Low This Hint is of the lowest significance, and should only be addressed if there are not more serious issues which have not been handled. Diagnostic This Hint flags specific performance problems on your site that need to be addressed.

Avoid excessive DOM depth

This means that the URL in question has DOM nodes exceeding the maximum recommended depth of 32.

Why is this important?

While browsers can handle larger DOM trees, they are optimized for a maximum of 32 elements deep. A large DOM tree can harm your page performance in multiple ways:

  • Network efficiency and load performance. If you server ships a large DOM tree, you may be shipping lots of unnecessary bytes. This can also slow down page load time, because the browser may be parsing lots of nodes that aren't even displayed above-the-fold.
  • Runtime performance. As users and scripts interact with your page, the browser must constantly re-compute the position and styling of nodes. A large DOM tree in combination with complicated style rules can severely slow down rendering.
  • Memory performance. If you use general query selectors such as document.querySelectorAll('li') you may be unknowingly storing references to a very large number of nodes, which can overwhelm the memory capabilities of your users' devices.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL with a maximum DOM depth over 32 elements deep.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

The Hint would trigger for any URL with elements in the DOM with a depth over 32, such as the example below:

Maximum DOM depth

How do you resolve this issue?

An optimal DOM tree:

  • Has less than 1500 nodes total.
  • Has a maximum depth of 32 nodes.
  • Has no parent node with more than 60 child nodes.

In general, look for ways to create DOM nodes only when needed, and destroy them when no longer needed.

If your server ships a large DOM tree, try loading your page and manually noting which nodes are displayed. Perhaps you can remove the undisplayed nodes from the loaded document, and only create them after a user gesture, such as a scroll or a button click.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are you using nested tables for layout purposes?
  • Are you throwing in more <div>s only to fix layout issues?
  • Is there a better and more semantically correct way to do your markup?

Further Reading

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