Prevent Playwright to follow redirects in the page.goto() function

3 min. read
Unfortunately, this solution is currently blocked due to an issue in Playwright v1.39 itself. I hope the team fixes the issue soon. The related issue is #23781.

I had some issues with the website checks I run for Cloudhiker, which are using a headless browser controlled by Playwright. Unfortunately, when instructing the browser to open a new page and go to a specific URL, it automatically follows redirects returned by the website.

This is what the check looked like before:

const context = await browser.newContext();
const page = await context.newPage();
response = await page.goto(req.query.url, {
  timeout: timeout,
  waitUntil: 'domcontentloaded'

The response is then interpreted by Cloudhiker and, if there are any issues while trying to open a specific website, it is marked as erroneous and removed from the active index. This check should also ensure, that websites introducing a redirect should be marked as erroneous too. I thought that the above code did exactly that. But in fact, issues were only found if there was a real issue, i.e. the website was unreachable or returned a 404.

Telling Playwright to stop following redirects

While the API request feature has an option to set the maximum amount of redirects it should follow, the page.goto() function is missing this option. Whatever the reason might be, I got a hint in a closed issue from 2019. A developer explained one could intercept routing of the goto() function. After a few tries I got it working, although not exactly as I expected.

await page.route('**', async route => {
    const response = await route.fetch({maxRedirects: 0});
    let headers = response.headers();
    delete headers['location'];
    delete headers['Location'];
    return route.fulfill({
        response: response,
        headers: headers
response = await page.goto(req.query.url, {
    timeout: timeout,
    waitUntil: 'domcontentloaded'

The page.goto() function uses API requests to fetch pages with the browser. Therefore, one could use page.route() to specify, how requests should be handled. In our case, we want to prevent redirects for any requests at all.
I first tried to set the maxRedirects option but quickly discovered, that the route.fulfill() function seems to interpret any Location headers and follows those redirects. Therefore, I had to remove those headers from the response and then pass that response to the fulfill() function.

When I now check a website that returns a redirect in the initial HTTP request, I correctly get this response, instead of the redirect being followed.


While this works for me as I only want to evaluate the base response of a website and not their assets, the above code may break rending of websites as redirects for assets like images or CSS files are not followed anymore. You may tweak the page.route() part to your use case.


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