June 13, 2024

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YouTube slows down loading on Firefox

YouTube slows down loading on Firefox

YouTube has started cracking down on ad blockers, and that now includes slowing down the loading time for anyone with an ad blocker installed on any browser.


Update 11/21: In an updated statement to 9to5GoogleYouTube explains that ad blocker detection is the cause of “suboptimal display” on YouTube.com, including new slow loading behavior.

Ads are a vital lifeline for our content creators, helping them manage and grow their businesses. That’s why using ad blockers violates YouTube’s terms of service. We have been urging users for some time to… Allow ads on YouTube Or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. Last week, users using ad blockers may have experienced a sub-optimal viewing experience, resulting in loading delays, regardless of the browser they are using. Users who have uninstalled ad blockers may and should still experience temporary loading delays Try updating their browser.

Although this was first observed with Mozilla Firefox, as described in our coverage below, YouTube says that ad blocker detection does not target specific browsers and that this behavior may appear on any browser with an ad blocker installed.

Below is our original coverage and previous YouTube statement:


Loading YouTube.com is something that many people do every day, but lately, this process has become strangely slow for some, specifically On Firefox.

Redditor u/vk6_ posted a video It shows YouTube loading on Firefox with significant delay. For a few seconds, the page is mostly blank, with background elements visible but no accompanying content. After a few seconds, the page loads as usual.

One might assume that this is just a connectivity issue, but the video clearly shows that this is a choice on Google’s part. When you spoof the Firefox user agent to make it look like Chrome, YouTube loads completely as usual. There is no waiting time, and the download as a whole is as well Radically faster.

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At a glance, this seems clear evidence that this is a choice on Google’s part, and there it is may be be more than that. Another user found the code on YouTube.com which displays a “timeout” function in the script that forces users to wait five seconds before the page loads. However, some believe this may be the case in a relationship To an ad blocking campaign. The code itself doesn’t seem to refer to Firefox in particular, however Some users have found that Using a filter for this code seems to fix the loading times.

It’s also worth noting that we tried this the other way. Spoofing Chrome to work as Firefox does no This pushed the delay into effect.

But it is difficult to say anything with certainty.


to update: To respond to 9to5GoogleGoogle pointed to ad blockers as the obvious reason for this slowdown, saying that “users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they use.”

To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to engage ad blocker-enabled viewers Allow ads on YouTube Or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience a suboptimal viewing experience, regardless of the browser they use.

Although this doesn’t address the question of why loading was faster when Firefox was impersonating itself as Google Chrome, it is consistent with this particular user installing an ad blocker, as is barely evident in the video in Chrome’s top bar. In our testing against Chrome spoofing as Firefox, these ad blockers were not installed.

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If you see that YouTube.com is loading slowly on Firefox and you no Have you installed an ad blocker, let us know in the comments below.


The reason behind this is unclear, but it comes at a less than ironic time. Amid the crackdown on ad blockers and Chrome’s removal of Manifest V2 extensions (which will break some ad blockers), Firefox has been a go-to place for many people.

Another explanation might just be a technical error, but it’s hard to pinpoint what it is. Firefox runs on the Gecko browser engine rather than the Blink engine more commonly used on Chrome, Edge, and others, and WebKit, which is used in Safari, but spoofing the browser with an extension doesn’t change the engine used, which again, suggests this has something to do specifically with Firefox. Kyle Bradshaw suggests it might be as simple as the code base used for the Gecko engine had a delay in testing that caused it to arrive in production by mistake. The fact that this doesn’t happen when Chrome is spoofed to act like Firefox also supports the idea that this is more of a technical issue.

However, it is a very frustrating and difficult issue to see.

Google has not acknowledged the problem yet.

More on YouTube:

to update: This post has been updated to reflect testing where spoofing Chrome to act like Firefox does not show the same lag.

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