Firefox: How to stop annoying websites from automatically refreshing

firefox stop websites from refreshing automatically
May 23, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Surely you’ve been to a website that automatically refreshes its pages in order to inflate traffic statistics. I personally despise this tactic, especially if I am in the middle of reading something and the page refreshes (cough cough Drudge Report cough cough). Save your sanity by following these quick steps to prevent websites from automatically refreshing!

Block advertisements and page refresh on Drudge Report with uMatrix

block advertisements on drudge report umatrix

Install the uMatrix and uBlock Origin browser add-ons to block ads and page refresh on Drudge Report.

If the following browser configuration steps do not work for you, I recommend installing a couple browser add-ons to block scripts from loading on Drudge Report. You can see in my screenshot how I have Drudge Report blocked with uMatrix. I’m using the Waterfox web browser which is a great Firefox alternative that is a bit more privacy friendly. In the screenshot, you can observe the plethora of tracking scripts utilized by Drudge Report. You might think this is absurd, and you’d be correct, but most big time websites out there are even worse when it comes to loading external scripts.

In uMatrix, green means allowed and red means blocked. You simply need to left click your mouse on certain domains to allow or block them. Try to mimic the same settings that I am using in my screenshot. You need to block all scripts, media, XHR, frames, other, and you might as well block cookies while you’re at it, because why give Drudge Report tracking cookies? With these settings, I’ve been on the Drudge Report website for about 30 minutes with no refreshing whatsoever.

You’ll definitely want to install these two browser add-ons: uMatrix and uBlock Origin. These add-ons are great and will help block advertisements and unwanted tracking JavaScripts while browsing websites! I’ve found that they also help with preventing Drudge Report from automatically refreshing every minute.

Stop websites from automatically refreshing

  1. Type “about:config” into your address bar and hit enter.

  2. Confirm any dialogs that pop up, if you haven’t already been to this “secret” page before.

  3. Search for “refresh” in the search bar at the top.

  4. Double click “accessibility.blockautorefresh” and the value should turn to “True.”

  5. Close the about:config tab and browse websites with one less annoyance.

If nothing above works for you, perhaps you should try out the new and improved Brave web browser. I’ve been using it a lot lately and it is fantastic in many ways, but I still use Firefox as well.


  • Arlis R Tyner says:

    I have tried this half a dozen times just to make sure I’m not screwing it up. It does not work for Drucge. I don’t know how they prevent it form affecting their site. but it simply does not work there. Chrome has an add-on that stops autorefresh, but it doesn’t work on Drudge either. I hope someone comes up with a way to thwart whatever they have done to thwart any effort to thwart their autorefresh. Stupid. They have basically rendered their site useless as far as I’m concerned.

    • Sorry to hear about your troubles. I know it is frustrating. The method described in this post is currently working for me in the latest version of Firefox on Mac OS. I’ve been on for well over 10 minutes and it hasn’t refreshed at all. Is your Firefox browser up to date to version 62? I’ve also modified another value in my “about:config” tab. Try adjusting the following configuration in your “about:config” tab to “true” and see if it makes a difference. You can find it by searching for “refresh” in the search box.


      On another note, I am also running the uMatrix and uBlock origin add-ons in Firefox to block ads and unnecessary external scripts. I definitely recommend these plugins if you don’t have them already.

      • Thanks, James. It’s several years later but your input remains valuable. I was having problems with this and happened to see that additional “browser.meta_refresh_when_inactive.disabled…” which I set to “true” but I didn’t know if what I did should have been changed, then I read your post and that confirmed my doubts. I’ll be interested to see if I continue to have problems. I suspect not but one never knows nowadays. I’m so disgusted with Firefox that I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the continual aggravations. Thank you!

        • If you’re frustrated with Firefox, consider test driving the”Brave” browser which was created by an ex Mozilla Firefox employee.

          It blocks a bunch of these tricky websites out of the box, but you can still custom configure and install browser extensions. I regularly use this browser now and it annihilates scripts on websites like Drudge report. No refreshes here.

  • This method is no longer working as i have this set to true, and the website is still refreshing every 5 seconds taking me back to the top of the page, driving me bonkers.

    • Hi Ronald, I’ve updated the post to a method that is working for me. You will need to install a couple browser add-ons: uMatrix and uBlock origin.

      It would be worthwhile to learn to use uMatrix. I also added a screen recording video to the post showing how to configure uMatrix to block all of Drudge Report’s scripts. It seems that these websites that refresh are using alternative scripting methods now to refresh their pages, so further measures must be taken to prevent refreshing. I hope this helps. Have a great day.

  • Software Criticizer says:

    Browser EXTENSIONS have a very short life span now no-thanks to “rapid” “release” (not the way to do software) and the change-for-no-reason every 3 months from the arrogant “mozilla” “foundation.” It does no good to use extensions, because in just a few months whatever you’re using will be forced to become obsolete because out-of-touch coders “know better” (and do not listen). Reputation is everything and mozilla’s reputation has become ZERO STARS. What “version” is firefox THIS week? “99?” Lol. What a terrible UNRELIABLE product.

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