John Mwaniki /   13 Jun 2023

[Solved]: DataTables Not Working on My Website

Hi there! So you added the DataTables plugin to your webpage but it doesn't seem to work or make any changes to your HTML table? The table is just as usual with no pagination, sort, or search filter features?

Well, worry not for you are at the right place. In this article, we'll explore some of the common reasons why DataTables may not be working on your website and provide practical solutions to fix each issue.

Below are the possible causes for it not working and the solution for each:

1. Missing or Incorrect DataTables Installation

DataTables installation requires you to include two files in your webpage; a CSS and JS file. These files can be linked directly to the DataTables CDN or may be downloaded and hosted locally in your project.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>

If you are using a framework, you may be required to include more than two files. For instance, if you are using Bootstrap, the installation requires you to include one DataTables CSS file and two JS files.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">
<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>

Make sure the correct files are included/linked to depending on whether you are using pure HTML or a framework, the correct version is used (eg if you are using Bootstrap the DataTables files should correspond with the Bootstrap version), and that they are properly loaded on the page with no errors.

You may be interested in:

How to Install DataTables Plugin

2. Missing jQuery

Being a jQuery plugin, DataTables relies upon using the jQuery JavaScript library in your pages in order to work.

Make sure jQuery is included on your webpage, is properly loaded, and that is at least version 1.7 or newer.

<script src=""></script>

3. Missing or Invalid DataTables Initialization

After creating the table and including all the required dependencies, you need to initialize the DataTables plugin in jQuery/Js. Without initialization, no change will take effect on the table.

Below is how to initialize DataTables using jQuery:

$(document).ready(function() {

Or with non-jQuery initialization:

let table = new DataTable('#myTable', {
    // options

Note: "myTable" in the above example is the table selector, in this case, the ID attribute value of the table that is being initialized. Replace it with yours. You can also use a class name in place of the ID.

Ensure that the selector targets the correct table element and that the initialization code is placed after including jQuery on the page.

Note: If you try to initialize DataTables before including jQuery, it won't work.

4. Missing <thead> and/or <tbody> Table Tags

The <thead>, <tbody>, and <tfoot> are optional table tags that are often omitted when creating HTML tables.

However, when working with the DataTables plugin, the <thead> and <tbody> tags are required as they allow DataTables to know what should be used for the column headers and the click-to-order controls. Without them, the DataTables won't work.

The <thead> tag should enclose the column headers and <tbody> should enclose data rows.

The <tfoot> tag is optional and can be omitted.


<table id="userTable">
      <td>John Doe</td>
      <td>Abby Sharma</td>

5. Invalid HTML Table Markup

Improper or invalid HTML markup can also cause DataTables to malfunction. In addition to the two tags discussed above, ensure that everything in your HTML table markup is correct and follows the required structure.

Check and make sure that there is an equal number of cells (<th> and <td>) in all the rows in your table. If there is an unequal number of columns/cells in rows, then DataTables will definitely not work.

DataTables does not support the use of colspan and rowspan in the table's <tbody> tag and therefore they must not be present, failure to which it won't work.

6. Server-Side HTML Table Generation Issues

If you are generating your HTML document or part of it using a server-side program, such as a PHP script, it could be generating an invalid format.

Test and verify that the server-side script is functioning properly and generates an HTML table Markup that meets the requirements stipulated in the above two points.

7. Network and Caching Problems

Network issues or caching problems can sometimes interfere with DataTables' functionality. Clear your browser cache and try accessing your website again.

If you're using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to load DataTables or its dependencies, ensure that the CDN links are up to date and not being blocked by any firewalls or security measures.

That's it!

It's my hope that by troubleshooting with the above solutions, you will be able to fix your DataTables issue.