Feature Detection in CSS with @supports

Published on May 5, 2016


Feature Detection in CSS with @supports

While we believe that this content benefits our community, we have not yet thoroughly reviewed it. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please let us know by clicking the “report an issue“ button at the bottom of the tutorial.

A new at-rule in CSS, @supports, allows you to easily detect if a certain CSS feature is available or not in the visitor’s browser. This allows you to make use of these features only for supported browsers or define specific rules only for browsers without support, and have other browsers completely ignore them. @supports is a pure CSS way to replace a tool like Modernizr. @supports allows you to test for both the support of a feature and the non-support of a feature:

@supports (column-count: 3) {
  div { column-count: 3; }


Here’s how you would test and apply specific rules when a feature is not supported:

@supports not (display: flex) {
  .sidebar { float: left; }

Chain multiple CSS features using and / or operators:

@supports (display: flex)
or (display: -webkit-box)
or (display: -webkit-flex)
or (display: -ms-flexbox) {
 .menu {
  display: -webkit-box;
  display: -webkit-flex;
  display: -ms-flexbox;
  display: flex;

One big caveat

There’s one major caveat to @supports right now: @supports itself is not universally supported. It’s not supported in Internet Explorer at all, not even version 11, and is has only been supported in Safari for iOS since v9.2. See the @supports Can I Use page for more details.

Because of that, it might be more practical to continue using Modernizr for some time, until most IE users have switched over to Edge.

@supports also has an handy JavaScript API that can be used to detect for features in JS.

Thanks for learning with the DigitalOcean Community. Check out our offerings for compute, storage, networking, and managed databases.

Learn more about us

About the authors
Default avatar


Still looking for an answer?

Ask a questionSearch for more help

Was this helpful?
Leave a comment

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

Try DigitalOcean for free

Click below to sign up and get $200 of credit to try our products over 60 days!

Sign up

Join the Tech Talk
Success! Thank you! Please check your email for further details.

Please complete your information!

Featured on Community

Get our biweekly newsletter

Sign up for Infrastructure as a Newsletter.

Hollie's Hub for Good

Working on improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth? We'd like to help.

Become a contributor

Get paid to write technical tutorials and select a tech-focused charity to receive a matching donation.

Welcome to the developer cloud

DigitalOcean makes it simple to launch in the cloud and scale up as you grow — whether you're running one virtual machine or ten thousand.

Learn more
DigitalOcean Cloud Control Panel