How to change URL in browser without navigating away from page?

I am writing a complex AJAX application at the moment and the entire site has clean URLs. At the moment PHP creates the basic layout for each page however I don't want to have to navigate away from each page when the user clicks on a link, and I don't want to have a hash in the URL because it won't fit with the rest of the site. I know that this has cropped up loads before on the site and it seems to be quite commonly asked but I was wondering if there was a neat HTML5 way of just appearing to change the URL in the address bar even if it technically remains on the same page.



You can do it with history.pushState, but only in browsers that support it. Just try the following line in your browsers JavaScript-Console.

history.pushState({},"URL Rewrite Example","")

More on that in The pushState() method (Mozilla Developer)

Similar question How do I, with JavaScript, change the URL in the browser without loading the new page?


As others have stated, HTML5's history.pushstate is the way to go. Try browsing a repo on github to see it in action (

Trouble is the only version of IE that supports history.pushstate is IE10, which kinda sucks.

Plenty of sites use hashbang #! URL's such as Twitter (e.g.!/Sironfoot ). The hashbang is a URL pattern agreed on by search engines so that they can still trawl and index a heavily Ajax powered website (more info here, so you could go that route.

The only other approach is to use history.pushstate for browsers that support it, and fall back to full-page refreshes for non-supporting browsers.


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