Link open new window not working in Chrome browser

I’m a web designer in charge of a travel directory website.

I noticed links to external travel related sites stopped working on Chrome browser a couple of days ago.

When clicked the links trigger the ‘Pop Up Blocker’ in the browser address bar, previously the links worked as coded, opening in a new window

Other browsers, IE & Firefox are OK, also Safari browser appears to be ok

These outgoing links are constructed to open a new browser window using either of these formats

<a href=“<URL>” target=“_blank”><URL></a>

<a href=“<URL>” target=“_blank” rel=“nofollow”><URL></a>

This is currently only affecting 2 sites that I helped design: both are ‘paid listing’ directories, with each listing being manually reviewed prior to listing

These are the 2 most popular sites that I have designed / help design, with the most traffic & search results

Other sites that I have designed, which are not so popular are not affected?

Any help or ideas appreciated, Thanks

Sounds like it’s a problem with the Chrome pop-up blocker being too sensitive, but it could also be that the site is using unobtrusive Javascript to open the popup and that is what is triggering the block.

Either way, it’s a handy reminder of why you should NOT force links to open in new windows, without a very good reason. And no, “because it’s an external link” isn’t even a good reason, let alone a very good one.

Thanks for the reply to the post.

I’m not using JavaScript for this, I’m using fairly basic / standard html code that I’ve used on other sites that I’ve designed, that still works on the other sites.

Why would Chrome behave differently for 2 different sites, when using the exact same link code?

I have tried this format of html code, as suggested from: Google Chrome FAQ for web developers.

<a href=“” rel=“noreferrer” target=“_blank”>Google</a>

but this does not open new window in my version of Chrome: Google Chrome 7.0.517.44 (Official Build 64615) WebKit 534.7

Regarding your comment about not forcing links to open in new window, what would you suggest to ensure that a visitor has the best user experience when visiting a travel directory with 6,000 manually reviewed listings?


Stevie D

I had another look at my site and thanks to your input (suggesting it may be caused by JavaScript) I have found and fixed the problem

The problem occurred after I had installed tracking code from although I admit that I hadn’t noticed this after installing the code, 2 days ago, now I’ve removed the tracking code the links work as they should.

So, hopefully, if anybody else finds this kind of problem, they may be able to learn from my mistake.

I guess the moral of this is to ALWAYS check your site after making changes, even if there appears to be no connection between the change made and the ‘problem’

Thanks once again

Don’t specify a target for the link, not in the HTML or with Javascript. Let people open it where they want to.

While browser behaviour in most areas has converged over the years, this is one area where it has diverged, with the arrival of tabbed browsers into the mainstream. Once upon a time, target="_blank" meant ‘open in a new window’. But now … does it mean open in a new window, or a new tab? Some browsers default to one, some default to the other, some make it a user preference setting.

Having a link open in a new window when you don’t want it to has always been annoying, but having a link open in a new window instance of a tabbed browser, rather than in a new tab, is even more annoying and potentially disorientating.

The number of people browsing the web who don’t understand the back button is so small as to be statistically insignificant. If people follow a link away from your website and want to go back to it, they know how to do that by using the back button. Most people who have a sophisticated enough browsing technique to make good use of having multiple windows/tabs are perfectly capable of shift+clicking or whatever other method they prefer to open a link in a new window/tab.

Whether you’ve specified a target or not, the vast majority can open a link in a new window/tab if that’s what they want to do. But if you’ve set target="_blank", only the one person in 80 who is smart enough to run Opera can choose to open that link in the current window/tab. You’re taking control of the situation away from the users, and assuming you know what is best for them. And I’m sorry but the chances are that you don’t. I want to browse the way I want to browse, and any sites that break that pattern are likely to annoy me, and that is not a good way to drum up business.

Thanks once again for your comments, they are really appreciated.

I don’t understand why/how tracking software stopped a browser from obeying target attributes. That seems… wrong.

It isn’t that it stopped the browser from obeying the target attribute (I don’t think), it’s that it made the browser’s pop-up blocker think that the new window/tab being spawned was dodgy, so after the browser tried to act on the instruction to open the link in a new tab/window, the pop-up blocker nixed it, so no action was taken.

Still, at the level of browser internals, HTML attributes shouldn’t be able to trigger a popup blocker… maybe the blocker only looks at the result (new window spawning) rather than the cause…

It depends on (a) the settings on the pop-up blocker, and (b) any scripts running.

Some pop-up blockers can be configured to block all calls to open a new window/tab, whether done by HTML or Javascript.

If there is a script running that is tracking where people go from the page, it is probably doing that by “unobtrusively” altering the behaviour of an <a href>, which could then be altered in such a way that it changes the destination URL, eg instead of pointing to [COLOR=“#483d8b”][/COLOR] it would point to [COLOR=“DarkSlateBlue”][/COLOR]. If I was a Javascript pop-up blocker, I’d certainly be wary about allowing a link like that to spawn a new window on my watch!

I should just add this to every recent new-window thread we have around here.