Web App Scope Extensions

From Chrome 122 you can subscribe to the origin trial for the scope_extensions app manifest member which allows sites that control multiple subdomains and top level domains to be presented as a single web app. This document explains why the Chrome team are introducing this feature, and when you might want to use it.


Some web applications have multiple origins, for example, example.com as the main app, and then space_1.example.com, …, space_n.example.com, sometimes combined with special-example.com, as sub-experiences, all under the roof of the main app. This type of site architecture has implications in the context of Progressive Web Apps. Limitations include not being able to share service workers, any type of device, local storage, and permissions across origins. Also, cross-origin navigation in a standalone PWA shows a window UI ("out of scope" bar) indicating that the user has moved out of the PWA experience. You can learn how to work around some of these problems in the articles Progressive Web Apps in multi-origin sites and Building multiple Progressive Web Apps on the same domain.

The Scope Extensions API allows web apps to overcome some of the challenges that the same-origin policy imposes on this type of site architecture. It lets web apps extend their scope to other origins to help achieve a unified experience, given agreement between the web app's primary origin and the associated origins.


The main goal of the Scope Extensions API is to allow sites that control multiple subdomains and top level domains to behave as one contiguous web app when it comes to web app UI and link capturing. For example, letting the site example.com that spans example.com.co.uk and support.example.com behave as much as possible as a single web application.

Diagram showing a main PWA and associated subexperiences.

Scope Extensions allows multi-origin PWAs to behave as a contiguous web app when it comes to web app UI.

In practice, this translates to two more specific goals:

  • Cross-origin navigation: Allow users to navigate across associated origins without disrupting the user experience by invoking window UI informing the user that they are moving away from the PWA.
  • Cross-origin link capturing: Allow web apps to capture user navigations to sites they are affiliated with.

Cross-origin in-scope navigation

By default, when users navigate across origins in a standalone PWA, they are shown a window UI indicating that they are moving outside of the PWA experience. In Chrome, this UI consists of an "out of scope" bar that contains the URL of the new origin. This is disruptive to the user experience, as users expect to continue navigating inside the same application context, but they might perceive they are being taken out of it.

Out of scope bar at the top of a standalone PWA.

"Out of scope" bar shown in Chrome when users navigate across different origins in a standalone PWA.

With Scope Extensions, the window UI won't be shown when users navigate to any of the associated origins so the PWA is presented as a unified experience.

Link Capturing refers to the ability of an app to capture links within its scope. The way that this is implemented varies among browsers and operating systems. In Chrome on ChromeOS for example, links in the scope of an installed PWA by default open a browser tab with an indication in the address bar that there is an app that's capable of handling these links, allowing the user to opt-in for automatic link capturing from that point.

Omnibar prompt for an installed PWA.

Fragment of Chrome address bar for a tab in ChromeOS showing a visual indication that the link can be handled by a PWA and the option to remember that decision.

If a user clicks on a link that is outside of the scope of the PWA (including links to subdomains or top-level domains), they won't be recognized as belonging to it. For example, links will be opened in a browser tab without any indication to the user that there is an app that's capable of handling the link. The Scope Extensions API allows extending the scope of the PWA so that the associated origins are treated as in-scope links.


Implementing scope extensions requires establishing the relationship between the main origin and the associated origins.

Declare the list of associated origins

Add a scope_extensions web app manifest member to the main PWA origin to enable the web app to extend their scope to other origins.

Web App Manifest (https://example.com)

  "name": "Example",
  "display": "standalone",
  "start_url": "/index.html",
  "scope_extensions": [
    { "origin": "https://*.example.com" },
    { "origin": "https://example.co.uk" },
    { "origin": "https://*.example.co.uk" }

Confirm associations

Each of the listed origins confirms the association with the web app using a /.well-known/web-app-origin-association configuration file. This file needs to be named web-app-origin-association and be served at this exact location, as it is a Well-Known URI.

/.well-known/web-app-origin-association (associated origin)

  "web_apps": [{ "web_app_identity": "https://example.com" }]


The demo consists of two sites:

To perform the following tests, you have to enable the about://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-scope-extensions flag (available from Chrome v115 onwards).

Test cross-origin navigation

As a precondition for these tests, open the main PWA in a browser, install it as a PWA and open it to run it in standalone mode. The PWA contains links to an origin in extended scope and to an origin not in extended scope.

Main PWA window with in scope and extended scope links.

Demo PWA with links to origin in extended scope and origin not in extended scope.

Default cross-origin navigation (not in extended scope)

  1. Click the link to the origin not in extended scope inside the full screen PWA.
  2. As a result, the navigation happens and the out of scope bar is shown.

Main PWA window with out of scope bar after clicking the out of scope link.

"Out of scope" bar shown by default for a cross-origin navigation for a PWA in standalone mode.

Cross-origin navigation with Scope Extensions (in extended scope)

  1. Navigate back to the home page of the PWA.
  2. Click the link to the origin not in extended scope.
  3. By default, an "out of scope" bar should be shown, but because of the Scope Extensions association, it is not.

Main PWA window without out of scope bar after clicking the extended scope link.

"Out of scope" bar not shown in cross-origin navigation after origin association has been made with Scope Extensions.

  1. Open and install the main PWA in a ChromeOS device.
  2. Click the following link: associated origin.
  3. The link is opened in a new browser tab and a prompt is shown to open it in the installed PWA.

Omnibar prompt for an installed PWA with extended scope.

Clicking on a link to a PWA's associated origin opens the link in a new tab and shows an "Open in App" icon allowing the user to opt-in for automatic link capturing.

Origin trial

If you'd like to test this API in your application out in the field with real users, you can do so with an origin trial. Origin trials let you try out experimental features with your users by obtaining a testing token that's tied to your domain. You can then deploy your app and expect it to work in a browser that supports the feature you're testing (in this case, it is available in Chrome from 121 to 126). To obtain your own token to run an origin trial, fill out the application form.


The Chrome team are looking for feedback about the usefulness of this API. To help the team make this API evolve with feedback about the usefulness of it and new use cases not covered in the current version, open an Issue on GitHub.

Additional resources


Special thanks to the team behind the development of this API. Scope Extensions was specified by Alan Cutter and Lu Huang, with input from Matt Giuca. The API was implemented by Alan Cutter from Google Chrome and Hassan Talat, Kristin Lee, and Lu Huang from Microsoft Edge.