Session Storage vs. Local Storage: What Are the Differences?

Session Storage vs. Local Storage: What Are the Differences?


Session and local storage are browser storage methods that allow you to store data along with stateless HTTP requests. They are an alternative to cookie-based storage and have many uses in web development.

While they work very similarly, there are significant differences that you should keep in mind.

Local storage and session storage: what are their uses?

Local and session storage are JavaScript APIs that you can use to store client-side data. They allow a website to store data in the browser and tell the browser to access it later.

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Depending on your needs, you can use local or session storage to store data. Both storage methods are similar to cookies, but without the same privacy concerns around cookies. Therefore, most modern websites prefer to use only web storage methods or combine them with cookies as an alternative.

Unlike cookies, local storage and session storage do not send data to the server via HTTP headers. You should only use them for client-side functionality.

In addition, local and session storage has a storage limit of about 5 MB per domain. They provide more storage than cookies, which only have a capacity of 4 KiB per cookie.

What is session storage?

A browsing session approaches your use of a website. If you visit a site, browse a bit, and then turn off your computer, you can think of this time as a single session. Browser settings can change this in subtle ways, but a session aims to represent the amount of time you interact with a site.

Session storage is unique to each browser tab. If you open a new tab and navigate to the same location, you’ll start a new session with its own storage. However, if you use a “duplicate tab” feature in your browser, you may be able to reuse the same session. You can’t rely too much on the specific details of a “session”. Instead, focus on the basics: session storage is temporary.


Session storage has built-in API methods for working with key / value pair data. You can store JavaScript data like this:

sessionStorage.setItem("key", "value");

And to recover the stored value:

sessionStorage.getItem("key");

Note that both key i value they are just string types. If you want to store a different type, you will need to convert it to a string, either explicitly or implicitly.

What is local storage?

Local storage holds data in all instances of a site, whether in different tabs or windows. It is also permanent, so the data will not disappear when you close the browser.

When you open a website that previously used local storage, you will always have access to the stored data.

As a web developer, you can use this mechanism to retain data about a user. Some websites may use it to keep you logged in or offer a more personalized experience.

Like session storage, you can set a local storage object with a line of JavaScript code:

localStorage.setItem("key", "value");

To access the key value:

localStorage.getItem("key");

Note that these methods work in the same way as session storage, they only use a different type of data warehouse.

Although session storage clears data as soon as the session ends, the only way to clear local storage is to explicitly delete it. Both types of storage offer two methods for erasing data. The first deletes a specific data item based on its key:

localStorage.removeItem("key");

You can also delete all data stored on your site, regardless of your password:

localStorage.clear();

You can learn more about these web storage API methods at javascript.info.

When do you need local storage?

Because local storage is persistent, it is best to preserve data between user visits. If you want to store site preferences or store long-term data, local storage is suitable. You may not want to store more sensitive data using local storage, as it is permanent.

Because local and session storage are front-end methods, you may want to avoid using them for server-based functions, such as user login. You might consider cookies as an alternative in these cases.

When do you need session storage?

If you want to store data only while a user is interacting with your site, session storage is ideal. This could be for short-term cache or usage data about a specific visit to your site.

Session storage is better for storing more sensitive information as it expires.

Local storage versus session storage: which is more secure?

As you’ve seen, local and session storage methods are similar in many ways, but they still have custom use cases. You should not consider yourself secure, as they are front-end technologies to which JavaScript has access. However, the storage of the session is very convenient and its temporary nature is reassuring.

Local storage is permanent, so it can cause additional security issues. Anyone who opens a browser can, in theory, access local storage. You should know how XSS attacks work and how to prevent them.

Local storage or session storage – which one should you use?

Session storage is a bit more secure due to its temporary nature. However, your choice of web storage method depends on your requirements. JavaScript storage is best suited for client use only. But it offers a convenient browser-based data store and is very easy to use.

Remember that while local storage stores data on multiple tabs, session storage is unique to each tab, for the most part. You should make sure that your application makes as few assumptions as possible and adapts to extreme cases.

Cookies are an older form of data persistence, but they are still widely used. You may want to view the data that you need to transmit to the server.




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