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XMLHttpRequest is an API that provides client functionality for transferring data between a client and a server. It provides an easy way to retrieve data from a URL without having to do a full page refresh. This enables a Web page to update just a part of the page without disrupting what the user is doing.  XMLHttpRequest is used heavily in AJAX programming.

XMLHttpRequest was originally designed by Microsoft and adopted by Mozilla, Apple, and Google. It's now being standardized at the WHATWG. Despite its name, XMLHttpRequest can be used to retrieve any type of data, not just XML, and it supports protocols other than HTTP (including file and ftp).


The constructor initiates an XMLHttpRequest. It must be called before any other method calls.


This interface also inherits properties of XMLHttpRequestEventTarget and of EventTarget.

An EventHandler that is called whenever the readyState attribute changes.
XMLHttpRequest.readyState Read only
Returns an unsigned short, the state of the request.
XMLHttpRequest.response Read only
Returns an ArrayBuffer, Blob, Document, JavaScript object, or a DOMString, depending on the value of XMLHttpRequest.responseType. that contains the response entity body.
XMLHttpRequest.responseText Read only
Returns a DOMString that contains the response to the request as text, or null if the request was unsuccessful or has not yet been sent.
Is an enumerated value that defines the response type.
XMLHttpRequest.responseURL Read only
Returns the serialized URL of the response or the empty string if the URL is null.
XMLHttpRequest.responseXML Read only Not available to workers
Returns a Document containing the response to the request, or null if the request was unsuccessful, has not yet been sent, or cannot be parsed as XML or HTML.
XMLHttpRequest.status Read only
Returns an unsigned short with the status of the response of the request.
XMLHttpRequest.statusText Read only
Returns a DOMString containing the response string returned by the HTTP server. Unlike XMLHTTPRequest.status, this includes the entire text of the response message ("200 OK", for example).
Is an unsigned long representing the number of milliseconds a request can take before automatically being terminated.
Is an EventHandler that is called whenever the request times out.
XMLHttpRequest.upload Read only
Is an XMLHttpRequestUpload, representing the upload process.
Is a Boolean that indicates whether or not cross-site Access-Control requests should be made using credentials such as cookies or authorization headers.

Non-standard properties

XMLHttpRequest.channelRead only
Is a nsIChannel. The channelused by the  object when performing the request.
XMLHttpRequest.mozAnonRead only
Is a boolean. If true, the request will be sent without cookie and authentication headers.
XMLHttpRequest.mozSystemRead only
Is a boolean. If true, the same origin policy will not be enforced on the request.
Is a boolean. It indicates whether or not the object represents a background service request.
XMLHttpRequest.mozResponseArrayBuffer Obsolete since Gecko 6 Read only
Is an ArrayBuffer. The response to the request, as a JavaScript typed array.
XMLHttpRequest.multipartObsolete since Gecko 22
This Gecko-only feature, a boolean, was removed in Firefox/Gecko 22. Please use Server-Sent Events, Web Sockets, or responseText from progress events instead.

Event handlers

onreadystatechange as a property of the XMLHttpRequest instance is supported in all browsers.

Since then, a number of additional event handlers were implemented in various browsers (onload, onerror, onprogress, etc.). These are supported in Firefox. In particular, see nsIXMLHttpRequestEventTarget and Using XMLHttpRequest.

More recent browsers, including Firefox, also support listening to the XMLHttpRequest events via standard addEventListener APIs in addition to setting on* properties to a handler function.


Aborts the request if it has already been sent.
Returns all the response headers, separated by CRLF, as a string, or null if no response has been received.
Returns the string containing the text of the specified header, or null if either the response has not yet been received or the header doesn't exist in the response.
Initializes a request. This method is to be used from JavaScript code; to initialize a request from native code, use openRequest() instead.
Overrides the MIME type returned by the server.
Sends the request. If the request is asynchronous (which is the default), this method returns as soon as the request is sent.
Sets the value of an HTTP request header. You must call setRequestHeader()after open(), but before send().

Non-standard methods

Initializes the object for use from C++ code.
Warning: This method must not be called from JavaScript.
Initializes a request. This method is to be used from native code; to initialize a request from JavaScript code, use open()instead. See the documentation for open().
A variant of the send() method that sends binary data.


Specification Status Comment
XMLHttpRequest Living Standard Live standard, latest version

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support (XHR1) 1 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 7 (Yes) 1.2
send(ArrayBuffer) 9 9.0 (9.0) 10 11.60 ?
send(ArrayBufferView) 22 20.0 (20.0) ? ? ?
send(Blob) 7 3.6 (1.9.2) 10 12 ?
send(FormData) 6 4.0 (2.0) 10 12 ?
sendAsBinary(DOMString) No support[1] 2.0 (1.8.1) No support No support No support
response 10 6.0 (6.0) 10 11.60 (Yes)
responseType = 'arraybuffer' 10 6.0 (6.0) 10 11.60 (Yes)
responseType = 'blob' 19 6.0 (6.0) 10 12 (Yes)
responseType = 'document' 18 11.0 (11.0) 10 No support 6.1
responseType = 'json' 31 10.0 (10.0) No support 12[2]
No support 16
Progress Events 7 3.5 (1.9.1) 10 12 (Yes)
withCredentials 3 3.5 (1.9.1) 10 12 4
timeout 29.0 12.0 (12.0) 8 12
responseType = 'moz-blob' No support 12.0 (12.0) No support No support No support
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 1.0 (Yes) ? ? ?
send(ArrayBuffer) ? ? ? ? ?
send(ArrayBufferView) ? ? ? ? ?
send(Blob) ? ? ? ? ?
send(FormData) ? ? ? ? ?
sendAsBinary(DOMString) ? ? ? ? ?
response ? ? ? ? ?
responseType = 'arraybuffer' ? ? ? ? ?
responseType = 'blob' ? ? ? ? ?
responseType = 'document' ? ? ? ? ?
responseType = 'json' ? ? ? ? ?
Progress Events ? ? ? ? ?
withCredentials ? ? ? ? ?
timeout ? ? ? ? ?
responseType = 'moz-blob' ? ? ? ? ?

[1] There is a polyfill available to support sendAsBinary().

[2] Before switching to Blink/Chromium, Opera supported responseType=json between Opera 12 and Opera 15. Support was added again in Opera 17.

See also