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How to refresh the page in ReactJS

Understanding the Need for Page Refresh

If you've ever built a web application, you've likely encountered a scenario where you needed to refresh a webpage. In traditional web applications, this is straightforward. You simply reload the page and your server handles the rest.

But wait! In ReactJS, a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces, this isn't the case. React is designed to create single-page applications (SPAs). SPAs don't require page reload for every user action, making the user experience smoother and faster.

Yet, there are times when we need the equivalent of a page refresh in ReactJS. That's what we'll explore in this post.

The Mechanism of Page Refresh in ReactJS

ReactJS uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to track changes in the application's state. State is simply a way of describing the current situation of our application, such as whether a user is logged in or not, or what items are currently in a shopping cart.

When the state of a component changes, ReactJS efficiently updates and re-renders that component and its child components, without needing to refresh the whole page. This is one of React’s main features and it’s what makes apps built with React so fast and user-friendly.

Imagine you're painting a landscape. You wouldn't redraw the entire painting just to change the color of one flower, right? Instead, you'd just touch up that one flower. That's how ReactJS treats changes in state - it updates only what needs to be updated.

How to Refresh a Page in ReactJS

Refreshing a page in ReactJS can mean two things: either you want to refresh the data being displayed on a page, or you want to reload the entire page (like what happens when you hit the refresh button in your browser). Let's look at each scenario.

Refreshing Data

If you wish to refresh data, you don't need to refresh the entire page. You can simply update the state of your component.

Consider an example where we have a component that fetches and displays a list of items from an API:

import React, { useEffect, useState } from 'react';
import axios from 'axios';

function ItemList() {
  const [items, setItems] = useState([]);

  useEffect(() => {
    const fetchItems = async () => {
      const response = await axios.get('');

  }, []);

  return (
      { => (
        <li key={}>{}</li>

export default ItemList;

In this example, whenever you want to refresh the items, you can call the fetchItems() function. This will get the updated list of items and update the state, causing a re-render of the ItemList component with the new data.

Force Reloading the Entire Page

There might be cases where you want to force a full page reload, similar to what happens when a user presses the refresh button in their browser.

This is generally not recommended in a ReactJS application, as it goes against the idea of a single-page application. However, if you find yourself needing to do this, you can use the location.reload() method:


This line of code will cause the browser to reload the entire page. But remember, use it sparingly!

How to Avoid Full Page Reloads

As we've discussed, full page reloads should be avoided in a ReactJS application. But what if you have a situation where you feel like you need one? Here are some alternatives:

Use Component State: ReactJS's state and lifecycle methods (like componentDidMount, componentDidUpdate, or hooks like useState and useEffect) should be your first tools to reach for when you need to update your UI based on changes in your data.

Use Context or Redux: If you have global state that needs to be shared across many components, you might consider using React’s Context API or a state management library like Redux. These tools allow you to keep your state in a central store and update it without needing to pass props down through multiple layers of components.

Use Routes: In a ReactJS application, you can use a library like React Router to change the view without a page reload. Each route corresponds to a specific view. When the route changes, React Router will render the component associated with that route.


While the concept of refreshing a page might not translate directly in ReactJS, as we've seen, there are many ways to achieve similar results. By understanding and leveraging the power of state and the virtual DOM, we can create dynamic and responsive applications that give the illusion of refreshing a page without a full page reload.

Remember, ReactJS is all about building fast, efficient, and user-friendly applications - and this often means avoiding full page reloads. So next time you find yourself reaching for that window.location.reload(), pause for a moment and consider if there's a more 'React'-ive way to achieve your goal!

Happy coding!