Best Firefox Speed Boost In Years


For anyone who uses ad blocking add-ons in Firefox, boy! Have I got great news for you…

AdBlock Plus (ABP) is the go-to ad blocking solution that every Firefox user seems to swear by. The downside of this very good add-on is that it slows down your browsing experience and uses a whole lot of memory in the process. I’ve been a stalwart user of this add-on for many years but I have recently made a change. It is a browsing life-changer.

uBlock-logo-image

µBlock is more than a simple ad blocker. It accomplishes exactly the same thing as ABP with some useful and interesting differences. Here is what the developers have to say:

µBlock is not an ad blocker; it’s a general-purpose blocker. µBlock blocks ads through its support of the Adblock Plus filter syntax. µBlock extends the syntax and is designed to work with custom rules and filters.

As I mentioned, it uses much less memory than ABP. And I can testify that it most certainly made my browsing experience much faster. In fact, I can safely say this is the best Firefox speed boost I have enjoyed in years. Probably, the slower your connection and computer are, the more impressive will be the improvement.

Some Useful Advantages

Here’s a screen-shot of the µBlock Options Page:

uBlock-filters-image

What isn’t shown here is how vast this list actually is. The sheer number of choices is daunting. You’ll also notice, by looking at the tabs, that there are ways to create your own filters and rules. I haven’t ventured into that area yet; the default settings have so far served me perfectly.


uBlock-menu-image

This what you’ll see if you click on the icon in Firefox’s add-ons bar. It is simplicity itself to enable/disable µBlock on an entire site, or a single page. The icon also displays the current number of active “blocks” there are on the page you are viewing. I don’t know how useful that really is to the average “Joe”. All I care about is whether it is working and is it fast.

uBlock-settings-image

I quickly checked out the Advanced User “Required Reading” link and decided against traveling into the dark abyss. I can always easily find myself in trouble once I stray the beaten path.

How To Get It

First let me say that it is available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. Download links and installation instructions for the various browsers are here at the µBlock Site.

I only use Firefox so cannot speak for the effect this may have on the others.

An aside

“µ” is the Greek letter Mu. It means mikros, or micron in English. Given the fickle and seemingly ignorant nature of geeky naming conventions, it may be pronounced in various ways. µTorrent, for instance, is pronounced bit-torrent. This makes no sense at all. The point here is that I have no idea how to pronounce µBlock. Is it Micro-block? Bit-block? Mu-block? Them dern aliens ruined my golldarn rubbarb patch with their flyin’ machine, dagnabbit!-block?


Only the developers know for sure and I hope they quickly enlighten me before I run out of ideas.

A Quick Note About Ad Blockers

Many web sites, including our beloved DCT, rely on advertising revenue to keep bringing you quality articles for the price of free. I am no different than most people when visiting a site that has obnoxious, flashing, annoying and downright intrusive ads. I hate them. I visited to read an article or enjoy a video clip. I didn’t go there to be bombarded by the lights of Las Vegas.

So here’s a little rule to follow. If the ads don’t annoy you, and you would like to support a site’s free content delivery, then don’t block the ads. It’s that simple.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to click the ads to generate a small amount of revenue for the site. Merely seeing them is enough. Keep that in mind next time you block ads willy-nilly all across the Internet.

This Is a Winner

I have been using µBlock for three days now and I’ve never been happier with a new add-on.

Be sure to disable ABP before installing µBlock. It doesn’t make sense to run both and there might even be a terrible conflict if you do.

You should really give it a try and if you do, let me know what you think,

Richard

UPDATE: For those of you who would like to see some actual numbers, GitHub has posted an article that offers this information.

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About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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