I have an autocomplete issue on an otherwise functional Drupal 8 site. I'm hoping someone has either found and fixed this problem before, or can steer me on how to diagnose it myself.

When editing a node, taxonomy autocomplete fields appear to hang - the spinner keeps going round forever. However, looking at the Network inspector, the lookup has returned "Connection Reset".

Further information:

  • Other kinds of autocomplete work on the site (e.g. node lookup when adding a redirect)
  • I am logged in as an admin user with full permissions to everything
  • The vocabulary is not empty
  • The autocomplete field is set to "create if term doesn't exist".
  • The form saves fine on submit, either creating a new term or working out which term to link to if I enter the exact text correctly
  • I am on the second-latest version (8.1.9)
  • Accessing the lookup URL directly from a separate tab gives "This site can't be reached / the connection was reset"
  • PHP error log - empty
  • Drupal "recent errors" log - empty
  • Behaviour same in Chrome and Firefox
  • Linux server, Windows client for browsers

The URL being accessed looks like this: http://[mysite.co.uk]/entity_reference_autocomplete/taxonomy_term/default%3Ataxonomy_term/UhDfSC7PJL0Sf6NxfMCVY27CaUM15rrS-gVsL6eD66E?q=[search_term_here]


As requested, here's the list of contributed modules:

  • Protected Pages
  • AT Theme Generator
  • AT Tools
  • Admin Toolbar
  • Admin Toolbar Extra Tools
  • Adminimal Admin Toolbar
  • Chaos Tools
  • Chaos Tools Views
  • Chaos Tools Blocks
  • Bigpipe
  • Calendar
  • Calendar Datetime
  • Devel
  • Feeds
  • Audiofield
  • Computer field
  • Datetime
  • Image
  • Simple Google Maps
  • Image Effects
  • IMCE File Manager
  • Backup & Migrate
  • Blog
  • Coffee
  • CookieConsent
  • Entity
  • Exclude Node Title
  • Libraries
  • Masquerade
  • PathAuto
  • Profile
  • Redirect
  • Redirect Import
  • Scheduler
  • Special Menu Items
  • Token
  • Twitter Block
  • Typed Data
  • User Display
  • Supercache
  • Rules
  • Security Review
  • Honeypot
  • Google Analytics
  • Flood Unblock
  • Superfish
  • Views PHP
  • Views Slideshow
  • Views Slideshow Cycle
  • Views templates
  • Can you please provide a list of contributed modules that you're using? Oct 9, 2016 at 8:15
  • Sorry that took a few days! Added contrib modules now.
    – almcnicoll
    Oct 11, 2016 at 15:21
  • Great! Now can you check the browser developer console for any error messages? Also the network tab for response? Oct 11, 2016 at 18:59
  • When I first found the problem, I was getting "Connection Reset" in the Network tab. I checked the console and had loads of JS errors. Saw they were related to Refreshless module, so uninstalled that (errors gone) and checked autocomplete behaviour again. Behaviour was unchanged, so I posted this question. HOWEVER if I'd checked console again, I'd have seen that I'm now getting a 500 error rather than "connection reset". Still nothing in server error log / PHP error log / Drupal log though. Here's the network tab: link
    – almcnicoll
    Oct 11, 2016 at 20:29
  • Can you please try to uncheck "Aggregate Javascript" option from performance page under configuration? Oct 13, 2016 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


So after much frustration, I've finally got to the bottom of this. The answer is not within Drupal, but rather in my cPanel setup. I'll post the answer here because it may save someone else the headaches I've had.

The problem was that my cPanel hosting had xVarnish enabled. I'm not sure if it was suddenly added by a package upgrade, or if the behaviour changed, or if its effect only kicked in after a certain time span, but I certainly didn't switch it on! In any case, disabling xVarnish not only fixed this problem but also an "access denied" on image styles that had cropped up too.

  • 1
    Glad to see I wasn't the only one encountering this exact problem, but surprised I couldn't find more instances of others encountering it (especially given how long ago you posted). We're on Ubuntu VMs where vagrant/xvagrant aren't being used that we're aware of, much less cPanel, so it's still a mystery why our taxonomy term references weren't loading either (like you, other autocompletes like node and user references work). Also akin to your finding that it was server-related, it was reproducible on our VMs, but term autocomplete worked fine on a local Mac build of the site. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Jul 3, 2020 at 21:58

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