How to create an HTML button that acts like a link?

+1165 votes
asked May 25, 2010 by andrew

I would like to create an HTML button that acts like a link. So, when you click the button, it redirects to a page. I would like it to be as accessible as possible.

I would also like it so there aren't any extra characters, or parameters in the URL.

How can I achieve this?


Based on the answers posted so far, I am currently doing this:

<form method="get" action="/page2">
    <button type="submit">Continue</button>
</form>

but the problem with this is that in Safari and Internet Explorer, it adds a question mark character to the end of the URL. I need to find a solution that doesn't add any characters to the end of the URL.

There are two other solutions to do this: Using JavaScript or styling a link to look like a button.

Using JavaScript:

<button onclick="window.location.href='/page2'">Continue</button>

But this obviously requires JavaScript, and for that reason it is less accessible to screen readers. The point of a link is to go to another page. So trying to make a button act like a link is the wrong solution. My suggestion is that you should use a link and style it to look like a button.

<a href="/link/to/page2">Continue</a>

25 Answers

+1367 votes
answered May 25, 2010 by balusc

HTML

The plain HTML way is to put it in a <form> wherein you specify the desired target URL in the action attribute.

<form action="http://google.com">
    <input type="submit" value="Go to Google" />
</form>

If necessary, set CSS display: inline; on the form to keep it in the flow with the surrounding text. Instead of <input type="submit"> in above example, you can also use <button type="submit">. The only difference is that the <button> element allows children.

You'd intuitively expect to be able to use <button href="http://google.com"> analogous with the <a> element, but unfortunately no, this attribute does not exist according to HTML specification.

CSS

If CSS is allowed, simply use an <a> which you style to look like a button using among others the appearance property (only Internet Explorer support is currently (July 2015) still poor).

<a href="http://google.com" class="button">Go to Google</a>
a.button {
    -webkit-appearance: button;
    -moz-appearance: button;
    appearance: button;

    text-decoration: none;
    color: initial;
}

Or pick one of those many CSS libraries like Bootstrap.

<a href="http://google.com" class="btn btn-default">Go to Google</a>

JavaScript

If JavaScript is allowed, set the window.location.href.

<input type="button" onclick="location.href='http://google.com';" value="Go to Google" />
+22 votes
answered May 25, 2010 by ghoppe
<form>
    <input TYPE="button" VALUE="Home Page"
        onclick="window.location.href='http://www.wherever.com'"> 
</form>
+113 votes
answered May 25, 2010 by redfilter

Use:

<a href="http://www.stackoverflow.com/">
    <button>Click me</button>
</a>

Unfortunately, this markup is no longer valid in HTML5 and will neither validate nor always work as potentially expected. Use another approach.

+360 votes
answered May 25, 2010 by adam
<button onclick="location.href='http://www.example.com'" type="button">
     www.example.com</button>
+365 votes
answered Dec 5, 2012 by bern

If it's the visual appearance of a button you're looking for in a basic HTML anchor tag then you can use the Twitter Bootstrap framework to format any of the following common HTML type links/buttons to appear as a button. Please note the visual differences between version 2, 3 or 4 of the framework:

<a class="btn" href="">Link</a>
<button class="btn" type="submit">Button</button>
<input class="btn" type="button" value="Input">
<input class="btn" type="submit" value="Submit">

Bootstrap (v4) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v4 buttons

Bootstrap (v3) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v3 buttons

Bootstrap (v2) sample appearance:

Sample output of Boostrap v2 buttons

+14 votes
answered Mar 30, 2013 by muffintheman

Are there any downsides to doing something like the following?

<a class='nostyle' href='http://www.google.com/'>
    <span class='button'>Schedule</span>
</a>

Where a.nostyle is a class that has your link styling (where you can get rid of the standard link styling) and span.button is a class that has the styling for your "button" (background, border, gradient, etc.).

+6 votes
answered Nov 15, 2013 by maarek

If you want to create a button that is used for a URL anywhere, create a button class for an anchor.

a.button {
    background-color: #999999;
    color: #FFFFFF !important;
    cursor: pointer;
    display: inline-block;
    font-weight: bold;
    padding: 5px 8px;
    text-align: center;
    -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
    border-radius: 5px;
}
.button:hover {
    text-decoration: none;
}
+11 votes
answered Dec 3, 2013 by artie

Going along with what a few others have added, you can go wild with just using a simple CSS class with no PHP, no jQuery code, just simple HTML and CSS.

Create a CSS class and add it to your anchor. The code is below.

.button-link {
    height:60px;
    padding: 10px 15px;
    background: #4479BA;
    color: #FFF;
    -webkit-border-radius: 4px;
    -moz-border-radius: 4px;
    border-radius: 4px;
    border: solid 1px #20538D;
    text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4);
    -webkit-box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
    -moz-box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
    box-shadow: inset 0 1px 0 rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.4), 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
}
.button-link:hover {
    background: #356094;
    border: solid 1px #2A4E77;
    text-decoration: none;
}

<HTML>
    <a class="button-link" href="http://www.go-some-where.com"
       target="_blank">Press Here to Go</a>

That is it. It is very easy to do and lets you be as creative as you'd like. You control the colors, the size, the shapes(radius), etc. For more detailsm, see the site I found this on.

+10 votes
answered Jan 16, 2014 by lukeocom

Another option is to create a link in the button:

<button type="button"><a href="yourlink.com">Link link</a></button>

Then use CSS to style the link and button, so that the link takes up the entire space within the button (so there's no miss-clicking by the user):

button, button a{position:relative;}
button a{top:0;left:0;bottom:0;right:0;}

I have created a demo here.

+33 votes
answered Feb 11, 2014 by lucian-minea

It is actualy very simple and without using any form elements. You can just use the <a> tag with a button inside :).

Like this:

<a href="http://www.google.com" target="_parent"><button>Click me !</button></a>

And it will load the href into the same page. Want a new page? Just use target="_blank".

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