Tebogo Nomnqa
Tebogo Nomnqa's Blog

Tebogo Nomnqa's Blog

How to turn your react-app into a PWA

How to turn your react-app into a PWA

Tebogo Nomnqa's photo
Tebogo Nomnqa

Published on Nov 24, 2021

6 min read

Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss my upcoming articles

If you have known beforehand that you want your react-app to be a PWA(Progressive Web App) you could have used the create-react template pwa like so :

npx create-react-app my-app --template pwa

But you didn't๐Ÿ˜So here we are.

In this article, I will show you how to turn your react app into a PWA.

Let's go ๐Ÿš€

1. Add workbox dependencies

workbox is a library that helps you to deal with service workers. Add the following into your package.json file

 "dependencies": {
    "workbox-background-sync": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-broadcast-update": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-cacheable-response": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-core": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-expiration": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-google-analytics": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-navigation-preload": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-precaching": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-range-requests": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-routing": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-strategies": "^5.1.3",
    "workbox-streams": "^5.1.3"

install the packages using your favourite package manager by typing this on your terminal and pressing enter

npm / yarn install

2. create src/serviceWorkerRegistration.js

Copy and paste the following to the file

// This optional code is used to register a service worker.
// register() is not called by default.

// This lets the app load faster on subsequent visits in production, and gives
// it offline capabilities. However, it also means that developers (and users)
// will only see deployed updates on subsequent visits to a page, after all the
// existing tabs open on the page have been closed, since previously cached
// resources are updated in the background.

// To learn more about the benefits of this model and instructions on how to
// opt-in, read https://cra.link/PWA

const isLocalhost = Boolean(
  window.location.hostname === 'localhost' ||
    // [::1] is the IPv6 localhost address.
    window.location.hostname === '[::1]' ||
    // are considered localhost for IPv4.

export function register(config) {
  if (process.env.NODE_ENV === 'production' && 'serviceWorker' in navigator) {
    // The URL constructor is available in all browsers that support SW.
    const publicUrl = new URL(process.env.PUBLIC_URL, window.location.href);
    if (publicUrl.origin !== window.location.origin) {
      // Our service worker won't work if PUBLIC_URL is on a different origin
      // from what our page is served on. This might happen if a CDN is used to
      // serve assets; see https://github.com/facebook/create-react-app/issues/2374

    window.addEventListener('load', () => {
      const swUrl = `${process.env.PUBLIC_URL}/service-worker.js`;

      if (isLocalhost) {
        // This is running on localhost. Let's check if a service worker still exists or not.
        checkValidServiceWorker(swUrl, config);

        // Add some additional logging to localhost, pointing developers to the
        // service worker/PWA documentation.
        navigator.serviceWorker.ready.then(() => {
            'This web app is being served cache-first by a service ' +
              'worker. To learn more, visit https://cra.link/PWA'
      } else {
        // Is not localhost. Just register service worker
        registerValidSW(swUrl, config);

function registerValidSW(swUrl, config) {
    .then((registration) => {
      registration.onupdatefound = () => {
        const installingWorker = registration.installing;
        if (installingWorker == null) {
        installingWorker.onstatechange = () => {
          if (installingWorker.state === 'installed') {
            if (navigator.serviceWorker.controller) {
              // At this point, the updated precached content has been fetched,
              // but the previous service worker will still serve the older
              // content until all client tabs are closed.
                'New content is available and will be used when all ' +
                  'tabs for this page are closed. See https://cra.link/PWA.'

              // Execute callback
              if (config && config.onUpdate) {
            } else {
              // At this point, everything has been precached.
              // It's the perfect time to display a
              // "Content is cached for offline use." message.
              console.log('Content is cached for offline use.');

              // Execute callback
              if (config && config.onSuccess) {
    .catch((error) => {
      console.error('Error during service worker registration:', error);

function checkValidServiceWorker(swUrl, config) {
  // Check if the service worker can be found. If it can't reload the page.
  fetch(swUrl, {
    headers: { 'Service-Worker': 'script' },
    .then((response) => {
      // Ensure service worker exists, and that we really are getting a JS file.
      const contentType = response.headers.get('content-type');
      if (
        response.status === 404 ||
        (contentType != null && contentType.indexOf('javascript') === -1)
      ) {
        // No service worker found. Probably a different app. Reload the page.
        navigator.serviceWorker.ready.then((registration) => {
          registration.unregister().then(() => {
      } else {
        // Service worker found. Proceed as normal.
        registerValidSW(swUrl, config);
    .catch(() => {
      console.log('No internet connection found. App is running in offline mode.');

export function unregister() {
  if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {
      .then((registration) => {
      .catch((error) => {

3. create src/service-worker.js

copy and paste the following

/* eslint-disable no-restricted-globals */

// This service worker can be customized!
// See https://developers.google.com/web/tools/workbox/modules
// for the list of available Workbox modules, or add any other
// code you'd like.
// You can also remove this file if you'd prefer not to use a
// service worker, and the Workbox build step will be skipped.

import { clientsClaim } from 'workbox-core';
import { ExpirationPlugin } from 'workbox-expiration';
import { precacheAndRoute, createHandlerBoundToURL } from 'workbox-precaching';
import { registerRoute } from 'workbox-routing';
import { StaleWhileRevalidate } from 'workbox-strategies';


// Precache all of the assets generated by your build process.
// Their URLs are injected into the manifest variable below.
// This variable must be present somewhere in your service worker file,
// even if you decide not to use precaching. See https://cra.link/PWA

// Set up App Shell-style routing, so that all navigation requests
// are fulfilled with your index.html shell. Learn more at
// https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/architecture/app-shell
const fileExtensionRegexp = new RegExp('/[^/?]+\\.[^/]+$');
  // Return false to exempt requests from being fulfilled by index.html.
  ({ request, url }) => {
    // If this isn't a navigation, skip.
    if (request.mode !== 'navigate') {
      return false;
    } // If this is a URL that starts with /_, skip.

    if (url.pathname.startsWith('/_')) {
      return false;
    } // If this looks like a URL for a resource, because it contains // a file extension, skip.

    if (url.pathname.match(fileExtensionRegexp)) {
      return false;
    } // Return true to signal that we want to use the handler.

    return true;
  createHandlerBoundToURL(process.env.PUBLIC_URL + '/index.html')

// An example runtime caching route for requests that aren't handled by the
// precache, in this case same-origin .png requests like those from in public/
  // Add in any other file extensions or routing criteria as needed.
  ({ url }) => url.origin === self.location.origin && url.pathname.endsWith('.png'), // Customize this strategy as needed, e.g., by changing to CacheFirst.
  new StaleWhileRevalidate({
    cacheName: 'images',
    plugins: [
      // Ensure that once this runtime cache reaches a maximum size the
      // least-recently used images are removed.
      new ExpirationPlugin({ maxEntries: 50 }),

// This allows the web app to trigger skipWaiting via
// registration.waiting.postMessage({type: 'SKIP_WAITING'})
self.addEventListener('message', (event) => {
  if (event.data && event.data.type === 'SKIP_WAITING') {

// Any other custom service worker logic can go here.

4. Register the service worker on src/index.js

import * as serviceWorkerRegistration from './serviceWorkerRegistration';

    <App />


That's all you need to do. Now for


if it actually worked. Which I bet you it did.

Here is a screenshot of the service worker being detected by chrome devTools.


to view this first build your app by running

npm / yarn build

and serve it by:

serve -s build

that's if you have serve already installed.

and open up devTools ( ctrl + shift + I ) -> Applications -> Service Workers


You manually turned your react-app into a PWA by registering a service worker.๐ŸŽ‰

Questions or suggestions? Let me know in the comments.

Share this