3 min read performance

Fetch Priority for Efficient Resource Loading

An in-depth exploration of Fetch Priority in web development, detailing how it revolutionizes resource loading for improved performance and user experience.

Optimizing Web Performance with Fetch Priority: A Developer’s Guide

In the dynamic landscape of web development, performance optimization remains a top priority. One of the newer tools in a developer’s arsenal is Fetch Priority, a feature designed to enhance the way browsers handle resource loading. This article dives into the Fetch Priority API, its significance, and practical applications, ensuring your website’s resources are loaded efficiently and effectively.

Understanding Fetch Priority

Originally known as Priority Hints, Fetch Priority was renamed following its standardization. This feature plays a crucial role in how a browser downloads resources like images, scripts, and CSS. Browsers typically assign a fetch priority to resources, determining the order of their download based on factors like resource type and position in the document.

The Need for Fetch Priority

While browsers are adept at setting priorities, they aren’t flawless. Fetch Priority offers a more refined control, allowing developers to hint at the relative priority (high or low) of a resource. This can be crucial in optimizing Core Web Vitals, particularly the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a key metric for user experience.

Key Benefits:

  • Enhancing LCP: Specify fetchpriority="high" for critical images to load them sooner.
  • Script Loading: Increase the priority of asynchronous scripts with better semantics.
  • Resource Sequencing: Adjust the priority of scripts and images for optimal loading order.

Fetch Priority vs. Traditional Methods

Historically, developers influenced resource priority through preload and preconnect hints. Fetch Priority complements these, offering a more nuanced approach. Preload hints let the browser know about critical early resources, while preconnect warms up connections to cross-origin servers. Fetch Priority, however, directly influences the priority of resource fetches, both in markup and through JavaScript.

Example Use Case:

<!-- Increasing the priority of a critical image -->
<img src="hero-image.jpg" fetchpriority="high" alt="Hero Image" />

Implementing Fetch Priority

Fetch Priority is accessible via the fetchpriority attribute in HTML and the priority property in JavaScript’s Fetch API.

Markup-Based Implementation

You can use the fetchpriority attribute with link, img, and script tags. This attribute accepts three values: high, low, and auto (the default). By specifying the priority, you can guide the browser in resource loading decisions.


  • High Priority Image: <img src="important.jpg" fetchpriority="high" alt="Important Image">
  • Low Priority Script: <script src="non-critical.js" fetchpriority="low"></script>

JavaScript Implementation

In JavaScript, you can use the priority property within the Fetch API to influence the priority of data fetches


fetch("https://behrouz.nl/data", { priority: "low" })
  .then((response) => response.json())
  .then((data) => console.log(data));

Fetch Priority in Action

When applied, Fetch Priority can significantly impact the load times and user experience. For instance, prioritizing the LCP image can reduce its load time, enhancing the overall page performance. Similarly, deprioritizing non-critical resources like certain scripts or below-the-fold images can free up bandwidth for more important content.

Browser Compatibility

As of Chrome 101, Fetch Priority is supported in Chromium-based browsers. Efforts are underway to implement it in other browsers like Safari and Firefox. However, non-Chromium browsers or older versions will default to their standard prioritization methods.


Fetch Priority is a powerful tool for front-end developers, enabling more control over resource loading priorities. By understanding and leveraging this feature, developers can optimize their websites for better performance and enhanced user experiences, especially concerning Core Web Vitals like LCP.

Remember, in the world of web performance, every millisecond counts. And in the spirit of frontend development humor: “Why was the JavaScript developer sad? Because he didn’t know how to unfetch his problems. But now, with Fetch Priority, he can!” 🚀

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