html – DEFER or ASYNC allowed on a stylesheet include?-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

I know script files can use the DEFER and ASYNC keywords on a resource include. Do these keywords also work for stylesheet (i.e., CSS) includes?

Syntax would presumably be:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="./path/to/style.css" defer />

I just don’t know if it’s allowed or not.

How to solve:

Defer and Async are specific attributes of the tag <script>

They will not work in other tags, because they don’t exist there. A stylesheet is not a script that contains logic to be executed in parallel or after the loading. A stylesheet is a list of static styles that get applied atomically to html.


You could do this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/style.css" media="none" onload="if(media!=='all')media='all'" >

and create a noscript fallback


As of Jan 2019, this StackOverflow post still ranks #1 in some Google searches. Therefore, I am submitting this very late answer for those who land here seeking to defer the loading of your CSS.


The gist

Add the following above the closing </body> tag of your html document

<script type="text/javascript">
  /* First CSS File */
  var giftofspeed = document.createElement('link');
  giftofspeed.rel = 'stylesheet';
  giftofspeed.href = '../css/yourcssfile.css';
  giftofspeed.type = 'text/css';
  var godefer = document.getElementsByTagName('link')[0];
  godefer.parentNode.insertBefore(giftofspeed, godefer);

  /* Second CSS File */
  var giftofspeed2 = document.createElement('link');
  giftofspeed2.rel = 'stylesheet';
  giftofspeed2.href = '../css/yourcssfile2.css';
  giftofspeed2.type = 'text/css';
  var godefer2 = document.getElementsByTagName('link')[0];
  godefer2.parentNode.insertBefore(giftofspeed2, godefer2);


I can’t find it documented anywhere but my findings are:

How it was tested

  • Tested only with Google Chrome version 61.0.3163.100 (Official version) (64 bits)
  • Used Fast & Slow 3G throttling in dev tools.

What I tested

I have one stylesheet importing custom fonts and applying the fonts.


Text using the custom font was invisible until it was fully loaded and then it appeared.


So added => Result is that the text is visible immediately when the page is starting to render but using the fallback font, then after a while it switches to the custom font.

So it seems like at least Google Chrome supports defer on <link> tags as well even if it’s not documented anywhere publicly…


The best practice for css files is to serve them inline(Minified). As per that link.

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