Hello Folks,

This is on demand post. Many people asked me how to handle StaleElementReferenceException through Page Object Model(POM). So thought of writing a simple post on it.

I am trying to automate below steps:

  1. Load URL “https://github.com/login”.
  2. Type wrong username.
  3. Type wrong password.
  4. Click on submit.
  5. Type correct username.
  6. Type correct password.
  7. Click on submit.

Run the below program:

import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeDriver;

public class StaleElementHandling {

	public static void main(String[] args) throws InterruptedException {
		System.setProperty("webdriver.chrome.driver", "./exefiles/chromedriver.exe");
		WebDriver driver= new ChromeDriver();
		// Open URL
		// locate and type username
		WebElement username= driver.findElement(By.id("login_field"));
		// locate and type password
		WebElement pass= driver.findElement(By.id("password"));
		// locate and click on submit
		WebElement sub= driver.findElement(By.xpath("//input[@value='Sign in']"));
		// again type username


We get StaleElementReferenceException at line


What is StaleElementReferenceException and when it occurs?

Indicates that a reference to an element is now “stale” or the element no longer appears on the DOM of the page. Let’s understand this with real time example:-

You stay on a rented house in Silk board. All bank statements, documents are sent to your Silk board address. After some time you shift to BTM from Silk board. All documents sent to your Silk board address will be returned back as you do not stay there any more. You need to update latest address everywhere so that you will get all documents at your new address BTM.

In above example, we typed username, password and clicked on submit button. Page reloads and shows you error message “Incorrect username or password.” with login page as previous. Same page is shown again but address is changed. Address is referred as reference in JAVA. We are trying to use old reference and getting StaleElementReferenceException.

This is a major exception and you will face it always if you do not follow Page Object Model.

How Page Object Model solves StaleElementReferenceException?

Create two java classes as below:


import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.support.FindBy;
import org.openqa.selenium.support.PageFactory;

public class LoginPage {

	WebDriver driver;
	public WebElement username;
	public WebElement password;
	@FindBy(xpath="//input[@value='Sign in']")
	public WebElement submit;
	public LoginPage(WebDriver driver)
		PageFactory.initElements(driver, this);


import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.StaleElementReferenceException;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.chrome.ChromeDriver;

public class StaleElementHandling2 {

	public static void main(String[] args) throws InterruptedException {
		System.setProperty("webdriver.chrome.driver", "./exefiles/chromedriver.exe");
		WebDriver driver= new ChromeDriver();
		LoginPage lp= new LoginPage(driver);

You will see programs run fine when we use page object design pattern. You will never get Stale Element Reference Exception. When we use FindBy annotation in POM, webdriver locates element and update reference every time before performing any action on that. You can use web element without relocating any where. This is major advantage of using Page Object Model.

That’s it. Hope, it might be useful for people who face stale exception. If you have any doubt, feel free to comment.

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19 thoughts on “How to handle StaleElementReferenceException Through Page Object Model(POM)

  1. Issue is solved through code by changing while loop to for loop and adding another for loop inside and using find elements along with counter variable,

    1. Zareena

      Try to do a findElement each time before you use the element. i.e put the line

      java.util.List ListPath1 = driver.findElements(By.xpath((ReadPropertyFile.readProperty(“ClickNamePath”))));

      inside the for loop. What is happening as Amod explained above that address of elements get updated. So if you put the findElements line inside the for loop you will have the latest address and it may solve the problem

      give it a try

    2. Hello,
      Yours is not exactly stale exception. You have used click in a loop. Once it clicks and den go back to loop. Click changes tha page. This is causing issue.

  2. Thanks Amod for explaing the reason behind this exception with a very nice example

    So we need to search the element again on the page to get the correct addres..

    Instead of using @Findy notation and Pagefactory….

    Cant we just put a simple find element like done on this page below…


    public static WebElement username(WebDriver driver){

    element = driver.findElement(By.id(“username”));

    return element;


    is there a difference between the one used by you where we used FindBy and Pagefactory compared to this one where we just do a findElement in the Pageobject class so each time you refer to the element it will be searched again so always correct address would be returned

  3. Thanks Amod. This was much needed article. And once again your simple and easy explanation has cleared all doubts regarding this exception very well. Awesome

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