How do I fix broken internal JavaScript and CSS files?

URLs that contain JavaScript and CSS files with HTTP status codes of 4xx or 5xx can be tough to fix. The vast majority of the time these are merely JavaScript and CSS files with code that has been corrupted, links that are missing, or another simple problem. When one of these issues occurs, the crawler cannot read or render the corrupted files. 

Need to know how to fix broken internal JavaScript and CSS files? Then keep reading for an overview on how to fix these problems if you see them in an audit report for your website.

What causes broken internal JavaScript and CSS files?

When the code has corrupted CSS or JS files, an HTTP status code of 4xx or 5xx is returned to the search engine or browser crawler. The Not Found error (or 404 status code) indicates that the file has been deleted or relocated and cannot be located at the specified path. This happens if the file’s corresponding URL has not been modified.

The 403 status code, also known as the “Forbidden file” error, is a second common example of broken internal JS and CSS files. With this issue the crawler cannot read the JS files. During a crawl, the server has most likely shut down the crawler or its requests.

Why are JavaScript and CSS files important?

Broken JavaScript and CSS files will either not appear on the website or may cause the website to appear differently depending on the browser and search engine used. Therefore, they can have an impact on how the end-users experience your website. Site visitors may encounter information that differs from what they were anticipating. Or it may result in an unpleasant interaction for the user.

JavaScript and CSS files help you provide a richer experience with different types of content, but only if things work properly.  Broken files will have the exact opposite effect, which is why it’s important to fix them when they’re found

How to fix broken internal JavaScript and CSS files

The solution for fixing broken internal JavaScript and CSS files will be determined by the root of the issue. Below are solutions that fix the majority of JS and CSS file problems.  

  • To resolve a 404 error after a JS file is deleted, try retrieving it and then updating the link on the page to point to the new location. 
  • If a firewall or server prevents crawlers from accessing resources a 403 HTTP status code is returned. This can also occur if your JavaScript files are hosted on a server other than your own. Allowing the required IP addresses and performing a new crawl should fix the problem.

Final word on fixing broken internal JavaScript and CSS files

In short, broken JavaScript and CSS file links can badly impact your website performance. They not only make users less likely to stick around and revisit your site, but they can also damage your visibility in search engine results. It’s bad enough when a broken file leads to a malicious attack or poor user experience, but it’s worse when you know you could have easily solved the issue.

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