FIX: Rats! WebGL hit a snag Google Chrome error

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • When talking about web browsers, Google Chrome is probably the first browser that comes to your mind.
  • We covered a variety of Chrome errors before, and today we’re going to cover Rats! WebGL hit a snag error.
  • To fix this problem, disable the hardware acceleration or turn off WebGL 2 completely.
  • Are you having more problems with Google Chrome? If so, be sure to check our Chrome hub for more useful information.
webgl error

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 do I fix the WebGL error in Google Chrome?

1. Switch hardware acceleration off

  1. 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.
  2. Select Settings to open the Settings tab. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings tab and click Advanced to expand the options.
  3. 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.
  4. If Use hardware acceleration when available is a selected option, click the setting to toggle it off.
  5. Relaunch the Google Chrome browser.

2. Switch off the WebGL 2 flag setting

  1. 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.
  2. To find the setting, press the Ctrl + F hotkey. That will open a search box where you can enter WebGL 2 as below.
  3. Now click the WebGL 2 drop-down menu and select Disabled from there.
  4. Press Relaunch Now to restart Google Chrome.

3. 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.

4. Reset the flag wettings

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.

FAQ: Learn more about Google Chrome

  • What is WebGL hit a snag?

WebGL hit a snag message appears if there’s an error with WebGL Javascript API in Google Chrome.

  • How do I fix WebGL in Chrome?

To fix WebGL in Chrome go to Advanced settings in Chrome and disable hardware acceleration or turn off WebGL 2 from chrome://flags page.

  • What is WebGL in Chrome?

WebGL, also known as Web Graphics Library, is a JavaScript API that can render 3D and 2D graphics inside your browser.

  • Why is WebGL not working?

If WebGL isn’t working, it’s not supported by your browser or it has been disabled beforehand.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.