How to listen for upload progress when using AJAX - XMLHttpRequest(XHR)?

March 13, 2019  1 minute read  

Learn how to listen for upload progress when you use AJAX - XMLHttpRequest(XHR).


XHR is a Web API that is built in with most if not all browsers that that enables website interaction with servers. If you have heard of AJAX but not XHR, AJAX(Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is an acronym that describes (asynchronous) interaction between websites and servers which uses APIs such as XHR.

When you upload files to your server, it is a good idea to show upload progress to your website users. This is especially true for larger files that can’t finish uploading instantly.

XHR - JavaScript

You can use browsers’ XHR upload object to listen for upload progress using onprogress and onload methods.

let xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();

xhr.upload.onloadstart = function() {
  console.log('Upload has started.');

xhr.upload.onprogress = function(event) {
  let uploadedBytes = event.loaded /;
  console.log(`Uploaded ${uploadedBytes} bytes`);

xhr.upload.onload = function() {
  console.log('Upload completed successfully.');

xhr.upload.onerror = function() {
  console.log(`Error during the upload: ${xhr.status}.`);


This is a simple example using input element for file input and XHR to tranfer the file to your server.

<input type="file" onchange="upload(this.files[0])">

function upload(file) {
  let xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();

  // listen for upload progress
  xhr.upload.onprogress = function(event) {
    let percent = Math.round(100 * event.loaded /;
    console.log(`File is ${percent} uploaded.`);

  // handle error
  xhr.upload.onerror = function() {
    console.log(`Error during the upload: ${xhr.status}.`);

  // upload completed successfully
  xhr.onload = function() {
    console.log('Upload completed successfully.');
  };'POST', '');

You can refer to MDN Upload API document for the complete API.

With this, you could show upload progress during file(s) upload on your website.

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