Push notifications are powerful marketing tool with a wide set of options to keep users engaged. Online stores and news media use this technology for constant interaction with their customers, readers. In this review, we will try to clear some technical features of web push notifications. How does technology connected with web browsers? Can you receive push notifications when browser not running? We will provide you with a common guide on how to subscribe/unsubscribe from push notifications and how to use pushes for your website.

What is push notification?

There are two main push notification types.

  • App push notification,
  • Web push notification.

The first technology is embedded into mobile apps to notify users about app updates, news, etc.

Web push notifications (or browser push) are used by websites for instant communication with their subscribers.

Read more about types of push notifications.

Can you receive push notifications if browser wasn’t opened? This question is relevant for web push notifications only, because this technology works via browsers. App push appears on a smartphone screen if an app is installed on a device and notifications are allowed by a phone owner.

How does it work?

We will review how web push notifications operate to understand if it is possible to receive a message from a website with closed web browser. 

On a user’s side, when one visits a website with activated push technology, they will see a web push opt-in widget.

A user can allow or block notifications from a website with just one click. If the website’s request is approved, a visitor becomes a subscriber. After that, a website can send push messages to this subscriber.

Notifications pop up on a mobile or desktop user’s device screen after delivery. The subscriber can click on received web push to be redirected to a sender’s web page.

To use web push technology for a website you need to register on Gravitec.net push platform and add simple code on your site.

Try now for free

Gravitec.net push platform is a ready-made service for sending web push notifications. Our team developed professional marketing tool with clear interface, fast sending speed, functions for analysis and automation features.

Learn how to send automated campaigns from RSS feed

Push technology works via browsers, a website’s server and message server. Each user after subscription is assigned with unique ID. The system saves user’s metadata (region, operating system and browser type, version) in a subscriber base of a website.

Push technology is supported by Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Yandex browsers and Windows, Mac OS, Android operating systems.

Learn more about what push notifications are

Gravitec.net clients have access to campaign statistics in their personal account, where they track subscribers’ activity, opt-in/opt-out rates, CTR, etc. Due to saved users’ metadata, clients can launch targeted campaigns for separate subscriber groups.

Read more about push notification segmentation tool.

One of the main web push benefits is simplicity of collecting a subscriber base. However, subscribers can always disable notifications from a particular website, when messages are intrusive, or irrelevant. Thus, developers care about both users’ convenience and business interests. 

How to enable or disable push notifications on browser?

Users can easily disable or enable notifications in browser settings after subscription in just few steps. 

Here is a general guide without current details for specific browsers.

  1. Go to a browser menu and select ‘Setting’ item.
  2. Find ‘Site settings’ in a list of advanced options.
  3. Click ‘Notifications’ item.
  4. Choose sites you want to block, or allow receiving notifications from specific websites.

Item names depend on a particular browser and device, but an algorithm is the same (Menu – Setting – Site settings – Notifications – Block, Allow, Edit or Remove).

Read our reviews on how to disable notifications in Firefox and how to unsubscribe from web push in Chrome.

Can I receive push notifications if browser wasn’t opened?

Finally, we can answer the main question of this article.

You can’t receive push notifications on desktop devices if browser’s not running. A web push can be delivered if a user is online with an opened browser. Thus, to receive a notification from a website on PC or laptop, you have to open a browser with previously activated subscriptions. Notifications will be delivered via the browser, where you allowed pushes from a website. For example, if you confirm receiving notifications via Chrome on your laptop, push messages will appear after your opening Chrome browser on this device. 

However, this algorithm a bit differs for mobile users. If a smartphone (Android) owner has installed a browser app (Chrome), they will receive notifications when their device screen is unlocked. It is the only requirement for delivery. 

Can I receive push notifications when browser not running? – Technically, no, web push notifications can not be delivered in that case.


Web push notifications appearance and delivery depends on browser and operating system of a recipient’s device. While a browser is closed (or inactive for smartphones), a user won’t be able to see a notification.

Gravitec.net clients can monitor statistics of users’ activity with different devices and browsers. They can divide subscribers into separate target groups by operating systems, etc. These opportunities are important for achieving high push campaign results. Targeted campaigns are more effective due to their connection to specific subscribers’ interests, user group features. Besides, due to statistics, websites can schedule campaigns properly to reach their audience during the time when users are online with an opened browser.  

Read more about push notification time settings

Here is our summary:

  • Web push notifications depend on a browser status of the device unlike app push.
  • Website visitors become subscribers if they allow sending notifications in a pop-up opt-in widget (browser service window).
  • Users’ ID and metadata are saved in message server connected to a website’s hosting server.
  • Web pushes appear on a recipient’s device screen (mobile and desktop) when a subscriber is online with has a browser opened.
  • A recipient can visit a target web page (link is included into web push) by clicking on a pop-up notification. 
  • Subscribers can easily turn off notifications from a specific website in browser settings in just four steps.
  • To integrate push technology with a website, you need to register in Gravitec.net push platform and add specially generated code to your website.
  • In Gravitec.net profile, a client has access to a wide range of marketing tools. Besides creating and sending push notifications, you can analyze statistics, use automation features, schedule your campaigns, etc.

If you have any questions about push campaign launch, please, do not hesitate to contact our support team