After running a WebPagetest.org for one of the pages of our website, I noticed - because of the red marked http file not found errors - that Internet Explorer (IE) wants to preload two html pages after the last javascript has been loaded. Not all linked html pages are being preloaded by IE. The undesired page preloading happens with both IE7, IE8, IE9 and IE10. The links are encapsulated within a li tag, to be precise the path is: html > body > ul > li > a .

I can't prevent this unwanted IE page pre-loading by adding a rel="nofollow" to the link: http://crashplan.probackup.nl/bugs/ie-link-will-preload-page/a-rel-nofollow2.en.html and an IE8 test result.

Why does Internet Explorer want to preload these specific linked html pages in the first place, and how to prevent this undesired preload?

  • this url, is throwing a 404 crashplan.probackup.nl/bugs/ie-link-will-preload-page/… as it does not exist, at the moment. i'm going to assume that is the same problem for the other one. as equally interesting...where did you say you saw the red streak? how did every other browser miss this?
    – albert
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


The Microsoft documentation for Internet Explorer prefetch indicates that IE prefetches links with certain rel values. Specifically

  • rel="prerender"
  • rel="prefetch"
  • rel="dns-prefetch"

However there is also a note on the page that indicates that it may prefetch "flip ahead targets" specified with rel=next.

Note Internet Explorer also supports the "next" and "prev" values for the rel attribute. For more info, see Determining flip ahead targets.

You do you use prev and next on your page. From your source code:

<link rel="prev" href="../../remote-backup/advice.en.html" type="text/html">
<link rel="next" href="../../remote-backup/support.en.html" type="text/html">
<link rel="last" href="../../remote-backup/feedback.en.html" type="text/html">

If you don't want these pages to be prefetched, don't specify them as next, prev, and last. They don't look like are actually pages in a series anyway.

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