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 placeholder, 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.
Why Am I Seeing About Blank?
The are many reasons why About Blank will show up inside your browser, too many to list in one place. But here are the most common reasons why about:blank is being displayed in your browser:
- When you click a link to download something and it opens in a new window or tab, the browser might have to display about:blank while it waits for the download to initiate.
- If you type in the wrong URL into your browser, and the site you’re looking for hasn’t registered this misspelling as a domain and redirected it back to its proper site, your browser will almost certainly display about:blank because, well… there’s nothing to display. That URL does not exist.
No, about:blank is NOT A Virus And You Don’t Need To Worry…
Plenty of people – like hundreds of thousands of people – regularly turn to Google to find out if about:blank is a virus that has infected their computer. The good news is that about:blank is NOT a virus nor is it anything worry about. All it is is a blank page. That’s it, nothing more. To get away from about:blank, simply enter something in the URL bar.
All modern browsers have an about:blank page, as do legacy and aging browsers. Most people do not come across it, however, because when they install Chrome or Safari, they assign a specific home page – or the stock one suggested by Google and Apple. This means, in the example of Chrome, that when you open your web browser, it goes to Google Search.
Of course, you can change this. You can set your web browser to open to whatever page you like – or pick up where you left off. Or, if you’d prefer open a selection of pages. It’s all really easy to do – you do it all in the settings of your browser. For instance…
Customize Your Startup Page In Chrome
If you want to customize your Chrome browser’s opening page, here’s how it is done. Type this into Chrome’s URL bar: chrome://settings/onStartup – you will then be taken to a settings page. On this page, select one of the following options:
- Open The New Tab Page
- Continue Where You Left Off
- Open A Specific Page or Set of Pages
All you have to do now is select the option you want; I like to open a selection of pages, the ones I use most for work. Then just assign the pages and, BOOM, whenever you open a new browser session, it will display what you have configured. Simple, right?
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 without anything 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.
And check out How To Change The Default Browser On A Mac! And What Is The Most Popular Web Browser In 2022?
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.