History API

The DOM Window object provides access to the browser's session history (not to be confused for WebExtensions history) through the history object. It exposes useful methods and properties that let you navigate back and forth through the user's history, and manipulate the contents of the history stack.

Concepts and usage

Moving backward and forward through the user's history is done using the back(), forward(), and go() methods.

Moving forward and backward

To move backward through history:

window.history.back()

This acts exactly as if the user clicked on the Back button in their browser toolbar.

Similarly, you can move forward (as if the user clicked the Forward button), like this:

window.history.forward()

Moving to a specific point in history

You can use the go() method to load a specific page from session history, identified by its relative position to the current page. (The current page's relative position is 0.)

To move back one page (the equivalent of calling back()):

window.history.go(-1)

To move forward a page, just like calling forward():

window.history.go(1)

Similarly, you can move forward 2 pages by passing 2, and so forth.

Another use for the go() method is to refresh the current page by either passing 0, or by invoking it without an argument:

// The following statements
// both have the effect of
// refreshing the page
window.history.go(0)
window.history.go()

You can determine the number of pages in the history stack by looking at the value of the length property:

let numberOfEntries = window.history.length

Interfaces

History
Allows manipulation of the browser session history (that is, the pages visited in the tab or frame that the current page is loaded in).

Examples

The following example assigns a listener to the onpopstate property. And then illustrates some of the methods of the history object to add, replace, and move within the browser history for the current tab.

window.onpopstate = function(event) {
  alert(`location: ${document.location}, state: ${JSON.stringify(event.state)}`)
}

history.pushState({page: 1}, "title 1", "?page=1")
history.pushState({page: 2}, "title 2", "?page=2")
history.replaceState({page: 3}, "title 3", "?page=3")
history.back() // alerts "location: http://example.com/example.html?page=1, state: {"page":1}"
history.back() // alerts "location: http://example.com/example.html, state: null"
history.go(2)  // alerts "location: http://example.com/example.html?page=3, state: {"page":3}"

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of 'History' in that specification.
Living Standard No change from HTML5.
HTML5
The definition of 'History' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also

References

Guides