Within my website I have a single page that dynamically updates via AJAX / JSON in a plain HTML page.

Now this page may be left open for up to three or four days. When I left it running over the weekend the data had frozen, the server was still running perfectly and upon a refresh everything started going again. So my question is Does Internet Explorer(or even other browsers) 'timeout'?

  • Did power saving / sleeping / hibernation have anything to do with it?
    – Tim Post
    Jul 26, 2010 at 2:02
  • No PC was on the entire weekend.
    – sphvn
    Jul 26, 2010 at 5:41
  • Can you check the website access logs for when the request stopped coming - with a better idea of when it happened, you may be able to find a cause more easily (or if there is no obvious cause, you'll have a data-point for the possible timeout)
    – Cebjyre
    Jul 26, 2010 at 9:33
  • Also, when you look at the logs, are the calls to the server become less frequent? Is it possible you have a loop or call that gets slower over time? Jul 26, 2010 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


Many questions come to mine:

  1. What version of IE?
  2. What was the code that was making the call?
  3. What did the browser do when you came back to it a few days later?
  4. What do your webserver logs indicate -- were there returns from the webserver with error codes that the JavaScript was incapable of handling?

Generally, if you have a piece of JavaScript code that is being executed on a timer with setTimeout it will run forever. But remember that browsers are desktop software and as such, sometimes stuff happens to the system which can impact that browser. It's difficult to speculate without knowing more precisely what the conditions of your experience were. It's possible the browser did freeze up because of some other system software running. It's possible that the DNS of the system went kerflooie for a little while, and then the JavaScript did not handle that problem well. It's possible the server serving the content crapped out for a second and returned an incorrect string that your JavaScript could not handle, then, page execution stopped. Lastly, maybe the browser transiently ran out of memory? If the returned data also added content that added events to the page, maybe you simply ran out of memory? This would be the case if the page truly "froze" - but you likely would have seen a memory alert from IE in that case.

Lots of ins and outs for this question, and not enough details supplied.

  • 1
    Yes sorry it was very vague. Its IE8. Simple setTimeout on a function that populates fields with text after clearing the DOM of previous so no memory leaks. Browser was working fine any dynamic content hada stopped. The webserver is a piece of software that outputs data for consumption. In this case a single 600x600 image to be returned every sec. Am currently running more tests on testing environments (new installs on pc's)
    – sphvn
    Jul 27, 2010 at 0:48
  • Giving you the tick :) as you have given alot of information to think about / check through for me and I find it helpful thankyew.
    – sphvn
    Jul 27, 2010 at 0:49
  • So part of the returned value is an image? Then that potentially complicates the issue because of possible image caching and rendering rules. Complicated! Good luck on a fix, feel free to update your question with an answer if you find something interesting!
    – artlung
    Jul 27, 2010 at 1:12

I would not expect IE to time out but if a ajax request has failed and it may not attempted to try again. A good way to confirm this would be to use Firefox and download a plug-in called FireBug. This will give you a log of all http/ajax requests that are requested from the desktop and will show you if it received any error states back from the server or a javascript error.

  • If AJAX request fails I have measures in place to pick it up and get it going again :) yes I was not the one testing it over a couple of days hence not having firebug to help out. However I am currently testing it myself now to see what happens.
    – sphvn
    Jul 27, 2010 at 0:45

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