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What is the page about:blank used for? I was just wondering why is it there. Is it an actual page or just built in? It seems to be completely empty except with the header and body.

marked as duplicate by random Jul 25 '16 at 3:56

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It is simply a blank page built into some browsers. Some people just like to have a blank page and not have to see/load anything else when they start their browser or open a new page.

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    Precisely. And it is damn fast when opening, with no need to wait for external webpages. That makes it a very good page to start with if you are on some slow network or on a metered network. – Hennes Jul 24 '16 at 12:55
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    Back in the days of dial-up, I used to default to about:blank so that, when my browser would open, it wouldn't immediately trigger the modem to start dialing - which would be extremely annoying for someone on a call. – Richard Aug 1 '16 at 8:42
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The about URI scheme is designated for internal browser use. It originated in Netscape Navigator, the browser that gave rise to Mozilla Firefox. This includes about:blank.

Per IETF RFC 6694, about:blank is reserved for a blank page. Essentially every browser that supports about implements about:blank and it is pretty much the same everywhere.

Because about:blank is little more than a blank internal page, it doesn't depend on any external resources and serves as a good default on metered connections or slow systems.

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about:blank is the most fast and clean way to open a browser.
You do not use up your bandwidth, nor wait for a page to download, and you will (presumably [see below]) not execute any code hidden in any page.

  1. "about:blank"

    This document defines one well-known token: "blank". The "about:blank" URI refers to a resource represented in the browser by a blank page. [1]

However, even the most elegant and apparently clean pages can hide hidden code (but not necessarily malicious code): for example, go to Google and look for :-) in the code.

References - The rfc6694 all about the about by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

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Note that this is not simply "built in to most browsers" anymore. It is required in order to be HTML5-compliant. about:blank is used in many places in the HTML5 standard, for example in § 4.7.2:

If the value of the src attribute is missing, or its value is the empty string, let url be the string "about:blank".

If you search the living standard, you'll see that it is generally used as either a fallback URL when there isn't a more appropriate one available, or as the default URL in an initial browsing context.

In layman's terms: it's like the blank document in Microsoft Word, or the empty canvas when you open Paint. It exists to provide a starting point when you aren't opening anything more specific. Of course, most of the time a more specific homepage replaces about:blank these days.

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About:blank is a special page within most browsers. It can appear due to problems, malware, or if there's been malware that's been removed.

It’s the page that your browser displays when it has nothing else to display. That’s all.

To put it another way, the page you were brought to from a link is a page your browser refuses to show to all extents, for you and your PC's safety, because it contains or did contain nothing good. And about:blank is the page it puts instead.

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    Seeing this page is not something bad and it is not a defect of some kind. – Guilherme Bernal Jul 24 '16 at 11:37
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    Malware? Can you provide citations on malwares linked to about:blank? – Bakuriu Jul 24 '16 at 12:25
  • It just means your browser decided not to open the page. If your browser can't open it for the above reasons then about:blank is the alternative. And if there is nothing to show then it gives about:blank – Dylon Gallagher Jul 24 '16 at 12:39
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    Or the user could simply have about:blank as their home page. In the IE6 days, I used to do that, since if I opened a new browser window, it was usually to go to a specific page, so the common portal pages like Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, were not useful home pages for me. This was before the days of Chrome and its built-in default page when opening a new tab. – Brandon Jul 24 '16 at 17:19
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    'It just means your browser decided not to open the page" That is typically not the case. If my browser doesn't want to open a page it would typically display an error or warning. – hexafraction Jul 24 '16 at 18:54

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