Meta Refresh


Meta Refresh is a technique in HTML that automatically reloads or redirects a web page after a specified period of time. It is implemented using the “http-equiv” attribute with the value “refresh” in a meta tag within the head section of the HTML document. The content attribute defines the time interval, in seconds, and if a redirect is desired, it includes the destination URL.

Key Takeaways

  1. Meta Refresh is an HTML tag used for automatically reloading and refreshing web pages after a specified time interval.
  2. It is simple to implement, just by adding a <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="time"> tag within the <head> section of HTML, where “time” represents the time interval in seconds.
  3. While Meta Refresh can be useful for updating content, it is not recommended for redirection purposes, as it may cause issues with user experience, search engine optimization, and accessibility.


Meta Refresh is an important technology term because it refers to an HTML meta element that instructs web browsers to automatically reload or redirect web pages after a specified period.

This functionality can be advantageous in different scenarios, such as ensuring visitors see the most up-to-date content, enabling automatic redirect to new pages or websites, and facilitating rudimentary user sessions.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to use Meta Refresh judiciously, since excessive refresh rates can hinder user experience or attract search engine penalties for manipulative behavior.

Overall, understanding and leveraging Meta Refresh can contribute to a more dynamic and seamless browsing experience for users.


Meta Refresh serves an essential purpose in the realm of web development, catering to a variety of functional and practical requirements. Primarily, it is a technique that facilitates the automatic redirection of users from one webpage to another after a specified time interval. This time-bound function is invaluable in instances where website owners may need to provide an update or inform users of a change in the site’s content, structure, or domain URL.

Furthermore, it offers a seamless browsing experience to users who may otherwise be impacted by broken links or deprecated content. In addition to managing webpage redirections, Meta Refresh can be employed as a creative tool to serve content in novel ways. For example, web developers might use it to display a series of images or messages in a slide-show like fashion, each appearing for a controlled duration.

Another common use case is auto-refreshing dynamic content, ensuring users always receive the most up-to-date information on a website without needing to manually refresh the page. Despite its versatility, Meta Refresh competes with more modern redirection approaches that utilize server-side or JavaScript-based techniques. Nonetheless, it remains a valuable tool for website administrators, serving user-friendly web experiences that keep content fresh and engaging.

Examples of Meta Refresh

Meta Refresh is an HTML tag that allows a web page to automatically refresh or redirect to another web page after a specified time interval. Here are three real-world examples of how this technology is used:

Automatic Refresh: News websites or sports scores websites often use Meta Refresh to ensure their users see the most up-to-date headlines or game results. By setting a specific time interval through Meta Refresh, the page automatically refreshes after the given time, bringing the latest information to the viewers without manual intervention.

Redirecting to a New URL: Web developers might use Meta Refresh to redirect users to a new page or website after an existing page has been moved, updated, or deleted. For example, if a company rebrands and creates a new website, they might place a Meta Refresh tag on their old site’s homepage to automatically redirect visitors to the new site after a few seconds, along with a message notifying them of the changes.

Session Timeout Notifications: Some websites, mainly financial institutions or e-commerce platforms, use Meta Refresh for session timeout notifications. If a user is inactive on the website for an extended period, the website might refresh and display a warning message or log them out automatically as a security measure. This approach helps in protecting the user’s sensitive data from unauthorized access during inactivity periods.

Meta Refresh FAQ

1. What is Meta Refresh?

A Meta Refresh is an HTML tag used to automatically reload or redirect a web page after a specific time interval. It is implemented within the head section of the HTML document using the ‘meta’ tag with the ‘http-equiv’ attribute set to ‘refresh’.

2. How do you add a Meta Refresh to your HTML page?

To add a Meta Refresh to your HTML page, include the following line in the head section of your HTML document: <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="x; url="> Replace “x” with the number of seconds you want the page to wait before redirecting, and “” with the desired URL.

3. Can you use Meta Refresh to refresh the current page automatically?

Yes, you can use Meta Refresh to automatically reload the current page. Just set the content property value to the time interval in seconds without specifying a URL. For example: <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10"> This code will refresh the current page every 10 seconds.

4. Is it a good practice to use Meta Refresh for redirection or refreshing a page?

Using Meta Refresh for redirection or refreshing a page is not recommended. This practice can potentially create usability and accessibility issues for your users. For better SEO and user experience, it’s better to use server-side redirects (like 301 redirects) or JavaScript-based solutions.

5. What are some alternatives to Meta Refresh for redirection or refreshing a page?

Some alternatives to Meta Refresh for redirection or refreshing a page are server-side redirects (such as 301 and 302), JavaScript-based solutions like the window.location method, and AJAX for updating the content of a page without fully reloading it.

Related Technology Terms

  • HTTP-Equiv Attribute
  • Content Attribute
  • URL Redirection
  • Page Refresh Rate
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents