I’ve Googled-skimmed-copied plenty of answers in my day, so I’m going to start this post with the tl;dr - if you’re here for the fix, just read the first part. If you’re curious as to more of what’s going on (use cases, methods, etc), read further!

Getting the headers via method entries()

The headers are hidden in an entries() method that doesn’t return an object, but an iterator, that then gives access to the headers in a key / value format through a for...of loop. (More on this at MDN)

For example, if you fetch my site and log out the loop, this is what you’ll get:

// code
  .then((response) => {
    for (var pair of response.headers.entries()) {
      console.log(pair[0]+ ': '+ pair[1]);
// logs
cache-control: max-age=600
content-type: text/html; charset=utf-8
expires: Sun, 07 Jul 2019 03:54:43 GMT
last-modified: Sun, 07 Jul 2019 03:43:47 GMT

More info: Response Header Uses

A number of RESTful APIs use response headers to indicate important information after a call. For example, some third-party APIs will include current rate limit information in custom headers.

In my case, I was using the handy json-server package for some test data.

When running a query on the json-server dataset, it returns a header with the total number of results for that query to help with paginating (x-total-count).

Javascript Fetch API

Using a React front-end, I was calling the json-server API using the built-in fetch functionality with Javascript:

  .then((response) => {
    return response.json();
  // then setting state, etc

(I love fetch because it’s built into Javascript, so no need for an extra package)

But, to help with pagination, I needed to know exactly how many “pages” worth of content this query would provide. Accessing the headers like this logged an empty object:

// ouptu: Headers {}

This is because the headers are not an object, they’re an iterator

Accessing the headers using for...of and entries()

You can’t directly access the headers on the response to a fetch call – you have to iterate through after using the entries() method on the headers. Code sample (using react and looking for a query count) below:

  .then((response) => {
    for (var pair of response.headers.entries()) { // accessing the entries
      if (pair[0] === 'x-total-count') { // key I'm looking for in this instance
          total: pair[1] // saving that value where I can use it
    return response.json();

From here, you could construct your own object via the loop, or filter for specific values (like I did at the top of the post).

Looking for a Javascript developer? Check out my portfolio if you’re intrigued or start the conversation by reaching out to steve [at] stevemiller.dev