Block YouTube Ads With A Single Keystroke

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Block YouTube Ads With A Single Keystroke
Screenshot: David Murphy

One of the more frustrating things to deal with on the web are the small (to not-so-small) video ads that pop up before YouTube videos you’re trying to binge. Even though most of them let you skip to your video after a few seconds, this advertising-filled interlude can feel like an eternity. We have a hack to fix that, and it’s ingenious.

All you have to do to eliminate these advertising videos—a trick we tested today, when we wrote this article, but one that Google will surely patch at some point—is to put a period after the YouTube domain in the URL. That’s it.

So, if your URL looks like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?[...]

You’ll want to add in a period right after the end of youtube.com. So, your new URL would look like this: http://www.youtube.com./watch?[...]

As I said, I just tested this trick on a random video that fired up a video ad every single time I launched it in a new browser. Placing a period after the “.com” didn’t summon an ad no matter how many times I tried it. Removing that period and going back to the regular URL brought the ads back.

This trick only works on the desktop version of YouTube, so you’ll have to request that version of the site on your mobile browser if you’re trying to view videos on your phone. Also, the “period hack” is great for those one-off times moments you’re trying to watch a YouTube video and find yourself thwarted, or annoyed, by advertising. However, it’s not ideal if you’re planning to do an extended session of YouTube binge-watching.

In that case, you can place the period after the “.com” in YouTube’s URL all you want, but the URL will revert back to the standard YouTube link whenever you click on a new piece of content.

Having to continually add a period to the URL to defeat video ads will be as annoying and time-consuming as watching the ads themselves. If you’re looking for an ad-free YouTube experience whenever you’re on the site, you’ll want to combine a few of your favourite adblockers with a YouTube-themed browser extension that also works to strip away pre-video advertising. I’m a fan of Enhancer for YouTube, which works well and has a pretty easy-to-navigate configuration screen:

Screenshot: David Murphy, Enhancer for YouTube

There are plenty of these kinds of extensions out there, but I’ve always preferred the simplicity of Enhancer for YouTube. Also, it feels less likely to be siphoning my data, or who-knows-what, given that the extension is developed by one easily identifiable person. Perhaps I’m overly suspicious, but I tend to err on the side of fewer extensions having access to what I’m doing on the web than more.

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