uBlock Origin is arguably the best ads blocking extension for web browsers. Previously we compared Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin and today we will see how to use uBlock Origin to block all types of ads and other harmful scripts on your device. uBlock Origin is only available on Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge & in Safari (Beta). So, if you haven’t yet installed uBlock Origin head over to your respective browser’s extension or addon store and search for ‘uBlock Origin’ and install it. Make sure it is ‘uBlock Origin’ and not just ‘uBlock’.
After installing uBlock Origin, depending on your browser you will see uBlock Origin’s shield icon on the top right side of the address bar. uBlock Origin is enabled by default. If the shield icon is lit up it means that uBlock Origin is now enabled but if it’s greyed out, that means that it’s disabled.
To open uBlock Origin interface just click on the ‘shield’ icon next to the address bar and the interface will open. For the users of Adblock Plus who are migrating to uBlock Origin, it might seem a bit arcane at first because of its UI but worry not because you only need to understand few settings to get full benefit of this powerful extension.
When you’ll install ublock origin for the first time you might not have the ‘advanced settings’ section on the left side of the interface. These options are for advanced users and might or might not benefit you. To enable it, go to the ‘settings’ and then check ‘I am an advanced user’ and this will start showing this section on uBlock’s interface. You can read more about how to use these advanced settings by going here or watch this video, but for the purpose of this guide, we will focus on the main settings.
The big blue power button is used to toggle uBlock Origin On or Off. When you want to whitelist a website or disable uBlock Origin for any reason, simply click on the blue power button (while on that website) and the power button (along with the shield icon) will turn grey, which means that you successfully turned ublock origin off and now it’s not blocking anything. To turn it back on simply click it again.
To block all popups simply visit the website that you want to block all popups on, and then click on the ‘toggle popup block’ button as shown in the above image. A cross (x) will appear when the popup blocking is enabled.
How to permanently block website elements with uBlock Origin?
Websites are made possible with front-end and back-end technolgies. Front-end is everything that you see in your browser after the website is loaded and back-end is everything that goes behind the scenes on servers. Simply put, different elements make up whatever you see on the web page. For example, a search box on a website, a text field or a video.
uBlock Origin can detect any elements on a web page and allows you to block them permanently. After using it, next time you will visit the website everything will load perfectly except the thing that you blocked because you didn’t like it. So if you want to block something other than an ad, you can do it by using eye doper tool below the big blue button or by right-clicking that element and then clicking ‘Block Element’. Also, remember to select all the elements that are associated with that object. See below.
Cosmetic Filtering in uBlock Origin
Cosmetic filtering includes all your custom web page element filtering. So when you click the ‘eye’ button on the uBlock’s interface, it toggle enables or disables all the cosmetic filters that you added. If you want to see something that is blocked due to cosmetic filters, this is an easy way to unblock it.
uBlock Origin Settings
To access uBlock Origin’s settings, click on the ‘gear icon’ below the power button, as shown in the image above. This will open a new tab where you can access uBlock settings along with the options to, modify 3rd-party filters, add custom filters and whitelisting the websites that you want to support. It will look like this:
uBlock Origin supports saving settings to cloud storage through your browser’s sync feature, e.g, Firefox Sync, or Chrome browser’s Google account. In addition to that, you can also restore and backup.
uBlock Origin 3rd-party filter settings
Filters allow uBlock Origin to block ads and other things. uBlock Origin prevents network requests from being made according to these filter lists (or dynamic filtering rules) so that your browser does not connect to any remote servers. In addition to uBlock origin default filters, it can leverage community maintained block lists. Which means you can add your own custom filter along with the default ones, which might add additional features such as bypassing the ‘Disable your adblocker to access this website’ messages on a lot of websites. But you also need to keep in mind the usability and performance because using too many filters might render a website useless.
uBlock Origin automatically updates all the filter lists for you and you can also check for updates yourself anytime. 3rd-party filters that come with uBlock origin such as EasyList, might have their own update frequency. All your custom filters that you added yourself appear at the bottom of the page in the ‘Custom’ section of 3rd-party filter tab. You can also delete any custom filter by clicking the ‘Dustbin’ icon.
You can also add your own filters in ‘My Filters’ tab but before adding, read the filter syntax guide from uBlock Origin, to properly configure it.
Read Also: Best uBlock Origin Filter Settings
How to whitelist in uBlock Origin?
All your whitelisted websites are shown in the ‘Whitelist’ section. There are two ways to whitelist a website in ublock origin, either just click the blue power button while on the specific website to whitelist that website or manually enter website’s address by going to the ‘Whitelist’ tab and typing in the URL.