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How to Remove Advertisements from Websites

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Web users divide online advertisements into two types:

  • Good advertisements: those which are available only to people who actively want to see them, like the classified ads in the old Yellow Pages.
  • Bad advertisements: those which are forced onto people’s computer monitors without permission.

Unsolicited Advertisements are Annoying

Surveys show that most web users very much dislike most types of unsolicited advertisements on websites. There are several reasons for this:

The majority of print and television advertisements are also unwanted, but they are less strongly resisted than their online equivalents, perhaps because they are easier to ignore.

Advertisements are Easy to Eliminate

Fortunately, it is a simple task to configure web browser software to remove almost all advertisements from any website. There are two basic methods:

Yes, you too can say goodbye to unwanted advert misery!

1: Eliminate the Source: Use an Adblocker

Most advertisements are hosted on web servers other than the servers on which the web pages themselves are hosted. You can prevent these web servers sending their advertisements to your computer by using adblock software.

(Technical note: adblockers actually make use of the difference between domains, not servers. For example, a web page from the domain might include adverts from the domain www.some–advertising– An adblocker will block files from the advertiser’s domain while allowing files from the domain of the web page you are visiting.)

Adblockers Give You a Choice

It’s worth pointing out that all decent ad–blocking software will allow the user to tweak the settings, usually with just a couple of clicks, in order to permit adverts on specified websites. If you are not bothered by unobtrusive adverts, you may want to allow adverts by default and only block those you find annoying. If you want to support a particular website, you will be able to disable adblocking for that website.

Adblockers are more Popular than Advertisements

More and more people are choosing a largely advert–free web, according to a variety of surveys:

Most of the people who do not yet use an adblocker are probably unaware of their existence (in 2017, only 63% of online Australians were aware of adblockers), or perhaps think that you need to be a technical genius to install one. In fact, you can install an adblocker with just a few clicks, and sometimes you don’t even need to do that.

Built–In Adblockers

Some web browsers have an adblocker built in:

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin logo

The most effective adblocker is uBlock Origin. It is able to block not only online advertisements but much else besides, such as trackers and web fonts. It claims to be quicker, and to use less memory, than other adblockers. It is available for the following browsers:

Installing uBlock Origin is very straightforward for all the browsers mentioned above apart from Safari. It takes less than a minute, and there is no need to alter the program’s default settings, which will be fine for most users.

UBlock Origin may become available for other browsers in the future. For the latest news, see the uBlock Origin website. Be aware that uBlock Origin is not associated with the website

If you are interested in exploring some of uBlock Origin’s other features, check out these guides:

Other Adblockers

There are many other adblock add–ons, some of which are not what they seem. These three appear to be reliable and safe:

2: Disable the Mechanism: Use NoScript

NoScript logo

Most advertisements are inserted onto web pages by JavaScript. NoScript allows the user to block JavaScript, as well as Java, Silverlight, and that greatly abused source of animated annoyances, Flash. NoScript is probably the most useful single addition to any web browser.

Download NoScript

NoScript is currently only available for:

Alternatives to NoScript

A similar script blocker, Script Safe, is available for:

An alternative for Safari users is JS Blocker. Download from

Versatility of NoScript

NoScript allows you to easily over–ride its default settings and permit certain scripts on specific websites, either temporarily or permanently, with just a couple of clicks.

JavaScript is often used to enhance websites with inessential features such as decorative animations and slide shows. If you have a slow internet connection or a limited mobile data allowance, or if you are fed up with watching uninformative slide shows full of cheesy stock photos, you will probably want to keep JavaScript switched off for most websites.

On the other hand, shopping cart checkout systems and other websites with specialised functions very often require the use of JavaScript, so you will need to make exceptions for these sites if you consider them to be safe. You will also probably come across the occasional incompetently constructed everyday website which simply won’t work in the absence of JavaScript. In these cases, NoScript provides a good way to filter out websites that aren’t worth bothering with.

Security Benefits of NoScript

JavaScript and Flash do not just place advertisements in websites and thence onto visitors’ computers. They are also used to transmit malicious software. The use of NoScript and ad–blocking software will prevent a lot of nasty stuff ending up on your computer, and should be part of everyone’s internet security practices. For the majority of knowledgeable web users, NoScript in particular is more of a security tool than anything else.

Some Advertisements Will Get Through

By combining a script blocker such as NoScript with an adblocker, you will get rid of almost all unwanted online advertisements.

These methods cannot, however, eliminate every single advertisement. If an advertisement is incorporated into a web page in the same way as any other piece of text (as in this example), there is nothing you can do to remove it. But adding advertisements in this way is labour–intensive, and is used with only a tiny fraction of online advertisements. Almost all adverts are vulnerable to the methods described above.

Advertisements can get past adblockers for other reasons, such as when Google tried to implement a limited form of ad–blocking on its Chrome browser, presumably with the intention of halting the use of comprehensive adblockers such as uBlock Origin. Some adverts were blocked, but, through a stroke of luck, Google’s own adverts managed to get through. Phew! Of course, the increasing use of adblockers is a huge threat to Google, whose business model is very largely dependent on selling online advertising. At the time of writing (2019), there are signs that Google may try to stop adblockers working on Chrome, although the proposed change is very unpopular with users and other browser manufacturers, and would probably lead to an increase in people using browsers other than Chrome, a development which would also harm Google’s business.

If Adverts are Eliminated, Who Loses?

There are lots of pros, but very few cons: