There is currently an issue affecting some YouTube users which causes huge slowdowns when trying to view content, and there is no consensus on the cause. People believe this could be due to ad blockers for YouTube being cracked down by Google.
In November, 9to5Google began reporting on this issue, and although speculation began with the idea that it was an issue with Firefox, designed to force users to use the Google-owned Chrome browser, the most popular theory became one that suggested ad blockers were the cause.
A post on Reddit seemed to show this being the case, with the user showing the slow load speeds, then disabling their ad blocker and having speeds return to normal. Users also reported problems with turning a video into full-screen or theatre mode.
YouTube seemingly confirmed this in a statement they made to 9to5Google: “Ads are a vital lifeline for our creators that help them run and grow their businesses. That’s why the use of ad blockers violates YouTube’s Terms of Service. We’ve been urging users for some time to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. In the past week, users using ad blockers may have experienced suboptimal viewing, which included delays in loading, regardless of the browser they are using. Users who have uninstalled their ad blockers may still experience a temporary delay in loading, and should try refreshing their browser.”
However, as Ars Technica pointed out, the slow buffering experienced by some users might be due to a bug in one of the most popular ad blockers, Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus recently posted a bug report about “performance issues” and said it should be fixed in the next version. Developers of a different ad blocker, uBlock Origin, said the issue only affected Adblock Plus users.
What are the ad blockers for YouTube?
Although record numbers of users are uninstalling their ad blockers, it remains unclear whether this is the right course of action or not. Most of the most popular ad blockers are working hard to get around YouTube’s crackdown. Here are the most popular ad blockers for YouTube:
uBlock Origin (free and open source, supports most popular browsers)
AdBlocker Ultimate ($2.49 per month billed annually, claims to work on a system level to overcome new ad technology)
AdGuard ($2 per month, billed annually, works similarly to AdBlocker Ultimate)
Featured image credit: Freestock/Pexels