Solving the "Unexpected end of JSON input" Error in JavaScript


JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON, is one of the most commonly used data formats with diverse uses in data storage and transmission. However, like any other programming task, you may encounter errors when working with it. One common error in JavaScript is the "Unexpected end of JSON input" error. This Byte will discuss this error, its causes, and how to fix it.

Understanding the Error

The "Unexpected end of JSON input" error often occurs when you're parsing an empty JSON document. The JSON.parse() method in JavaScript is used to take a JSON string and convert it into a JavaScript object. If you pass an empty string to the JSON.parse() method, it throws an error because it expects a string with a valid JSON structure.

let data = '';
let jsonData = JSON.parse(data); // Uncaught SyntaxError: Unexpected end of JSON input

In the example above, an empty string is passed to the JSON.parse() method, resulting in an "Unexpected end of JSON input" error.

JSON String Conversion in JavaScript

To understand the error better, let's discuss how JSON string conversion works in JavaScript. The JSON.parse() method converts a JSON string into a JavaScript object. It's important to note that the input must be a string that represents a valid JSON structure.

let data = '{"name":"John", "age":30, "city":"New York"}';
let jsonData = JSON.parse(data);

In the console, you'll see the output as:

{ name: 'John', age: 30, city: 'New York' }

The JSON.parse() method successfully converts the JSON string into a JavaScript object.

Possible Empty Server Response

One common scenario where the 'Unexpected end of JSON input' error occurs is when you're fetching data from a server. If the server returns an empty response, and you try to parse it with JSON.parse(), the error will be thrown.

Consider the following code:

    .then(response => response.json())
    .then(data => console.log(data))
    .catch(error => console.error('Error:', error));
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If the server at returns an empty response, you'll encounter the error. This is because the response.json() method internally uses JSON.parse() to convert the server's response into a JavaScript object. If the response is empty, there's nothing to parse, resulting in the error.

Implementing Try/Catch for Error Handling

A good practice when dealing with JSON parsing in JavaScript is to implement a try/catch block. This allows you to catch any errors that may occur during the parsing process and handle them gracefully, instead of allowing the script to fail.

Here's a simple example:

let json;

try {
  json = JSON.parse(input);
} catch (e) {
  console.error("Invalid JSON:", e);

In this example, if the input is not a valid JSON string, the JSON.parse() function will throw an error. The catch block will then catch this error and log it to the console.

Note: Remember that the catch block will only execute if an error is thrown in the try block. You then need to either exit the program gracefully or handle the case where you don't have a valid json object like you intended.

Validating JSON or Removing JSON.parse()

If you're not sure whether the input you're receiving is valid JSON, you can validate it before parsing. There are several libraries available for this purpose, like jsonlint.

Since there are many potential formatting issues with JSON, your best bet may be to manually inspect the JSON string yourself to see what the issue is and how to fix it. For example, consider you have the following JSON string, input:

    "make": "Honda",
    "model": "Civic"
    "make": "Ford",
    "model": "Mustang"

You may notice that this isn't valid JSON becuase it seems to have an array of objects, but no brackets ([]) surrounding it. If you expect to keep receiving this invalid JSON and can't get the problem fixed at the source, you can then try to fix it yourself in code:

input = `[${input}]`;
json = JSON.parse(input);


Understanding and handling the "Unexpected end of JSON input" error in JavaScript is important for any developer working with JSON data. By using try/catch blocks for error handling and validating JSON input before parsing, you can help ensure that your code is less susceptible to potential errors. Always remember to handle errors gracefully and provide clear feedback to the user!

Last Updated: August 21st, 2023
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