HTML http-equiv Attribute


The http-equiv attribute in HTML is used to provide HTTP header information to the browser. It stands for "HTTP equivalent," and it allows an HTML document to send HTTP information to the client without using HTTP headers in the response. This attribute is typically used within a <meta> tag in the <head> section of an HTML document.

The http-equiv attribute can serve various purposes, including:

  1. Controlling Cache Behaviour: Using values like expires, pragma, or cache-control, developers can influence how browsers cache the webpage, potentially improving load times and reducing server load for subsequent visits.

  2. Specifying Character Encoding: With content-type, the character set of the document (e.g., UTF-8) can be declared, ensuring that text is properly displayed across different browsers and devices.

  3. Refreshing or Redirecting: The refresh value can be used to refresh the page automatically after a specified number of seconds, or to redirect the user to another URL.

  4. Setting Cookies: Although less common, set-cookie can be used to set HTTP cookies directly from HTML documents.

  5. Controlling Display or Behavior: Attributes like x-ua-compatible can be used to advise the browser on how to render the page, often for compatibility with specific versions of Internet Explorer.

The general syntax for using the http-equiv attribute within a <meta> tag looks like this:

<meta http-equiv="type_of_header" content="value">

Where type_of_header specifies the type of HTTP header information you're mimicking, and value provides the necessary information or directive for that header type.

While the http-equiv attribute offers powerful ways to control how a webpage interacts with the browser, some of its uses have become less common due to advancements in web standards and best practices. Nonetheless, it remains an important tool in certain scenarios, especially for backward compatibility and specific client-side behavior control.


<meta http-equiv="refresh | default-style | content-type | content-security-policy">


  • refreshSpecifies a time interval in seconds for the document to refresh.
  • default-styleSpecifies the name of the default CSS set.
  • content-typeSpecifies the media type, formerly MIME type, and character encoding of the page.
  • content-security-policySpecifies the current page's content policy.

Applies To

The http-equiv attribute can be used on the following html elements.


&lt;meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"&gt;

Browser Support

The following table will show you the current browser support for the HTML http-equiv Attribute.

Edge Chrome Firefox Opera Safari
Tablets / Mobile
Chrome Firefox Opera Safari Samsung Webview

Last updated by CSSPortal on: 28th March 2024