Script Tag Placement: Head or Body?

Learn the differences between placing script tags in the body versus the head of HTML documents for optimal website performance.

Script Tag Placement: Head or Body?

When creating a website, one of the decisions you’ll face is where to place your <script> tags. Should they go in the <head> or at the end of the <body> ? This choice can affect your site’s performance, so it’s important to understand the best practices.

Understanding <script> Tags

<script> tags are used to embed or reference JavaScript code within an HTML document. The placement of these tags can influence how quickly a page loads and becomes interactive.

The Debate: Head vs Body

Traditionally, scripts were placed in the <head> of the document. However, this can lead to slower page loads because browsers will execute scripts before rendering the rest of the page. To improve performance, many developers now place <script> tags just before the closing </body> tag.

Placing Scripts in the <head>

Scripts in the <head> are loaded and executed before the page content, which can be useful for scripts that need to run immediately, such as setting up a page’s environment or loading critical features.

Ensures scripts are loaded earlyCan delay page rendering
Useful for critical features that affect page layoutMay lead to a slower perceived load time

Placing Scripts in the <body>

Putting scripts at the end of the <body> allows the HTML to be parsed and displayed to the user first, with scripts executing last. This is beneficial for non-critical scripts that don’t need to run right away.

Faster page renderingScripts may not be available if needed earlier in the page lifecycle
Improved user experience as content loads first

Best Practices for Script Tag Placement

  1. Critical Scripts: Place essential scripts in the <head> with the `async` or `defer` attributes to prevent render-blocking.
  2. Non-Critical Scripts: Place non-essential scripts at the end of the <body> to improve page load times.
  3. External Scripts: Use external files for JavaScript and reference them with `<script src=”…”>` tags to keep HTML clean.


The placement of <script> tags can significantly impact the performance and user experience of a website. For critical scripts, use the <head> with async or `defer`. For non-critical scripts, place them at the end of the <body>. Always aim for the best user experience with fast-loading pages.


1. Is it okay to mix script placements in the head and body?

 Yes, based on the script’s purpose and priority, it can be beneficial to mix placements.

2. Do `async` and `defer` attributes help with scripts in the <head>? 

Yes, they allow scripts to load without blocking the rendering of the page.

3. Can scripts in the <body> affect page loading? 

If placed at the end, they execute after the page content has loaded, minimizing the impact on loading times.