It can hide the browser bar and be browser-independent.
  • The difference that many businesses are most interested in is features. PWA’s abilities are outstanding and much more effective with push notification, offline mode, etc.
  • PWA can enhance customer experience better than a web app. It allows users to access cross-browser. Its speed is also impressive, thanks to a good page loading process. Combined with its app-like look and feel, these three things helped it win the web app.

Which One Is Better For Your Business?

The answer to this question depends on many factors. You have to choose based on your budget, customer behavior, and the type of goods you deliver.

However, if taken holistically, it is clear that PWA provides a better experience for customers and higher profits for businesses. This can be clearly seen through the above analysis.

Still can’t decide between a PWA and a traditional web app? Understanding the differences is crucial.

Our free website consultation can help you make the right choice and guide you through the development process to ensure your project’s success.

PWA Vs Web App – Conclusion

PWA vs web app is a topic that many large enterprises are interested in. This is quite understandable when these two types of apps have a lot of outstanding benefits. However, because PWA is a more advanced version than the web app, it has superior strengths.

Above is all information about progressive web apps and web apps. We hope you find it helpful. Thanks for reading!