Accessing the web page's HTTP Headers in JavaScript


How do I access a page's HTTP response headers via JavaScript?

Related to this question, which was modified to ask about accessing two specific HTTP headers.

Related:
How do I access the HTTP request header fields via JavaScript?

It's not possible to read the current headers. You could make another request to the same URL and read its headers, but there is no guarantee that the headers are exactly equal to the current.


Use the following JavaScript code to get all the HTTP headers by performing a get request:

var req = new XMLHttpRequest();
req.open('GET', document.location, false);
req.send(null);
var headers = req.getAllResponseHeaders().toLowerCase();
alert(headers);

Unfortunately, there isn't an API to give you the HTTP response headers for your initial page request. That was the original question posted here. It has been repeatedly asked, too, because some people would like to get the actual response headers of the original page request without issuing another one.


For AJAX Requests:

If an HTTP request is made over AJAX, it is possible to get the response headers with the getAllResponseHeaders() method. It's part of the XMLHttpRequest API. To see how this can be applied, check out the fetchSimilarHeaders() function below. Note that this is a work-around to the problem that won't be reliable for some applications.

myXMLHttpRequest.getAllResponseHeaders();

This will not give you information about the original page request's HTTP response headers, but it could be used to make educated guesses about what those headers were. More on that is described next.


Getting header values from the Initial Page Request:

This question was first asked several years ago, asking specifically about how to get at the original HTTP response headers for the current page (i.e. the same page inside of which the javascript was running). This is quite a different question than simply getting the response headers for any HTTP request. For the initial page request, the headers aren't readily available to javascript. Whether the header values you need will be reliably and sufficiently consistent if you request the same page again via AJAX will depend on your particular application.

The following are a few suggestions for getting around that problem.


1. Requests on Resources which are largely static

If the response is largely static and the headers are not expected to change much between requests, you could make an AJAX request for the same page you're currently on and assume that they're they are the same values which were part of the page's HTTP response. This could allow you to access the headers you need using the nice XMLHttpRequest API described above.

function fetchSimilarHeaders (callback) {
    var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
    request.onreadystatechange = function () {
        if (request.readyState === XMLHttpRequest.DONE) {
            //
            // The following headers may often be similar
            // to those of the original page request...
            //
            if (callback && typeof callback === 'function') {
                callback(request.getAllResponseHeaders());
            }
        }
    };

    //
    // Re-request the same page (document.location)
    // We hope to get the same or similar response headers to those which 
    // came with the current page, but we have no guarantee.
    // Since we are only after the headers, a HEAD request may be sufficient.
    //
    request.open('HEAD', document.location, true);
    request.send(null);
}

This approach will be problematic if you truly have to rely on the values being consistent between requests, since you can't fully guarantee that they are the same. It's going to depend on your specific application and whether you know that the value you need is something that won't be changing from one request to the next.


2. Make Inferences

There are some BOM properties (Browser Object Model) which the browser determines by looking at the headers. Some of these properties reflect HTTP headers directly (e.g. navigator.userAgent is set to the value of the HTTP User-Agent header field). By sniffing around the available properties you might be able to find what you need, or some clues to indicate what the HTTP response contained.


3. Stash them

If you control the server side, you can access any header you like as you construct the full response. Values could be passed to the client with the page, stashed in some markup or perhaps in an inlined JSON structure. If you wanted to have every HTTP request header available to your javascript, you could iterate through them on the server and send them back as hidden values in the markup. It's probably not ideal to send header values this way, but you could certainly do it for the specific value you need. This solution is arguably inefficient, too, but it would do the job if you needed it.


Using XmlHttpRequest you can pull up the current page and then examine the http headers of the response.

Best case is to just do a HEAD request and then examine the headers.

For some examples of doing this have a look at http://www.jibbering.com/2002/4/httprequest.html

Just my 2 cents.


A solution with Service Workers

Service workers are able to access network information, which includes headers. The good part is that it works on any kind of request, not just XMLHttpRequest.

How it works:

  1. Add a service worker on your website.
  2. Watch every request that's being sent.
  3. Make the service worker fetch the request with the respondWith function.
  4. When the response arrives, read the headers.
  5. Send the headers from the service worker to the page with the postMessage function.

Working example:

Service workers are a bit complicated to understand, so I've built a small library that does all this. It is available on github: https://github.com/gmetais/sw-get-headers.

Limitations:

  • the website needs to be on HTTPS
  • the browser needs to support the Service Workers API
  • the same-domain/cross-domain policies are in action, just like on XMLHttpRequest

For those looking for a way to parse all HTTP headers into an object that can be accessed as a dictionary headers["content-type"], I've created a function parseHttpHeaders:

function parseHttpHeaders(httpHeaders) {
    return httpHeaders.split("\n")
     .map(x=>x.split(/: */,2))
     .filter(x=>x[0])
     .reduce((ac, x)=>{ac[x[0]] = x[1];return ac;}, {});
}

var req = new XMLHttpRequest();
req.open('GET', document.location, false);
req.send(null);
var headers = parseHttpHeaders(req.getAllResponseHeaders());
// Now we can do:  headers["content-type"]

Another way to send header information to JavaScript would be through cookies. The server can extract whatever data it needs from the request headers and send them back inside a Set-Cookie response header — and cookies can be read in JavaScript. As keparo says, though, it's best to do this for just one or two headers, rather than for all of them.


If we're talking about Request headers, you can create your own headers when doing XmlHttpRequests.

var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
request.setRequestHeader("X-Requested-With", "XMLHttpRequest");
request.open("GET", path, true);
request.send(null);

You can't access the http headers, but some of the information provided in them is available in the DOM. For example, if you want to see the http referer (sic), use document.referrer. There may be others like this for other http headers. Try googling the specific thing you want, like "http referer javascript".

I know this should be obvious, but I kept searching for stuff like "http headers javascript" when all I really wanted was the referer, and didn't get any useful results. I don't know how I didn't realize I could make a more specific query.


Using mootools, you can use this.xhr.getAllResponseHeaders()


Like many people I've been digging the net with no real answer :(

I've nevertheless find out a bypass that could help others. In my case I fully control my web server. In fact it is part of my application (see end reference). It is easy for me to add a script to my http response. I modified my httpd server to inject a small script within every html pages. I only push a extra 'js script' line right after my header construction, that set an existing variable from my document within my browser [I choose location], but any other option is possible. While my server is written in nodejs, I've no doubt that the same technique can be use from PHP or others.

  case ".html":
    response.setHeader("Content-Type", "text/html");
    response.write ("<script>location['GPSD_HTTP_AJAX']=true</script>")
    // process the real contend of my page

Now every html pages loaded from my server, have this script executed by the browser at reception. I can then easily check from JavaScript if the variable exist or not. In my usecase I need to know if I should use JSON or JSON-P profile to avoid CORS issue, but the same technique can be used for other purposes [ie: choose in between development/production server, get from server a REST/API key, etc ....]

On the browser you just need to check variable directly from JavaScript as in my example, where I use it to select my Json/JQuery profile

 // Select direct Ajax/Json profile if using GpsdTracking/HttpAjax server otherwise use JsonP
  var corsbypass = true;  
  if (location['GPSD_HTTP_AJAX']) corsbypass = false;

  if (corsbypass) { // Json & html served from two different web servers
    var gpsdApi = "http://localhost:4080/geojson.rest?jsoncallback=?";
  } else { // Json & html served from same web server [no ?jsoncallback=]
    var gpsdApi = "geojson.rest?";
  }
  var gpsdRqt = 
      {key   :123456789 // user authentication key
      ,cmd   :'list'    // rest command
      ,group :'all'     // group to retreive
      ,round : true     // ask server to round numbers
   };
   $.getJSON(gpsdApi,gpsdRqt, DevListCB);

For who ever would like to check my code: https://www.npmjs.org/package/gpsdtracking


I've just tested, and this works for me using Chrome Version 28.0.1500.95.

I was needing to download a file and read the file name. The file name is in the header so I did the following:

var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest(); 
xhr.open('POST', url, true); 
xhr.responseType = "blob";
xhr.onreadystatechange = function () { 
    if (xhr.readyState == 4) {
        success(xhr.response); // the function to proccess the response

        console.log("++++++ reading headers ++++++++");
        var headers = xhr.getAllResponseHeaders();
        console.log(headers);
        console.log("++++++ reading headers end ++++++++");

    }
};

Output:

Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 16:21:33 GMT
Content-Disposition: attachment;filename=testFileName.doc
Content-Length: 20
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
Content-Type: application/octet-stream

This is my script to get all the response headers:

var url = "< URL >";

var req = new XMLHttpRequest();
req.open('HEAD', url, false);
req.send(null);
var headers = req.getAllResponseHeaders();

//Show alert with response headers.
alert(headers);

Having as a result the response headers.

enter image description here

This is a comparison test using Hurl.it:

enter image description here


To get the headers as an object which is handier (improvement of Raja's answer):

var req = new XMLHttpRequest();
req.open('GET', document.location, false);
req.send(null);
var headers = req.getAllResponseHeaders().toLowerCase();
headers = headers.split(/\n|\r|\r\n/g).reduce(function(a, b) {
    if (b.length) {
        var [ key, value ] = b.split(': ');
        a[key] = value;
    }
    return a;
}, {});
console.log(headers);

This is an old question. Not sure when support became more broad, but getAllResponseHeaders() and getResponseHeader() appear to now be fairly standard: http://www.w3schools.com/xml/dom_http.asp


Allain Lalonde's Link made my day. Just adding some simplified and modernized real-world html code here.
Works with any reasonable browser including IE9 and Presto-Opera 12.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>(XHR) Show all response headers</title>

<h1>All Response Headers with XHR</h1>
<script>
 var X= new XMLHttpRequest();
 X.open("HEAD", location);
 X.send();
 X.onload= function() { 
   document.body.appendChild(document.createElement("pre")).textContent=
     X.getAllResponseHeaders();
 }
</script>

Note: You get headers of a second request, the result may differ from the initial request.


EDIT: Another way is to use the modern fetch() API
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/WindowOrWorkerGlobalScope/fetch
Per caniuse.com it's supported by Firefox 40, Chrome 42, Edge 14 and Safari 11
Working example code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>fetch() all Response Headers</title>

<h1>All Response Headers with fetch()</h1>
<script>
 var x= "";
 if(window.fetch)
   fetch(location, {method:'HEAD'}).then(function(r) {
     r.headers.forEach(function(v,i) {x+= (i+ "\t\t"+ v+ "\n")});
   }).then(function() {
     document.body.appendChild(document.createElement("pre")).textContent= x;
   })
</script>

As has already been mentioned, if you control the server side then it should be possible to send the initial request headers back to the client in the initial response.

In Express, for example, the following works:

app.get('/somepage', (req, res) => { res.render('somepage.hbs', {headers: req.headers}); }) The headers are then available within the template, so could be hidden visually but included in the markup and read by clientside javascript.


I think the question went in the wrong way, If you want to take the Request header from JQuery/JavaScript the answer is simply No. The other solutions is create a aspx page or jsp page then we can easily access the request header. Take all the request in aspx page and put into a session/cookies then you can access the cookies in JavaScript page..