about URI scheme
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about is an internal URI scheme (also known as a "URL scheme" or, erroneously, "protocol") implemented in various Web browsers to reveal internal state and built-in functions. It is an IANA officially registered scheme, and is standardized.
In early versions of Netscape, any URI beginning with
about: that wasn't recognized as a built-in command would simply result in the text after the colon being displayed. Similarly, in early versions of Internet Explorer,
about: followed by a string of HTML (e.g.
about:<em>hello world</em>) would render that string as though it were the source of the page — thus providing a similar (though more limited) facility to the data: URI scheme defined by RFC 2397. Still other versions of Netscape would return various phrases in response to an unknown
about URI, including "Whatchew talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (a catch phrase from the TV show Diff'rent Strokes) or "Homey don't play dat!" (from a recurring skit on the TV show In Living Color).
The most commonly implemented
about URIs are
about:blank, which displays a blank HTML document, and simply
about:, which may display information about the browser. Some browsers use URIs beginning with the name of the browser for similar purposes, and many
about URIs will be translated into the appropriate URI if entered. Examples are
opera (Opera) or
chrome (Google Chrome). An exception is
about:blank, which is not translated.
In 2010, and onwards, there are efforts to standardize the
about URI scheme, and define the processing requirements for some specific URIs, in the IETF Applications Area Working Group (APPSAWG). In August 2012, it was published as an official Request for Comments as RFC 6694. The
about URIs that have since been defined and assigned by IANA are listed below.
|about:blank||References a blank HTML document with the media type text/html and character encoding UTF-8. This is widely used to load blank pages into browsing contexts, such as iframes within HTML, which may then be modified by scripts.|
|about:legacy-compat||A reserved, though unresolvable, URI defined within HTML5 intended for use in the DOCTYPE designed for compatibility with some legacy authoring tools, such as XSLT, which may not be capable of outputting the more common, shorter alternative that lacks both the PUBLIC and SYSTEM identifiers. |
|about:srcdoc||A reserved, though unresolvable, URI defined within HTML5 intended to be the URI navigated to within iframes whose content comes from the srcdoc attribute.|
|about:invalid||References a non-existent document with a generic error condition. Intended for the case where a URL is necessary, but it should not be resolveable.|
|about:html-kind||Used as an identifier for kinds of media tracks.|
|URI||Firefox, SeaMonkey, Mozilla||Google Chrome, Chromium||Konqueror||Opera||Edge||Internet Explorer|
|about:||Deprecated in Firefox 57 (Firefox Quantum)||Redirects to "chrome://version"||Redirects to "about:konqueror"||Redirects to "opera:about"||Redirects to "edge://version"||N/A|
|about:about||Lists all the about: URIs
(Firefox since version 4.0)
|Redirects to "chrome://about"; Lists all the chrome: URIs (Works like "chrome://chrome-urls")||Redirects to "about:konqueror"||Redirects to "opera:about"||Redirects to "edge://edge-urls"||N/A|
|about:blank||Shows a blank document|
|about:plugins||Shows the filename, MIME type, description, suffix, and status of all installed plug-ins||Deprecated in Chrome 57||Shows the filename, MIME type, description, suffix, and status of all installed plug-ins||Redirects to "opera:plugins"||N/A||N/A|
|about:cache||Shows information about the Cache Service.||Deprecated in Chrome 66||Redirects to "about:konqueror"||Redirects to "opera:cache"||N/A||N/A|
|about:mozilla||Shows a page from the fictional Book of Mozilla. In some versions of Netscape, also replaced the meteors in the standard Netscape throbber with a large fire-breathing lizard.||N/A||Redirects to "about:konqueror"||N/A||N/A||Shows a blank HTML document with a blue background. Removed in Windows XP SP2. (The blue page can still be seen at "res://mshtml.dll/about.moz" instead.)|
Many of these can also be used in Thunderbird, by setting them as the "Mail Start Page". Also, some extensions define additional about: URIs not listed here.
|URIs||Firefox||SeaMonkey, Mozilla Application Suite|
|about:addons||Shows installed addons, plugins, themes, and provides an interface for installing new addons (Firefox 4+ and SeaMonkey 2.1+)|
|about:app-manager||Shows the Firefox OS Simulator||N/A|
|about:bloat||Displays BloatView output (disabled in release builds). Superseded by about:memory on Gecko 1.9.2.||N/A|
|about:blocked||Shows the malware protection page used when the browser identifies a page as not safe for viewing (Firefox 3+)||N/A|
|about:buildconfig||Shows the arguments and options used to compile the build in use|
|about:cache||Shows information about the Cache Service. Number of entries, location of cache, size of cache, etc. for both memory and disk cache.|
|about:cache?device=memory||Shows individual entries in memory|
|about:cache?device=disk||Shows individual entries on disk|
|about:cache?device=offline||Shows individual entries for offline viewing (Gecko 1.9+)|
|about:cache-entry||Shows information about a cache entry. Used in about:cache links. Requires parameters.|
|about:certerror||Shows the error page used when an SSL/TLS certificate is untrusted or otherwise invalid|
|about:config||Shows an interface for viewing and setting a wide variety of configuration variables, many of which are not otherwise accessible through the GUI (options panels).
The known earliest use of about:config dates back to Netscape 4.x, where it was not possible to edit the settings from the browser.
about:config settings first became modifiable in Mozilla Application Suite.
On first use, about:config displays a message which tells the user that the settings might void the warranty and they can be "Harmful to the stability, security, and performance of this application." The message about voiding one's warranty is a joke, as Mozilla Firefox ships without a warranty of any kind. The message has a checkbox to turn it off.
|about:crashes||Shows details of crashes submitted by Mozilla's crash reporter (Firefox 3+, SeaMonkey 2.0+)|
|about:credits||Shows a list of all those who contributed to Mozilla|
|about:devtools||Shows the welcome page used by Firefox Developer Tools|
|about:downloads||Shows a list of downloaded files|
|about:feeds||Shows the page used when clicking the rss feed icon in the address bar|
|about:healthreport||Shows the Firefox Health Report|
|about:home||Shows the Firefox 4 default home page||N/A|
|about:jetpack||Shows an interface for viewing and setting the JetPack extension||N/A|
|about:licence||The equivalent of about:license in the British English localizations of Firefox. (See American and British English spelling differences). Not available since Firefox 4.|
|about:license||Shows the Mozilla Public License (and the Netscape Public License) for the piece of software (Gecko 1.8+)|
|about:logo||Shows the logo used on the about: screen|
|about:memory||Shows memory usage (Firefox 3.6+)|
|about:mozilla||Easter egg, shows a verse from The Book of Mozilla|
|about:neterror||Shows the error page used when the browser could not access the requested path|
|about:newaddon||This URI is not registered. However, when the user tries to sideload an add-on, a dialog box bearing this URI appears. asking for the user's explicit consent.||N/A|
|about:newtab||Shows a grid of favourite and most-visited websites (Firefox 13+)|
|about:permissions||Shows permissions for all sites on Firefox 6.0a1||N/A|
|about:plugins||Shows installed, currently enabled plug-ins|
|about:preferences||Shows the new preferences page|
|about:privatebrowsing||Can be used to switch to private browsing mode. It shows a message indicating that Firefox will not remember any history for the current session. Note: It does not show URI on the address bar||N/A|
|about:reader?url=||Opens the specified URL in Reader Mode. For example,
|about:rights||Shows licensing information|
|about:robots||Easter egg, beginning with March 8, 2008 trunk builds. The title of a window cites the iconic phrase of The Day the Earth Stood Still. The page's prose cites Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics.||N/A|
|about:sessionrestore||Shows an interface for viewing about last session.|
|about:startpage||In Ubuntu, shows the Ubuntu start page with the current search engine (if the "Ubuntu Firefox Modifications – ubufox" add-on is installed)|
|about:support||Shows troubleshooting information (Firefox 3.6+, SeaMonkey 2.1+)|
|about:sync-tabs||Shows list of tabs from other computers. Requires enabled synchronization.|
|about:tabcrashed||Contains the text displayed when a tab crashes. Added in Firefox 25.||N/A|
|about:webrtc||Shows an interface for WebRTC internals|
|about:welcome||Shows the welcome page used by Firefox|
|opera:blank||Maps to about:blank|
|opera:about||Provides info about the browser and the configured paths|
|about:opera||Maps to opera:about|
|opera:cache||Shows the content of the cache|
|opera:config||Shows a page that allows changing of numerous browser preferences, many of which cannot be accessed through the normal Preferences window (Opera 9.0 and newer)|
|opera:drives||Shows the local drives of the host system|
|opera:history||Shows the content of the browser history|
|opera:historysearch||Shows the start page of internal search engine for the browser history (Opera 9.5 and newer)|
|opera:plugins||Shows installed plug-ins. Opera 11 and newer allow individual plug-ins to be disabled from this page.|
|opera:button||Defines a custom button as a set of Opera actions. (Note: This does not work directly, all button parameters as on CustomButtons need be specified.)|
|opera:help||Shortcut to the help directory. This can be either local or external.|
|opera:debug||Shows a page that allows changing of settings for remote debug of Opera via Opera Dragonfly (Opera 9.5 and newer)|
|opera:memdebug||Shows debug information about memory usage (Opera 9.5 and newer)|
|opera:webstorage||Shows the browser's Web Storage (Opera 10.5 and newer)|
|opera:webdatabases||Shows the browser's Web Storage databases (Opera 10.5 and newer)|
|opera:gpu||Shows information about hardware accelerated graphics and GPU support|
|opera:cpu||Displays CPU usage (Opera 12 beta and newer)|
Internet Explorer about URIs are configurable in Windows. It is therefore possible that some of the listed URIs will not work on a particular computer. For example, "about:mozilla" was removed in SP2 (although the page can still be found at "res://mshtml.dll/about.moz"). These about URIs are sometimes used for spyware and adware, most notably in CoolWebSearch, which made about:blank display advertisements.
about URI that is not recognized by Internet Explorer redirects to a page saying "Navigation to the webpage was canceled."
|URI||Internet Explorer 6 (SP2)||Internet Explorer 7||Internet Explorer 8||Internet Explorer 9-10||Internet Explorer 11|
|about:home||Displays the user's home page.||Not supported.||Displays the user's home page.|
|about:desktopitemnavigationfailure||Displays "navigation cancelled" page.||No longer supported.|
|about:navigationcanceled||Displays "navigation cancelled" page.||No longer supported.|
|about:navigationfailure||Displays "navigation cancelled" page.||No longer supported.|
|about:noadd-ons||N/A||Displays information page when add-ons are disabled.|
|about:noadd-onsinfo||N/A||Displays information page about the effects when add-ons are used.|
|about:offlineinformation||Informs the user that the current page can not be viewed off line.||No longer supported.|
|about:postnotcached||Informs the user that the current page needs to refresh and any information entered in a form will have to be re-posted. The page has the title: "Webpage has expired"|
|about:securityrisk||Informs the user not to browse with the current security settings because they may be harmful to the computer.|
|about:tabs||N/A||Informs the user about tabbed browsing. It is also loaded when a new tab is created if the "Open home page for new tabs instead of a blank page" setting is enabled.|
|about:inprivate||N/A||Informs the user about InPrivate Browsing. It is loaded when InPrivate Browsing is initiated.|
|about:compat||N/A||Displays a table of sites and the document rendering emulation mode configured for maximum backward compatibility.|
|about:newsfeed||N/A||Displays a page analogous to the "Top sites and suggested content" in the Edge browser with a Bing search bar at the top, followed by a customizable (even if not signed in with a Microsoft Account) row of website tiles (equivalent to the Favorites Bar functionality), followed by a row of news topic category selection links and an infinitely scrolling news aggregation feed.|
|about:home||Shows the content that would be shown if the home button were pressed|
|about:flags||Displays a list of Developer Setting and Experimental features|
|about:start||Shows the customizable (default) start page.|
|about:config||Redirects to about:flags|
|about:tabs||Shows the (default) new tab page.|
|about:compat||Shows the Enterprise Mode list (if configured)|
|about:edge||Shows the Edge logo.|
|about:inprivate||Shows the inprivate information tab.|
|about:surf||A surfing game easter egg.|
Note: Any "about:" URI is accepted, but only returns a page with the message "Hmmmm... can't reach this page".
|about:cache||Deprecated in version 66|
|about:crash||Crashes the current rendering process. (This causes the "Aw, snap!" crash notification page to be displayed.)|
|about:credits||Displays the list of free and open source software used in the browser, and their associated licenses.|
|about:dino||Indicated that there are no connection.|
|about:dns||Displays the DNS records|
|about:gpu||Displays information about WebGL and hardware accelerated graphics.|
|about:inducebrowsercrashforrealz||Crashes the Google Chrome browser. This is designed for developers to test what happens when the Google Chrome browser crashes.|
|about:internets||On particular versions of Windows, displays a page entitled "Don't Clog the Tubes!" which renders a page with an animation of the Microsoft Windows "3D Pipes" screensaver. Does not work on Windows Vista due to the pipes screen saver no longer being supported for releases after the 188.8.131.52 release.|
|about:kill||Same as about:crash, but with a violet background color and the message "He's Dead, Jim!" Occurs when the OS runs out of memory or the browser is killed by an external cause, such as the OS shutting down.|
|about:labs||Displays a page for testing features. Moved to about:flags in Chrome Dev channel 8.0.552.11|
|about:memory||Displays the process manager|
|about:net-internals||Provides an interface for monitoring the network usage and performance statistics|
|about:plugins||Shows installed plug-ins (Deprecated in Chrome 57)|
|about:sandbox||Shows which sandbox protection mechanisms are currently enabled.|
|about:shorthang||Hangs the tab's process, making it become unresponsive. This is designed for testing the hanging protection.|
|about:stats||Displays statistics about processes. At the top of the page, it states "Shhh! This page is secret!"|
|about:version||Displays version information, same as about:|
The above list is not exhaustive; for a full list, see about:about URI.
In Konqueror, any
about URI except
about:plugins redirects to
|about:konqueror||Shows a friendly ‘start’ and navigation page|
When GNOME Web (formerly Epiphany) used Gecko as its layout engine, all Firefox-specific
about: URIs worked in it. After the adoption of WebKit as its layout engine, only the following URIs are supported.
|about:plugins||Shows installed plug-ins.|
|about:memory||Shows details about memory usage.|
|about:epiphany||Displays the following message:
It is a quote from Chapter 3 of Saint-Exupéry's memoir Terre des Hommes (titled Wind, Sand and Stars in its English translation by Lewis Galantiere).
|about:applications||Interface for managing web applications, supported since release 3.2.|
|about:overview||Displays a grid of thumbnails for the more visited websites.|
|about:gpu||Displays information about WebGL and hardware accelerated graphics.|
|about:web||Displays the browser and its engine information, same as about:|
|about:incognito||Displays information about incognito mode. Is a blank page in non-incognito mode.|
Older versions of the Netscape browser have an
about:people URI that was similar to
about:credits above, but it would redirect to Netscape's active employee listing. In addition,
about:username, where username is the username of a Netscape employee, would redirect to the Netscape homepage of the employee specified. For example,
about:jwz would redirect to http://people.netscape.com/jwz/ (not an active link). Not all employee pages were accessible through this scheme. Only developers who knew which file in the source tree and the encoding scheme used to obfuscate the directory of employee about entries could add their names.
Many other about: easter eggs existed, including the famous about:mozilla, and other less known ones that showed pictures of the Netscape mascot Mozilla in various foreign garb, such as about:deutsch showing Mozilla in Lederhosen.
Some versions of Netscape would display the browser history for the
Internet Explorer for Mac OS 5 (historical)
Safari only recognizes
Microsoft Outlook supports an additional
outlook:today URI, which shows the Outlook Today Screen. This screen shows messages, tasks and appointments; it is also accessible from Internet Explorer. Outlook recognizes
about:blank too, but no other "about:" URIs.
- Transation: "It seems that perfection is attained not when there remains nothing to add, but when there remains nothing to remove."
- "Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) Schemes". www.iana.org. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- Dominik Hoffmann (1996-06-14). "Special Netscape URLs for cache diagnostics?". Newsgroup: comp.infosystems.www.browsers.mac. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- Matthew Paul Thomas (2000-06-23). "Weird easter egg in NN 3.0 or 3.01". Retrieved 2012-09-29.
- "Appsawg Status Pages". IETF.
- ""about" URI Tokens". www.iana.org. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
- RFC 6694
- "CSS Values and Units Module Level 3". www.w3.org. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
- "HTML Standard".
- "615738 - chromium - An open-source project to help move the web forward. - Monorail". bugs.chromium.org. Retrieved 2020-01-01.
- "811956 - chromium - An open-source project to help move the web forward. - Monorail". bugs.chromium.org. Retrieved 2020-01-01.
- "Debugging memory leaks". Mozilla Developer Network.
- "446704 - "This might void your warranty!" is not appreciated by corporate customers". Bugzilla. Mozilla. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2014-07-07.
- "Bug 417302 — about:robots". Mozilla Project Bugzilla.
- "Enterprise Mode and the Enterprise Mode Site List (Internet Explorer 11 for IT Pros)". Docs.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
- "AboutLinks". code.google.com/. Google Code. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Screenshot of Epiphany 3.4".
- "NEWS file". The GNOME Project's git repository. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- "A short history of the about: URL".
- "About: Netscape People". Yikes!. Archived from the original on 2006-05-20. Retrieved 2006-04-21.
- "This page is dedicated to Netscape Navigator 3.0b4 and followers, oops Mozilla 3.0b4 and friends!".
- "Internet Explorer Easter Egg — IE5 Mac Team". The Easter Egg Archive. 2000-06-19.