Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Web pages are designed to display content elements first to give you a quick visual representation of the page. Other things might take awhile or get stuck. There is a quick key you can tap to stop this behavior.

Leo, I have a question. How come when I get to the bottom of a news article, and I want to post a comment, it shows that it's still downloading. How do I stop this and what the heck am I downloading?

In this excerpt from Answercast #13, I talk about how elements from a web page download into your computer browser and make some suggestions on how to work with downloading notifications.

Still downloading

This happens on Ask Leo! from time to time as well.

Here's what's going on (at least on my site) and I suspect it's happening for you too:

  • In order to present the page more quickly, we have the page designed so the stuff you read (the actual article content) is downloaded and shown as quickly as possible.

  • Other stuff - the ads, some of the other support code, the analytics code that tracks the number of people that are coming to the website (so I know which articles are most popular) - a number of things like that are what's called "delay loaded." They are loaded after the web page itself is technically finished.

When that first pass of showing you everything you need to see is done, then this additional pass happens that downloads all this other stuff.

Typically, it's pretty quick. I know that on Ask Leo! I've worked very hard to minimize the amount of stuff that gets downloaded on each page because it affects how usable the site is (or isn't) for most people.

Downloading dynamic content

On the other hand, I know that other sites (particularly sites that are loaded with a lot of advertising or have a lot of dynamic content like video and so forth) have a lot of stuff that can "delay a load," as they call it.

What might be happening is that stuff may still be downloading - may be loading while you're reading the article. It may keep on going and may not be done by the time you get to the bottom and are ready to leave your comment.

Sometimes, one of those delay load items will fail for whatever reason. As a result, it will still look like it's trying to download even though the download isn't working.

Don't worry about it

The good news is that it shouldn't really affect anything.

The web page should be completely usable whether it's finished downloading like that or not. You should be able to post your comment.

Or stop the browser

If, for whatever reason, it annoys you, press the Esc key.

The Esc key is supposed to stop the browser from completing any pending downloads that happen: not only the visual page itself (which is hopefully very quick), but also any of this 'delay loaded' stuff.

So, hit the Esc key or just ignore it.

Article C5266 - April 29, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
Bill F
May 1, 2012 9:12 AM

Thanks for thinking of your users with the design of your web page (content first, ads later).

Our local paper has gone the other route with some ads loading before the text shows up and then they do refershes of the ads that require the entire page to reload.

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