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What is the About:Blank page? Why is it on your browser?

More often then not, we find ourselves clicking on links that look intriguing and rather than seeing a website, our browser renders a blank page filling the address bar with the words about:blank.

Looking at this discrepancy, most people start to wonder if clicking that link caused their browser to act differently, but is about:blank something you should worry about? In this article we will be looking at what about:blank is and why it is appearing on your browser’s address bar.

About:blank explained

Just like most pages on the Internet, about:blank is also a page, but instead of being stored on the Internet, this page is stored locally on your system. Thus, the browser does not use the HTTP scheme to access the page; instead, it uses the About scheme to find it, which brings us to the question, what is the About scheme?

Just like the HTTP scheme, the About scheme is part of the URI scheme. This scheme defines a set of rules that help your browser in finding the resources it is searching.

The HTTP scheme instructs the browser to look for the resources on the Internet while the About scheme redirects the browser to look for resources on the system (laptop, smartphones, and others) rather than the Internet.

The blank keyword in about:blank instructs the browser to render a blank page on your browser. Like the blank command, the about scheme has several other commands. These commands can be seen by using the about:about command.

Therefore, the about:blank command instructs the browser to display a blank page on your browser, but why does it do this?

Also read: How to change homepage on Google Chrome?

Why does your browser show a blank page?

About:blank is like a contingency plan for your browser; if it does not have anything to show, it will display a blank page. Now, this might happen for several reasons.

  • Sometimes a download link might trigger your browser to show a blank page. This might happen if the download link requests your browser to open a new tab to initiate the download. As the download link is only responsible for starting the downloading process, the new page has nothing to display, and the browser shows a blank page.
  • The webpage you are looking for cannot be found, and hence the browser displays a blank page.
  • The website you are looking for does not implement HTML, CSS, or Javascript in a proper manner, due to which the browser cannot render the page forcing it to show a blank page.
  • If your system is infected with malware, which prevents the browser from finding the resources it is looking for, it might display a blank page.

Therefore, if you look at it, about:blank is nothing dangerous, but if you see this page more often then you should, it could point to some issues with your system.

Also read: How to setup the homepage in Firefox?

How to use about:blank to save data?

Most browsers try to create a personalised homepage for their users, and in most cases, these browsers run several scripts in the background to create a homepage. These scripts can increase the startup time of your browser and also consume data.

Microsoft Edge running multiple scripts to render its homepage

Although there is not a lot you can do with about:blank, setting it as your homepage can help you solve this problem. With about:blank set as the homepage your browser does not have to fetch resources to show the homepage decreasing both data usage and startup time.

Also read: What is HTTP 500 error and how to handle it?

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