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Fix: Uncaught error: Target container is not a dom element

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  • 3 min read

React is one of the most popular front-end development frameworks around at the moment. The Javascript-based framework makes it extremely easy and quick to build complex frontends divided into components that make it easy to build and scale designs.

That said, it isn’t perfect and random bugs and glitches are the order of the day for any programmer working with React. In this article, we’re talking about the “uncaught error: Target container is not a DOM element” issue in React, its causes and what you can do to fix the problem.

Also read: How to fix ‘React-scripts: Command not found’ error?


What causes this error?

The error can be triggered by a number of issues, including:

  • Incorrectly configured index.html file. 
  • React script file is placed above the main div element. 
  • Incorrect ID reference in the document.getElementById() method. 

How to fix this?

Here are three fixes you can try out. 

Check your main div element

One of the main reasons why this error happens is because the main div element that React is targeting is not placed inside the HTML document’s body tags. This means that React doesn’t know where to place the component or the entry point of your app. 

Check to see if the target div is in fact placed within the body tags of your HTML document and that it’s named correctly. 


Correctly place React script files

If you’re importing React script files from external sources, make sure you place them just before closing the body tags on your HTML page. If you’re placing the script files before page content, or in the head tag, React won’t be able to completely read the document. 

Here’s the correct way of placing your script files. 


Configure webpack correctly

If you’re using webpack with the html-webpack-plugin, incorrectly configuring the plugin can cause the error too. The correct configuration for the plugin looks like this. 

Also read: How to fix ‘Objects are not valid as a react child’ error?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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