about:blank - What is This Page in Your Web Browser?

All About the about:blank Page and Why it Exists

Screenshot of the About:Blank Page in Google Chrome
about:blank.

You're probably pretty familiar with your browser's address bar, that text box that contains the URL of the website page you're on at the moment, but you may have been surprised to see about:blank there instead of a real web page address.

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 click or tap Enter:

about:blank

No spaces, no http or www - just the two words with a colon in the middle. A blank page should "load" immediately.

Easy enough... but what's the point?

Why Do 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 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 internal thing, not visit an actual web page.

Executing about:blank in just about any browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari, even mobile browsers, will show a blank page. It's really the only about command that's well supported across all browsers.

Some other common ones 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 seems like such a useless feature - loading a blank page - but it's probably the most commonly used about command in a browser, and for good reason.

One very common reason to use about:blank is as your home page. The home page acts 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 opened 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 a low bandwidth or pay-for-use (metered) connection. It saves great time, and often money, in these situations because a web page that won't necessarily be used isn't loaded automatically over and over again every time the browser opens.

See our How to Set a Home Page in Windows and How to Set a Home Page on a Mac tutorials if you're interested in changing yours to about:blank.

Is About:Blank Malware?

No, absolutely not. Seeing about:blank in your web browser doesn't necessarily mean there's anything amiss.

That said, seeing it as your home page when you didn't set it as that, or seeing it all the time, can mean something is wrong and it could mean malware is or was involved in some way.

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.