How are web push notifications different from app push notifications?

Native app notifications can take full advantage of the device features - the camera, GPS, accelerometer, compass, contact list and so on. Whereas web push notifications still can’t utilize any hardware on the device.

Native app notifications are limited to mobile phones and tablets. Web push notifications' reach extends to mobile phones and tablets along with desktops as well.

Native app notifications support rich media - images, videos, gifs, audio, and other interactive elements. Web push notifications only support large images. Refer to this guide to see what parameters are supported by what browsers.

How do web push notifications work?

When it comes to web push notifications a few services work together to make it work:

Push Notification Service: Browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge use the Voluntary Application Server Identification (VAPID) protocol, while Safari uses Apple Push Notification Service (APNS).

Service Worker Registration: Developer must register the service worker on the browser. This is only for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. Safari does not support service workers.


Additionally, an SDK (OS client library Software Development Kit) can be added to a web app for extended segmentation and analytics capabilities.

Should I build my own web push solution or use a 3rd party service provider?

There are a couple of points to keep in mind before taking that “Make or Buy” decision. Building a web push notification platform will, in fact, make it a second product altogether within your core business - a product that demands continuous resources to -

  • Develop the solution
  • Test and release the product
  • Fix the bugs
  • Ensure security
  • Provide ongoing support and maintenance
  • Keep in sync with the technology updates

When making that rather important “Make or Buy” decision, ask yourself - are you ready to put in that amount of resource, time, and money?