What Is About:Blank? Should You Remove It?

When you get a new browser tab opened, you may have noticed that the title of the tab is simply “about:blank.” This can throw some people for a loop, since you didn’t type in this as a URL into your browser. Rest assured, however, that this is entirely normal.

You likely have seen this header in both your new tab titles and in your browser’s URL bar. Sometimes, when advertisements spawn in your browser as annoying pop-ups, they will later appear as “about:blank” tabs. This is because the ads try to drop a payload and then disappear. In this event, you may find that your browser is now inundated with windows and tabs that say this in the headers. These can be quite annoying, but you will simply need to close out these windows. If this happens too often, you could consider getting an ad and popup blocker for your browser. You may also alternatively wish to simply not visit the site that triggered these boxes to pop up.

In another case, you may notice when you open up a new tab, you see it. In short, this is because of how the internals of how browsers work has developed. There is an internal array of help instructions within each browser. One of them is called “about.” Depending on which browser you use, this will be preceded by a prefix to indicate that it is intended to open internal instructions for that particular browser.

Certain browsers will display text about the browser itself. This is entirely dependent on the software on your computer. Other browsers simply elect to show blank text. The “about:blank” instruction in general means that it should be either an empty page or a page that has necessary information to show to users who are being presented by a blank page, either by a service or by choice. Historically, this is text that only gets shown when a whole new browser window is opened. Of course, this is from before when tabs were developed to hasten the process of opening new browser windows and displaying more and more information.

When you reload a browser tab that has spawned with “about:blank” in it, you’ll notice it reloads instantly. This is in part because it is reloading at minimum a tiny amount of “meta information” regarding your browser. Regardless, it’s picking up text and meta information that are stored locally. Your browser does not go anywhere to grab this text online, so it will also work when your web browser is offline.