Hide broken images

February 16th, 2009. Tagged: images

I know, you don't have broken images on your site, it's unprofessional and ugly. But sometimes you may be loading images that you don't control and you never know what's going on on the other server you're expecting to serve, but it may not feel up to the task.

One nice and simple strategy to deal with this uncertainty is to hide the images that fail to load. Browsers sent an "error" event when the worst happens and an image fails for whatever reason. Subscribe to this event using your favorite event-listener-attaching approach or library and hide the image.

Or with some ugly old-school inline event handler:


Simple, eh?

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30 Responses

  1. [...] a comment » I found this small but very good article in phpied.com by Stoyan Stefanov – Twitter page. The article tells about handling broken images in a web page, [...]

  2. That’s right, this is a great way to hide broken images. That’s why I did the wp-broken-images WordPress plugin back in 2007:


    My plugin uses a little bit more “extended” approach, since not everyone would like to hide the broken images, but probably swap them with another image, or do some CSS styling.

    Anyway, the only downside is that this approach requires JavaScript, and if it’s not on because of some browser blocking addon, then it can’t do its thing. Fortunately those cases are happening too rarely ;)

  3. One more thing: I tried to use the “event-listener-attaching approach” but I could not get it work, because I don’t know when to start my code that attached the event listener. Using document.ready or window.load is too late, because the onerror event of the images was already triggered (prior to document.ready and window.load events). And on the other hand until the whole HTML is loaded I don’t know how many images are there. What event or approach would you suggest to do this “event-listener-attaching approach” ?

  4. Hmm, good point. Well, if DOMContentReady is too late, then inline onerror might be the only working solution. Short of following each <img> with inline <script> which is impractical and no better then inline onerror.

  5. This is really good. Thank you.

  6. [...] http://www.phpied.com/hide-broken-images/ : une technique pour ne pas afficher les images cassées [...]

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for the share.. helped me… :)

  8. woh its work.
    thanks for sharing

  9. Thank you sooooo much for this!

    Been looking EVERYWHERE so this and you have provided us with a tiny piece of gold!

    Cheeeers! :)

  10. Very nice. Makes my site a bit cleaner, with all the images automatically pulled from Amazon, I had broken images all the time.

  11. Recently came across this posting and it helped a lot. I thought I’d share something in return.

    Instead of hiding the image tag completely we needed to display a default image. This is the approach that I took building on the above code:


    This loads a default image, that I know is always there, in case the main image does not.

  12. Thank you for your post that nice easy to read. Your web site has a lot of good topics articles, I would not fail to trace the address of your web site my friend(s) and come back regularly.

  13. Thanks for the info, this works like a charm.

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  22. I’m not sure how to implement this into my website. I am styling a page from a database and I don’t want the images to show up if there isn’t one in the directory. This seems very simple, but I can’t seem to find anything that works.

  23. sorry for clogging up your blog but I did find what I needed at

    you can use the ‘onerror’ attribute directly in the image tag:

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  27. Ty for sharing, you save me. Great Work

  28. Hi! I have a serious problem with this images broken icon that I can not solve even trying all ‘solutions’ did find on internet!

    I am working with local html. The application loads the images from a USB stick, ie, we have sure that images are always present there.

    However, when clicking on the images that are links to load other pages, ‘just’ Google Chrome randomly displays for a split second the broken image icon. When the page is completely loaded the icon disappears. This does not happen with other browsers, but I can not use other browsers for the purpose it is intended the application.

    I need to record some training videos using Chrome and this bastard broken image icon is driving me crazy!

    I’ve tried all forms of error handling, disabling and replacement that I found out there, but none of this works. The problem is random and there is no ‘standard’ for browsing behavior that allows me to find other outlets.

    You can not solve by clearing the cache or decreasing the size of the images and due all content be hosted on a USB stick we know it’s not a problem of bandwidth.

    Any idea that can ‘disable’ this damn icon flashing during page loading??

    I’ll be very grateful if anyone has any solution.

    My e-mail is lito-soft@hotmail.com

    tks @>–>—

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