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Zero-Bullshit Web Browsing (2023-05-10)

brook > getlinks > browsers

It's hilarious to me how much human effort has gone into making browsers faster only for ads to quickly slurp up that extra headroom.

@theavalkyrie, 2021-07-02 15:03

The current state of the web? Total bullshit. If you're tired of dealing with stupid ads, tracking, ads with sound, scripts that make the page lag, and ads that deliver malware, here's a few tips on how to avoid them.


Firstly, if you have Google Chrome? Get rid of it. It's no secret that Google wants to gather as much data about you as possible so they can sell it to their advertising-industry customers. No need to make it easy for them.

I previously recommended Pale Moon on this page, but stopped using it after 28.13. It used to be superb, but the devs grew massive egos, shut down forks for petty/stupid/hypocritical reasons, and have removed the features that attracted me to the browser. It now joins IE, Firefox, and Opera in the 'used for 8-9 years before something better arrived' pile.


While I prefer to not do much on my smartphone, you may feel differently. For a better surfing experience on the go, try the F-Droid installer for FOSS apps. Then, for the Chromium experience, there's Bromite, and on the Mozilla side is Fennec.

Also recommended from F-Droid are Aegis (2FA code generator), NewPipe (YouTube frontend), personalDNSfilter (privacy-focused local VPN), and UntrackMe (social media to private frontend redirector).



Has a modern variant, which can install new Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extensions. Or, if you're olderschool, try Waterfox Classic, and make use of some historic yet functional picks from the Classic Add-ons Archive.


If you must use a Chrome-clone, this seems to be the least-bad of them. Spiritual successor to the classic Opera browser. Very customizable, and compatible enough to use most Chrome extensions flawlessly.

For Firefox enjoyers who feel that Mozilla has lost their way, there's the LibreWolf browser, but I haven't used it. If you'd like to give it a try, Obspogon has a list of recommended extensions to look for in the UCL Utility Zone.

And for those who like time travel (read: seeing what websites look like in older browsers), why not grab yourself one installer with just about every dang version of Firefox ever?

Recommended Extensions

Websites are like "in order to deliver the best experience blah blah blah blah"

I don't want you to deliver an experience, I want you to deliver some HTML, 2020-12-05 21:42
uBlock Origin (Classic)
Very efficient content blocker. Go into the settings, turn on some of the filter lists, and marvel at how much faster the Web gets. Also has support for manual whitelisting of large images, external fonts, and JavaScript.

For {Fire/Libre/G5 Water}fox users, Arkenfox suggests that only this and Skip Redirect are necessary due to strong privacy/isolation features built into the browser.

Filter for no autoplay rights: ||^$script

Decentraleyes (Older version in CAA)
Loads common libraries (jQuery etc.) from disk instead of a centralized source that could potentially track usage.
Neat URL (CAA: "Pure URL")
Removes common tracking/referral junk from clicked links.
Privacy Redirect (CAA: "Redirector")
Get it set up, and you'll automatically be redirected to more private frontends of your (least-)favorite social media sites when visiting them.
I Don't Care About Cookies (Older version in CAA)
Hides them "This website uses cookies to enhance your experience" shits that corporations are legally required to stick at the bottom of the screen.
Midnight Lizard (CAA: "Dark Background and Light Text")
Lots of websites confuse LCD screens for paper and attempt to sear your retinas with a blinding fluorescent white. It's an easy mistake to make, but one that you don't need to suffer from any longer.
Feedbro (CAA: "Bamboo Feed Reader")
Fuck an algorithmic social media feed - curate your own with RSS!
Wayback Machine (CAA: "Open in Wayback Machine")
If you clicked on something only to land on a 404 error, check if has a copy with the push of a button.
WebScrapBook (CAA: "Mozilla Archive Format")
Like webpages but hate when you go to visit them again only to find they've disappeared? Crunch any page into a small .MAFF file for easy future viewing and sharing.
MIDI Player
Blast tunes on those old homepages instead of having the browser chuck them in the downloads folder.

Ad-Blocking DNS Servers
In the event that Manivest V3 renders your favorite content-blocker(s) less capable, here's a few alternative resolvers that block malicious, tracking, and advertising domains at the external DNS level.
AltDNS76.76.19.19 / AdGuard Public DNS / / 2a10:50c0::ad1:ff / 2a10:50c0::ad2:ff Control-D NoAds+Tracking / / 2606:1a40::2 / 2606:1a40:1::2 DeCloudUsDoT/DoH/DNSCrypt only NextDNSAccount-based



Privacy-focused tree-plantin' Bing frontend.
Anonymized frontend to Google.
Surveillance-avoiding metasearch that uses 70+ sources via 20+ instances.
Noncommercial oriented search to find something obscure.
If you're looking for something on archived homepages, here's this.
Old-style search focused on finding you hobbyist pages and rabbit-holes.


SponsorBlock extension
Tired of intros, ring-the-bells, and Ring doorbells? Autoskip past them.
Annotations Restored
Brings back pop-up text, because the links never were in the description.
Lightweight frontend for YouTube with dark mode and other great features.
WebTorrent-based distributed video sharing service on the Fediverse.
BitView / Vidlii / Tracle
Nostalgic recreations for those who prefer 2006-2012 YouTube.
Ad-free user-supported video sharing site. Aimed at pros, but welcomes all.


Lightweight frontend for Twitter to get rid of the bloat and tracking.
Video Downloader
Paste link, right click, save as, simple as.
Bwitter / Blips
Microblogging sites mimicing Twitter's original layout.
Mastodon [?]
Distributed social network with moderators who actually do shit.
Status Cafe
Microblogs that are hugely customizable with CSS.
TWTXT Specification
Decentralized microblog format with text files on individual websites.


XKit Rewritten
Makes the site much more convenient to use.
A streamlined interface for viewing your favorite blogs.
Highly expressive blogging and scrapbooking platform.
Alternative blogging site with a chill culture.
An NSFW-friendly modern reimagining.
Non-profit tumblog that goes ham with post customization.


TorGuard (H/T VPN Tier List)
According to independent reviewer Tom Spark, this is the #1 VPN on the market (out of 60+ tested), and that works for me. Use promo code TomSpark for 50% off for life.
Avoid any further fuckery by throwing the browser into quarantine.
Defragments and optimizes internal databases to make browsers snappier.
Got a Tumblr blog you like? Grab everything on it fast and easy. (Note: For archiving your own blogs, it's a better idea to use the built-in export feature, which also provides IM chatlogs and individual HTML file blogposts.)
Bytemoth's Essential Programs
When you're done online, feel free to further enhance your computing experience with some of the other fine software I've enjoyed over the years.
Historical Downloads
[Arachne] All-in-one suite with HTTP, FTP, Gopher, NNTP, email, a file explorer, and screensavers. [Links2] TLS-supporting WWW browser that runs in graphics or text modes. Dillo 3 Super lightweight graphical web browser.
Tired of HTTP? Why not try Gopher! Classic Mosaic/Netscape Browsers The Firefox Legacy Collector's Dump Opera 12 security and privacy guide Web Browsers for Windows XP Lynx Portable (text-only web browser) Ogg Media Codecs for Microsoft Edge Opera Presto Installer Archive

Further Reading Alternative Frontends Awesome Privacy Apps/Sites Basic Web Safety Primer But Should I Block Ads? Digital Wellbeing How To Improve Your Experience Online Join the Quit Social Media Club today! JustDelete.Me account removal reference The Social Cooling Effect /r/FreeMediaHeckYeah's Adblock/VPN/Privacy Linkdump

[Listen]Listen to "Ace of Base - The Sign" on YouTube?