Chromium‎ > ‎Chromium Security‎ > ‎

Changes to Cross-Origin Requests in Chrome Extension Content Scripts

tl;dr: To improve security, cross-origin fetches will soon be disallowed from content scripts in Chrome Extensions.  Such requests can be made from extension background pages instead, and relayed to content scripts when needed.  [The document has been edited on 2020-03-09 to describe CORS-specific stage #2 behavior changes.]


When web pages request cross-origin data with fetch or XHR APIs, the response is denied unless CORS headers allow it.  In contrast, extension content scripts have traditionally been able to fetch cross-origin data from any origins listed in their extension's permissions, regardless of the origin that the content script is running within.  As part of a broader Extension Manifest V3 effort to improve extension security, privacy, and performance, these cross-origin requests in content scripts will soon be disallowed.  Instead, content scripts will be subject to the same request rules as the page they are running within.  Extension pages, such as background pages, popups, or options pages, are unaffected by this change and will continue to be allowed to bypass CORS for cross-origin requests as they do today.

Our data shows that most extensions will not be affected by this change.  However, any content scripts that do need to make cross-origin requests can do so via an extension background page, which can relay the data to the content script.  We have a migration plan below to help affected extension developers make the transition to the new model.

Problems with Cross-Origin Requests

To prevent leaks of sensitive information, web pages are generally not allowed to fetch cross-origin data.  Unless a valid CORS header is present on the response, the page's request will fail with an error like:
Access to fetch at '' from origin '' has been blocked by CORS policy: No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. If an opaque response serves your needs, set the request's mode to 'no-cors' to fetch the resource with CORS disabled.

Chrome has recently launched a new security feature called Site Isolation which enforces this type of restriction in a more secure way.  Specifically, Site Isolation not only blocks the response, but prevents the data from ever being delivered to the Chrome renderer process containing the web page, using a feature called Cross-Origin Read Blocking (CORB).  This helps prevent the data from leaking even if a malicious web page were to attack a security bug in Chrome's renderer process, or if it tried to access the data in its process with a Spectre attack.

Content scripts pose a challenge for Site Isolation, because they run in the same Chrome renderer process as the web page they operate on.  This means that the renderer process must be allowed to fetch data from any origin for which the extension has permissions, which in many cases is all origins.  In such cases, Site Isolation would have less effectiveness when content scripts are present, because a compromised renderer process could hijack the content scripts and request (and thus leak) any data from the origins listed in the extension.  (Thankfully, this is not a problem for Spectre attacks, which cannot take control of content scripts.  It is a problem if an attacker can exploit a security bug in Chrome's renderer process, though, allowing the attacker to issue arbitrary requests as if they came from the content script.)

To mitigate these concerns, future versions of Chrome will limit content scripts to the same fetches that the page itself can perform.  Content scripts can instead ask their background pages to fetch data from other origins on their behalf, where the request can be made from an extension process rather than a more easily exploitable renderer process.

Planned Restrictions

As described above, content scripts will lose the ability to fetch cross-origin data from origins in their extension's permissions, and they will only be able to fetch data that the underlying page itself has access to.  To fetch additional data, content scripts can send messages to their extension's background pages, which can relay data from sources that the extension author expects.

This transition will occur in stages, to try to minimize disruption to extension developers.

Stage #1: Remove ability to bypass CORB from content scripts

In Q1 2019, Chrome removed the ability to make cross-origin requests in content scripts for new and previously unaffected extensions, while maintaining an "allowlist" of affected extensions that may continue to make such requests for the time being.  This change started in Chrome 73.

We continue to work with developers of extensions on the allowlist to migrate to the new method of requesting cross-origin data, to help them prepare for Extension Manifest V3.  We remove such extensions from the allowlist as they migrate, helping to improve the security of Chrome and the effectiveness of Site Isolation against advanced attackers.

Stage #2: Remove ability to bypass CORS from content scripts [added on 2020-03-09]

In Q1 2020, Chrome is removing the ability to bypass CORS in cross-origin requests from content scripts, subject to the same “allowlist” as above.  This change is planned to start in Chrome 83, which will reach Beta channel around May 7th, 2020, and Stable channel around June 9th, 2020.

To implement this change, we have added a feature in Chrome 81.0.4035.0 and later (disabled by default until Chrome 83) to start using CORS for content script fetches and XHRs.  This means that cross-origin fetches will have an Origin request header with the page's origin, and the server has a chance to approve the request with a matching Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header.

Extensions that are already on the “allowlist” will be unaffected by the new behavior.  However, the new CORS behavior for content scripts may actually make it easier for some extensions to move off of the allowlist, if their fetches would now be approved by the server with an Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header.  We know this is the case for several extensions that were on the allowlist.

Note that these CORS changes do carry a small risk for extensions that are not on the “allowlist,” because some additional responses may now be blocked by CORS.  The risk only exists for cross-origin XHR and `fetch` initiated from content scripts where 1) the server's response doesn’t have an appropriate Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header and 2) the response is not already blocked by CORB (i.e., the Content-Type is not covered by CORB, such as css, images, JavaScript, application/octet-stream, etc),

Stage #3: Sunsetting the “allowlist” [edited on 2020-03-09]

[edited on 2019-09-09] In Q4 2020, we intend to publish the allowlist of extensions, to inform users of the security risks of using any extensions still on the list.  We hope to shrink the list as quickly as possible, because using these extensions will weaken Chrome's defenses against cross-site attacks.  We won't publish the allowlist before fixing Chromium to unify CORB and CORS behavior in stage #2 (issue 920638).  Before publishing the allowlist, we'll send an advance notice to the chromium-extensions@ discussion list.

In 2020, Extension Manifest V3 will become available, requiring cross-origin requests to occur in background pages rather than content scripts.  This new manifest version will have its own migration period, before support for Extension Manifest V2 is eventually removed from Chrome.

Recommended Developer Actions

To prepare for Extension Manifest V3 and avoid being on the allowlist of extensions that pose a cross-site security risk, we recommend that affected extension developers take the following actions:

1. Determine if Your Extension is Affected [edited on 2020-03-09]

You can test whether your extension is affected by the planned CORB and CORS changes by running Chrome 81 or later (starting with version 81.0.4035.0) with the following command line flags to enable the planned behavior:

If your extension makes cross-origin fetches from content scripts, then your extension may be broken and you may observe one of the following errors in the DevTools console:
Cross-Origin Read Blocking (CORB) blocked cross-origin response <URL> with MIME type <type>. See for more details.
[added on 2020-03-09]:
Access to fetch at '' from origin '' has been blocked by CORS policy: No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. If an opaque response serves your needs, set the request's mode to 'no-cors' to fetch the resource with CORS disabled.

If you see the errors above, you can verify whether the changes described on this page are the cause by temporarily disabling the planned behavior.  (It is possible that the errors might appear for other reasons.)  To test with the planned behavior disabled, run Chrome 81 or later (starting with version 81.0.4035.0) with the following command line flags:

2. Avoid Cross-Origin Fetches in Content Scripts

When cross-origin fetches are needed and the server does not provide an Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header for the page's origin, perform them from the extension background page rather than in the content script.  Relay the response to the content scripts as needed (e.g., using extension messaging APIs).  For example:

Old content script, making a cross-origin fetch:
var itemId = 12345;
var url = "" +
  .then(response => response.text())
  .then(text => parsePrice(text))
  .then(price => ...)
  .catch(error => ...)

New content script, asking its background page to fetch the data instead:
    {contentScriptQuery: "queryPrice", itemId: 12345},
    price => ...);

New extension background page, fetching from a known URL and relaying data:
  function(request, sender, sendResponse) {
    if (request.contentScriptQuery == "queryPrice") {
      var url = "" +
          .then(response => response.text())
          .then(text => parsePrice(text))
          .then(price => sendResponse(price))
          .catch(error => ...)
      return true;  // Will respond asynchronously.

3. Limit Cross-Origin Requests in Background Pages

If an extension's background page simply fetches and relays any URL of a content script's choice (effectively acting as an open proxy), then similar security problems occur.  That is, a compromised renderer process can hijack the content script and ask the background page to fetch and relay sensitive URLs of the attacker's choosing.  Instead, background pages should only fetch data from URLs the extension author intends, which is ideally a small set of URLs which does not put the user's sensitive data at risk.

Good message example:
  contentScriptQuery: "queryPrice",
  itemId: 12345
This approach limits which URLs can fetched in response to the message.  Here, only the itemId is provided by the content script that is sending the message, and not the full URL.

Bad message example:
  contentScriptQuery: "fetchUrl",
  url: ""
In this approach the content script may cause the background page to fetch any URL.  A malicious website may be able to forge such messages and trick the extension to get access to any cross-origin resources.

4. Keep in Touch if Needed [edited on 2020-03-09]

We have reached out to developers whose extensions are on the allowlist.

If your extension is on the allowlist and no longer needs to be, please file a bug here to have it removed.  You may verify that your extension no longer needs to be on the allowlist by testing that it continues to work after launching Chrome 81.0.4035.0 or higher with the following command line flags:


If your extension is not yet on the allowlist and still depends on cross-origin requests, these requests may stop working and you may observe the following errors in the DevTools console:
Cross-Origin Read Blocking (CORB) blocked cross-origin response <URL> with MIME type <type>. See for more details.
or [added on 2020-03-09]:
Access to fetch at '' from origin '' has been blocked by CORS policy: No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. If an opaque response serves your needs, set the request's mode to 'no-cors' to fetch the resource with CORS disabled.

If this happens, please update your extension as described above.

[edited on 2019-06-10] Under exceptional circumstances, we may still consider adding an extension to the allowlist, but we're now generally avoiding this when possible, because users of allowlisted extensions are vulnerable to additional security attacks. We've stopped automatically accepting allowlisting requests in June 2019, after the security changes have been present on Chrome stable channel for 3 months (since M73 which shipped to the stable channel on 2019-03-12).

[added on 2020-03-09] If an extension is affected by the stage #2 CORS changes from Chrome 83, then we can still add the extension to the allowlist.  To request the addition, please open a Chromium bug using the template at the link here.


Removing cross-origin fetches from content scripts is an important step in improving the security of Chrome, since it helps prevent leaks of sensitive data even when Chrome's renderer process might be compromised.  We apologize for the inconvenience of the migration, but we appreciate your help in keeping Chrome's users as secure as possible.