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Browser back button issue after logout

, 20 Feb 2013 CPOL
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How to stop user from accessing the previous pages once he/she logs out and presses browser back button.
Well, I found a lot of people asking for a resolution to handle the browser's back button once user has logged out.
Typically, users report something like:
I am facing issue in my application's logout scenario. After the user login into website, he/she uses it(website) and when done, they do a logout, which leads them back to login page. But the problem is now, from this login page, if I click the browser back button then it again takes the user back to the previous visited page as if logged in. How can I stop user from viewing the previous page once logged out?

The browser Back button is an option to go back to previously visited pages. The back button can be considered as a pointer that is linked to the page previously visited by the user. Browser keeps a stack of the web pages visited as a doubly-linked list.

The back button works by stepping through the history of HTTP requests which is maintained by the browser itself. This history is stored in browsers cache that consists of the entire page content with resources like image and scripts. This enables browser to navigate backwards and forwards through the browser history and have each page displayed instantly from cache without the delay of having it retransmitted over the internet from the server.

Just to handle the scenario of getting page content from server, browsers have a Refresh button that transmits the request to web server and get back the fresh copy of entire page. Internally, this also replaces the copy of the page in the browser's cache.

So, what's the basic reason behind it? It's, browser's Cache!
Now, what can be done to handle the scenario? Surely on logout event one does clear the session. Post which, browsers cache needs to be handled such that browser has no history (this will make back/forward button in browser grayed out disabled.) Here are various ways of how one can do it:

Option #1: Set Response Cache settings in code-behind file for a page
// Code disables caching by browser.
Option #2: Set META tag for HTTP cache settings in your ASPX page header
<META Http-Equiv="Cache-Control" Content="no-cache"/>
<META Http-Equiv="Pragma" Content="no-cache"/>
<META Http-Equiv="Expires" Content="0"/>
Option #3: Clear browser's history through JavaScript using script tag
//clears browser history and redirects url
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="javascript">
function ClearHistory()
     var backlen = history.length;
     window.location.href = loggedOutPageUrl
Option #4: Clear browser's history through JavaScript injecting through code-behind file via Response
protected void LogOut()
     string loggedOutPageUrl = "Logout.aspx";
     Response.Write("<script language="'javascript'">");
     Response.Write("function ClearHistory()");
     Response.Write(" var backlen=history.length;");
     Response.Write(" history.go(-backlen);");
     Response.Write(" window.location.href='" + loggedOutPageUrl + "'; ");
Option #5: Clear browser's history through JavaScript injecting through code-behind file via Page.ClientScript
As Chris[^] suggested, I would like to add here itself as a part of the Tip/Trick that I would not suggest to use it and mess with browser's history as this is a bad, bad thing.
One should implement it, only if they really need it and are prepared to accept that it is not a good practice.
Lastly, this would not work if one disables JavaScript.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Sandeep Mewara
Software Developer (Senior)
India India
Current location: Bangalore, India.
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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberSukh Veer Singh29-Jan-13 23:13 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 PinmvpSandeep Mewara30-Jan-13 0:05 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 PinmemberSukh Veer Singh30-Jan-13 2:59 
GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberArun Selva Kumar B27-Jan-13 21:16 
GeneralA syntax error Pinmember ProgramFOX5-Jan-13 7:04 
GeneralRe: A syntax error PinmvpSandeep Mewara26-Jan-13 21:08 
GeneralRe: Thanks....i have been clear now...... PinmemberPritesh Aryan30-Apr-11 0:25 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 good article to understand caching s... Pinmembernikhi _singh8-Feb-12 19:52 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 very helping article PinmemberManojDhobale9-Jan-12 18:51 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice tip Pinmembernagendrathecoder28-Dec-11 20:49 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 good one PinmemberPrince Antony G13-Dec-11 2:14 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice.. My 5 PinmemberTejas_Vaishnav10-Nov-11 20:15 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 dfdgdfg PinmemberPGunge24-Oct-11 19:08 
GeneralIf your deleting all of the browser session history, then it... Pinmemberzenwalker19857-Oct-11 5:39 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Good tip PinmemberSChristmas29-Jun-11 2:33 
General@Sandeep, Thanks for more question i have ... PinmemberPritesh Aryan29-Apr-11 23:06 
GeneralRe: It would depend on the way you do it. If you use History bac... PinmvpSandeep Mewara29-Apr-11 23:24 
General@Sandeep.. Though i have not much experience in WEB...i woul... PinmemberPritesh Aryan29-Apr-11 19:56 
GeneralRe: Thats a the design constraint. I clearly mentioned it is not... PinmvpSandeep Mewara29-Apr-11 20:40 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Good tip for beginners 'How handle ... PinmemberE$w@r17-Mar-11 9:35 
GeneralVery good, 5. --SA PinmvpSAKryukov20-Feb-11 21:32 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice and valuable tip PinmemberSreejith Gopinathan17-Feb-11 0:10 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice tip, Sandeep! --SA PinmvpSAKryukov4-Feb-11 10:47 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Very Nice Tip, Thanks for Sharing. I... PinmemberGandalf - The White30-Jan-11 20:11 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Veru useful information, Sandeep, th... PinmvpSAKryukov27-Jan-11 21:47 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Thanks for sharing this tip Pinmemberlinuxjr27-Jan-11 17:53 
GeneralReason for my vote of 1 None of the ways are fool proof. Pinmember d@nish 27-Jan-11 11:04 
GeneralEncouraging developers to mess with browser history is a bad... PinadminChris Maunder23-Jan-11 20:56 
GeneralRe: Thanks for your suggestion Chris. I have updated the Tip/Tri... PinmvpSandeep Mewara27-Jan-11 7:53 
GeneralRe: Thanks for your suggestion Chris. I have updated the Tip/Tri... PinmemberCorruptmind20-May-12 23:25 
GeneralBut Dear Sandeep, it doesn't work with Google Chrome or Fire... PinmemberMember 453006420-Jan-11 2:07 
GeneralReason for my 5: Good tip. Very valuable infomation. Thanks ... PinmvpManfred R. Bihy1-Jan-11 7:29 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Good one! This is a very valuable Ti... PinmvpManfred R. Bihy1-Jan-11 7:28 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice one Sandeep!! This is very comm... PinmentorBrij20-Dec-10 21:39 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice One PinmemberVigneshb620-Dec-10 20:54 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Good one. This question was asked by... PinmemberSChristmas19-Dec-10 0:40 
GeneralGood work PinmemberAbdul Quader Mamun16-Dec-10 9:49 
Generalwindows.history.clear is much better and simple PinmemberXmen W.K.12-Dec-10 2:37 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Good one...It will be useful for man... Pinmvpthatraja9-Dec-10 20:29 
GeneralThanks for the info and tip! PinsubeditorWalt Fair, Jr.9-Dec-10 14:53 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Thanks for Posting it Sandeep. It wi... PinmentorAbhijit Jana9-Dec-10 9:49 
QuestionRegarding browser back button issue PinmemberMichael Sahaya Mary8-Feb-12 23:25 
AnswerRe: Regarding browser back button issue PinmvpSandeep Mewara20-Feb-12 0:39 

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