HTML5 Web Storage

HTML5 web storage, better than cookies.

What is HTML5 Web Storage?

With HTML5, web pages can store data locally within the user's browser.

Earlier, this was done with cookies. However, Web Storage is more secure and faster. The data is not included with every server request, but used ONLY when asked for. It is also possible to store large amounts of data, without affecting the website's performance.

The data is stored in name/value pairs, and a web page can only access data stored by itself.

Unlike cookies, the storage limit is far larger (at least 5MB) and information is never transferred to the server.

Browser Support

Internet Explorer Firefox Opera Google Chrome Safari

Web storage is supported in Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari.

Note: Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions, do not support Web Storage.

HTML5 Web Storage Objects

HTML5 Web Storage provides two new objects for storing data on the client:

  • window.localStorage - stores data with no expiration date
  • code.sessionStorage - stores data for one session (data is lost when the tab is closed)

Before using web storage, check browser support for localStorage and sessionStorage:

if(typeof(Storage) !== "undefined") {
    // Code for localStorage/sessionStorage.
} else {
    // Sorry! No Web Storage support..

The localStorage Object

The localStorage object stores the data with no expiration date. The data will not be deleted when the browser is closed, and will be available the next day, week, or year.


// Store
localStorage.setItem("lastname", "Smith");
// Retrieve
document.getElementById("result").innerHTML = localStorage.getItem("lastname");

Try it yourself »

Example explained:

  • Create a localStorage name/value pair with name="lastname" and value="Smith"
  • Retrieve the value of "lastname" and insert it into the element with id="result"

The example above could also be written like this:

// Store
localStorage.lastname = "Smith";
// Retrieve
document.getElementById("result").innerHTML = localStorage.lastname;

The syntax for removing the "lastname" localStorage item is as follows:


Note: Name/value pairs are always stored as strings. Remember to convert them to another format when needed!

The following example counts the number of times a user has clicked a button. In this code the value string is converted to a number to be able to increase the counter:


if (localStorage.clickcount) {
    localStorage.clickcount = Number(localStorage.clickcount) + 1;
} else {
    localStorage.clickcount = 1;
document.getElementById("result").innerHTML = "You have clicked the button " +
localStorage.clickcount + " time(s).";

Try it yourself »

The sessionStorage Object

The sessionStorage object is equal to the localStorage object, except that it stores the data for only one session. The data is deleted when the user closes the browser window.

The following example counts the number of times a user has clicked a button, in the current session:


if (sessionStorage.clickcount) {
    sessionStorage.clickcount = Number(sessionStorage.clickcount) + 1;
} else {
    sessionStorage.clickcount = 1;
document.getElementById("result").innerHTML = "You have clicked the button " +
sessionStorage.clickcount + " time(s) in this session.";

Try it yourself »

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