Chrome To Combat Sticky 'Back Button' Websites

John Lister's picture

Google is to fight back against websites that make it deliberately hard for users to leave their pages. It's tweaking the way the Chrome browser responds to the back button.

The back button sounds like something simple that would intuitive take the user to the page they were on before navigating to the current page. However, the way it works has proven open to abuse.

In reality the back button doesn't reverse the most recent "move" between pages. Instead it tells the browser to visit the most recent page in its history list. To the user it makes no difference, but to the browser it's effectively a new page visit.

Backtracking Not Always Easy

The problem is that sneaky websites take advantage by creating bogus browser history entries. They're usually set in a cycle that means pressing back actually takes the user to a bogus page that simply redirects them to the page they were trying to leave.

To make things worse, this happens almost instantaneously and users have no way of knowing how long the list of bogus entries is (or that it actually exists). That means they have to guess how many times to hit the back button and will often click too few times and be stuck on the unwanted page, or too many times and have to retrace their steps to find the page they actually wanted to return to. (Source:

Bogus Pages Could Be Skipped

Google believes it has figured out a way to identify bogus entries in the browser history. To start with, it will flag the pages associated with the bogus entries and send the data for analysis.

It will look for evidence that the bogus entries are indeed being used to abuse the back button, which could include cases where the user "visits" the same page multiple times in short succession.

Once it's confident a site is indeed manipulating the browser history, it will simply tell Chrome to skip the flagged entries when finding the most recently visited page. That should make the back button work as designed.

The changes have been added to Chromium, the underlying code that Chrome is based on. It should soon arrive in the advance testing program before eventually being rolled out to all users. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you experienced problems with the back button? Does this sound like a smart way to overcome such tricks? Do you think the shady sites will simply find another way to manipulate browsing?

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buzzallnight's picture

message in IE 11?

Is there some way to send a message to websites
that suggest you change your browser or software?

Like for instance Gmail?

"I will switch to chrome when hell freezes over!!!!!!!!'
"I will change to chrome when Musk stops smoking dope and drinking whiskey"

Or if not a way to block their constant insistence to change something?

For that matter is there a way to send a message to all programmers?

If we want you to change some software
WE WILL LET YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, your baby is ugly and not better than the old version!!!!!!!!!

Oh ya,

Seasons Greetings :)

Focused100's picture

Sometimes they ask if you really want to leave. In most cases a video is playing. If I click cancel the video stops and the text of the video appears and I read that instead of waiting for the whole video to play.
That allows me to skip to the good parts if I wish.

I have also experienced the "fake" back button. I didn't realize it was nefarious until reading this article altho it doesn't surprise me.

I get around it by holding the back button until the history appears and I choose the page I want.