UBlock Origin Lite - Nice adblocker for modern challenges

Updated: June 7, 2024

The Internet is a battlefield. On one side, you have ordinary people who just want to browse the net and consume stuff without any great fanfare. On the other, you have advertisement agencies and companies who would, if they could, force everyone to watch pointless ads 24/7. You would assume most people don't care, but as it turns out, in the past few years, more and more people are actively blocking ads. For many good reasons. They are largely pointless (low quality, low value, low intelligence), they waste bandwidth and power, they can be a vector for malware, active and passive. The need to block them is great. And there are some awesome adblockers out there.

This wouldn't a topic that needs any great re-discussion except ... Google decided to change the extensions model for Chrome, something called Manifest V3. This thing comes with a variety of technical changes, for a variety of reasons. TL;DR: Whether you accept what Google claims to be valid or not, Manifest V3 could limit the effectiveness of classic adblockers, by a huge margin. Coincidence? Doesn't matter. The question is, are there any V3-compliant adblockers that could still offer the same adblocking functionality as before? Well, the creator of the fantastic UBlock Origin (UBO) extension has produced a new tool - UBO Lite, designed to help people stop stupidity, come the full force of Manifest V3 sometime soon.

Teaser

Get UBO Lite, start UBO Lite-ing

I decided to test UBO Lite in Firefox. For two main reasons. One, since Manifest V3 API still isn't enforced fully in the Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, it doesn't matter where I test it for the moment. Two, Mozilla has decided that it would implement the new extensions platform, but they also decided not to support the adblock-limiting features thereof, which gives you an extra reason why you should use Firefox as your main browser. All right, so now, let's see what this extension does.

I installed UBO Lite from Mozilla Addons - tested on a desktop browser, in Linux, but you can also install it in Firefox on Android, just sayin'. You will need to give it permissions the first time it runs. Or to be more precise, you have several options.

Permission options

But the nice thing about it is that you can set global permissions through the extensions settings as well as per-site permissions. For example, you could use Basic for everything, Optimal for three or four risky or ads-heavy sites, None for your bank, and then some. You can mix and match as you see fit.

Site permissions

If you decide to grant any one site extra permissions above Basic (or all sites, for that matter), you will need to explicitly allow Firefox (and other browsers) to access your site data. From a security perspective, this isn't a bad idea, but then, you shouldn't be installing "rogue" browser addons to begin with. But hey.

Site, allow

Permissions overview

Filter lists

If you do decide to use more than Basic, you have tons of lists available, which will then be converted into blocking rules. One of the big contention points around Manifest V3 is/was the hardcoded limit on the number of rules, which could make it more difficult for the extension to do its job correctly. There won't be such limits in Firefox. Or at least, I very much hope so.

Filter lists

UBO Lite in action

I decided to try my luck on the Web. A handful of sites, just to get a sense of the functionality, the speed, the level of effectiveness. So far, I can't see I notice any difference. I tried UBO Lite both in Basic and Optimal modes, and things were just fine. Perhaps there are reasons to be optimistic. For now.

Working 1

Working 1, details

Working 2

Conclusion

My first "taste" of UBlock Origin Lite has been quite pleasant. In a rather consistent fashion, the add-on delivers. It's fast, light, robust, it comes with options for regular and advanced users, and if you feel like you need the full-blown power of content blocking, you get it. If you need the leanest, no-meddling option, you can use it. Hopefully, that will be enough to tackle the stupidity of the ad-infested "modern" Web.

There isn't much I can add here. If you don't want to play silly games and waste your time watching "ads" until your eyes melt, the only sane way of consuming the modern trash called the Internet is by using a good, solid adblocker in your browser. UBO Lite promises relief in the new era of this bittersweet Dystopia. For now, it seems we're still one step ahead of the greed-driven corpodrones. Take care.

Cheers.