Some websites and services refresh their contents automatically in intervals if you allow certain scripts to run on them. This is for instance the case on Twitter where new messages are displayed on top when they appear on the site. The majority of websites and services on the other hand do not offer a feature like this even though you sometimes might want to make use of it. Maybe you want Reddit’s frontpage to be reloaded regularly so that you notice new stories that have been published on the site, or you want a search on eBay to be refreshed so that you spot new items immediately.
The following guide describes how you can use auto reload features in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
I’m starting with Opera because it is the only Internet browser of the four included in the guide that ships with a native auto refresh option. To reload a tab in Opera simply right-click anywhere on the website and select the Reload Every option from the context menu. Here you get options to reload the page every 30 minutes, 1,2 or 6 hours, never, or a custom range which can be as low as once every second.
The custom option has a setting that you can check so that Opera only reloads the page if the page contents are expired on the web server.
There are not many plugins or extensions available for Internet Explorer, but Auto Refresher for IE is making available the functionality to Microsoft’s browser. Just download the add-on from the developer website and install it on your system. Next time you start Internet Explorer you will see a prompt that asks you whether you want to enable the plugin in the browser which you should accept.
You can alternatively click on the settings button and select Manage add-ons from the context menu to enable it at a later point in time.
The plugin adds a toolbar to the browser that you can click on to enable a preset or custom refresh interval.
Tab Auto Reload is one of the many add-ons for Firefox that add an option to automatically refresh websites in the browser. Once you have installed and restarted Firefox you can make use of the add-on either with a right-click on the tab that you want the add-on to reload automatically, or by dragging and dropping the icon it makes available to one of the toolbars of the browser.