Delay AJAX call for X seconds

Sam Deering
Sam Deering

jQuery code snippet to delay AJAX call for X seconds. Could be used for events that require action before getting data from the server side via AJAX. Update: There is an easier way to do this by using setTimeout() function – See below for an example. Enjoy! :)

var pendingCall = { timeStamp: null, procID: null };

$('li a').click(function (e) {
    var getUrl = $(this).attr("href");
	var timeStamp =;

    var printCall = function () {
            url: getUrl,
            type: "GET",
            beforeSend: function () { },
            error: function (request) { alert(request) },
            success: function (data) {
                if (pendingCall.timeStamp != timeStamp) { return false; }
                pendingCall.procID = null;

    if (pendingCall.procID) {
	//set the time before call 3000 = 3 seconds
    pendingCall = { timeStamp: timeStamp, procID: setTimeout(printCall, 3000) };

setTimeout Alternative

Here is a snippet that will remove loading mask from your page, one second after a website was loaded. You can setup a loading mask to cover your whole website while your website is loading preventing people form seeing loading images for example.  
jQuery(document).ready(function () {
	setTimeout( "jQuery('#loading_mask').hide();", 1000 );

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Delaying AJAX Calls

What is the purpose of delaying an AJAX call?

Delaying an AJAX call can be beneficial in several scenarios. For instance, if you have a search feature on your website that triggers an AJAX call each time a user types a character, it could lead to a significant load on your server. By introducing a delay, you can ensure the AJAX call is only made after the user has stopped typing, reducing the server load. It can also improve the user experience by preventing unnecessary loading times and ensuring the most relevant results are displayed.

How can I delay an AJAX call using jQuery?

jQuery provides a simple way to delay AJAX calls using the setTimeout function. This function allows you to specify a delay in milliseconds before the AJAX call is made. Here’s a basic example:

setTimeout(function() {
// AJAX options
}, 2000); // 2 seconds delay

In this example, the AJAX call will be delayed by 2 seconds.

Can I cancel a delayed AJAX call?

Yes, you can cancel a delayed AJAX call by clearing the timeout. When you call setTimeout, it returns a unique ID that can be used to cancel the timeout with the clearTimeout function. Here’s how you can do it:

var timeoutId = setTimeout(function() {
// AJAX options
}, 2000);

// Cancel the timeout

In this example, the AJAX call will be cancelled before it has a chance to execute.

Are there any drawbacks to delaying AJAX calls?

While delaying AJAX calls can improve server performance and user experience, it’s not always the best solution. If the delay is too long, it can make your website feel slow and unresponsive. It’s important to find a balance between reducing server load and maintaining a smooth user experience.

How can I determine the optimal delay for an AJAX call?

The optimal delay for an AJAX call depends on several factors, including the server load, the nature of the AJAX call, and the user’s expectations. A good starting point is to set a delay of a few hundred milliseconds and then adjust it based on the performance and user feedback.

Can I delay multiple AJAX calls at once?

Yes, you can delay multiple AJAX calls at once by using multiple setTimeout calls. Each setTimeout call will return a unique ID that can be used to cancel the timeout if necessary.

Can I use setTimeout with other JavaScript functions?

Yes, setTimeout is a versatile function that can be used with any JavaScript function, not just AJAX calls. You can use it to delay any piece of JavaScript code.

Can I use setTimeout in a loop to delay multiple AJAX calls?

Yes, you can use setTimeout in a loop to delay multiple AJAX calls. However, keep in mind that setTimeout is asynchronous, which means the loop will not wait for the timeout to finish before moving on to the next iteration. This can lead to unexpected behavior if not handled correctly.

Can I delay an AJAX call without using jQuery?

Yes, you can delay an AJAX call without using jQuery by using the setTimeout function with the fetch API or the XMLHttpRequest object. However, jQuery provides a simpler and more convenient way to make AJAX calls.

Can I use setTimeout with promises?

Yes, you can use setTimeout with promises to delay the resolution or rejection of a promise. This can be useful when working with asynchronous operations like AJAX calls.