Many web browser users do wonder what the about:blank means on the browser’s address bar, that text box where users are required to input their (URL) search, many get confused as what it implies and that why have written this blog post to give you a better understanding of what it means.
Common sense probably already helped make it obvious that the blank part of about:blank is clearly related to the fact that you’re looking at a completely blank page in your web browser.
You can give it a try yourself right now. Just open up another browser tab or window and type the following exactly, and then hit the Enter button.
Right then, you would see no spaces, no Http or www. All you would see is just two words with a colon in the middle. A blank page should “load” immediately.
Easy enough…but what’s the point?
Why Do Most Browsers Have an about:blank Page?
Technically speaking, the browsers that do have an about:blank page have one because it’s an included part of the about URI scheme, a quasi-standard set of rules for handling internal commands that the browser has chosen to implement.
In other words, about:blank is just one of several about:[command] options available within the about the collection, each of which can be used to execute a particular function within the browser itself. Prefacing the command with about makes it clear to the browser that you want to do some local, internal thing, not visit an actual web page.
Executing about:blank in just about any browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari, and even mobile browsers, will show a blank page. It’s really the only about the command that’s well supported across all browsers.
There are Some other common ones which include about:about, which lists all the commands available or more about the browser, about:plugins, which show plugin and add-on content that’s installed, and about:cache, which shows information about what’s stored in the cache.
Most browsers will translate these about commands into more custom internal URLs but as far as we know, that never happens with about:blank.
Why Would You Ever Use about:blank?
It actually seems like such a useless feature loading a totally blank page but nevertheless, it’s probably the most commonly used about command in a browser, and for a good reason.
Actually, one of the very common reasons to use about:blank is as your home page. The home page acts as a starting point for your browsing, and while sometimes a search engine, webmail page, or news site is a great place to start, even the moderate power user will soon find that the same page loading over and over again as new browser windows need opening can become very annoying.
Opening a new window and having the page load instantly, since it’s blank, gives you more freedom to decide what you’re doing with it this time.
A blank home page via about:blank is also helpful if you’re on low bandwidth or pay-for-use (metered) connection. It saves a great time, and often money, in these situations because a web page that won’t necessarily be used is not loaded automatically over and over again every time the browser opens.
Is about:blank a Malware?
About:blank is absolutely not a malware. Seeing about:blank in your web browser does not necessarily mean there’s anything amiss.
That said, seeing it as your home page when you didn’t set it like that, or seeing it all the time when you intended to go to other real websites, can mean something is wrong and it could mean malware is or was involved in some way.
When malware is involved with the about:blank page, there are often other symptoms that point to it. For example, random text set up as hyperlinks on websites you visit, fake virus pop-up messages, and other strange software installed on the computer that you don’t remember putting there.
At worst, an unexpected about:blank home page is a symptom of a problem or a consequence of a malware clean-up. If you can, just change the home page back to what you had it as. If that doesn’t work, or you have another reason to believe your computer might be infected, do a complete scan for viruses and other malware.