uBlock Origin is a memory and resource efficient content blocker available freely in the market.
Web page experience seems ruined when annoying contents and ads appear on the screen. It is now a normal thing for websites to have ads and tracking contents and it is the primary source of income. Yes, financial support is needed for the website owner so that website can remain live. However, most websites are becoming greedy in exchange for good content. They are filling their web pages with lots of ads, scripts, and tracking methods and that’s not fair.
Apart from this, some websites sell these collected data to third party organizations and advertisers. They target user’s behavior for business and attracts through responsive ads. So the question is what about user’s privacy.
Privacy is in our hands only, you can stop all these acts by installing a privacy-based plugin in the browsers. Read the full uBlock Origin Review to understand how to block ads, contents, and trackers.
uBlock Origin Overview
uBlock Origin is a highly configurable and low resource blocking extension for the browsers. Mainly designed to block scripted contents, ads, trackers, and malware sites. Actually, it is a content blocker rather than an ad blocker but does some ad-blocking tasks. Don’t get confused with uBlock ad-on, though both extensions are developed by Raymond Hill.
In 2015, Raymond Hill transferred the uBlock project to Chris Aljoudi and continued to work on a new extension, now called as uBlock Origin. From that time both extensions were separated completely and work under the supervision of different developers. As of 2020, uBlock Origin has added a bunch of new features in the core system to guard the user’s privacy in every possible way.
You can install it on some respectable browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari (prior to version 13) without any cost except your finger effort. Earlier Google had made an announcement to remove Block Origin from the Chrome store, but internet users from worldwide criticize this decision and called it rivalry and abuse to dominant developers. Later Google agreed not to remove it in the future from the store.
Pricing & Features
uBlock Origin is a completely free extension for all supported browsers. Developer Raymond Hill has made it open source so that other interested developers can advance it with more features. This shows full transparency of the uBlock Origin’s working behavior and proves that it doesn’t hurt the user’s privacy.
The interesting thing with uBlock Origin is that the project refuses any type of donations, and instead advises people to support maintainers of blacklists who are providing their effort to keep your privacy safe. Also, it does not allow “Acceptable Ads Programs” as other ad blockers do. Never forget, after the acquisition of uBlock by AdBlock, uBlock started to run “Acceptable Ads Programs”.
Out of the box, uBlock Origin is loaded and enforced with some fresh power-packed features. Here is the list:
How does uBlock Origin Guards our Privacy?
Lots of websites are available on the internet. Some website contains ads while some don’t. The site without ads and trackers render noticeable and becomes easy to read and navigate through. In some cases, it becomes necessary to turn on the blocker to help the browser render the page smoothly.
uBlock Origin works differently than the other blocker plugins. Basic functionality includes well-maintained filter lists like EasyList, EasyPrivacy, Peter Lowe’s Ad and tracking server list, and Malware Domain List.
All four modes are designed specifically for different purposes. If you think, it is less for your privacy then you can add other third-party filters by choosing them from the “3rd-party filters” list in its settings page of the plugin.
Various setting options are available under the setting page, customize the privacy by clicking on the box of each menu. Prevent WebRTC leak from leaking your local IP address, though it will not help you much, you should turn it on. Open dynamic log to watch what uBlock Origin is doing with the specific web pages.
If you feel the web page is broken due to Block Origin then turning off filtering for a website will be a good choice. Also, you can instruct the uBlock Origin not to block your favorite site by adding it to the wish list by going on the “Wishlist Menu”.
Dynamic and On Dashboard filtering
Just click on the uBlock Origin icon at the top left on your browser’s homepage. You will be treated with the dashboard and shows the count of blocked ads, scripts, and domains. The blocked domains are flagged as red and seem to be dangerous to your privacy. The green flagged domains are required for the webpage to function and load properly. So these domains are not blocked by uBlock Origin.
Users can filter out the pop-ups ads, large embedded media contents, emote fonts, and cosmic filters. If you don’t like the web page experience, click on the icon listed below the power icon of the plugin to enable/disable the filters. Check one by one with every listed icon to test the web page performance and keeps the settings that suit you best.
Element Zapper and Picker
uBlock Origin has included features to make the web pages better. The two features are “Element Zapper and Element Picker”. Element Zapper lets you choose to make web page element visible or invisible. Click on the Element Zapper icon to activate. As soon as you click on Element Zapper, selected web page content will appear in a different colors and when you click on it that element will disappear from the page.
Picker does a different job, it lets you inspect the source of selected content, cosmetic filters, and network filters and opens a new window. Click on the create button to list selected content into the “My Rules” menu where it will remain disabled until you remove it manually.
WebRTC Leak Prevention
WebRTC Leak is of course a dangerous threat to users’ privacy. Your browser is the main culprit for this, though WebRTC is also necessary for web communication apps like Hangout and Web Whatsapp. WebRTC Leak exposes your public IP address to the website you visit. Anyone with that IP address can track you and can record your browsing activity.
uBlock Origin gives you the option to disable WebRTC leak but it can prevent the only local IP address from exposing which is not a real concern. Head towards the general settings of uBlock Origin and click on “Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses” to enable it.
Read here to fix WebRTC leak completely.
Privacy and Security
I already mentioned earlier uBlock is not a complete adblocker but a content blocker. It secures your privacy by blocking the web domain from collecting your data. It also blocks script pages, provides cosmetic filters and custom filters. Tune the settings according to your privacy level.
To get extra privacy, I recommend you to install Privacy Badger which is also freely available in major browsers. Privacy Badger is mainly a tracker blocker. With the combination of both plugin, block everything from the webpage and stop all kinds of ads, pop-ups, trackers, and malware programs.
Read more about Privacy Badger.
Installation is easy in all the major browsers except Safari. uBlock Origin is can be installed on Safari 12.0V and below version. After installation, the default setting will automatically be set on and it does not break any pages. In fact, the user has nothing to do with settings except if you have some technical knowledge.
Users will have multiple control over the settings that directly affect web page performance. Carefully tune the settings to increase your privacy level. Do keep watch on the Loggers, My Rule, and Wish List to observe the data collected by uBO and remove unnecessary listed sites from the wish list.
Element Zapper, Picker, and Content Blocker icons are placed in the main dashboard of the plugin. One-click and you can be away from irrelevant and annoying ads and trackers. Even if the page seems to be broken, use the Zapper and Picker to block them from appearing on your screen.
uBlock Origin treats all web pages with the same settings. Some webpage may not load properly due to blocker settings. A simple solution is to wish list that site or disable uBO for that particular site.
Customer Support and Regular Updates
uBlock Origin doesn’t belong to a large organization and doesn’t have many developers too. The software is being operated as an open-source project led by its developer that’s why no one-to-one support is available. I don’t think the user will feel any difficulty while using it as it is designed in a good manner. Contributors from worldwide support the development by implementing the new features.
Documentation and setup guide is available at uBlock Origin’s Dashboard under the About menu. You can also find it on the uBO’s Github page by visiting here. All the setup instruction is explained in detail, though the less technical user may feel difficulty while reading it.
Like other extensions, it doesn’t take much time to come with new features and patches. It has regular updates and you can check it at bottom of the uBO icon.
After all uBlock Origin is a combination of ad blocker and domain blocker. Such a piece of software is rare in the market. It has all features required to keep your privacy safe. It’s also completely free and open-source, with great transparency you can see each line of code.
Block any kinds of ads, contents, and domains from loading on the page. It also cares system’s memory and resources and uses very few and doesn’t impact browser control.
uBlock Origin may not block or trace some dangerous trackers. Increase privacy by combining uBlock Origin with Privacy Badger. In fact, both work well and do an excellent job. I recommend you to install both extensions.