Delayed refresh must not be used

Rule ID: meta-refresh-no-exceptions
Ruleset: axe-core 4.8
User Impact: Minor
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (AAA), WCAG 2.0 (AAA)

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (AAA)
  • WCAG 2.0 (AAA)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (AAA)]

  • 2.2.4: MUST: Interruptions
  • 3.2.5: MUST: Change on Request

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (AAA)]

  • 2.2.4: MUST: Interruptions
  • 3.2.5: MUST: Change on Request

How to Fix the Problem

Remove the http-equiv="refresh" attribute from each meta element in which it is present.

To modify this example and make it accessible, remove the http-equiv="refresh" attribute from the meta element.

Bad Example

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="40" url="">

If the purpose of the <meta> element is to refresh the page, this should be handled through JavaScript. Furthermore, additional scripting should be used to provide users the ability to pause the refresh, extend the time between refreshes, or to turn the refresh off entirely.

For more information, see Timed Content in the Dynamic Content section of the HTML and CSS Accessibility course.

Why it Matters

Since users do not expect a page to refresh automatically, such refreshing can be disorienting. Refreshing also moves the programmatic focus back to the top of the page, away from where the user had it. Such resetting is frustrating for users.

Redirection and page refresh through the use of the <meta> element is problematic for users with disabilities in many ways. The primary reason why redirects and refreshes are problematic is that the user has no control over when the redirect or refresh occurs. If the purpose of the <meta> element is to redirect the user to a new location, server-side means should be employed instead of client-side. Content that moves or auto-updates can be a barrier to anyone who has trouble reading the stationary text as quickly as well as to anyone who has trouble tracking moving objects. It can also cause problems for screen readers.

Rule Description

The document must not use <meta http-equiv="refresh"> because it can prevent control over when the refresh occurs for users with disabilities.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Checks for the presence of the http-equiv="refresh" attribute on the meta elements.


Refer to the complete list of axe 4.8 rules.

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