Progressive Web Apps vs. Regular Websites: Which to Choose?

The article was provided by GoMage — a Magento development company that offers you seamless store and extensions development tailored to your business needs and expectations. 

With over 5 billion mobile users in the world, creating a user-friendly mobile experience should be a top priority for every business. And a responsive website isn’t the only option available.

PWAs offer businesses an easy and cost-effective way to interact with their customers. Multiple world-known companies have already reaped great benefits from utilizing this technology. Forbes, Pinterest, Instagram, Starbucks, Twitter, Lancôme, Uber, and many others are among them.

However, not every business needs a PWA.

In this blog post, you will find answers to the following questions:

  • What does pwa stand for?
  • What is a progressive web app?
  • What are progressive web apps’ characteristics?
  • How does it differ from a regular website? 
  • Which should you choose: a responsive website or a PWA for your business?

What are Progressive Web Apps?

“What does PWA stand for?” PWA stands for Progressive Web Apps. This is a relatively new technology that gained widespread popularity in 2015. 

So what are Progressive Web Apps? These are apps that look like traditional websites and behave like native apps. They effectively bridge the gap between mobile apps and websites, taking the best features from both technologies.

Progressive Web Apps have features that provide users with benefits similar to those available in native apps. PWAs can boast speed and the ability to work offline on any operating system. Let’s get a closer look at the core features of Progressive Web Apps.

Key Characteristics of Progressive Web Apps

Below, you’ll learn about the most prominent benefits of PWAs and key characteristics of the technology.

PWAs are device-agnostic

What is Progressive Web Apps’ major feature? It’s device agnosticism. That means such applications can seamlessly work on any device in a browser. All major browsers support Progressive Web Apps - Safari, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. 

Progressive Web Apps are also platform-agnostic. So you don’t need to have separate native apps for different operating systems. This characteristic is significant since it helps reduce development time and effort as well as ease code maintenance.

PWAs are installable

Users can install a single PWA on desktops and mobile devices. It means that you need to support a single code base, saving a lot of development time. 

Another issue users are concerned about is installation time. Progressive Web Apps are installed in a click. 

PWAs are linkable

This characteristic makes it easy to distribute the app. Users just need to share the link to your PWA in an email, text message, a tweet, etc., with their friends. The link is opened like a traditional website. As simple as ABC.

PWAs function like apps

As mentioned before, PWAs are characterized by an app-like look and functionality. This feature of PWAs is great since multiple studies show that users favor apps over responsive websites. This is because mobile apps have simpler interfaces and enable instant user interaction and engagement. According to Comscore, mobile users devote just 13% of their time to web surfing while 87% of their usage time is spent in apps.

Key Characteristics of PWA

PWAs are cost-effective

Being cost-effective is one of the major advantages of PWAs over native apps. The development of a PWA costs less since no coding for different operating systems is required, while standard apps need separate codes for Android and iOS. Native app development is more time- and labor-consuming and hence costly.

Moreover, native app owners have to purchase a developer account to post an app on the store. The process of app approval takes some time. With PWAs, you can sidestep this process and save time and costs. PWA web development will cost 60-70% less than the development of a regular app. 

PWAs can work in an offline mode

One of the important Progressive Web App benefits is that it can adequately function even when your network connection is unstable or when you don’t have any connection at all. This is possible thanks to caching information of web pages visited by users. Websites require a stable internet connection. So PWAs definitely win in this respect.

It should be mentioned that new information will only be displayed after re-establishing a user’s internet connection.

However, the ability to work offline is still one of the critical PWA benefits, especially for retail companies providing product catalogs because it allows their customers to browse catalogs offline and get an uninterrupted user experience. This increases user engagement and leads to higher revenues.

PWAs can send push notifications

What is Progressive Web App remarkable for? It’s the ability to send push notifications. Research shows that push notifications can increase app retention rates by 190%. This means a higher level of engagement with your content when you send timely and relevant messages.

Since push notifications are highly noticeable on mobile screens, businesses can reach out to their audiences more easily and frequently, thus increasing their chances to engage with users, retain them, and ultimately increase sales.

This characteristic is a perfect opportunity for businesses to amplify their marketing efforts by notifying past users about their half-checked-out shopping carts, available discounts, sales, etc.

PWAs are secure

Using HTTPS security protocol is a core requirement of progressive web apps, meaning PWAs are safe for both users and business owners. This characteristic eliminates the risks of various illegal activities like snooping, security breaches, content tampering, etc.

Moreover, since PWAs are accessed through browsers, these apps benefit from browsers’ built-in security features.

PWAs vs. Responsive Websites

Now that we have learnt what Progressive Web App is and explored major Progressive Web Apps benefits, it’s time to see how a PWA differs from a standard responsive website. We’ll cover the following aspects:

  • Development time & cost
  • Offline work
  • User experience 
  • SEO & SEM
  • Accessibility

Let’s go over each point.

Development time & cost

The time required to develop a responsive website hardly differs from the time required to build a PWA. But in terms of costs, there are substantial differences. Developing a PWA means developing several versions of a website so it can function on different devices. At the same time, Progressive Web Application development services are not significantly higher.

However, by investing in the development of a PWA, you win in the long run because such features as high load speed, push notifications, offline mode, and app-like functionality potentially help generate more revenue and make a PWA a cost-effective solution.

Offline work

What is Progressive Web Apps’ major advantage over websites? PWAs can still work in an offline mode, unlike websites that require a stable internet connection. Offline functionality is possible due to saving and caching large amounts of data. In this regard, PWAs, without a doubt, are a more advanced solution than websites. 

User experience

One of the greatest advantages of PWA over native apps and websites is the unmatched user experience it provides. Progressive Web Apps can run on both iOS and Android, while native apps can run only on a specific one.

Besides, PWAs enable enhanced user experience due to a high loading speed. According to Think with Google, 53% of users abandon a site if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. With a PWA, a website loads almost instantly hence reducing bounce rates and increasing conversion rates.


A regular website is discoverable, and so is Progressive Web App. SEO and SEM work great for both. That means both options allow search engine crawlers to index their content hence improving your ranking by utilizing relevant keywords. That is because PWAs are web-based.


What does PWA mean in the nutshell? PWA means easy accessibility when compared to a regular website. Progressive Web Apps can easily be saved to a smartphone’s home screen. That means a user doesn’t need to search for the PWA in the browser every time because the app launches instantly by clicking the app icon on the home screen.

PWA vs Responsive Website

GoMage PWA Storefront: Fastest PWA Development Option

What does PWA stand for? PWA stands for Progressive Web App. And the word ‘progressive’ is essential here. If you have decided you want your business to be progressive, you need to build a PWA. The next question you ask is who can develop a PWA storefront for you. Let us show you why GoMage PWA Storefront might suit you.

GoMage delivers GoMage PWA Storefront – a Magento PWA that is packed with powerful features and integrations and doesn't require deep technical expertise from store admins.

The most typical question businesses ask is how quickly they can get their PWA storefront. GoMage PWA Storefront goes with a set of pre-packed features, thus saving lots of development hours. You just download and install GoMage Storefront and tailor it to your business requirements. 

In case your business has specific needs, you can ask the GoMage team to add any integrations and unique PWA features on top of the storefront.

By choosing GoMage PWA Storefront, you can reap the following benefits:

  • Quick PWA Storefront launch. For many businesses, it’s enough to install the storefront and customize it due to a set of pre-packed features.
  • Out-of-the-box integrations that speed up the development process significantly. Our solution is integrated with multiple third-party services including PayPal, Algolia, TrustPilot, Zendesk, and many others.
  • Easy customization. Page Builder enables you to change the PWA Storefront right from the Magento Admin Panel based on your business needs.
  • Search engine indexing. Since PWAs were introduced by Google, they are ranked by search engines letting you reach more customers than with a native app.
  • Increased performance. PWAs are twice as fast as responsive websites. This allows you to increase conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.
  • Easier access to your pages. Customers can add your PWA to their smartphone’s home screen. This increases your brand’s chances to become recognizable.
  • Offline operation. With this feature, you provide your customers with the ability to browse your store even in case of low or no internet connection.
  • Cost and time savings. If you choose a PWA, you get one solution that replaces a responsive website and two separate apps for different operating systems and works on any device.
  • Increased customer loyalty. Your customers will love your PWA because it won’t take too much place on their devices, unlike native apps.

With all the above-mentioned information in mind, you can see that PWAs are shaping the future of eCommerce. Despite a lot of obvious advantages, Progressive Web Apps may not be the number one choice for each and every business. What to choose – a PWA or a responsive website – largely depends on your specific business needs and goals. So choose wisely.