DEV Community

Stefan Judis
Stefan Judis

Posted on • Originally published at

TIL – How to refresh a page in an interval (without JavaScript)

Today I saw a tweet by the FrontEnd Dude, and it was a real gem.

How often did you build a page that had to refresh itself after a given amount of time? Yeah, okay... maybe not that often, but I went for a JavaScript solution when I did.

It turns out that the web has built-in "refresh functionality"!

The refresh HTTP response header tells the browser to refresh a page after a defined time.

HTTP/1.x 200 OK
Refresh: 10
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

You define the time interval in seconds and can even lead the user to a different URL after the time passed.

HTTP/1.x 200 OK
Refresh: 10;url=
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

HTTP headers and the meta element

If you can't (or don't want to) set HTTP headers in your environment, you can use a meta element, too. The http-equiv attribute allows to define values that are define via HTTP headers like content-security-policy, content-type, default-style, x-ua-compatible and refresh right in your HTML.

<!-- refresh page after 60 seconds -->
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="60">
<!-- refresh and redirect to after 60 seconds -->
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="60;">
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

If you want to learn more about the refresh header and meta element, I recommend giving Daniel Steinberg's article (the maintainer of curl) a read. His post includes the mind-boggling statistic that 4% of page loads include the refresh meta element. Wow!

Top comments (1)

bmtriet profile image
Minh Triet Bui

Thanks :)