How-To Geek

How to Control Which Websites Can Use Flash in Any Browser

Making Flash click-to-play is a good idea, but browsers are going further. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge will all soon disable Flash by default, allowing you to enable it only on websites that need it.

Each browser offers a way to control the list of websites that have been given permission to run Flash, if you change your mind later—or just want to trim the list.

Google Chrome

Click the menu button and select “Settings” to open Chrome’s Settings page. Click the “Show advanced settings” link at the bottom of the page, click the “Content Settings” button under Privacy, and scroll down to the “Flash” section. To go straight to this page, you can also just plug the following address into Chrome’s location bar:

chrome://settings/content

If you’d like to only give Flash permission to specific websites, select the “Block sites from running Flash” option.

When you visit a website that uses Flash, you’ll see an icon in the address bar and you can click it if you want to give the website permission to run Flash.

To manage the list of websites you’ve given permission to run Flash, click the “Manage Exceptions” button under Flash on the Settings page. You can also just click the “Manage Plugin Blocking” link in the popup. You’ll then see a list of websites and you can specify the websites that are allowed to run Flash here.

To go straight to this page, you can also just plug the following address into Chrome’s location bar:

chrome://settings/contentExceptions#plugins

Mozilla Firefox

To set Mozilla Firefox to ask to activate plugins, click the menu button, select “Add-ons”, and click “Plugins” in the sidebar. Locate “Shockwave Flash” in the list, click the drop-down box to the right of it, and select “Ask to Activate”.

You can also set other plugins to “Ask to Activate” from here, if you like.

When you visit a website that includes Flash content, you’ll see a plugin icon on the address bar. Click it and select “Allow and Remember” to permanently give a website that ability to run Flash content.

To change this setting in the future, visit the website, click the same plugin icon, and click “Block plugin”.

You can also right-click on the page and select “View Page Info”. Click the “Permissions” icon and you can select whether any plugins have special permissions to run on the current website.

Firefox doesn’t seem to offer a single, browser-wide interface that lists all websites you’ve given permission to run Flash.

Apple Safari

The latest vertsions of Apple Safari disables Flash by default, only enabling it for websites you specifically tell it to.

To check these settings, head to Safari > Preferences > Security > Plug-in Settings. Enable Adobe Flash Player and set it to “Ask” if you want Safari to ask to enable Flash.

You can also set it to not run Flash content on all websites. When you visit a website you do want to allow Flash on, come back to this window and set Safari to allow Flash on the “Currently open website”.

When you visit a website that uses Flash, you’ll see a “Click to use Flash” placeholder on the page. Click it and click “Trust” to enable Flash for that website.

You can head back to Safari > Preferences > Security > Plug-in Settings > Adobe Flash Player to see and manage a list of websites you’ve given permission to run Flash.

Internet Explorer

You can do this in Internet Explorer for Flash and other plugins. Click the gear icon and select “Manage Add-ons” to open the Add-ons window.  Locate the “Shockwave Flash Object” component in the list and double-click it or right-click it and select “More Information”.

When the list here contains a “*” character on its own line, all websites can use Flash. Click the “Remove All Sites” button and no sites will be able to run Flash content without your permission.

Close the window and head to a website that uses Flash. Internet Explorer will ask if you want to run Flash on the current website. Click the “Allow” button to give the website permission to run Flash.

Head back to the “More Information” window for the Flash add-on and you’ll see the list of websites Flash can run on. You can remove websites from the list from here.

This feature isn’t available in Microsoft Edge on Windows 10’s Anniversary Update. Microsoft is adding it to the Creators Update, however.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 01/10/17

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