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Building a Progressive Web App (PWA) with React.js

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that offer a native app-like experience while being accessible through web browsers. They combine the best of both web and mobile apps, providing offline capabilities, faster loading times, and enhanced user experiences. In this guide, we’ll explore how to build a Progressive Web App using React.js.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following installed:

Step 1: Create a React.js Application

We’ll start by creating a new React.js application using Create React App. Open your terminal and run the following command:

npx create-react-app my-pwa

This command will create a new React.js project named my-pwa.

Step 2: Configure the Manifest File

PWAs require a manifest file to provide metadata about the app, such as its name, icons, and colors. Create a manifest.json file in the public folder of your React app (if it doesn’t already exist), and configure it with relevant information. Here’s an example:


  “short_name”: “My PWA”,

  “name”: “My Progressive Web App”,

  “description”: “An example Progressive Web App built with React.js”,

  “start_url”: “./index.html”,

  “display”: “standalone”,

  “background_color”: “#ffffff”,

  “theme_color”: “#000000”,

  “icons”: [


      “src”: “icon.png”,

      “sizes”: “192×192”,

      “type”: “image/png”





Make sure to replace the icon with your own, and customize other details as needed.

Step 3: Register a Service Worker

Service Workers are a key component of PWAs. They allow your app to work offline and provide improved performance. React’s default setup doesn’t include a service worker by default, so you’ll need to add one.

  • Install Workbox, a popular library for managing service workers, by running the following command:

npm install workbox-cli –save-dev

  • Create a new JavaScript file for your service worker, e.g., service-worker.js, in the public folder of your React app.

// public/service-worker.js




if (workbox) {



} else {

  console.error(‘Workbox could not be loaded. No offline support.’);


  • In your src/index.js file, register the service worker:

// src/index.js


import * as serviceWorkerRegistration from ‘./serviceWorkerRegistration’;


// …



  • Finally, update your package.json file to include a build script for generating the service worker:

“scripts”: {

  “start”: “react-scripts start”,

  “build”: “react-scripts build && workbox generateSW”,

  “test”: “react-scripts test”,

  “eject”: “react-scripts eject”


Step 4: Test the PWA

With the service worker registered and manifest file configured, you can now test your PWA:

  • Build your React app by running:

npm run build

  • Serve the production build using a tool like serve:

npm install -g serve

serve -s build

  • Open a web browser and navigate to http://localhost:5000. Your PWA should now be accessible.
  • To test offline capabilities, disconnect from the internet or use the browser’s DevTools to simulate offline mode.

Step 5: Deploy Your PWA

Once you’ve tested your PWA locally and are satisfied with its performance, you can deploy it to a hosting service of your choice. Popular options include Netlify, Vercel, and GitHub Pages.


Building a Progressive Web App with React.js offers numerous benefits, including offline support, improved performance, and enhanced user experiences. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can transform your React application into a PWA and reach a broader audience of users, regardless of their device or network conditions. PWAs represent the future of web development, and React.js makes it easier than ever to create them.


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