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How to fix ChatGPT's "an error occurred"

For once, there's a pretty direct solution available to a cryptic message.
September 26, 2023

Ladies and gentlemen, we may have a new reigning champion for vague error messages. ChatGPT‘s “an error occurred” tells you absolutely nothing about what’s gone wrong, let alone how to fix it, and there isn’t even any context for a hint. But the truth is that there’s a likely culprit, and it can actually be relatively easy to fix, if at the expense of maximum web security. Read on for an explanation.


If you're getting "an error occurred" with ChatGPT, try disabling any real-time web protection features in your VPN client, security app, or web browser.


Why does ChatGPT keep saying “an error occurred”?

While there may be multiple reasons for the error, ChatGPT developer OpenAI explains that a recurring theme is real-time security screening. Apps that do live interference against web content like ads, trackers, and malware may play havoc with the way ChatGPT works, since they can’t necessarily identify the chatbot as safe.

How to fix ChatGPT “an error occurred”

You’ve only got a handful of options here, and the first is by far the most likely to accomplish something.

  • Disable real-time web protection apps/features. OpenAI specifically singles out NordVPN‘s “web protection” feature, but it’s possible that other VPNs could be causing problems, as well as your browser or antivirus software. Consider temporarily disabling real-time web protection options. Within NordVPN, you can do that by going to the Threat Protection tab. It’s best to leave protection options on when you’re not using ChatGPT, or if they haven’t caused you any problems with the chatbot in the past.
  • Refresh the webpage. When in doubt, try again. This actually does appear to work occasionally.
  • Clear your browser cookies and/or cache. This is another possible fix, and works for reasons unknown. Here’s how to clear your cookies and cache in Google Chrome.
  • Switch to another web browser. This may be equivalent to clearing your cookies and cache, and it’s often simpler as long as you already have a secondary browser installed.