Does auto-play video drive you mad? We’ll talk you through the best ways to stop auto-playing videos in your Firefox browser.
There are two ways that videos auto-play in browsers. The first is through flash which, despite being phased out, is still the main method used by most websites to display videos and adverts. Blocking flash content in Firefox is fairly easy, as you will soon see. The second method makes use of HTML5. YouTube and other big video sites now exclusively render videos in HTML5.
I recently detailed how to stop auto-playing flash and HTML5 videos in Chrome. From the comments, it was clear that many MUO users find auto-playing videos irritating. This article is inspired by one such reader who requested information on foolproof ways of preventing videos from auto-playing in the Firefox browser. Preventing auto-playing HTML5 videos in Firefox is a much more complex affair and not as easy as we saw in Chrome.
Before I begin, it is important to note that I tested these methods using Firefox version 29.0.1 on Windows 7.
Disable Adobe Flash
This is the fastest and easiest way to stop auto-playing flash videos. Open a new Firefox tab and in the address bar type in “about:addons“. This takes you to your list of installed Firefox Add-ons. You can also open the Firefox add-ons manager by clicking the add-ons icon in the Firefox menu or using the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut. Look for the Flash player add-on and set it to Ask to Activate.
This prevents all flash content from loading unless you allow it. A message appears at the top of your browser just below your toolbars any time a website tries to load flash.
To confirm that the setting works as it should, open a flash video. You should get a blank screen with a message prompting you to activate Adobe flash.
Flashblock [No Longer Available]
Flashblock is a Firefox add-on that prevents flash and HTML5 videos from auto-playing. Search for the add-on, click Install and wait for the download to complete. Restart Firefox to complete the installation and try loading a flash video.
StopTube HTML5 [No Longer Available]
Stop Tube effectively prevents HTML5 videos from buffering and auto-playing. The ability to halt buffering is the main difference between this add-on and Flashblock with regard to HTML5 videos. This is an important feature and it comes in handy for conserving your bandwidth. Also, the add-on does not require you to restart Firefox, simply install it and you are good to go.
This method only works for HTML5 videos, so you still have to disable flash totally using the instructions in the first part of this article to prevent websites from serving you with auto-playing flash content. StopTube replaces the HTML5 video with a Click to run link. Clicking on this link triggers video loading.
Notes On Blocking Auto-Play Videos
In some rare cases, you may find that an add-on does not block videos from auto-playing. If you encounter this, restart your computer and try again. Also take note that I tested out the add-ons above on YouTube, Yahoo and Vimeo, the sites with the largest video audience. For more great Firefox extensions and to learn how to learn how to become a Firefox super user, please check out our best Best Firefox add-ons page and our User’s Guide To Firefox.
Please let us know in the comments below if these solutions work well for you. We would also love to know if you have any additional ideas or add-ons in mind to stop auto-playing videos in Firefox.