You know when you sometimes go to a site, and the progress bar (or the semi-circle in Chrome) is filling or spinning, but no content is being displayed? What is actually going on in the background here? Does it have something to do with the amount of content that has to be displayed for the certain site?


There could be a lot going on or nothing at all. So many factors are at play.

  1. As your request for that page leaves your computer it might not be reaching the destination or the browser is just waiting for the site to fill the request.
  2. The site may be experiencing heavy traffic or be on a slow server.
  3. The route the information has to take could be bottle-necked.
  4. your connection to the Internet may be having issues; DNS, proxy or gateway issues.
  5. It could even be a browser specific issue like the cache needing to be cleared.

The list could go on.


Basically, when a browsing status bar is pending, it means that your browsing is waiting the response for a GET request method of the webpage you are accessing. If it keeps running and nothing happends two situations are possible:

  • Your browsing can't reach the requested page;
  • Or the server can't send it to you.

Until your browser overflow it's response timer, the bar keeps showing progress. Reference:

Whenever your web browser fetches a file (a page, a picture, etc) from a web server, it does so using HTTP - that's "Hypertext Transfer Protocol". HTTP is a request/response protocol, which means your computer sends a request for some file (e.g. "Get me the file 'home.html'"), and the web server sends back a response ("Here's the file", followed by the file itself).

  • 1
    +1 the only answer that actually talks to the question. Not that the OP even noticed :) – Dan Rosenstark Sep 13 '12 at 4:41

It's obviously browser-specific, but several things could be happening:

  1. your network connection is sufficiently slow to mean that your browser is waiting for the content to come down
  2. the web server is sufficiently slow (or perhaps it's stalled) to not provide content that quickly. It'll be slow for a lot of reasons (the server machine is insufficiently specced, it's providing content to a lot of clients etc.)

If you see a blank page, it's likely that the browser hasn't even got the basic HTML representing the page/frames etc. to render before rendering further image content etc.


In addition to all that's given here, any java-script heavy web applications which rely on javascript to build up the DOM will display a blank page if there's an error in the javascript. You can check for these in the javascript console of your particular browser.

  • What do you mean build up the DOM? – piperchester Aug 21 '12 at 18:48
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    @Islay The DOM ("Document Object Model") is the internal model that a webbrowser uses to display HTML. Think of it like a tree that shows how tags are nested inside of each other, along with their attributes. Some applications start with a blank page and generate this when the page loads instead of downloading it from the server. It allows greater flexibility with the layout of the web application. – Darth Android Aug 21 '12 at 18:51

To avoid latency, do the following Good Browsing Procedures (GBP):

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