How to Build a PWA with Node.js, React, and Service Worker API
4 mins read

By: vishwesh

How to Build a PWA with Node.js, React, and Service Worker API

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are a type of web application that delivers a native app-like experience to users. They are built using web technologies, but they work offline, load instantly, and can be installed on a user's home screen. In this tutorial, we will learn how to build a PWA using Node.js, React, and the Service Worker API.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following tools and technologies installed on your machine:

  • Node.js and npm
  • Git
  • A text editor (such as Visual Studio Code)

Step 1: Create a new React app

The first step is to create a new React app using the create-react-app command-line tool. Open your terminal and run the following command:

npx create-react-app my-pwa

This will create a new React app in a folder named my-pwa.

Step 2: Install the workbox package

The workbox package is a set of JavaScript libraries and tools for building Progressive Web Apps. It includes a Service Worker library that makes it easy to cache assets and data for offline use.

To install the workbox package, open your terminal and navigate to the root directory of your React app. Then run the following command:

npm install workbox-cli --save-dev

This will install the workbox-cli package as a dev dependency.

Step 3: Configure the Service Worker

The next step is to configure the Service Worker to cache the app's assets and data. In the root directory of your React app, create a file named sw.js. This is the Service Worker file that will be responsible for caching the app's resources.

In the sw.js file, add the following code:


  ({ request }) => request.destination === 'image',
  new workbox.strategies.CacheFirst()

  ({ request }) => request.destination === 'script' || request.destination === 'style',
  new workbox.strategies.StaleWhileRevalidate()

  ({ request }) => request.destination === 'document',
  new workbox.strategies.NetworkFirst()

This code configures the Service Worker to cache images using a CacheFirst strategy, scripts and styles using a StaleWhileRevalidate strategy, and HTML documents using a NetworkFirst strategy.

Next, open the src/index.js file and register the Service Worker by adding the following code at the bottom of the file:

if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {
  window.addEventListener('load', () => {
      .then(registration => {
        console.log('ServiceWorker registered:', registration);
      .catch(error => {
        console.error('ServiceWorker registration failed:', error);

This code checks if the browser supports Service Workers, and if so, registers the Service Worker file located at /sw.js.

Step 4: Build and deploy the app

The final step is to build and deploy the app. To build the app, run the following command in your terminal:

npm run build

This will create a build directory with all the necessary files for the app.

To deploy the app, you can use a hosting service such as Netlify or Firebase Hosting. Simply drag and drop the contents of the build directory into your hosting provider's file manager or use their command-line interface to deploy the app.

Step 5: Test the app as a PWA

Once the app is deployed, you can test it as a PWA by visiting its URL in a supported browser (such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge). You should see a prompt to install the app on your device's home screen.

Once installed, you can open the app from your home screen and it should load instantly, even if you are offline.


In this tutorial, we learned how to build a PWA using Node.js, React, and the Service Worker API. We started by creating a new React app, then installed the workbox package to cache the app's assets and data using the Service Worker API. We then configured the Service Worker and registered it in the index.js file. Finally, we built and deployed the app and tested it as a PWA.

PWAs are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to deliver native app-like experiences to users using web technologies. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can build your own PWA using Node.js, React, and the Service Worker API.

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