When do items in HTML5 local storage expire?


For how long is data stored in localStorage (as part of DOM Storage in HTML5) available? Can I set an expiration time for the data which I put into localStorage?

It's not possible to specify expiration. It's completely up to the user.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Window/localStorage

Of course, it's possible that something your application stores on the client may not be there later. The user can explicitly get rid of local storage, or the browser may run into space considerations. It's good to program defensively. Generally however things remain "forever" based on some practical definition of that word.

edit — obviously, your own application can actively remove stuff if it decides it's too old. That is, you can explicitly include some sort of timestamp in what you've got saved, and then use that later to decide whether or not information should be flushed.


I would suggest to store timestamp in the object you store in the localStorage

var object = {value: "value", timestamp: new Date().getTime()}
localStorage.setItem("key", JSON.stringify(object));

You can parse the object, get the timestamp and compare with the current Date, and if necessary, update the value of the object.

var object = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem("key")),
    dateString = object.timestamp,
    now = new Date().getTime().toString();

compareTime(dateString, now); //to implement

You can use lscache. It handles this for you automatically, including instances where the storage size exceeds the limit. If that happens, it begins pruning items that are the closest to their specified expiration.

From the readme:

lscache.set

Stores the value in localStorage. Expires after specified number of minutes.

Arguments
key (string)
value (Object|string)
time (number: optional)

This is the only real difference between the regular storage methods. Get, remove, etc work the same.

If you don't need that much functionality, you can simply store a time stamp with the value (via JSON) and check it for expiry.

Noteworthy, there's a good reason why local storage is left up to the user. But, things like lscache do come in handy when you need to store extremely temporary data.


Brynner Ferreira, has brought a good point: storing a sibling key where expiration info resides. This way, if you have a large amount of keys, or if your values are large Json objects, you don't need to parse them to access the timestamp.

here follows an improved version:

 /*  removeStorage: removes a key from localStorage and its sibling expiracy key
    params:
        key <string>     : localStorage key to remove
    returns:
        <boolean> : telling if operation succeeded
 */
 function removeStorage(name) {
    try {
        localStorage.removeItem(name);
        localStorage.removeItem(name + '_expiresIn');
    } catch(e) {
        console.log('removeStorage: Error removing key ['+ key + '] from localStorage: ' + JSON.stringify(e) );
        return false;
    }
    return true;
}
/*  getStorage: retrieves a key from localStorage previously set with setStorage().
    params:
        key <string> : localStorage key
    returns:
        <string> : value of localStorage key
        null : in case of expired key or failure
 */
function getStorage(key) {

    var now = Date.now();  //epoch time, lets deal only with integer
    // set expiration for storage
    var expiresIn = localStorage.getItem(key+'_expiresIn');
    if (expiresIn===undefined || expiresIn===null) { expiresIn = 0; }

    if (expiresIn < now) {// Expired
        removeStorage(key);
        return null;
    } else {
        try {
            var value = localStorage.getItem(key);
            return value;
        } catch(e) {
            console.log('getStorage: Error reading key ['+ key + '] from localStorage: ' + JSON.stringify(e) );
            return null;
        }
    }
}
/*  setStorage: writes a key into localStorage setting a expire time
    params:
        key <string>     : localStorage key
        value <string>   : localStorage value
        expires <number> : number of seconds from now to expire the key
    returns:
        <boolean> : telling if operation succeeded
 */
function setStorage(key, value, expires) {

    if (expires===undefined || expires===null) {
        expires = (24*60*60);  // default: seconds for 1 day
    } else {
        expires = Math.abs(expires); //make sure it's positive
    }

    var now = Date.now();  //millisecs since epoch time, lets deal only with integer
    var schedule = now + expires*1000; 
    try {
        localStorage.setItem(key, value);
        localStorage.setItem(key + '_expiresIn', schedule);
    } catch(e) {
        console.log('setStorage: Error setting key ['+ key + '] in localStorage: ' + JSON.stringify(e) );
        return false;
    }
    return true;
}

While local storage does not supply an expiration mechanism, cookies do. Simply pairing a local storage key with a cookie provides an easy way to ensure that local storage can be updated with the same expiration parameters as a cookie.

Example in jQuery:

if (!$.cookie('your_key') || !localStorage.getItem('your_key')) {
    //get your_data from server, then...
    localStorage.setItem('your_key', 'your_data' );
    $.cookie('your_key', 1);
} else {
    var your_data = localStorage.getItem('your_key');
}
// do stuff with your_data

This example sets a cookie with the default parameter to expire when the browser is closed. Thus, when the browser is closed and re-opened, the local data store for your_data gets refreshed by a server-side call.

Note that this is not exactly the same as removing the local data store, it is instead updating the local data store whenever the cookie expires. However, if your main goal is to be able to store more than 4K client-side (the limitation for cookie size), this pairing of cookie and local storage will help you to accomplish a larger storage size using the same expiration parameters as a cookie.


Here highly recommended to use sessionStorage

  • it is same as localStorage but destroy when session destroyed / browser close
  • also localStorage can share between tabs while sessionStorage can use in current tab only, but value does not change on refresh page or change the page
  • sessionStorage is also useful to reduce network traffic against cookie

for set value use

sessionStorage.setItem("key","my value");

for get value use

var value = sessionStorage.getItem("key");

click here for view api

all ways for set are

  sessionStorage.key = "my val";
  sessionStorage["key"] = "my val";
  sessionStorage.setItem("key","my value");

all ways for get are

  var value = sessionStorage.key;
  var value = sessionStorage["key"];
  var value = sessionStorage.getItem("key");

The lifecycle is controlled by the application/user.

From the standard:

User agents should expire data from the local storage areas only for security reasons or when requested to do so by the user. User agents should always avoid deleting data while a script that could access that data is running.


From the W3C draft:

User agents should expire data from the local storage areas only for security reasons or when requested to do so by the user. User agents should always avoid deleting data while a script that could access that data is running.

You'll want to do your updates on your schedule using setItem(key, value); that will either add or update the given key with the new data.


// Functions
function removeHtmlStorage(name) {
    localStorage.removeItem(name);
    localStorage.removeItem(name+'_time');
}

function setHtmlStorage(name, value, expires) {

    if (expires==undefined || expires=='null') { var expires = 3600; } // default: 1h

    var date = new Date();
    var schedule = Math.round((date.setSeconds(date.getSeconds()+expires))/1000);

    localStorage.setItem(name, value);
    localStorage.setItem(name+'_time', schedule);
}

function statusHtmlStorage(name) {

    var date = new Date();
    var current = Math.round(+date/1000);

    // Get Schedule
    var stored_time = localStorage.getItem(name+'_time');
    if (stored_time==undefined || stored_time=='null') { var stored_time = 0; }

    // Expired
    if (stored_time < current) {

        // Remove
        removeHtmlStorage(name);

        return 0;

    } else {

        return 1;
    }
}

// Status
var cache_status = statusHtmlStorage('cache_name');

// Has Data
if (cache_status == 1) {

    // Get Cache
    var data = localStorage.getItem('cache_name');
    alert(data);

// Expired or Empty Cache
} else {

    // Get Data
    var data = 'Pay in cash :)';
    alert(data);

    // Set Cache (30 seconds)
    if (cache) { setHtmlStorage('cache_name', data, 30); }

}

If someone using jStorage Plugin of jQuery the it can be add expiry with setTTL function if jStorage plugin

$.jStorage.set('myLocalVar', "some value");
$.jStorage.setTTL("myLocalVar", 24*60*60*1000); // 24 Hr.

If anyone still looking for a quick solution and don't want dependencies like jquery etc I wrote a mini lib that add expiration to local / session / custom storage, you can find it with source here:

https://github.com/RonenNess/ExpiredStorage


You can try this one.

var hours = 24; // Reset when storage is more than 24hours
var now = new Date().getTime();
var setupTime = localStorage.getItem('setupTime');
if (setupTime == null) {
     localStorage.setItem('setupTime', now)
} else {
    if(now-setupTime > hours*60*60*1000) {
         localStorage.clear()
         localStorage.setItem('setupTime', now);
    }
}

Workaround using angular and localforage:

angular.module('app').service('cacheService', function() {

  return {
    set: function(key, value, expireTimeInSeconds) {
      return localforage.setItem(key, {
        data: value,
        timestamp: new Date().getTime(),
        expireTimeInMilliseconds: expireTimeInSeconds * 1000
      })
    },
    get: function(key) {
      return localforage.getItem(key).then(function(item) {
        if(!item || new Date().getTime() > (item.timestamp + item.expireTimeInMilliseconds)) {
          return null
        } else {
          return item.data
        }
      })
    }
  }

})

@sebarmeli's approach is the best in my opinion, but if you only want data to persist for the life of a session then sessionStorage is probably a better option:

This is a global object (sessionStorage) that maintains a storage area that's available for the duration of the page session. A page session lasts for as long as the browser is open and survives over page reloads and restores. Opening a page in a new tab or window will cause a new session to be initiated.

MDN: sessionStorage


For the benefit of searchers:

Like Fernando, I didn't want to add a load of json when the values stored were simple. I just needed to track some UI interaction and keep the data relevant (e.g. how a user used an ecommerce site before checking out).

This will not meet everyones criteria, but will hopefully be a quick copy+paste starter for someone and save adding another lib.

NOTE: This would not be good if you need to retrieve the items individually.

// Addition
if(window.localStorage){
    localStorage.setItem('myapp-' + new Date().getTime(), 'my value');
}

// Removal of all expired items
if(window.localStorage){

    // two mins - (1000 * 60 * 20) would be 20 mins
    var expiryTime = new Date().getTime() - (1000 * 60 * 2);

    var deleteRows = [];
    for(var i=0; i < localStorage.length; i++){
        var key = localStorage.key(i);
        var partsArray = key.split('-');
        // The last value will be a timestamp
        var lastRow = partsArray[partsArray.length - 1];

        if(lastRow && parseInt(lastRow) < expiryTime){
            deleteRows.push(key);
        }
    }
    // delete old data
    for(var j=0; j < deleteRows.length; j++){
        localStorage.removeItem(deleteRows[j]);
    }
}

If you’re familiar with the browsers locaStorage object, you know that there’s no provision for providing an expiry time. However, we can use Javascript to add a TTL (Time to live) to invalidate items in locaStorage after a certain period of time elapses.

function setLocalStorageItem(key, value, ttl) {
    // `item` is an object which contains the original value
    // as well as the time when it's supposed to expire
    let item = {
        value: value,
        expiry: ttl ? Date.now() + ttl : null
    };

    localStorage.setItem(key, JSON.stringify(item));
}

function getLocalStorageItem(key) {
    let item = localStorage.getItem(key);
    
    // if the item doesn't exist, return null
    if (!item) return null;

    item = JSON.parse(item);
    // compare the expiry time of the item with the current time
    if (item.expiry && Date.now() > item.expiry) {
        // If the item is expired, delete the item from storage and return null
        localStorage.removeItem(key);

        return null;
    }
    
    return item.value;
}