Script Error: What It Is and How to Fix It

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

A man looks at a script error on his laptop.

Erik Von Weber / The Image Bank / Getty Images

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Script errors can be difficult to pin down, because they aren't very descriptive. They're intentionally designed this way for security reasons, but you don't really need to know why a script error happened to fix the problem. Most script error messages are caused by using an outdated web browser like Internet Explorer, but there are a number of other fixes if you're using a modern browser.

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.

Cause of Script Error Messages

Script error messages are extremely nebulous, so there are a great many things that can cause them. The easiest way to understand script errors is knowing they indicate a script on the website you're trying to use has malfunctioned in some way. It may have failed to run, failed while running, frozen, or something else entirely may have happened.

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

If you use Internet Explorer, the reason you see script errors is probably related to the fact that Internet Explorer has been replaced by Edge. Microsoft strongly suggests that you switch to Edge, but switching to Chrome, Firefox, or any other modern browser will have the same effect.

How to Fix a Script Error

In some cases, the best response to a script error is to simply ignore it. If you select OK or Cancel on 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 really 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.

To fix a script error, you first have to determine if the issue is on your end, or if it's a problem with the website. If it's a problem with the website, you won't be able to fix it yourself.

If it's a problem on your end, then updating your web browser, switching to a different web browser, or changing some settings in your browser will usually fix the issue.

  1. Try to load the web page again. Script errors, especially errors indicating a script is taking too long to run, sometimes sort themselves out if you simply reload 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 your web browser.

    • To force a web page to reload on Windows: Hold Ctrl+F5.
    • To force a web page to reload on MacOS: Hold Command+Shift+R.
  2. Update your web browser. Outdated web browsers sometimes interact with scripts in unexpected ways that end up creating errors. Since it's a good idea to keep your web browser updated anyway, due to security concerns, this is one of the first fixes that you should try. Updating Google Chrome or Firefox is pretty straightforward.

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

  3. Try loading other web pages. This is an easy way to see if the problem is localized to a single website. If you see script errors on one website, then there's probably an issue with the scripts on that website, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you see script errors on a lot of websites, there's probably an issue with your web browser.

  4. Switch to a different web browser. This is another easy, yet 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 some kind of problem with the first browser. You can change your default browser in Windows as well as on macOS.

    In some cases, simply using a different browser that doesn't create script errors is the best and easiest option. This is especially true if you're using a discontinued browser like Internet Explorer.

  5. Try loading the web page with a different device. This is a good way to determine whether or not the problem is on your end or not. 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 multiple devices, there is probably a problem with the website you're trying to visit. In that case, all you can do is wait for the webmaster to fix the problem.

  6. Remove temporary internet files. If you have corrupted internet cache files on your computer, you may end up seeing script errors. In most cases, simply clearing your web browser cache will fix this problem.

  7. Disable your plugins. When something goes wrong, it's possible for an unforeseen interaction between a plugin and a website to prevent a script from running properly.

    If your script error goes away after disabling your plugins, re-enable them one at a time to determine which plugin is causing the problem. You can either continue using the plugin and live with the script error, or stop using that plugin until the developer fixes the issue.

  8. Disable hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration is a feature that allows your web browser to tap into the power of your video card. In some cases, having this feature turned on will break 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 your browser security settings, or reset your browser. In some cases, abnormally high security settings in your web browser can interfere with scripts. If you don't have a specific reason to have your security set so high, you can try resetting the security level.

    If that doesn't work, you can also just reset your 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 all of these fixes, it's likely there's just a problem with a script on the website you're trying to use. This is especially likely if you only see the script error when you visit a specific website or websites. Since this is out of your control, you just have to wait for the webmaster of the website to fix the problem.