How to use window.location in JavaScript

The world of web development brims with tools and functions that enable developers to create seamless user experiences. Today, we delve into one of JavaScript’s essential objects: window.location. This object plays a pivotal role in managing the web page’s address and can be used for tasks such as page redirection, refreshing, and extracting URL information.

If you’re asking yourself, “What is window.location in JavaScript?” don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Put simply, window.location is a property that gives you access to a Location object, containing information about the current URL and methods to manipulate it. Whether you want to redirect a user to a different page or just retrieve the current URL components, window.location is your go-to object in JavaScript.

In this article, we will walk you through the different aspects of window.location, including how to use it to interact with the web page’s URL. We will also take a look at its various properties and methods, ensuring you have all the information needed to leverage this powerful object in your projects.

What is window.location?

window.location offers several properties and methods you can use to read and manipulate the current page URL. Whether it’s the protocol, hostname, port, pathname, or query string, window.location provides an easy interface to work with all these components.

For instance, you might want to retrieve the current page’s protocol using window.location.protocol or the hostname via window.location.hostname. These properties offer granular control over the URL, allowing you to tailor the user experience based on the current location or redirect users as needed.

How to Use window.location to Redirect to a New Page

One of the most common uses of window.location is to redirect the user to a different webpage. This can be achieved straightforwardly using:

window.location.href = '';

This line of code instructs the browser to navigate to '';. But there’s more to redirection than just changing the href property. Let’s explore the other methods like assign() and replace() and when to use them.

Methods Available for window.location


The assign() method is used to navigate to a new URL and is equivalent to setting the window.location.href property:


One unique feature of using assign() is that it keeps the originating page in session history. This means users can press the browser’s back button to return to the original page, which is crucial for ensuring a user-friendly navigation experience.


If you intend for a page redirect to be final, with no option for the user to return to the previous page using the back button, the replace() method is what you need:


This method replaces the current resource with the new one in a way that it is not possible to go back.


When you want to reload the current page, window.location.reload() comes in handy. By default, this method reloads the page from the browser’s cache, but you can force a server reload by passing true as an argument:


This forces the browser to fetch the latest version of the page from the server.

Accessing URL Components

Beyond redirection, window.location is also incredibly useful for breaking down the URL into readable parts. The properties available include:

  • window.location.href – the entire URL
  • window.location.protocol – the protocol scheme (e.g., http: or https:)
  • – the hostname and port number
  • window.location.hostname – the domain name of the URL
  • window.location.port – the port number if specified
  • window.location.pathname – the path or file name after the domain name
  • – the query portion of the URL, beginning with a ?
  • window.location.hash – the fragment identifier, including the #
  • window.location.origin – the base URL (protocol plus hostname and port)

Each of these properties can be read and, in some cases, set to update the current URL without reloading the page.

Browser Compatibility and Potential Issues

When working with window.location, it’s crucial to keep in mind browser compatibility. While the object and its methods are widely supported, peculiarities in behavior across different browsers can occur. It is good practice to consult documentation and test across various platforms to ensure consistent functionality.

Conclusion and Call to Action

Understanding and effectively utilizing window.location can significantly enhance the way you interact with URLs in your web applications. By taking advantage of its properties and methods, you can direct users to different pages, refresh content, and dissect URLs to improve user experiences and meet your app’s navigational needs.

Ready to start experimenting with window.location? Open up your code editor and try implementing some of the methods discussed in this article. Test out redirecting to a new page, parsing the current URL, or simply refreshing the page programmatically. As you become more familiar with window.location, you’ll find it an indispensable tool in your JavaScript toolbox.