Speed up and Secure the Web by Blocking Flash

Adobe’s Flash is everywhere on the internet. Its great, allowing sites to display video content, games, animation, and interactive media. Its also a resource hog, slows down your page loading time, a security risk and can be annoying when you don’t want it. How do you have Flash when you want it, not when you don’t, without having to uninstall it?

Blocking Flash on your browser:

Stopping Flash from loading is pretty easy to do with third party browser plugins / add ons. Depending on whether you use Firefox or Safari, you have different options. We’ll look at both.

Apple’s Safari:

To stop Flash from loading in Safari, download and install ClickToFlash. After installing, whenever you encounter a Flash object, you’re going to see a gray box with the word “Flash” inside and a little gear in the upper left. Double click the box to load the Flash object.

Don’t want to be double clicking all day? Right Click (or Option Click) on the gray box and whitelist the site you’re trying to access. You’ll have to do this for many sites at first, but once you get a good amount of them whitelisted, it will be better. Now whenever you visit a site, and want to see the content and not a bunch of Flash animations gunking up your experience, ClickToFlash will stop it.

Note: With YouTube, set ClickToFlash to load the H.264 videos, they run in Quicktime and are much easier on your system resources.

Mozilla’s Firefox:

Since ClickToFlash only works with Safari, you’ll want to download something different for Firefox. Because of Mozilla’s Add On infrastructure, there’s a few options for you to use:

Flash Killer

Both Flashblock and Flash Killer are similar to ClickToFlash. When Firefox encounters a Flsah object, its replaced by a box. Just click to load it. If its a frequently used site, add it to the whitelist.

For more advanced users:

NoScript is a bit different and much more powerful. NoScript actually block Javascript from loading. It will block Flash, Javascript, Java, embedded video and prevent cross-site scripting. Its a powerful Add On which I’ve used for years. However, if your technical level is pretty low, NoScript might be frustrating for you. It will change the behavior of many sites and could cause usage problems if you aren’t sure how NoScript works.

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