Websites track you online to show you targeted advertisements, and Firefox 65 is just the latest browser to help you opt out. You can now block tracking content online without the need for a third-party add-on.
What is Content Blocking in Firefox?
“Content blocking” is a collection of privacy settings designed to block trackers and cookies that affect your privacy and browsing performance online. This feature first appeared in Firefox 63 as “tracking protection,” but it’s been redesigned and is now named “content blocking.”
By teaming up with Disconnect, a company striving to give people the freedom to move about the internet without having to worry whether their information is being collected and sold, Firefox can block a list of known trackers when browsing the internet. You can find a full list of trackers Disconnect does and doesn’t block—along with explanations—on its website.
Firefox lets you choose between three options to protect your privacy better online:
- Standard: This is the default setting and only blocks known trackers in Private windows, allowing for a balance between protection and performance. Third-party tracking cookies are not blocked using this mode.
- Strict: Blocks all known trackers and third-party tracking cookies in any windows, including regular sessions, that Firefox detects.
- Custom: A mix between the standard and strict modes which allows you to gain complete control over trackers and cookies and lets you choose what you want to block.
Warning: When you block all cookies, some websites that rely on them may not function as intended. This can result in pages or parts of pages from loading or breaking altogether.
How to Enable Content Blocking
To find these settings, click Menu > Content Blocking in Firefox. If you don’t see this option, you haven’t upgraded to Firefox 65 yet.
On the Firefox preferences privacy page, choose the option that’s best suited for you.
When choosing the Custom plan, there are two settings you can manually enable and set: Trackers and Cookies.
For trackers, you can block them in all windows or Private Windows only. For cookies, you can block third-party trackers, cookies from unvisited websites, all third-party cookies, or all cookies.
When you click on “Change Block List,” you can choose between a couple of different tracker lists to block.
Level 1 allows some trackers through, which maintains the functionality of some sites, and level 2 blocks all detected trackers, which may break websites or prevent content from loading. Click on a level and then click “Save Changes.”
You can also tell Firefox to send the “Do Not Track” signal to websites, but most websites ignore that anyway.
After you’ve configured all the settings, you can close the tab and browse the internet freely. When Firefox is blocking content on a website, a shield icon will appear in your address bar, located between the green lock and site information icons.
How to Turn Off Blocking for Individual Sites
As mentioned previously, blocking all trackers and cookies can lead to certain parts of a website misbehaving and potentially breaking. If you find yourself in this situation, instead of disabling Content Blocking altogether, you can add exceptions for specific sites.
Click the shield icon, then click “Turn off blocking for this site.”
Afterward, the page reloads, and all trackers and cookies are allowed. The shield now has a strike through it, signifying that Content Blocking is disabled on the current website.