Stop websites from reloading pages automatically

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 19, 2018
Updated • May 25, 2020

Webmasters have a number of techniques at their disposal to create auto-refreshing or reloading websites. From the basic meta refresh to more advanced options that rely on JavaScript.

While it may be useful at times if a site reloads content automatically, it can also be a nuisance especially if it does not feature a pause or stop button prominently.

Sometimes, it is useful if the entire page or some content on it refreshes automatically. It is useful if you follow a sports game on a site and get auto-refreshing scores and information about the game, and eBay and other auction sites may refresh the highest bid whenever it changes.

Websites reload automatically sometimes when it is not desired by the user as; doing so can be highly disruptive. Thankfully, there are some options that Internet users have to deal with these sites.

The following guide looks at options in the popular web browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. The methods may work in "related" browsers as well. Pale Moon or Waterfox support the same options that Firefox supports, and Vivaldi or Opera the same methods that work in Google Chrome.

Disable auto-reload in Google Chrome

auto refresh blocker chrome

Note: The Chrome extension is no longer available. There does not seem to be an alternative for Chrome that works on all sites. End

The most popular desktop web browser has no built-in options to disable auto-reloading pages. In fact, the only options that users have is to either install the Auto Refresh Blocker extension -- which has a rating of just 2.33 stars out of 5 -- or execute instructions from the Developer Tools console instead.

The low rating of the extension is caused by users reporting that it does not work for specific sites.

The extension's functionality becomes clear when you open its options. It disables meta refresh elements on webpages and ignores query-strings for meta elements as well.

Users may enable the HTTP refresh header blocking functionality next to that, and may add their own custom query-strings and add sites to the blacklist.

The console option blocks certain refresh attempts completely. Just tap on F12 to bring up the Developer Tools in Google Chrome, switch to console, paste window.onbeforeunload = function(){ return 'Reload?';} and run it. This should work in other browsers as well.

Note that the extension should work in other Chromium-based browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi.

Mozilla Firefox

firefox block auto refresh

Users of Firefox may use built-in functionality to disable automatic reloads of webpages in the web browser. The options are not available in the main UI or on the settings page but it is still possible to manipulate the functionality from within the browser.

  1. Load about:config?filter=accessibility.blockautorefresh in the browser's address bar.
  2. You may get a warning prompt if you open about:config for the first time in the browser.

The preference determines whether auto-refresh functionality is enabled in Firefox or blocked. The preference takes care of meta http-equiv="refresh" and HTTP header refresh instructions.

Previous versions of the Firefox web browser had an option in the options under Advanced > General > Accessibility (Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page" but that option is no longer listed in recent versions of the web browser.

Firefox users may set the preference browser.meta_refresh_when_inactive.disabled to true as well which prevents automatic refreshes when the tab is not active.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

internet explorer meta refresh disable

Internet Explorer users and administrators may modify the security settings of a zone to enable or disable Meta Refresh in the browser.

  1. Open Internet Explorer on the device.
  2. Select Menu > Internet Options.
  3. Go to Security and make sure the right zone is selected (Internet is the default).
  4. Click on the "custom level" button.
  5. Scroll down until you find "Allow Meta Refresh" under Miscellaneous.
  6. Set the option to "disable" (default is enable).
  7. Click ok.

The setting affects meta refresh only and not other refresh types.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge offers no options at this point in time to disable auto-refreshing websites. Edge supports extensions but no extension exists at this point in time that brings functionality to block pages from reloading automatically to the browser.

Stop websites from reloading pages automatically
Article Name
Stop websites from reloading pages automatically
Some websites reload pages without you wanting them to do so. Find out how to stop them from refreshing webpages automatically.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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