Minimal Download Strategy of SharePoint 2013

Minimal Download Strategy

This is a technique used to optimize page rendering. We need to activate the site feature Minimal Download Strategy to do it.

When this feature is activated, only the changes between pages will be sent back to the browser. The following are the pages involved:

  • Current Page
  • Requested Page

Feature Activation

You can activate this feature from Site > Settings > Manage Site Features page.

Manage Site Features


Once the feature is activated, the URL is changed.


You can see all the pages will be using start.aspx for rendering.


The requested page will be passed after the #.


The following are the advantages of using MDS:

  1. Speed: pages will load faster.
  2. Less bandwidth: less bandwidth will be used, it is good for tablets/mobiles with metered/slow connections.

How it works

There are 2 components that enable MDS:

  1. Server-side
  2. Client-side

Each page will be divided into multiple sections.

When a client requests a new page, the server calculates the delta (changes). Only the changed sections will be sent to the client. The client will be smart enough to patch the received sections to appropriate sections.


By default the MDS feature is activated.



In this article we explored the Minimal Download Strategy. Now this also answers what the start.aspx is doing in SharePoint 2013.

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