[ACCEPTED]-Should your website work without JavaScript-browser

Accepted answer
Score: 39

Coming back more than 10 years later, it's 23 worth noting my first two bullet points 22 have faded to insignificance, and the situation 21 has improved marginally for the third (accessible 20 browsers do better) and fourth (Google runs 19 more js) as well.

There are a lot more users 18 on the public internet who may have trouble 17 with javascript than you might think:

  • Mobile browsers (smartphones) often have very poor or buggy javascript implementations. These will often show up in statistics on the side of those that do support javascript, even though they in effect don't. This is getting better, but there are still lots of people stuck with old or slow android phones with very old versions of Chrome or bad webkit clones.
  • Things like NoScript are becoming more popular, so you should at least have a nice initial page for those users.
  • If your customer is in any way part of the U.S. Goverment, you are legally required to support screen readers, which typically don't do javascript, or don't do it well.
  • Search engines will, at best, only run a limited set of your javascript. You want to work well enough without javascript to allow them to still index your site.

Of 16 course, you need to know your audience. You 15 might be doing work for a corporate intranet 14 where you know that everyone has javascript (though 13 even here I'd argue there's a growing trend 12 where these sites are made available to 11 teleworkers with unknown/unrestricted browsers). Or 10 you might be building an app for the blind 9 community where no one has it. In the case of 8 the public internet, you can typically figure 7 about 95% of your users will support it 6 in some fashion (source cited by someone 5 else in one of the links below). That number 4 sounds pretty high, but it can be misleading; turn 3 it around, and if you don't support javascript 2 you're turning away 1 visitor in 20.

See 1 these:

Score: 8

You should weigh the options and ask yourself:

1) what 11 percentage of users will have javascript 10 turned off. (according to this site, only 5% of 9 the world has it turned off or not available.) 2) will 8 those users be willing to turn it on 3) of 7 those that aren't willing to turn it on, or 6 switch to another browser or device that 5 has javascript enabled, is the lost revenue 4 more than the effort to build a separate 3 non-javascript version?

Instinctively, I 2 say most times the answer is no, don't waste 1 the time building two sites.

Score: 5

My question is, if, in this day and age, we 15 should be required to cater for users that 14 don't have javascript enabled?

Yes, definitely, if the 13 AJAX functionality is core to the working 12 of your site. If you don't, you are effectively 11 denying users who don't have Javascript 10 enabled access to your website, and although 9 this is a rather small proportion (<5% I 8 believe), it means that they won't be able 7 to use your site at all, because the core 6 functions are not available to them.

Of course 5 if you're doing more trivial things with 4 AJAX that just enhance the user experience 3 but are not actually central to the core 2 functionality of the site, then this probably 1 isn't necessary.

Score: 3

Depends really.

I personally switch off JavaScript 7 all the time because I don't trust lots 6 of sites.

However, since you users have explicitly 5 asked for your application, you can assume 4 they will trust it and there is no point 3 in doing extra work.

More, if you have that 2 strong AJAX-affinity requirement, the question 1 seems odd enough.

Score: 3

This is a bit like beating a dead horse, but 26 I'll have a go at it, sure.

I think there 25 could be two basic approaches to this:


Using 24 ajax (and, basically, javascript) to enhance 23 the experience of the users, while making 22 sure, that all of the application's features work 21 without javascript.

When I am following 20 this principle, I develop the interface 19 in two phases - first without considering 18 javascript at all (say, using a framework, that 17 doesn't know about javascript) and then augment 16 certain workflows by adding ajax-y validation 15 (don't like pure js validation, sorry) and 14 so on.

This means, if the user has javascript 13 disabled, your app shall in no way break 12 or become unusable for him.


Using javascript 11 to its fullest, "no javascript - no go" style. If 10 javascript is not available, the user will 9 not be able to use your application at all. It 8 is important to note, that, in my opinion, there 7 is no middle ground, - if you are trying 6 to be in both worlds at once, you are doing 5 too much extra work. Removing the constraints 4 of supporting no-javascript users, obviously 3 adds more opportunities to create a richer 2 user experience. And it makes creating that experience 1 much easier.

Score: 1

I think that depends on the type of web 13 application you are going to build. For 12 example in an e-commerce application the 11 checkout process should propably work without 10 java script because there are some people 9 who deactivate js for checking out (in our 8 experience). In a web 2.0 application in 7 my opinion it isn't necessary to support 6 non-js browser experience. Developing for 5 both also complicates the development process 4 and is more cost intensive. you have double 3 your web test efforts (testing with and 2 without js) and also think different in 1 the planning phase.

Score: 0

I think it depends on the market segment 14 you're aiming for, if you're going for a 13 tech crowd -such as Stackoverflow.com, or 12 perhaps slashdot- then you're probably fine 11 in expecting users to have JS installed 10 and active.

Other sites, with a medially 9 tech-aware audience, may suffer from users 8 knowing enough about JS-based exploits to 7 have deactivated JS, but with not enough 6 knowledge to enable Scriptblock (or other 5 browser-equivalent).

The non-tech aware audience 4 are probably with the tech-crowd, since 3 they possibly just don't know how to disable 2 JS -or why they may want to- regardless 1 of the risk.

Score: 0

In short, you should cater to spiders without JavaScript 8 enabled, but only to the degree necessary 7 to index the data that you want to expose 6 to the public. Your browser requirements 5 of IE7+ and FF3+ exclude far more people 4 than the total number of people who disable 3 JavaScript. And of those who do disable 2 it, the vast majority know how to enable 1 it when necessary.

Score: 0

I asked myself the same question the other 10 day and came up with the answer that in 9 order to use my application one must have Javascript enabled. I also 8 checked various Ajax powered sites. Even 7 Stackoverflow.

But considering this fact 6 I also believe that you do need to support 5 some degree of prehistoric applications. The main idea 4 is to not let application break when users 3 don't have enabled Javascript. Application 2 should still display relevant data, but 1 its functionality would be limited.

Score: 0

To add to some of the old discussion on 1 this page. Google is now searching JavaScript: http://www.i-programmer.info/news/81-web-general/4248-google-now-searches-javascript.html

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