NoScript

I’ve been having problems lately on my laptop with it freezing up while I am surfing. Usually if I wait a long time, it will return to normal, but it can take a few minutes. Usually when it is stalled the status bar in Firefox will say waiting on some other website, typically with cdn in the name. I don’t know if it is hanging on that particular site or a different one, but I have thought about blocking all of these third-party websites that aren’t related to the page I’m actually visiting. For instance, if you visit CNN, you might spend a while downloading stuff from akamai.net. I’m thinking usually it is ads because content should be on the web sites own server and is pretty basic.

Sometimes I think the problem is with different scipts that are loading from those sites (often it is just a video ad that is taking forever to download, but Firefox is a zombie until the thing finishes). I disabled javascript in my browser, which seemed to really help, but it caused problems on a lot of sites that I go to, including my bank and AdSense, which wouldn’t work at all without javascript.

Next I found an extension called YesScript which would disable javascript except for a few websites that you identify as being okay. This was kind of the opposite of another extension it mentioned called NoScript which would let you disable scripts of your choosing. YesScript didn’t do what I want, so I wound up trying out NoScript. It brings up a little toolbar that lets you control the scripts you want to see. For instance, I went to FlashlightWiki and there were 4 scripts, all blocked by default. I enabled flashlightwiki scripts which are served up by the wiki itself (I think for the search box). But I also have a Google Translator tool, so I enabled Google and Google Syndication (third party scripts, but useful ones) and the AdSense ads were being blocked as well, so I enabled googleapis. I did not enable doubleclick.net which just tracks your surfing across a lot of different websites that all use doubleclick.

I went to ajc.com to read up on the news and there were 71 different scripts, and as far as I could tell, I didn’t need any of them. And now the site downloads a lot faster too.

It is much more flexible than just enabling or disabling javascript. Even on Bank of America’s site, I enabled Bank of America scripts so I could log in, but was able to disable doubleclick.

So it’s kind of a pain to use, but a lot of my surfing is to the same sites, so I can customize all of those the way I want. And for the rest of the internet, I just block most of the scripts. It isn’t my intention to block ads, at least unobtrusive ones, but most of the ads are getting blocked. Oh well.

2 thoughts on “NoScript

  1. One of the main reasons I use Firefox is because how well it works with Adblock Plus, which I have used for years. This plugin is available for other browsers, but ADP catches more ads, including video ads, with Firefox.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/

    It has customization similar to some of the features you are describing, blocking third parties and scripts. I have several custom filters, including blocks for Facebook.

    Note that with video, it is common for a video server to stream the data and be separate from the hosting site’s domain. It is quite possible, and even probable, that legit video streams (news for example) are being powered by Akamai.

    From Wikipedia: “Akamai serves between 10 and 20 percent of all web traffic.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akamai_Technologies

  2. I don’t have anything against ads, but the scripts and resources are causing problems. Some sites are worse than others. AJC.com is awful, but by controlling the scripts, it is pretty quick. It’s gotten pretty ridiculous with toolbars showing up and ads that block most of the page. However, the end result is all of the ads are being blocked. That’s not true of every site.

    Akamai is usually legit, as are the various cloud networks that are slowing everything down, but that doesn’t mean I want to be slowed down by the content they are providing.

    Ultimately it is probably more of a pain controlling the scripts than being slowed down by them, but I seem to be avoiding stalls.

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