Borked Behaviour for the Back-button in Firefox

I investigated a strange problem yesterday, where the back button in Firefox returned the user to the top of the previous page, instead of to the location where he already had scrolled. The problem seemed to have brought its fair share of problems for developers all over, and a thread detailing the problem in Drupal provided the information needed to solve it. The problem is actually so wide-spread that there is a dedicated Firefox extension to solve the issue (Restore Scroll Position).

Anyways, the issue stems from the Cache-Control headers that PHP among others include by default:

Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0

The problem is that the “no-store” directive tells the browser do NOT store a version of the page anywhere, not temporarily, not .. ever. Internet Explorer and Opera still remembers the position, but Firefox decided to take everything a step further and does not keep any information available. The extension mentioned above saves the scroll position in another location and then restores the scroll position after navigating back to the page.

The problem is solved by changing the Cache-Control header:

Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0

A very helpful tip here is that you probably need to restart Firefox to make it respect the new header, as it will keep its old behavior until you restart the browser (at least for Firefox 3.0.6).

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