Firefox: How to block advertisements and tracking scripts on websites

firefox how to block ads
January 15, 2019 at 9:05 pm

Learn how to easily block ads and scripts on websites with the Firefox or Waterfox browsers

Blocking ads and scripts on websites you visit every day is not hard to do and can greatly improve your web browsing experience. When you are reading an interesting article on a website, the last thing you want is an annoying pop up or flashy and distracting banner ad. You want to read the article without interruption. Watch my video above that quickly explains how to block those pesky ads and tracking scripts on your favorite websites.

Here are the best browser add-ons to use for blocking ads and scripts on websites

Advertisers hate Raymond Hill and people like him, but myself and people like me love him for creating these two wonderful browser add-ons. In a way, add-ons like these are saving the internet browsing experience.

Both of these browser add-ons were developed by Raymond Hill. You can view his Mozilla extensions page here:

uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill

With a simple on/off power button interface, uBlock Origin is easy and effective to use for less advanced web surfers. One of the most useful features (and my favorite) is the web element blocker option. Right click on any element, and then choose the “Block Element” option with the uBlock Origin logo next to it. You can then highlight the element you wish to block, click on “create,” and then you’ll never see it again. If you mess up, you can go into the uBlock Origin settings and revert the changes pretty easily.

reddit simplified with ublock and umatrixThe element blocker is my favorite feature of uBlock Origin, as I’ve eliminated several ads on some websites I visit. Paired with uMatrix, the element blocker feature works wonders on those particular websites that are filled with cancerous ads and unnecessary bloat. With a few browser tricks, you can be viewing complex cramped websites with pure simplicity in a few minutes.

For example, if you like viewing Reddit without logging in, you can block all the bloat and log in notifications with the uBlock Origin element blocker tool, and then zoom in on your browser with control/command+ keyboard shortcut (use the minus key to zoom back out, or CTRL/CMND+0 to reset) and then you can have a full width column to read without all the unnecessary sidebar bloat. When zooming in on websites, most properly coded websites will apply different browser styling adjustments known as media queries and make the main content full width by default, as it would show up on a mobile device. That is just a little trick I use on very bloated and annoying websites to make them easier on my brain.

uMatrix by Raymond Hill

For more advanced web users, uMatrix puts you in nearly total control of what your browser is allowed to connect to such as scripts, media, and websites. uMatrix can be somewhat difficult to figure out if you don’t know what you’re doing, but its features are lovely when you figure it out. I recommend visiting the official plugin page to figure it out. Most websites will not load properly out of the box if you have uMatrix activated, so you’ll have to figure out your way around the add-on if you want it to work properly for you.

reddit tracking scriptsWhat is surprising about uMatrix is that you get to really see how many scripts and external websites are loaded on each website you visit. It’s absurd how many external websites are loaded on pretty much every popular website out there, especially news and clickbait sites. You’ll find that Google and Facebook are loaded on most websites, which allows them to track your every move based on your IP address.

Thanks to Raymond Hill for the great browser add-ons. You can view Raymond’s Github page here:

Browser Add-Ons Conclusion

I’ve tested a lot of browser add-ons in my day and I only use about 4 now. You should be careful about which browser add-ons you install and read all the reviews first before installing them as they could be collecting your data. There are similar add-ons for other browsers, but lately I have primarily been using Waterfox, which is an alternative version of the ever-encroaching Google-backed Firefox. Waterfox is NOT associated with Mozilla Firefox, but it is almost identical as a browser and more focused on personal privacy. I recommend trying it out compared to Firefox.

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