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mute webpageIt happens to all of us. We love using browser tabs to open more and more links in the background and then go through them one by one. However it is really irritating when some of the tabs in the background auto-play video or audio files which interferes with what you are currently listening to or which distracts you from your normal browsing or working routine.

Luckily, there are a few handy tools that could prevent that annoying experience or at least help you quickly cope with the distractions. The tools below will come in handy to:

  • Disable sound from unwanted ads (especially on pages which were open in the background and you can’t quickly find the source of the sound);
  • Open several flash games or YouTube videos in background tabs and play the sound from the one tab only;
  • Browse without the fear that someone at work will find out what you are really doing;
  • Browse pages with auto-playing videos and audio files without being distracted from what you are currently listening to.


There’s no instantly available option in Firefox that lets us quickly mute sound in a (background) tab but luckily there are a few workarounds that make disabling auto-playing and muting sound at least easier to access.

Audio Controller

Audio Controller is a little FireFox addon that lets you quickly switch the sound off in your browser via the addons bar icon.

mute webpage

It is also supposed to work via the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Alt+M) but that didn’t work for me for some reason.

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Flash Block

Flash Block is a great addon that disables all auto-playing videos and helps you get rid of unwanted ads in FireFox How To Block Annoying Ads in Firefox How To Block Annoying Ads in Firefox Read More . The addon instead displays a “Flash” icon.

mute website

Hover over the icon to play the video on request:

mute website

Obviously, it will only help you mute sound coming from flash videos and ads.

Google Chrome

Mute Tab is a dream extension for any browser owner. It lets you quickly control the sound of any open tab in your browser:

  • Quickly identify where a sound is coming from using the list of all possible sound sources or track down the source of the sound via an icon (optional);
  • Control the sound of a single tab, all tabs, or all tabs but the current one – from the toolbar icon – or mute all sounds in the background by default.

mute website

From Options You Can

  • Set to automatically mute all background tabs;
  • Change icon when tab might have sound;
  • Show specific possible sound sources

mute web browser


Opera’s built-in options don’t give you any way to quickly mute sound from a webpage or a plugin. Even using those options (you can quickly trigger them using the F12 keyboard shortcut on Windows), sound from flash applications might still go through.

There’s one possible solution Opera recommends to mute webpages on its official guide: a very old Flash Mute program that is still supported by Opera (it doesn’t seem to work for Firefox though). The tool works on Windows and sits in the system tool tray letting you quickly mute any flash video with the CTRL+ALT+M keyboard shortcut:

mute webpage

Do you have any other useful tips on muting webpages in a browser? If so, please share them in the comments!

  1. allisondbl
    January 22, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Hello! Nice article, but do you realize that you don't include either a link or a NAME for the program that allegedly "Opera recommends to mute webpages on its official guide: a very old Flash Mute program that is still supported by Opera" so what IS it?!

    Thanks Alley

  2. Psibermage
    December 18, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Will this work to block ads from taking back control of the sound after it has been muted? This has recently become a major problem for me on HULU and if I cannot solve it, I will lose my only source of video entertainment (but will save the $8.00 subscription fee per month).

  3. Dave
    November 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    In IE you can just go to advanced options and turn off sound to all tabs.

  4. Ann Smarty
    August 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

    @serenity, Good question! I see the flash is being blocked but the sound still comes through. The extension developer seems to be actively answering comments, so we may try to ask that question at the extension page

  5. Larry_m7
    August 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Can't type worth .... That should be RanDom.

  6. Larry_m7
    August 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Geat article. Just what I was looking for. Just because I go to a TV station's site does not mean that I want to hear their latest. Usually that is the last thing i want (Usually I'm after their schedule.) Raneom ads on other sites are even worse.
    BTW, Mute Tab also works with the Chromium alternative Comodo Dragon.

    • Ann Smarty
      August 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks! That's nice to know!

  7. Aaron Perley
    August 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Problem Solved:

    • Ann Smarty
      August 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

      I wish there were a shortcut to make this work quicker

  8. Sahil
    August 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I have been using Flash Block from long time.
    But didn't knew about Mute Tab.
    Great... Thanks for sharing.. ! :)

  9. Skamasle
    August 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Not is Ctrl+Alt+M, the shortcut in the firefox add on is

    ALT+F9 toggle muteALT+F10 increase volumeALT+F11 decrease volume

    • Ann Smarty
      August 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Oh really? Thanks! I was trying the shortcut that was listed on the official addon page and it didn't work! The new shortcut is much better - thanks!

  10. Ashutosh Mishra
    August 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I love the click-to-play-plugins feature in both Chrome and Opera. The implementation is much better in Chrome, which shows a little icon in the address bar when plugins have been blocked on a page (in addition to the usual Flashblock-like indicators). 

    Opera doesn't show any such indicator, hence the websites which require your plugins in the background, are not going to function properly (for example, you can't sign into Yahoo! Messenger from inside Yahoo! Mail without Flash, even though there is no visual Flash element).

    • Ann Smarty
      August 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

      Thanks. That's a very useful tip. I'll try it right now

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