How do I fix broken external JavaScript and CSS files?

You must ensure any externally hosted JavaScript or CSS files used on your website work properly. There’s no doubt your site’s rankings could be affected if any of your scripts have stopped responding since they prevent search engines from rendering and indexing your pages correctly. At that point the user experience of your website will also be negatively impacted if broken JavaScript or CSS files lead to problems. 

What are you supposed to do about this issue? Keep reading for an explanation of how to fix broken external JavaScript and CSS files, what triggers this issue, and its importance.

What causes external JavaScript and CSS files to break?

If your website code contains CSS or JavaScript files, the search engine or browser crawler could receive an HTTP status code of either 4xx or 5xx. You’ve probably seen the 404 status code or the Not Found error. It displays when the file in question has either been removed, relocated to a new location, the link that leads to the file has not been modified or the link that leads to the file needs to be updated.

You may also encounter 403 or the “forbidden file” error. If you are experiencing this issue it’s because the crawler cannot access the CSS and JavaScript files. During the web crawling lack of access causes the server to stop the crawler and requests from it.

Basically, corrupted files are at the heart of the problem when you get a status code for Javascript or CSS issues. 

Why are external JavaScript and CSS files Important?

If a search engine can’t process the CSS and JavaScript files, it probably won’t index the site. If it does, the site will be indexed incorrectly. Sites that are indexed incorrectly won’t display properly and that compromises the user experience. The user won’t see the web page they expected, which can throw everything off. When users  There’s also a chance that site visitors won’t get the desired experience when they arrive at your page. It has the potential to make things worse for the user.

How to fix broken external JavaScript and CSS files

You can run a website audit to check for broken external JavaScript and CSS files with a tool like evisio. Once you get the report back check the linked JavaScript and CSS columns for any files that don’t work properly. You have two options if there are corrupted files:

  • Replace the corrupted files with ones that always respond with a successful 200 HTTP status. 
  • Instead of trying to fix the faulty JavaScript files, you can get rid of them if they aren’t really needed.

Fixing 404 errors

A 404 error can require a slightly different strategy. If you have a 404 error, try these steps: 

  • Try restoring the JavaScript or CSS file.
  • Then change the link to go to the new URL by modifying the page. 
  • Verify that it’s directed to the correct folder or file.

Fixing 403 errors

Crawlers being blocked by a firewall or server are a common cause of an HTTP status code of 403. It can also occur if your JavaScript files are hosted on a server other than your own. To fix the problem, start running a new crawl after whitelisting the required IP addresses.

It’s important to keep tabs on your JavaScript and CSS files so that these issues don’t go unaddressed. The fixes are fairly simple so long as you identify the problem before it negatively impacts your website.

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