Script Error: What It Is and How to Fix It

Usually associated with IE, other browsers can have script errors too

Script errors can be difficult to pin down because these errors aren't descriptive. Script errors are intentionally designed this way for security reasons, but you don't need to know why a script error happened to fix the problem.

How Script Error Messages Appear

When a script error occurs, you'll usually see a message like this:

  • An error has occurred in the script on this page.
  • Warning: Unresponsive script. A script on this page may be busy or may have stopped responding.
  • A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now, open the script in the debugger, or let the script continue.
A browser window error
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Cause of Script Error Messages

Script error messages are nebulous, and many things can cause these errors. Script errors indicate that a script on the website you're visiting has malfunctioned in some way. It may have failed to run, failed while running, frozen, or something else may have happened.

In most cases, you don't need to know why a script error happened to fix it. You either have a problem with the web browser, which you can fix, or the script is broken, which you can't fix.

In Internet Explorer, some script errors arise from Internet Explorer's replacement by Edge. Microsoft suggests that you switch to Edge.

How to Fix a Script Error

In some cases, the best response to a script error is to ignore it. If you select OK or Cancel in the error message, and the website continues to load without any detectable problems, then the script error is more of a minor nuisance than something you have to worry about.

When a script error interferes with the functionality of a website, or these errors become too much of a nuisance, there are several steps you can take to fix the problem.

  1. Load the web page again. A script error, especially an error that indicates a script is taking too long to run, can be fixed by reloading the web page. If the error doesn't reoccur, then you don't have to worry about it. If it continues to come back, there may be a problem with the web browser.

    • To force a web page to reload in Windows, press Ctrl+F5.
    • To force a web page to reload in macOS, press Command+Shift+R.
  2. Update the web browser. Outdated web browsers sometimes interact with scripts in unexpected ways that end up creating errors. Updating Google Chrome or Firefox is straightforward.

    Microsoft Edge updates automatically alongside Windows. If you have trouble with Windows Update, there are other ways to update Windows.

  3. Load other web pages. If you see script errors on one website, there's probably a problem with the scripts on that website, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you see script errors on several websites, there's probably a problem with the web browser.

  4. Switch to a different web browser. This is an easy and important step that can help narrow down the source of the problem. If the web page loads fine in a different browser, then there's a problem with the first browser.

    In some cases, using a different browser that doesn't create script errors is the best and easiest option.

  5. Load the web page with a different device. If you see a script error when you visit a web page on your computer, but you don't see it when you visit that page with your phone, a friend's computer, or another device, then the problem is on your end.

    If you see the same error on several devices, there is probably a problem with the website. In that case, all you can do is wait for the webmaster to fix the problem.

  6. Remove temporary internet files. If there are corrupted internet cache files on the computer, you may see script errors. In most cases, clearing the web browser cache fixes this problem.

  7. Disable plug-ins. When something goes wrong, an unforeseen interaction between a plug-in and a website may have prevented a script from running properly.

    If the script error goes away after disabling plug-ins, re-enable those plug-ins one at a time to determine which plug-in caused the problem. Either continue using the plug-in and live with the script error or stop using that plug-in until the developer fixes the problem.

  8. Disable hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration allows a web browser to tap into the power of a video card. In some cases, this feature breaks certain scripts. Turning it off allows those scripts to run normally. You can turn off hardware acceleration in Chrome and disable hardware acceleration in Firefox.

  9. Reset the browser security settings, or reset the browser. In some cases, high security settings in a web browser can interfere with scripts. If you don't have a specific reason to have the security settings so high, reset the security level.

    If that doesn't work, reset the browser settings all at once. You can quickly reset Chrome to its default state, refresh Firefox, reset Microsoft Edge, and reset Safari.

  10. Wait for the webmaster. If you still encounter script errors after attempting these fixes, there's likely a problem with a script on the website.