How To Block Annoying Ads in Firefox

Tina Sieber 28-10-2008

How To Block Annoying Ads in Firefox noticeboardAdvertisements have become an inevitable part of our life, invading almost every realm. Sometimes they are harmless and easily ignored, but they can appear outright annoying and then again some ads may be too tempting to pass on. But honestly, how often did you find random ads useful?


On the internet it’s not always possible to avoid banners, ads or pop-ups. Firefox offers several different ways to control what is shown to you and what will remain hidden, blocked or covered.

1. Built-in Options

Per default, Firefox can block pop-ups, not load images, and not run Java or JavaScript.

How To Block Annoying Ads in Firefox firefoxads02

Conveniently, exceptions can be set very easily, so that selected sites can be granted additional rights, such as launching pop-up windows.

However, when you really want to control ads and potential spam, you will have to befriend extensions.


2. Flashblock

flash blockFlashblock is the absolute must for blocking Flash advertisements. Blocking Flash also helps to save computer resources. Just as the built in pop-up and image block, this extension allows you to build a Whitelist for Flash-driven websites you would like (or have) to view in all of their beauty.

Additionally, blocked material is indicated by a placeholder on that website which allows you to download and view the Flash content as you please. Flashblock requires JavaScript by the way.

3. Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is much stronger than Flashblock, but it can also be more difficult to handle. This extension can block all kinds of ads and filters can be set manually to block specific items. The most convenient solution is to subscribe to filters which will automatically block most ads.

Lists should be selected carefully though, as some may slow down the browser. However, it’s save to choose from the filters offered per default.


Add Block Plus - block flash ads firefox

4. YesScript

YesScript - block ads firefox As opposed to NoScript, YesScript takes a different approach. It assumes that not all JavaScript is bad, so it doesn’t restrict it per default. Rather JavaScript remains enabled and pages are blocked via a blacklist, that you take full control over it via the browser status bar or options window.

Surely, the security aspect is undermined with this extension. The advantage is less initial maintenance.

5. Add-Art

Add-ArtThis little extension doesn’t help to block art but it helps to make blocked ads much nicer.


It works in conjunction with Adblock Plus and recognizes when an advertisement was blocked. It then ads an art image to decorate the blank space, turning your browser into a small art gallery. Unfortunately, it can not replace all script-based ads.

The displayed images change every two weeks, when the current show is updated. If you don’t like a current show, the only way to escape the images is to disable the extension until the next update. This could be improved.

How do you perceive ads? Do you tolerate or fight them? Please share your experience!

Related topics: Ad-Blockers, Mozilla Firefox, Online Privacy.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Mander
    January 28, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Most of the time if a site is clogged with irritating ads, the content isn't worth viewing anyway.

  2. Dzinerfusion
    January 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Its funny, how bloated your site is with ads :P

  3. TiboM
    January 10, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Now you can replace ads by your own images with AdChange giving a more personal way to your web browsing experience

    [Broken Link Removed]

  4. Disgruntled Netizen
    December 7, 2009 at 6:58 am

    ArmpitNext, your logic is flawed. While some sites survive on ads or the site's owner doesn't have an actual job and his high-traffic site is is only source of income, that doesn't give the owner the right to put content on his page that is intrusive and disrespectful to his viewers.

    The alternative is less-intrusive text-based ads, and while they are not as valuable right now, once society starts blocking obtrusive advertisements as a whole (and I believe it will come to that, as that pretty much happened with the pop-up/pop-under), and all that remains is text (and maybe, MAYBE a reasonably sized static image), advertisers will hopefully catch on.

    These monstrous, immoral Flash-based advertisements that play annoying audio, take up 3/4 the page, and scroll all over actual content are unacceptable, and those who use them as a sole source of income should either get an actual job, live on the street, or convert to text-ads.

    If someone disrespects my browsing preferences, I shed no tear over the effect on their so-called "livelihood" when I block their intrusive advertisements.

    Also, any advertisement that looks like a window SHOULD suffer legal repercussions. I am tired of removing "MALWAREâ„¢ BRANDâ„¢ Anti-virus" from less-than savvy user's machines.

  5. Nobody
    November 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I see some of comments pro and con advertising. Would like to add my view too.

    Though I understand that some internet sites just use ads to stay alive, to pay the bill etc, I also understand that they don't care about trying to select what they want to advertise, or enforcing some correct behavior from their advertisers. More than that, many sites are just using any borderline mean to attract visitors so that they can record another click and be paid, while the visitor has just some garbage to read at the site.

    On the other hand, ads is not free for the visitor, it is hideous most of the time, irrelevant to the current centers of interest, expensive in computer resources, invasive, now coming with audio which is a level farther on the scale of discourtesy. Ads just expect the visitor to be naive and a brainless consummer. Some ads just try to prevent you from using your computer normally, which is just illegal, but they don't care, everbody is doing it so...

    So definitely I don't care for advertisers, for product advertised (I just try to remember the brand to never buy it), and for site owners that don't select the content of their page, but leave this duty to some silly bastards who live from this disgraceful activity.

    On the other hand, I respect and support to all possible extend sites that use ads with care and never try to have me doing thing I don't want to do. I respect those that are respectful.

    For those people who will be forced to close their pages because they don't have money to pay the hosting, I not sorry for you. You chose the wrong model to become rich, you choose to bypass your visitor will and pleasure, and you just forgot that at the first place you should have tried to make the internet better, not worse. Think about that again.

    There are plenty of sites that just do things for free. Their owners have no time to push garbage all day along on their page, because they have another job for a living. So they just elect to publish content they cherish, and they don't ask to be paid for that. So I do.

    Don't try to enforce the model that is killing the world, this model may well be dead soon. Just try to be smarter, because we need that kind of new behavior to make the world just a little better.

  6. gE0Rg3
    November 11, 2009 at 6:57 am

    I personally hate ads when the first time i bought my computer 1 get about 60 fps in crysis on high settings now when my internet arrives i get only 35-40 fps max flash block and adblock is one of the best sofware to cured ads

  7. Nick
    August 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I pay for cable tv just the same as I pay for my internet connection. If I'm watching a show and a commercial break appears there is no obligation for me to sit through five minutes of commercials. I am free to make a sandwich, cut down the volume, or channel surf until that five minutes is finished. Also I can employ a DVR to skip the commercials if I choose to do so. If a web publisher wants to earn money by tastefully placing advertising on your site by having me go to an advertising page before I reach the page I want to see, and place a "skip this ad" button at the top that is ok. However if you try to force me to do something I don't want to do I will in-turn look for any means necessary to stop you. So to me Adblock is my dvr and my right to choose.

    • David Hennessy
      August 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm

      I hate interstitial ads as much as the next guy. That said, I can't say I agree with your analogy. When you pay for cable, you're paying for programming. When you pay for Internet, you are paying for nothing but the connection. Not one single cent of what you are paying is going to the content producers. A more apt analogy would be to say, "because I paid for the rabbit ears to receive free broadcast signals, I should be entitled to block the ads that are embedded in the TV programs."

      I really don't believe that a person has a "right" to the content that another person publishes on-line -- especially if you're going to use methods to defeat that publisher's attempt to monetize their content. All that really does is discourage publishers from putting anything out there for free. If you don't like ads, then pay for the content. There is plenty of talk about making the Internet work more like cable TV, anyway. Do you want to pay $100 for your Internet connection, too?

  8. Lydia
    August 13, 2009 at 3:54 am

    Thanks so much for the useful info, you've saved me from having to add additional virtual memory card when I just that a couple weeks ago. I had Adblock Plus but when I added Flashblock at your suggestion, it worked like a charm. It also gives you the option feature of the little button to click if you really want to see the flash banner or ad. Again, thank you.

  9. Milos
    May 16, 2009 at 3:59 am

    I totaly agree with you! Thank you for the interesting information.

  10. Thomas
    December 28, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I don't mind basic adverts but when the flash image spreads out to cover half of the content I am trying to view then at that point I say screw them. If they really want to get buyers then let them do it the way the rest of us have to. use a common site like ebay and sell some stuff off with links to their site for more "INFO" thus driving traffic to their main site with out really breaking ebays rules. and if they loose a bit selling a few items on ebay it is a lot less than what they spend on possibly instead of definitely reaching people like done through these ads. they really do nothing for me but make sure I will never buy from them if they are annoying and block me from getting to what I am trying to get to. for an example go and look at the adverts from circuit city with all the stuff that pops out and covers half the page causing a ton of content to be hard to read! And blocking ads is nothing like going to get a meal and not paying for it so don't even go there.

  11. Wyn
    December 20, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Thank you for this article. I was about to noscript the net over these stupid ads.


  12. Steve Lambert
    November 2, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Wladimir Palant, the creator of AdBlockPlus had this to say:

    "Ads don't generate money

    Now what happens if people start to block ads? First of all, everybody who hates ads and wouldn’t click them anyway now blocks ads. And this can make advertisers really happy because instead of wasting their bandwidth (and money) they now only serve ads to people who are interested in them. They also get better statistics and can see which ads people find more interesting — without having to estimate the number of people who wouldn’t click any ad."

  13. holycow
    October 28, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    i use "stop autoplay" instead of flashblock. it blocks flash, and embedded video like wmp or quick time. it works really well, and blocks flash just like flashblock does.

    i guess its preference.

  14. Rob
    October 28, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Quality list, I'd love to get a pair of goggles that run Add-Art for when I'm riding the subway. No surface is safe down there these days it seems.

    AdBlockPlus by itself is good, but IMHO it's really only a complete solution when coupled with the Element Hiding Helper. It allows you to select individual DIV's to do away with adverts on sites that AdBlock itself can't help with. Facebook is my favorite place to put this one to use.

  15. David Hennessy
    October 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    I like FlashBlock. Flash ads are a real nuissance. It astonishes me that, with a dual-core processor and more than a gig of RAM, my computer can slow down to 486 speeds with a few browser windows open -- if those windows happen to be laden with Flash ads. I like the notion of being able to view Flash optionally, too, at a click. Remember when patents forced IE to go the direction of requiring a click to "activate" Flash content? I was surprised at what an improvement that was! I'm glad that Firefox now has this "feature," even if it wasn't really considered a feature back in the day.

    As for AdBlock... it does it's job, I'll say that... but it does it too well. Internet publishers (like you!) rely on ads. Google ads, for instance, are unobtrusive, and don't auto-play. There's no good reason for blocking those, except to be miserly to a publisher who is being gracious enough not to charge an entry fee. They need to be more judicious about their default black lists, because as it is now, AdBlock is a real problem for web publishers. I think of people surfing with AdBlock on as the HTTP equivalent of people who only download on P2P, but won't upload too. The relationship should be symbiotic... not parasitic. (I guess you could never tell that I am also a web publisher!)

  16. ArpitNext
    October 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Blocking Ads is too selfish act! Ads are the the basic income source of site-owners and if you are blocking this source, then it is something like stealing or piracy : gaining from others w/o paying.

    • Doc
      October 29, 2008 at 11:19 am

      I'm paying for the Internet connection I'm using to retrieve this garbage. Why should I download some cr*p from an advertiser's site (which isn't even part of the domain I requested), including tons of annoying, animated Flash garbage (which can make up 3/4 of the unaltered page), when I can just decide what I want to view (and *NOT* view)? I'm not going to click on ANY of the advertisements ANYWAY!!!

      • Tina
        October 29, 2008 at 11:44 am

        I can see both points.

        But I'm more with Doc since I'm not the type of person to click through internet ads. That's not to say I never do!

        Of course, if everyone was like me and Doc, ads wouldn't work in the first place because they only work if people actually click them and end up spending money.

        Fortunately, not everyone is the same, so there is a niche for both ads and ad blockers. Hail to diversity! :)

      • David Hennessy
        October 29, 2008 at 2:49 pm

        Hi Doc! Say you want to enjoy a fine meal at an Italian restaurant. You pay for the roads that you use to get there (in your taxes), so you order your meal, eat, and then skip out on the bill. You do this over and over again, because darn it, you paid to get there! Moreover, you know a lot of people who do this. For some reason, the management at the restaurant never seems to want to deny people access based in their history of doing this.

        How long do you think you are going to be able to get your favorite fine Italian meal? One day, those roads that you're paying for are going to take you to that restaurant, and it's going to be boarded up.

        • Lavender
          January 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

          Mr. Henenessy, Mr. ArpitNext,

          The Italian restaurant example, above, is a specious argument. If I go there, on roads I pay for with my taxes . . . well, I paid for the roads, not the food, so I expect a decent trip, not free food. Now, if I look at the menu, decide I don't want anything, and upon my trying to leave they point a gun at my head -- THAT'S more like my experience with Internet advertisers. The fact is, these ads: download malignant code causing slowdowns, crashes, and worse; hijack my browser by doing things like graying the screen & preventing use of the back button; refuse to permanently go away when I click the "close" button, but keep coming back, interrupting my browsing, stopping videos, & closing or blocking windows I was viewing . . . I could go on about the myriad ways they ruin visits to the sites they advertise on. I've actually had to use ctrl-alt-delete, because I had no other way of escaping their ads but by closing my browser-- and I'm using Firefox, for cryin' out loud! I blacklist such sites without hesitation or apology. And so the site owners, and their advertisers, have accomplished . . . WHAT, exactly?! I DARE you to justify ANY advertiser inflicting such tactics on Internet passers-by! GO ON! I DARE YOU!

          I have no idea what advertisers hope to accomplish with such tactics. I'd certainly NEVER purchase anything from ANYBODY who'd do such things. Lord help anyone who doesn't have enough anti-spyware -adware, -trojan, -rootkit etc. software after being assaulted by such ads. S/he could end up having to wipe her drive! And here's a fact: YOU ADVERTISERS HAVE NO RIGHT TO ATTACK MY COMPUTER! I paid for it; I pay for the software that protects it; I pay for the Internet service that YOU use to attack it! It is MY TIME I have to use cleaning up your mess after one of your attacks. Yes, that’s what it is – an attack! So, instead of assaulting me with your malicious garbage, why don't you go the traditional "Madison Avenue" route: amuse me, wow me, or persuade me with tasteful, RESPECTFUL ads -- and go away if I tell you to! Geez, does it take a genius to figure this stuff out? Really?! I have no idea what planet you're on that you think we're obligated to put up with such vicious, disrespectful, malicious, unsolicited drivel. Thanks, but I'll stay on my planet, where we can say "No!" without guilt.

  17. Dokay
    October 28, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I've learned to tolerate them but with the Add-Art i may actually want to get them just to see the "art".

    • Tina
      October 29, 2008 at 11:25 am

      Yes, the idea is very neat. Unfortunately, the current show is pretty ugly. I don't quite see how it's art. But oh well, next week they'll have a new one. :)