What is it?
A missing file is a file used by a webpage – such as an image, font or stylesheet – that was not loaded for any reason.
For example, in this page, an image file is missing:
Why it matters
Missing files usually signify a technical problem, often revealing part of a website that doesn’t work as expected.
Some missing files can cause an entire page to fail. Others can hide subtle problems, such as analytics not working as expected.
How to use it
Insites lists any missing files in a table:
For each missing file, you can click on:
- Magnifying glass – this opens the Inspector, which shows you where the file should appear on a page.
- Ignore – this will ignore this file on every page that it appears. Other websites are unaffected.
- Number of pages – this will show you a list of all the pages with this file.
How to fix it
The first tab of this test lists any pages with missing files. Click on any of these pages to open the Inspector and review specific issues. You should review each potential error and either:
- Remove the link to that file – it is common to delete a file that you no longer need, e.g. an old stylesheet, and not realize that the file is still referenced by pages within your website. This will slow your website down unnecessarily. You should simply remove the code that requests the file in the first place.
- Fix what is pointing to the missing file – if the web address for the file is wrong, correct it.
- Fix the file itself – if the web address for the file is correct, but the file has been deleted or is not functioning, you should fix the file itself.
- Ignore the file – click the Ignore button to ignore this file on all pages that use it.
Missing files that are not
It is possible for Insites to report a file as missing, yet the file appears to work when you test it. Here are the most common reasons, in descending order of likelihood:
- The website might have been overwhelmed by being tested by Insites.
- The website only allows the file to be viewed by certain people, or from certain locations. For example, perhaps the file can only be viewed in a given country, or by users within your office, or by logged in users. If you have the ability, you can try viewing the file on a logged out computer, outside of any private network you have.
You can always choose to ignore a missing file that you believe is incorrect. However, if you’re seeing many missing files like this, this website almost certainly have a problem with rate-limiting.
Missing files that you cannot find
It is possible for Insites to report a file as missing, but you cannot find or understand the file.
This is because the file was shown to Insites at the time it was tested, but is not being seen by you now. Often this can mean the file is only being shown some of the time, e.g., to users in a given country, or to users with a specific web browser.
This is particularly common with advertising platforms, which can serve different content to people depending on who they think they are.
See how Insites sees your websites.