“Rats! WebGL hit a snag” Google Chrome error

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
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Some Google Chrome users have encountered a “Rats! WebGL hit a snag” error message when opening certain website pages. That’s an error message that usually appears on JavaScript heavy websites. A yellow bar with Reload and Ignore buttons usually includes the error message. Then reloading the page doesn’t always fix the issue.

As the error message suggests, this is primarily a WebGL issue. WebGL, otherwise Web Graphics Library, is a JavaScript API that helps the Chrome browser render 3D and 2D graphics. However, when WebGL has an error or is not supported, you’ll get a WebGL snag error message.

How to fix the WebGL error in Google Chrome

Switch Hardware Acceleration off

  • Switching hardware accelerated graphics off is one way to resolve the WebGL error. Click the Customize Google Chrome button to open the browser’s primary menu.
  • Select Settings to open the Settings tab. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings tab and click Advanced to expand the options.
  • Scroll down the Settings page until you get to System options. There you’ll find the Use hardware acceleration when available option shown directly below.

  • If Use hardware acceleration when available is a selected option, click the setting to toggle it off.
  • Relaunch the Google Chrome browser.

Switch off the WebGL 2 Flag Setting

  • Chrome includes a WebGL 2.0 setting that you can configure via the chrome://flags page. First, input ‘chrome://flags’ in the browser’s URL bar to open the flags page below.

  • To find the setting, press the Ctrl + F hotkey. That will open a search box where you can enter ‘WebGL 2’ as below.

  • Now click the WebGL 2 drop-down menu and select Disabled from there.
  • Press Relaunch Now to restart Google Chrome.

Add the Disable WebGL Extension to Chrome

One developer has also brought out a Chrome extension specifically to switch WebGL off. The developer states: “I created it because for some reason, my entire laptop freezes for a full 15 seconds every time a page tries to load WebGL. Astonishingly, almost every website out there seems to try to create a WebGL context nowadays, even plain news websites.” You can add Disable WebGL to the browser by pressing the + Add to Chrome on this website page. Then the extension automatically switches WebGL off.

Reset the Flag Settings

Resetting Chrome’s flag settings to default can potentially resolve the WebGL hit a snag error. You can do that by pressing the Reset all defaults button at the top right of the chrome://flags page. Then restart the browser by pressing the Relaunch Now button.

Those are a few remedies for the WebGL snag error in Google Chrome. The Chrome://GPU page, which you can open by entering ‘chrome://gpu’ in the URL bar, highlights GPU related errors for Chrome and might also help fix the WebGL error.