How to fix the "jQuery is not defined" error in WordPress
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How to fix the “jQuery is not defined” error in WordPress

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You’re probably terrified every time the error ‘jQuery is not defined’ appears. This query can definitely shut down your entire website. If your page is one of 73% of the sites which run on jQuery, then this error may be a real struggle.

To make things clear, jQuery is a library designed to simplify HTML with all its components:

  • DOM
  • Event handling
  • Animation
  • Dynamic content

Although jQuery is a JavaScript library, it can often conflict with the other libraries JavaScript uses. This is the main reason for the appearance of the error in WordPress: “jQuery is not defined’. This means the system is unable to read your code, because the jQuery works as a middleman between the two parts.

Below, is how it looks on your screen, in case you haven’t experienced this problem yet:


WordPress Reference Error is not defined: Fix jQuery is not defined

Here is why you get the “Uncaught Reference Error: jQuery Is Not Defined” in WordPress

There are a variety of causes for this problem.The majority of users should find the following two reasons are very common. Carefully read and analyze which one could be the main cause of the error on your screen:

Old plugins don’t get along well with the new ones


Always take into account that for as many parties you have in the coding, you have as many chances for their variables to conflict.

This can also be the case of the jQuery code in contact with other plugins or snippets. Let’s take, for example, the symbol $, which jQuery uses as a shortcut for its own name. In the code of another third party, the $ can have another value. Both values can’t exist at the same time in the same program. That’s why “jQuery is undefined”.

However there are more ways to handle this problem, which you can easily find online.

Too much work for your CDN-hosted jQuery


Remember that the browser sends the uncaught reference error, jQuery is not defined, after only half a minute of loading. This means that your CDN-hosted jQuery has less than 30 seconds to perform the action. A slow or unreliable host would be the cause of the error in this case.

jQuery is not fully loaded before JavaScript runs


The first rule in working with dependency products such as jQuery is keeping the order of loading between it and the rest of the code. First, you should completely load the jQuery. Then your code will function properly using the data from the dependency. Otherwise, the error “jQuery $ is not defined” will surely appear.

The explanation is logical. When the JavaScript code loads before the jQuery code, the latter is not included in the program. Thus, it cannot be used, so the ‘not defined’ message can be understood literally.

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Is the framework properly implemented?

Another problem may be the fact that each framework works differently.

The order of the code snippets is of vital importance. This may be one of the causes of the error as well as other code conflicts between sources. Here is an example. Placing the JavaScript references at the bottom of the program, before you end the body tag, is not always helpful. The advantage is that this technique helps with decreasing loading time per page. Yet, you risk getting the ‘jQuery $ not defined’ error if references of jQuery appear before it’s loaded. There are frameworks that automatically manage this problem,but these lead to slower performance.

Blocked CDN-hosted jQuery


When using a library from Google, there are more chances for your jQuery hosted on CDN to get shut down. Filters or proxy services are the most likely causes of this inconvenience. However, such cases usually happen in China or Indonesia, due to the huge number of requests located in this geographical area.

This can bring many little problems inside your programs, such as animation lagging or plugin deactivation.

How to solve the ‘jQuery is not defined’ error?

Finding the root cause is the first step in eliminating this problem. However, in many cases, this is not as easy as it seems. It can be a plugin or a theme or something else and it may be difficult to find the right cause when it’s a combination. Incompatibility between plugin and themes is just an example and that’s a real struggle!

If you can’t find the initial problem, check some settings throughout the program. First of all, make sure your jQuery file is fully loaded into the host program. Remember to give all the necessary permissions to avoid security issues interfering with the running of the program.

However, loading your jQuery in the program is not enough. The important detail is that the plugin itself gets loaded before jQuery, which is how you can avoid the ‘$ not defined’ message.

The problem is usually caused by a mistake in the code. In order to fix it, use the keyboard Ctrl + U to access the source code. Then you can analyze and find any reference to jQuery. One of them should clearly have a problem.

Here are some approaches that we propose to help you with those coding problems:

Method 1


Add the following snippet in your wp-config.php file. Don’t cut out the define statements:

/** Absolute path to the WordPress directory. */

if ( !defined('ABSPATH') )

define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__) . '/');

define('CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false);

Method 2

This is another way of approaching the problem. Through this coding segment, we show you how to include Google-hosted jQuery with a local/alternate fallback.

// First try loading jQuery from Google's CDN
<script src="//"></script>

// Fall back to a local copy of jQuery if the CDN fails
window.jQuery || document.write('<script src=""><\/script>'))

This is an official solution provided by the website. When jQuery is not defined because of some loading issues then using your own domain will likely help. You’ll have a cached version, which an advantage worth taking into account.

There’s also another option for you to solve things quicker. Download the application Rails, which will automatically manage the fallback process.

Actually, this technique will allow you to solve the problem easily and it’ll also bean advantage for your website. It will run on the localhost which will make the browsing experience even more pleasant for your visitors and avoid any other CDN jQuery loading failures.

Method 3


If you’re reading this, it means the previous 2 methods didn’t work for you.So now, get straight into your header.php file and insert the jQuery library there. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • Get the latest version of jQuery Library from Google Hosted Libraries
  • Open your theme’s header.php file
  • Paste what you got in the first step just after the head tag.
  • Save your file.

Make sure the jQuery is loaded

This final step is equally important. You must double-check whether you’ve loaded the library properly into the website. See the source code for this. Remember the shortcut Ctrl + U. It’s necessary to keep the jQuery defined and properly referenced in the code. That’s why the JavaScript loading must precede one of the jQuery.

If you enjoyed reading this article on jQuery is not defined, you should check out this one about how to fix the WordPress missing a temporary folder.

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Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 260,000+ customers.