While most people prefer to use a specific webpage as the home page in their web browser, others have chosen to use about:blank instead. Is about:blank simply a blank webpage or does it have a special purpose? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answers to a curious reader’s questions.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader “Guy named Jon” wants to know what the about:blank page in web browsers is for:

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

What is the about:blank page in web browsers for?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors Keltari and bwDraco have the answer for us. First up, Keltari:

It is simply a blank page that is built into some web browsers. Some people just like to have a blank page rather than see/load anything else when they start their web browser or open a new tab/page.

Followed by the answer from bwDraco:

The about URI scheme is designated for internal web browser use. It originated in Netscape Navigator, the web 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 web 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 does not depend on any external resources and serves as a good default on metered connections or slow systems.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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