Loading - Pause for thought

Loading Browser Making You Dizzy?

11 Dec 2017

Have you ever noticed how browser tab icons go clockwise, and then anti-clockwise, when loading a particular page URL? Or wondered why the colour of this spinner changes from grey to blue?



Most sites have a favicon, a small symbol to the left of the browser bar that represents the website. When the site is loading data, the favicon is replaced with a spinning disc. This disc behaves differently depending on the stage of the URL search. Initially the disc will appear grey, rolling anti-clockwise. This means the browser is in request mode and data is being called. It will be in one of the following states:

  • resolving the hostname
  • connecting to the server
  • waiting for a response.


However, when the disc changes to a blue circle rolling clockwise, the browser is in download mode and will be in the one of the following states:

  • loading a page
  • loading referenced resources.


The colour change from grey to blue is incidental as it simply creates a visual point of difference. As you might expect, however, the speed at which the circle rotates – blue or grey – is related to speed of the data retrieval and download.

Sometimes it may seem like the spinning will never end. Don’t worry, you’re not going insane – there is a reason for this! Effectively, the browser is waiting for a response that might never actually come. This can be down to a few things but in short it's anything that interrupts the communication between your browser and the various web resources you’re searching for. Just refresh and repeat.

This website uses cookies. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

I ACCEPT