I have a settings page in this web app where a user can configure the categories of notifications that they want to show or hide.

How can I inform the user that these settings are not global (i.e. saved on the server and apply to all users), but are saved in localstorage, and apply to this browser only?

If I should use some sort of message, I'm not sure how to word it without getting too technical.

  • Does the application also offers server sync, or is it purely local storage one?
    – Izhaki
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 16:19
  • 1
    The user cannot be registered and have the settings remembered ? Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 10:11

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't store in the localstorage. Localstorage is mainly for cache only. Store on the server, bind the data to the username. You can loose localstorage data when reinstalling computer, upgrading browser or working from home. Use it only for browser-specific settings, if any. Most people expect user-name authenticated webapps to magically work from anywhere.

On the other side, these are system admins according to your previous question, just tell them the truth: "this gets stored only in your browser, not in your user profile - it won't be accessible from a different browser or after reinstall.", and that's it. They're sysadmins, they know what this means I guess.

  • 2
    local storage is the sensible choice if the app supports offline mode. Also, could be the sensible choice for allowing users to quickly try the application without the need to open an account.
    – Izhaki
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 16:21
  • @Izhaki: even then it's mostly for cache - eg. if you did GMail or GDocs offline, the localStorage would only provide a cache for the "real" data until the next opportunity for online connection. Trying out was done with server-side session mgmt for ages (see amazon basket), for consistency reasons, but you're right, it could be viable. However, from the linked previous question, we know the target audience and likely use cases I guess (when I was a sysadmin, I didn't need offline anything)
    – Aadaam
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 16:55

I know this question was asked and answered a while ago, but I wanted to chime in. Local storage is awesome. You should totally use it! But, only where using it doesn't take away from the user experience.

If you are saving settings that are critical to the system in local storage, you should probably implement a way for those settings to be synced to a server and loaded back it whenever a user logs in on another browser.

If, however, you are simply doing things like remembering preferences that are not critical to the system, go for it. Why not? And in that case it should not be disruptive to not have those settings saved, but helpful to have them remembered in their session/browser.

Finally, if this is for an internal system that is going to be run on a tv (as I gleaned from your other post) and not used externally, I don't think it should really be a problem either way. You could use a message in the configuration specifying "These settings will be saved for this browser on this computer" and then, if the system grows larger, eventually start syncing them into the cloud for each user.

Just my thoughts on it.



  • Setting bla bla bla
  • Other setting bli bli
  • Blu blu
  • ...

These settings can be saved for your browser.

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