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Will Firefox and Chrome Version 100 Break Your Website?

Brent Peterson March 17, 2022

This year, three major web browsers — Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge — are expected to reach version 100. As the day for this exciting milestone draws closer, however, lots of web developers and online business owners are concerned that the 3-digit number will cause some websites to malfunction or “break.”

Before you panic, know that Google developers are working to find a solution before Chrome 100 is released later this March. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far about the problem and what can be done to minimize the risks for your site.

The Problem: 3-Digit UA Strings

The key problem with updating Chrome 99 to Chrome 100 has to do with User-Agent (UA) strings. Servers read UA strings to identify which browser the person is using, and for years, the UA string has always been a double-digit number. Google’s developers are concerned that a 3-digit UA string will cause major display issues with some websites.

“Different browsers have different formats for the User-Agent string and site-specific User-Agent parsing,” explains Mozilla. “It’s possible that some parsing libraries may have hard-coded assumptions or bugs that don’t take into account three-digit major version numbers.”

In other words, older sites might not function at all on the 100th version of Chrome or Firefox because they lack the necessary tech to parse a 3-digit UA string. Other websites might experience bugs or glitches when version 100 is released.

What You Can Do

To find out if your website will be affected by the browser update, you can use the new flag (#force-major-version-to-100) for Google Chrome. To turn the flag on, simply type chrome://flags in the address bar and enable the #force-major-version-to-100 flag.

Next, visit the test site: Is Chrome 100 Yet? This test browser will let you check out any potential problems with your website and file a report if your site breaks due to the UA string. Just make sure that the problem isn’t being caused by a different bug by loading it again with the standard UA.

For more information about the changes coming for web browsers this year, check out Google’s release notes here.

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