If you use a web browser, any web browser, chances are you’ve come across a page that says about:blank – but what does about:blank mean? Is it dangerous? And can you remove it? Here’s everything you need to know…
People get freaked out by all kinds of things these days. Given the state of the world right now, that’s understandable. But one thing that manages to scare/confound people unlike anything else is technology.
Because of the complexity of technology, it is impossible to understand all of the elements that go into making something work. Take your web browser, for instance – on the surface, it works very simply. But under the hood, you’ll find reams of code you’d never be able to decipher.
And there is one aspect of web browsers that has been freaking people out for years. I’m talking, of course, about the about:blank page. But you definitely do not need to freak out about the about:blank page. It isn’t malware, it isn’t a virus, and it doesn’t mean your browser is broken.
What is about:blank?
As the name suggests, about:blank is simply a blank web page inside your web browser. Chrome uses about:blank and so too does Safari. All about:blank does is ensure that when you open a new web browser window there is nothing in that window – it is blank. Hence the name.
There isn’t anything wrong with your browser if about:blank shows; it is simply a blank page awaiting your input. In fact, some people even have about:blank set by default in their browser, so whenever they open a new browser tab it is completely empty.
In Chrome, about: is a simple code for accessing some of Chrome’s built in features. For example, if you type about:settings into the web browser, it will open Chrome’s settings page. Type about:download and it will pull up a page of all your latest and most recent downloads. Pretty cool, right?
Basically, if you find a page with about: in the url, it is not an internet webpage; instead, it is a page built directly into your web browser. Think of about:blank as a place holder, a blank canvas on which you can open any page on the web you like. Me? I just have my homepage set to Google search – always have done.
How To Get Rid of about:blank
Can you get rid of about:blank? Actually, no, you can’t. As I said above, about:blank is built into your browser just like “about:settings” and “about:downloads”. For this reason, you cannot remove it entirely. But you can hide “about:blank” so you don’t have to see it.
Depending on the browser you use, removing about:blank is usually done in the settings menu. I’ve listed how to remove about:blank from Chrome, Safari, and Firefox below. Just follow the steps listed below and you’ll never have to deal with about:blank ever again.
Removing about:blank In Chrome
- Open Chrome > Menu > Settings
- Go Down To “On Startup”
- Select Open New Web Page
- Or, Open Specific Web Page, Then Enter The Page Website You Want
New to Chrome? Unlock some of its hidden, secret features with this guide to chrome:flags.
Removing about:blank in Safari
- In Safari, go to Preferences > Then Click General.
- Under Homepage, delete the “about:blank” entry and swap it for something else. You could add Google search for instance. Or your favorite blog or news site
- Hit Save and You’re All Done. No More about:blank
- Removing about:blank in Firefox
- Click Menu > Options > Home
- Next, Select Your New Home Page For New Tabs – It Can Be Anything
- Just Make Sure “about:blank” or “Blank Page” Isn’t Selected
Why Is The Purpose of about:blank?
Like all things related to computer science, about:blank serves an important purpose. A web browser cannot open a page with nothing on it – that is impossible. There has to be something to display. This is just how web browsers work, so this is where about:blank comes into play.
If there is no information or nothing set to display when a new page or tab is opened, your browser will revert to about:blank as a placeholder while you decide what website you want to visit. That’s literally all there is to it.
Also, about:blank isn’t malware or a virus either, but if you’re worried about that kind of thing just get yourself some protection for peace of mind – I use the paid version of Malwarebytes, and have done for years. It is brilliant software.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.