3

I use chrome for browsing the web almost all the time

Starting from a few days ago I have had the page http://www.gstatic.com/generate_204 open up in a new browser tab sometimes for seemingly no reason. I don't know what is triggering it. It's always an empty page and it is titled "Untitled". From googling it looks like this has something to do with accessing http websites, but I don't know what's causing it to happen now, when it didn't use to happen before. All I know is that the first time I saw this page, it was when I tried to access an http page hosted on another computer connected to my router, and I wasn't able to do so because of the router's settings. (I am only mentioning this in case this is relevant, and it was the first time I ever remember seeing the gstatic page on this computer. My question is not about the http page hosted in a different computer on my router)

What exactly is this gstatic page and why is it popping up by itself? Can/should I disable this page from popping up, or is it indicating any kind of problem with chrome or the computer?

8
  • Do you have software like Shadowsocks or Clash running?
    – iBug
    Mar 26 at 6:26
  • @iBug no, and no extensions or anything like that either. It is plain Google Chrome with all default settings
    – user13267
    Mar 26 at 6:28
  • Make a guess: Your network environment is using something like Captive Portal that's relying on that non-encrypted HTTP URL for CP login redirection.
    – iBug
    Mar 26 at 6:29
  • @iBug I don't know what all that means but I don't think it's true, or at least not something that has been deliberately set up, to my knowledge. The last time this page popped up, I was not trying to log-in to anything, if that's what you meant.
    – user13267
    Mar 26 at 6:32
  • @iBug: just something I quickly checked right now (not sure if this is relevant in any way): If I try to open developer.android.com/reference/kotlin/java/io/BufferedWriter, sometimes it takes a long time to load for me (don't know why, I assume android developers documentation website is always busy). The gstatic page popped up last time when the android developers page was taking a while to load, and happened again just a few minutes ago. I can't make it happen at will because android developer's page sometimes loads immediately for me and sometimes takes a while, ...
    – user13267
    Mar 26 at 6:38
4

Tl;Dr This happens on misconfigured networks and fluctuating/unstable connections. Chrome is tricked into 'thinking' that there is a webpage on the network, that the user needs to login to, in order to access internet.

From my experience, the GStatic page appears on chrome when the computer's internet connection is down. When Chrome fails loading a website, it checks a website which doesn't use Https, in order to test the network's status: http://gstatic.com

  • If the request to GStatic fails, Chrome will throw an error, Like Internet Disconnected.

  • If the request to GStatic returns a 204 No Content Response, then it is means the user has working Internet.

  • If the request to GStatic comes from a different IP and or, is different to what Chrome expects the real website to be, Chrome will think there is a captive portal, (eg. Some page like on public Wi-Fis where the user is asked to further login/Accept ToS.)

    • If Chrome thinks the network has a captive portal, it will open that page, for the user to login with more simplicity. However, for example, my router has a fluctuating internet connection in my area. Chrome might as a result fail to load a website immediately, and will be greeted by an error code from my router. Chrome will be tricked and think it is a Captive Portal. By the time, google show me the Login page, Internet is back, thus the empty page.

Edit: Many browsers has their own 'Generate_204' websites like Xiaomi's Web Browser: http://connect.rom.miui.com/generate_204.

As chrome opens the GStatic on a new tab, the tab with the website I was trying to load shows: Connect to Wi-Fi: The Wi-Fi that you are using (Cuala_566) may require you to visit its login page.

1

What exactly is this gstatic page?

It appears to be a Google static code page (the "gstatic.com" domain is owned and used by Google) designed to generate an HTTP 204 No Content response. According to this Mozilla Developer page:

The HTTP 204 No Content success status response code indicates that a request has succeeded, but that the client doesn't need to navigate away from its current page.


Can/should I disable this page from popping up or is it indicating any kind of problem with Chrome or the computer?

Probably not and "maybe? shrug". An HTTP 204 No Content response is a generic response and it isn't immediately clear what is happening here (what request(s) are making the page appear).

Why is it popping up by itself?

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem easily answered.

At a (complete) guess, based on the current question, comments and some Googling, it could be that Chrome is checking your internet connection and displaying the page erroneously, partially in relation to that request failing (temporarily). You could possibly use a tool such as Wireshark or maybe Chrome's Developer tools to gather more information about the transactions generating these tabs, but otherwise this question may not be answerable as-is.

1

In my case the problem was an invalid self-signed SSL certificate for the site I was visiting. I was deploying a webapp into ISS in a server and this error was shown, when I clicked "Connect" the http://www.gstatic.com/generate_204 issue showed up.

The issue occurs only by using Chrome or Edge (It didn't occur when using FireFox or IE11). The issue got fixed by generating a valid self-signed certificate. According to this answer, Chrome apparently needs the following two attributes to work: Authority Key Identifier and Basic Constraints

I managed to make it work by generating the certificate using the http://keystore-explorer.org tool by following the steps from this answer: https://stackoverflow.com/a/48688789/1657465

2
  • I don't understand all the details that are going on, but it is likely this or something related to this is the cause in my case as well. The apache web server running on the other computer within our network mentioned in the question, hosts an http as well as https version of a site, but the https version is not signed, as far as I understand. This gstatic problem also happens mostly when trying to access that site.
    – user13267
    Jul 29 at 4:30
  • For me, the gstatic problem happened every single time I access the https site, maybe you should try setting up a valid certificate. Your Intranet certificate can be made with the keystore-explorer.org tool I mentioned and then you'll have to install it at your Apache server and also at your intranet machines.
    – Luis Limas
    Jul 29 at 14:55
0

If you're using bell than that explains it. Someone from your family can access the domain of the router and pick specific times when to turn off your internet and return it back on. When it's turned off than you're just going to see http://www.gstatic.com/generate_204. Someone from my family did that and every time I go after 11 PM it shows me http://www.gstatic.com/generate_204 and says it will return back at 5 PM. It really does suck and for me, the only way to remove it is to know the password when it says unlock at the very end.

0

Go to your advanced tab of your wireless page of your modem and set channel to 'auto'.

After I connected a device to my wifi it made certain webpages direct me to the wifi setup page of connectivitycheck gstatic. I remembered that channel was set to auto but somehow it was changed to '11'. After I changed it back I go to the requested webpages right away.

Hope this helps.

-3

There's a lot about gstatic here, however it is not malware/spyware etc. It seems that if you get to this page you have not gone were you wanted but I can't see how you would get back on track.

https://www.2-spyware.com/remove-gstatic.html

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